Seeing it Both Ways

An Exhibition of Sculpture and Drawing

City Arts Centre Dublin
August 2001


Since graduating from NCAD in 1993, Padraig Naughton has exhibited his ceramics and drawings in numerous galleries and festivals throughout Ireland and Europe as well as participating in touch-art projects in Japan. In 1998 Padraig completed a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education Art & Design Secondary Teaching at the University of Leeds. In 2000 he received an Arts & Disability Award Ireland grant for the development of new large-scale tactile architectural ceramic sculpture, the results of which can be seen in this exhibition.

Padraig's visual impairment has allowed him to refine and develop his sense of touch though his work with clay. Intrigued by the fact that he often sees only one colour in a landscape, his charcoal drawings use high contrast to create landscapes of almost photographic like quality.

Seeing it Both Ways is a collection of Padraig's recent work in clay and charcoal. While the techniques used in his sculpture and landscapes appear complementary, the subject matter sets them at opposite ends of the tactile and visual spectrum. He says… "In my work in high-fired hand built stoneware ceramics I use a tactile set of references as a source of inspiration and as a means to work directly with the plastic clay to build up surfaces for touching. Using a conventional mural as my base for working on, I have also extended this to curtain like structures similar to the Japanese screen. People are encouraged to experience by touch bringing alive their tactile aesthetic that all people possess. For Padraig, "sound and music often prompt visual images. Combining my tactile motifs and percussion in these most recent sculptures I have been able to use rhythm to suggest the way I apply my techniques"

While Padraig's sculpture is about excluding visual images so he can focus on a tactile aesthetic. His drawings would not exist without his continually recording and evaluating the landscape in a visual way. His use of coloured papers to draw on has been a feature of his work for several years, influenced by his experimentation with filters in photography. Train journeys through Scotland and Italy inspired many of the drawings in this exhibition.

A video installation, documenting a two-week trip to the Scottish highlands, working with visually impaired children and young people as well as adults with learning disabilities forms part of Seeing it Both Ways. The participants were involved in producing a collaborative tactile wall mural.

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