Cindy Fogarty

Artist who uses neuroscience to explore interpretations of the visual world

John Rainsford

Reporter:

John Rainsford

Cindy Fogarty

Born, raised, and still living in Limerick City, my childhood was spent on Carey’s Road.

Subsequently, I attended the nearby Presentation Convent School in Sexton St. From a young age, I loved art and had a natural flare for drawing, particularly, life drawing. It was always a dream of mine to study art, but the education system just didn’t suit me. I lacked focus so college wasn’t to be when I finally finished with secondary school.

In later life, I worked as a portrait artist, but, eventually felt the need to broaden my creative explorations as I wanted to learn more about contemporary art.

I decided to fulfil that dream, so I attended Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD) as a mature student. There I completed a BA Degree in Fine Art painting and recently graduated with first class honours degree. Being an artist has a lot to do with how a person visualises and interprets their world. It is also about having an instinct for, and a drive to create and express these perceptions. Art is a form of communication, and when your work is well received, and hits a chord with the public, it is incredibly rewarding. So being a professional artist requires an ability to strike a balance between exploring creativity with the playfulness and curiosity of a child, whilst researching and intellectualising your ideas with knowledge and maturity. It is this latter requirement which a college education can really assist with.

My college education in art was very important to developing my practice as an artist.

It was a great time of discovery, and I found that making work became a tool for broadening my learning and understanding far beyond art. Another important component of an Art College education is access to a wide variety of mediums. The academic component is equally valuable, providing an understanding of historical art movements and theory, which helps to identify those influences which impact upon your work, and its contextual relevance. Every profession has its own jargon which students must learn and understand.

Photography and geometric models often play a role in my work, but my preferred medium is paint.

Paint is probably the most traditional art medium, but has often been labelled as being ‘dead’ by contemporary art critics. However, it just won’t go away. I am trying to do something innovative with fine art painting, by expanding beyond the traditional boundaries of the canvas and applying paint directly to architectural spaces. My inspiration stems from an interest into how we cognitively digest and form opinions about how information is presented to us in this ‘post-truth’, high speed, info-technological era. Perspectives, both conceptual and perceptual, are a real source of intrigue for me, and have been a constant component in my research. The various altered perspectives I create through my work, therefore, tend to conceptually explore the internal beliefs we hold. Furthermore, how are these being influenced, moulded or changed, based upon our own perception of those external realities being presented. People’s conflicting opinions, beliefs and ideologies, are fascinating with perceived truths often being highly subjective.

Using the flat walls and corners of architectural spaces I attempt to depict alternative interiors through carefully calculated paint application.

The techniques I use were developed through an exploration of cutting-edge neuroscientific research, visual perception, cognition, and the manipulation of our internal visual processing systems. The resulting site specific painting installations present an interactive visual expression of those complexities, tensions and contradictions, playing-out within our understanding of contemporary existence. The illusionary spaces move and change as the viewer interacts with the work, generating an immersive, confusing and dizzying sensation. My intention is to enhance critical thinking by focusing on the complexities of our information processing systems. In this, I also encourage the audience to question and evaluate their own interpretations.

Installations cross boundaries between age, education, race, creed, culture and language, by generating disorientating physiological feelings.

It is a process which tends to illuminate our commonalities as opposed to our differences. My work also has Utopian intentions, and is best suited to public spaces. Indeed, every installation I make is site-specific and draws its influence from the surrounding space and architecture. Such influences range from physical aspects, (colour and lighting), to the use and purpose of the space, event or exhibition. Indeed, I am currently preparing to exhibit as part of the upcoming ‘Open House Limerick’ event, for which I will create one of my ‘Cognitive Spaces’, painting installations. I will also give a talk. This year’s theme is entitled; ‘Architecture is Story’, and explores creativity as communication. How are our intentions and aspirations being captured through our created environments, and how can these, in turn, influence us?

‘Open House Limerick’ runs from October 6-8. The finalised programme of events will launch on Culture Night, Friday 22 September. For more information please see; www.openhouselimerick.ie/; www.facebook.com/OHLimerick/ and http://www.cindyfogarty.com/; http://www.facebook.com/fogartycindy/ and http://www.instagram.com/fogartycindy/