An Animate Land | Laura Fitzgerald, Miriam O’Connor, Marian Balfe

Curated by Naomi Draper

The 2022 visual art programme continues to look at the relationship between humans and other matter, particularly material found within the landscape. It will explore how ‘practice’, physical actions, habits, rituals, traditions and customs influence and negotiate our connection with land and the material found within it.

An Animate Land looks at our relationships with the land and landscape, and the role agricultural processes of production and habitual farming practices play in this negotiation, exploring the role of trade and the value systems around  both art and agriculture. The close proximity of Roscommon Cooperative Livestock Mart to the Arts Centre has become an important source of interest, where its weekly activities, expression and presence of animals and machines bring a lively energy to the area, animating the spaces around and about the Mart and Arts Centre buildings. While these contexts meet at the shared carpark their audiences rarely merge, the artists in this exhibition Marian Balfe, Laura Fitzgerald and Miriam O’Connor present an opportunity to occupy more than one world, and explore issues of ownership, value, responsibility and care within our landscape through both arts practice and farming practice.

Marian Balfe is a visual artist, her practice is multidisciplinary, exploring ways in which painting, writing, sculpture, and zine-making may be used to reflect on her surroundings and rural(ish) upbringing. The paintings, Marian will present in this exhibition, are a result of her being both mildly addicted to scrolling on her phone and being nap trapped by her baby. She uses Adverts, not DoneDeal, finding Adverts less crass but more user friendly. She screenshots ads for things she doesn’t need or even really like and pays €1.99 a month to Google for the privilege of storing this data. The discarded jetsam, the specialist services and the pet llamas that illuminate the cracked screen of her Huawei P20 are then painted using luxury brand oil paints and specialist Italian paper.


Laura Fitzgerald is a visual artist working in drawing, painting, installation, video, and text. Her work points to problematic and absurd aspects within complex political and personal situations. As part of An Animate Land she will present David Brown’s Enterprise a full-scale three-dimensional drawing of a David Brown Tractor made from bended and welded metal. The tractor acts as viewing device for a new film work entitled; Art School in the Old Days, * which tells the tale of an older artist looking back at their experiences of art education. These works will be accompanied by drawings, from the “Too big” series.


Miriam O’Connor is an artist working with photographs, text and printed matter. Drawing inspiration from the sights, sounds and language of everyday life, she is curious about the multifaceted roles photography occupies in culture and the manner in which this persuasive medium permeates the way we engage with the world around us. Camera at the Mart is new lens based work by O’Connor and is the result of an artist residency undertaken at Roscommon Mart. Taking its title from the weekly mart reports which traditionally chart livestock sales, trends and mart turnout, in this work O’ Connor reflects on the proximity of the Mart to the Arts Centre as a focus for her inquiries. The photographs and materials produced during her residency reflect observations and experiences of this space and are presented through a collection of postcards, signage and sculptural works. The postcards which are on display in the Mart and in the Arts Centre act as an invitation for audiences to respond to the work, with their own mart experiences or farming narratives. This presentational strategy also offers opportunities for exchange between these two audiences, who, despite their close proximity rarely mingle or interact.

*Image : Laura Fitzgerald.

This exhibition is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland

Exhibition Opens Friday 20th May 6pm – 7.30pm Continues until Friday July 1st


To coincide with the exhibition, Artist Marian Balfe who is one of the artists in the “An Animate Land” exhibition, will engage with visitors to the weekly Roscommon Mart situated across the road from the gallery at Roscommon Arts Centre, to develop a new publication in collaboration with buyers and sellers in this rural context.

The Visual Art ‘Kaleidoscope’ Creative Learning and Engagement Programme is kindly supported by the Creative Ireland Roscommon Programme.

Click here to read – Jennie Taylor Fables of a drone-fly. A text in response to An Animate Land


Exhibition Opens 6pm Friday 20th May – Friday July 1st