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Artist: Seamus Dunbar

Title of Exhibition: 'The Lost and Found Office'

Date: Friday 30th January - Wednesday 25th February

Exhibition Images:


About the Exhibition:

Isolarion I and II

The term “Isolarion” was one encountered by the artist in the work of writer Robert MacFarlane, used with reference to the work of 15th century cartographers who represented the local in great detail but not with any objective reference to the broader landscape. The use of conventional grid maps failed to convey for Dunbar the immersive experience of walking in the countryside, where the world is reduced to that which can be perceived within the immediate field of vision. He hit upon the idea of presenting the journey in an ever-changing window, where the ground already traversed slips into obscurity and memory even as new vistas open up ahead. The physical action of walking is replicated in miniature by the engagement of the viewer’s fingers turning the rollers to operate the devices.

How to Walk

This short video piece offers a commentary on the changing face of modern Ireland, where 21st century lifestyles coexist with customs and dress still deeply rooted in the 20th. The action takes place in a leisure park close to Blacklion, directly adjoining a section of the N16 which is constructed on the bed of the SL&NCR.

Ventilated Van

After the closure of the railway, the rolling stock was auctioned off and many of the wagons entered a new lease of life as sheds and garages in the locality, thus enabling the railway to continue to form part of the material culture of the region for several further decades. In recent years these last veterans of the railroad are disappearing.

The Lost and Found Office

This interactive installation is the core of the exhibition. As the artist’s journey progressed, the richness and diversity of the research began to raise questions around the effective means of re-presenting it to a gallery audience. Following an experiment where colleagues were each given a single image in a sealed envelope and asked to reflect and comment on it, Dunbar came up with the model of the Lost and Found Office as a mechanism for viewers to access the material in a way that recaptures a sense of individual discovery and provides each visitor to the exhibition with a unique experience.

The Photographs

A good deal of the journey saw the artist wading through waterlogged cuttings, or walled in by rows of trees or dense undergrowth. Only occasionally did the prospect open up to wide vistas of fields and hills. Consequently the focus was drawn to the small details and it was these that came to characterise the unique narrative of this particular route. Seen in the context of the journey, aspects of nature, evidence of land usage and even discarded artefacts seemed to take on a heightened significance, resonating with a sense of history and place.

Biography: In tandem with the Visual Arts, Dunbar has pursued an interest in movement and performance since the early 1980s, collaborating with dance companies, notably Fluxusdance in 2007-2008.  In 2006 he became interested in the “Body Weather” system with Frank van de Ven, and has co-ordinated 4 workshops in Ireland, including Rathlin Island in 2012. 

Dunbar is based in Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim, where he co-founded along with fellow artists the Leitrim Sculpture Centre.  With a background in sculpture, Dunbar has worked in a range of media including stone, wood and bronze, creating a number of publicly commissioned artworks as well as numerous smaller works.  He has participated in sculpture symposia in Ireland and internationally, and has received a number of awards and bursaries from the Arts Council of Ireland, the Artists’ Association of Ireland, and Wexford and Leitrim Co. Councils.  He taught sculpture techniques at the Fire Station Artists’ Studios, Dublin (1993-95) and Leitrim Sculpture Centre (1995-03) and completed an MFA Art in Public at the University of Ulster in Belfast, integrating his studies with his on-going practice.