WWAR > WICKLOW ARTISTS RESEARCH GROUP
› Project Initiator: Jenny Sherwin, Wicklow County Arts Office
› Artists: Emma Finucane, Laura Kelly, Rachel Fallon, Aoife Flynn, Eleanor Philips, Adrian Reilly, Chris Timms, Ann Marie Webb
› Curators: Clíodhna Shaffrey, Eilís Lavelle
› Guest artists: Sarah Browne, Seamus Nolan
WWAR or the Wicklow Working Artists’ Research group began over a number of months in 2012–2013, after an open call for participants
the group of artists were selected. This project is just one of a series of approaches by the Wicklow Arts Office to support and develop visual arts activity in the County. Residencies, projects and artists groups have been supported by the local authority over the last number of years as part of a strong development strategy for the visual artists and curators. The sessions have in turn led to the proposed creation of a project Vita Active, 2013 a new collaborative work, a 24-hour event as a work of art reflecting on the artist as worker. The artists also undertook screening workshop in the Black Church Print Studio and made a series of screen prints.
The drive of this group was to collectively read and discuss texts around the condition of the contemporary artist in the world today in a critically engaged fashion. The sessions led to consideration around the challenges for the contemporary artist in an increasingly complex and competitive world. But, they also focused on the potentialities for today’s artists to create a practice out of things that matter and are of interest to them, with levels of freedom being their potential gain. Sarah Browne and Seamus Nolan were invited and who generously shared their insights, professional experiences and critically and socially engaged art practice with the group. Over the last ten years, the growth of collective organisations, peer exchange groups, small-scale support systems and self-defining artistic organisations offer other ways of circumnavigating the art institution, commercial gallery or art market and suggest alternative ways for the artist to practice in the world.