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Mushrooms + Fungi

My research into mushrooms and fungi began in early 2022. I have received generous support for this work from the Arts Council of Ireland, and from Mayo County Council Arts Service. 

I became curious about the subject when developing work for the Seeing Earth project. An important part of that work was representing different aspects of Nature.  (more)

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To some degree, I was aware of the importance of fungi in our ecosystem. To acknowledge this, I painted Mushrooms Nestling, oil on board, 30 x 30 cm. I began reading into the topic and came to understand the crucial part that mushrooms play in the balance of Nature. They have a highly developed and sophisticated relationship with most living things and with trees in particular, which over the millennia has helped to shape our landscape. The little I knew made me want to learn more, which has led me to the work I am doing today. 

The research at times has involved meeting with amateur mycologists, foragers, and mushroom enthusiasts. I have met with scientists at Maynooth University who introduced me to aspects of their work. I was shown some of the spores they were growing and identifying in the lab. Some were fantastical looking and rather beautiful to my eye. One microbiologist gave me agar plates which I experimented with, growing spores, and documenting their development. The more I read about mushrooms, the more I realize the enormity of this subject and how little I still know and understand. Fungi belong in a kingdom of their own, distinct from those of plants and animals, and it includes yeasts, mildews, and moulds.

Much of my work has involved searching for mushroom species in the woods and forests in my locality and I have found and documented a great many. I continue to experiment with mushrooms: to make paper from them; dry and flatten them so they become supports for painting; dry and crush them into a variety of drawing materials; and make ink from them.

The work continues...

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