top of page

Geraldine Leahy

Concerned with the exigent and immediate issues of climate change, my practice focuses on coastal erosion and involves an awareness of the entanglement of natural and manufactured debris on the beach.

I observe the marks of natural processes of decay and renewal on the coastline as well as the impact of harmful human intervention. Exploring a sense of impermanence and mutability, I investigate residual marks in the coastal environment following severe weather events.

A sense of local memory, embedded and submerged, resurfaces and is exposed in personal belongings as the terrain disintegrates and dwellings subside. Fragments of crockery and broken bottles jut out of the sand. Walking is interrupted by tilting fence posts and scattered fragments of corroding metal. Coils of wire, flex cable, netting and splintered wooden planks lie in the sand. These items linger on the beach, traces and imprints of the processes of a changing climate. It is disquieting to consider how long it took this tenuous landscape to form and yet how relatively quickly it can be destroyed.

My work seeks out the unexpected –  incongruous objects and situations that result from both natural processes and human actions. A rusting bicycle gear interrupts the natural beauty of the beach. Manmade rope fibres fray and unravel, wrapping themselves around grasses and seaweeds. Discarded plastic strands float alluringly in the water, their innocuous appearance belying the dangers they pose.

As I walk the coastline I become increasingly aware of the entanglements of the natural and the manmade - the pernicious inseparability of materials such as plastic and seaweed, wire and grass. Natural and manufactured materials are similarly embedded in the sand and can be difficult to distinguish.

My approach involves working with layered processes that reflect the mutability and fragile beauty of a littoral environment under threat. My use of shoreline debris suggests changes in the environment and encourages reflection on the harmful effects mankind has had on the coastline. Intriguing combinations of monoprint and paint reveal the incongruity of manmade materials which often strangely assume the appearance of organic forms throughout the painting process. These forms mutate into evocations of the catastrophic entanglement of mankind and the natural world.

bottom of page