Simon Burch: Under a Grey Sky
The Gallery of Photography is proud to present the premiere showing of Under a Grey Sky, a magnificent new body of work by the Irish photographer, Simon Burch. Made over four years, the work explores the rain-soaked peatlands of Ireland’s central plain, the most intensively industrialised landscape in the country.
In large scale colour landscapes and portraits, Burch captures the distinctive textures of this unique area, revealing hidden surprises. With its palette of browns and muted greys, Burch’s work has a strong painterly quality. In the centrepiece installation of three large-scale works, goudged and scarred landscapes meet monotone skies; expansive horizons convey a sense of freedom and possibility.
The work presents a dichotomy between the desolation and emptiness of the peatland, and the latent energy it holds for the community. These are negative spaces providing a positive utility, albeit at the cost of their own destruction. Laced between the worked bogs are villages whose inhabitants are intrinsically linked to the land, either by past generations who have been locked in by economic needs, or others seeking to live where they feel free.
The exhibition adds an important element to the national iconography. It is a timely intervention too, as this unique landscape is set to disappear over the next 15 or so years when the turf is depleted and production ceases. Then, the land will be put to agricultural and recreational use, and the visual evidence of a such a significant national industry will be covered over.
A limited-edition hardcover book, Under a Grey Sky, has been published to accompany the exhibition. It features 34 exquisitely reproduced images and a text by Justin Carville. Signed and numbered books are available exclusively in the Gallery Bookshop, price €25. The limited-edition photographs are all lightjet digital c-prints and are available for sale.
Artist’s Talk: Simon Burch will talk about his work, on Wednesday November 4th at 1.15pm in the Gallery. Admission free, all welcome.
About the artist: Simon Burch (b.1964, Bangor) worked in London before establishing his own studio in Dublin in 1996. He has been commissioned to shoot major advertising campaigns, as well as exhibiting his personal work as an invited artist at the RHA, along with other solo and group shows. He has won numerous international awards, including the prestigious AOP Silver for his portraiture.