The Sick Rose - By Aislinn Cassidy

At The Playhouse from Tuesday 5th to Friday 15th July

Emerging artist Aislinn Cassidy is currently exhibiting her latest installation The Sick Rose locally at the Playhouse from Tuesday 5th to Friday 15th July.

Drawing on her extensive experience in microbiology, Aislinn has created an installation which links Art, Science, and Literature by making a connection between the flow/uptake of dyed fluids in Roses and Chromatography paper; the chemical-physical processes of Diffusion, Capillarity and Colour Separation.
We caught up with Aislinn to talk about her influences and find out more about The Sick Rose.

What is your Arts background?
I am a Full-time student at NWRC completing a HND in Fine Art. I have completed my first year with Distinction. Previously, I attained my Foundation in Art & Design with Distinction, while also being awarded best overall part-time student 2015 and NWRC Best in Further Education Award 2015 for Outstanding Communication. I was Overall Runner up (19yrs+) in the BEST Awards Colleges NI 2016.
I have a BSc in Microbiology from Queen’s University and am also a qualified teacher in Secondary Science now returned to full-time study in Art. My current projects lie on the intersection of Science and Art focusing on making the invisible forces of nature visible, while also creating works that give the viewer an opportunity to respond to the beauty and wonder of nature. My work is constructed as a metaphor for the duality of beauty/awe I see/feel in nature and the harsh reality that beneath my visual experience lays an anxious awareness that it can be brutal in an unconscious way. This resonates with human conscience and its daily struggle between good, evil, and indifference.

You cover an array of artistic media, photography, painting and installation – do you have a favourite area, and if so why?
My main focus recently has been on Installation works that draw from my scientific knowledge and my interest in making visible to viewers natural phenomena, e.g. “The Sick Rose” makes visible Absorption, Diffusion, and Colour Separation (Chromatography). I then link the science to literature as a metaphor/symbol for meaning. I apply my artistic skills to increase visual aesthetics and to allow viewers an opportunity to respond emotionally through their own interpretation of the work.
Photography and painting are on-going interests of mine. A series of my paintings will be on exhibit in The Alley Theatre Strabane from 7th November until 2nd December 2016 titled: “Reflections on The Foyle” – a series of large oil paintings depicting the Foyle at night.

Who would you be influenced by or take inspiration from?
In relation to my current exhibition, I was somewhat influenced by the Japanese contemporary artist, Yoko Shimizu a Biochemistry graduate who combines her scientific knowledge with art to produce beautiful installation works - Shimizu makes art and science accessible to the public.
My painting series “Reflections of The Foyle” was influenced by my research and admiration of the works of Hans Hofmann and Gerhard Richter. My other installation pieces have been influenced by the Colour Field artists, particularly Morris Louis.

As an emerging artist, if you could change or improve something locally within the arts scene what would it be?
I am still a full-time student at the moment (half way through my HND) and this is my first solo exhibition since beginning my studies, but I am very grateful to Niall McCaughan at The Playhouse for giving me the opportunity to exhibit my work as I feel I have something different to offer.
As an emerging artist it can be difficult to gain opportunities to exhibit my work locally and nationally, but hopefully this opportunity to show what I can do will lead to more opportunity. With regards to improving the local art scene, obviously we would all like to see more funding for the arts. I think that the range of exhibitions on display in our local galleries etc. is excellent. More attendance at these is always desirable.

‘The Sick Rose’ is your new installation which is currently on display at The Playhouse, tell us about the concept behind the exhibition…
This installation links Art, Science, and Literature by making a connection between the flow/uptake of dyed fluids in Roses and Chromatography paper; the chemical-physical processes of Diffusion, Capillarity and Colour Separation, and the Rose (stained and poisoned by ink unknowingly) as a metaphor for William Blake’s poem The Sick Rose. The Sick Rose is a poem that has many political, social and religious interpretations. The installation is saturated with symbolism that references and makes associations with some of these interpretations, literal and metaphorical. My intention is that you, the viewer, can explore the symbolism and science used by myself in the construction of the installation aesthetically and emotionally. And hopefully it will prompt you to question the scientific processes involved in the various elements of the installation, while also considering the metaphorical significance of Blake’s poem, and what it means to you personally.

You can see Aislinn’s installation, The Sick Rose at The Playhouse Derry from Tuesday 5th to Friday 15th July. You can also check out examples of her work online via Facebook and Twitter  

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