"Drawing forms the core of my practice, and I work mainly in charcoal and graphite. My work explores the neglected and overlooked elements of the rural landscape. Through my drawings, I examine the relationship between these neglected spaces, and the enduring impact of human activity. Devoid of figures, the implied presence of man is often of central importance. My concern for the loss of the natural world drives me to create meticulously rendered drawings, through which I ask the viewer to examine our connection to the ordinary everyday aspects of our immediate environment.
I am particularly interested in the writings of American political scientist, Jane Bennett, and British anthropologist, Tim Ingold. Both argue that in order to motivate people to act on behalf of the environment, we must first encourage them to reconnect on a visceral level with their immediate surroundings. We do this through taking note of the ordinary, everyday things on our doorstep. At a time when scientists are calling on artists to take up the mantle for climate change, my drawings offer the viewer a quiet space for reflection in which to consider our relationship to our world around us.
My exhibition in the Séamus Ennis Arts Centre, 'Time and Tide' features a series of works exploring the effects of coastal erosion on the sand dunes along the Fanad Penninsula, Donegal. Over the last four years, I have returned to the same spot for several weeks each year, recording the changes in the dunes, and watching them slowly disappear. While it is presumed that the dunes will eventually regenerate, the topography of our landscape will have been irrevocably changed. Each drawing provides a record of the dune at a specific moment in time, now lost forever." - Leila Henry