Deirdre McKenna (b.1973)
Untitled Tragedy (2012)
9.5cm x 10cm x 10cm
Courtesy of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland
Deirdre McKenna is a visual artist/curator based in Belfast whose work has been exhibited nationally as well as internationally in Taiwan, Tokyo and New York. She studied Fine Art painting in the RTC Sligo under Ronnie Hughes, Nick Miller and Dermot Seymore, before obtaining a BA at the University of Ulster. From 2002 to 2004 she acted as a co-director of Catalyst Arts in Belfast exhibiting, organising and collaborating. In 2007 McKenna returned to the University of Ulster where she completed a Master’s in Fine Art, graduating with distinction and obtaining the Royal Ulster Academy Prize and Deans Prize. For ten years from 2007 she worked at the Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, assisting artists, curators and communities. She also worked with collections from the Tate, Imperial War Museum, British Council and Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Her work is housed in the Arts Council of Northern Ireland public collection, in addition to numerous private collections as well as featuring in a range of international art journals and reviews. Since 2017, she has worked freelance with the University of Atypical, a Belfast based disabled-led arts charity that supports disabled and D/deaf people’s involvement in the arts.
This piece is a miniature sculpture depicting the artist’s own funeral. McKenna uses a tongue-in -cheek approach to create a strong sense of narrative within the work and the result is a surreal visualisation of the world she inhabits. This is reflective of her desire to visualise autobiographical stories while allowing room for the viewer to extend upon the narrative or meaning. Having trained as a painter, her practice lives somewhere between painting and sculpture with a strong emphasis on image making. McKenna has deliberately avoided a ‘signature’ approach to her practice with her work spanning painting, sculpture, photography, curation, installation and video. In the artist’s own words “each work has its own statement to make and a unique story to tell”