Úna Kavanagh is an artist, actor, sculptor, writer, teacher, director and artistic collaborator…
having studied with an inspirational teacher in Ballyfermot senior college her portfolio was accepted to the national college of art & design.
she moved straight into the second year of a b.a. in craft design working in glass, ceramics and metals.
THE UNKNOWN KNOWNS
– A BODY OF WORK
I was working on a sculpture in 1991 during my Masters in The National College of Art and Design and there was a distinct moment of awareness and understanding of what kind of artist I was. I realised I was a figurative artist. The body was my metaphor. I remember then asking myself, “Yes? but what kind of figurative artist are you?” Some artists create only in a singular form, others in many (e.g. Tracey Emin, Louise Bourgeoise). They create sculptures, paintings, video, embroidery, installation.
They use many and varied mediums to create with. I felt that was the pathway I would also like to choose. Let the concept choose the medium. At that time to make one piece of sculpture or painting, I would excavate and create. I would write, draw, compose. I would move and photograph myself and life models to see the three-dimensional image in space. I would make maquettes, films, collages of photography. I was working on very large scale pieces that took months to make. I had many ways of producing that final work and communicating them.
Today particularly in my work with ANU I still use many, varied artistic methodologies and crafts to create with.
They all co-exist to create a live embodied performance.
They also co-exist and inspire me to make new artworks in conversation with these embodiments. A pluralism of art forms co-existing and communicating. Many art forms can collide to create unique works of art. The pluralism of creative language can exist inside the artist too. A pluralist multi-form interior language. I have spent the last three decades creating a canon of female narratives. Some inspired by real women hidden away in laundries or silenced by armies across the world. Bodies of women. The unknown knowns.