A Very Busy Day At The Burren: Time for Concept Development

Fourteen students, all going in different directions for a common purpose.  A typical morning consists of determining who is going to go where and then getting them there in order to gather material that will help them build a substantial body of work in their limited time here.  Each student is required to develop a concept statement that clearly defines the basis of their work.  This is a difficult task in a normal 13 week semester at Wheaton and even more challenging in a compressed three week intensive course.  Students have little trouble writing about any number of subjects in their everyday course work, but go into a kind of paralysis when asked to write about themselves.  Matthew and I are spending an enormous amount of time helping them gather their thoughts to help give them direction in the completion of their projects.  This group is atypical in that they seem to have more readily accepted this challenge and are working very hard to sort it all out.  We are really very proud of them.  I have to be careful how much praise I hand out as they all read the blog!  There will be plenty of time for that when the job is done.

They all have become pretty territorial in setting up work spaces.  Alex Strawbridge decided that she wanted to work in close proximity to the area in which the music students are working.  (the top floor of the turret of Newtown Castle)  They have a peat fire going up there and it’s a pretty cozy spot.  She is all settled in to a window alcove where the light is wonderful and she can work to the sounds of the Irish whistle or a guitar. This is the kind of relationship that Matthew and I hoped for when we planned the program.  The music students also have practice space near the studios where most of the visual artists are working.

This morning, Amy Magaletti and I wandered around Black Head for about two hours, scouring the area for photographic possibilities.  Amy found some large bleached bones that obviously came from a cow or other large animal.  We later discovered that an entire animal was buried under a pile of rocks and smaller animals must have freed a few tidbits for their supper, thus the loose bones littered about the landscape.  In case you were wondering why a cow was buried under a pile of rocks..(reasonable question)…what does one actually do with a deceased animal that dies about a mile from any way to transport the heavy carcass?  Cause of death unknown.  But think about this from an artistic perspective.  The animal dies…it feeds smaller animals who transport bones to other places…..an artist finds the bones and arranges them and photographs them…an image is created and the animal lives on!  That’s a concept.

Tonight we will hear Sean O’Shay (anglicized spelling) lecture and perform for us.  He is a renowned Irish tenor and performer and the subject of a recently made film by Matthew Allen about his life and music

I will have many more stories and photos for you tomorrow and a complete report on tonights performance..