Cathy’s ongoing ‘conversation’ with the forest community in which she lives, is a multi-constituent creative practice inquiry. It involves a number of ongoing activities that are not normally associated with an art practice: forestry, experimental film-making, biodiversity surveying, blogging and theory writing, and forest policy development.
Cathy’s latest article on ecological art practice, has also just been published in the US Minding Nature journal, Fall 2019. ‘The Hollywood Forest Story: an eco-social art practice for the Symbiocene’.
Interview with Cathy Fitzgerald with her first Ecoliteracy Workshop for Creative workers and art educators, 2 Nov, 2019, Rathanna Community Hall, 2019.
Cathy’s video for the Visual 2016 exhibition: Reversing Silent Spring
Follow Cathy’s work here
Cathy Fitzgerald is a NZ born artist who has been living in Ireland since 1995, and in rural south Carlow since 2001. She has a background in biological research, and contemporary art. In her early years in Ireland she worked in Leitrim with Crann – an Irish forest NGO.
She received a First Class Joint Honours degree in Painting and Irish Art History at the National College of Art & Design (2000), an MA in New Media (Virtual Realities), in 2002. She was awarded an Arts Council Residency in 2005 to work in the Zoology Dept, Trinity College with Dr. Paula Murphy; and developed a notable solo exhibition with Leitrim Co. Council and Crann in 2006 for The Dock in Carrick-on-Shannon, documenting the largest community forest planting project in Ireland to date – The Local project: revisited with Crann founder Jan Alexander. She was the first director of ArtLinks.ie, managing and developing arts professional development for the South East from 2007-2010 supporting an online community of 1400 members.
In 2008, she began transformation of the monoculture conifer plantation she and her husband live in as a long term eco art project. Developing a multi-constituent eco-social art practice she has developed contacts beyond the art world from forest management and environmental political spheres. As a result, her work has enabled her to contribute to new sustainable forest policy for the Green Party in 2012 and her forest site is part of the new Irish Forest Council COFORD (LISS) longitudinal study of those involved in transforming conifer plantations to Close-to-Nature continuous cover forests. She began a practice-thesis PhD at NCAD in 2010 based on her eco-art work. By examining her own and others’ long term eco-art practices she is developing a guiding theory and methodology for the emergent art and ecology field.
Industrial forestry – monoculture clearfell forestry systems are the predominant forest management systems common across Ireland and many industrialised nations. However, in the long-term these practices are unsustainable – limiting biodiversity, degrading soils, limiting amenity and heritage values of forests and preventing local forest economies from developing. Above is a short non-narrated video of Hollywood’s transformation.
Her research can be seen at https://ncad.academia.edu/CathyFitzgerald
Cathy’s earlier work can be seen at www.cathyfitzgerald.ie