“We cannot protect something we do not love, we cannot love what we do not know, and we cannot know what we do not see. And touch. And hear.” – Richard Louv
Rachel Doolin is a multi-disciplinary artist, educator and environmental activist residing in the South of Ireland. Doolin’s multifaceted practice marries art, experimentation and ecology to explore themes concerning materiality, habitation and the environment.
Employing a methodology of making that the artist describes as ‘simple complexity’, Doolin gathers, manipulates and combines various media to actualise her often poetic provocations. She collects, dissects, concocts and re-imagines, often incorporating found or discarded materials into the creation of the work; responding instinctively, and exploring materiality on an aesthetic, intellectual and visceral level. Doolin further explores the origin material through alchemical techniques; creating her own biodegradable and plant-based plastics and experimenting with crystallization processes. Her sculptural and installation-based works are simultaneously delicate and complex aggregations that pertain to the vulnerability and persistence, fragility and tenacity of biological life in the Anthropocene.
In August 2017, Doolin was awarded an Arts Council of Ireland Travel and Training Award to undertake a research residency in Galleri Svalbard, an Arctic art Institution located in Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic ocean. Situated north of mainland Europe, midway between continental Norway and the North Pole. She recently exhibited an installation of works titled - Silvered at Doswell Gallery based on her experiences while immersed in a sublime and provocative landscape. She is currently collaborating with Irish Seed Savers Association and Brown Envelope Seeds on Heirloom, a research project in early development stage. The project explores the concept of seeds as archives of cultural memory, informed by her visit to The Svalbard Global Seed Vault a secured storage facility carved into the solid rock of the Plateau Mountain; a permafrost mountain located in the northernmost town of Longyearbyen. The vault, which houses the world’s largest seed collection is a key component of global efforts to safeguard agricultural diversity in the face of natural or man-made disasters.
Doolin is currently studying a MOOC: Introduction to the Arctic: Climate, provided by the The University of Alberta, the University of Tromso and the University of the Arctic. Which focuses on the cryosphere, as well as the atmosphere and ocean of the region and considers how the Arctic is connected to the rest of the world. The artist will further her Arctic explorations in September 2020 with a research expedition to Alaska.