Connolly’s practice encompasses process based sculptural works, objects and performative events both inside and outside the gallery space. In his most recent series of works the Belfast based artist distills across varying scales the causes and affects of risk and uncertainty that occur at the fragile interface of humans and nature.
As the present exhibition sets out to expose, this fragility and uncertainty is nowhere more disturbingly encountered than in the process of ‘geological fracturing’ for the purpose of extracting gas. Exhibition works such as ‘Fence Diagram’, ‘Fractured Landscape’, ‘Complex Studio Landscapes’ and ‘Fracture’ dramatize how pressurized liquid pollutants might travel, and pose a threat, to rock strata, water aquifers and surface life-forms exposed to its unpredictable affects. Both a meditation on the artist’s own experience of fracking, which threatened his home county of North Antrim, and a timely warning against unbridled quasi-scientific confidence in its safety – Connolly’s exhibition re-enacts and embodies the unpredictability and risk immanent to the fracking process.
The project is informed by independent scientific studies of Fracking sourced at Duke, Stanford and Durham Universities and links up with local communities affected by the plans for fracking in the North West Carboniferous Basin of Leitrim, Fermanagh and Cavan including the local ‘LOVE LEITRIM’ campaigners. In addition, Connolly has granted part of the gallery space to the Young Friends of the Earth campaigners from Dublin who, along with the artist and Love Leitrim, are trying to raise awareness about the potential risks of chemical fracking and its incompatibility with the community of life forms it comes in to contact with.
Exhibition continues at Leitrim Sculpture Workshop until Thursday 18th August.