Having just completed a BA in Fine Art at Aberystwyth University, specialising in stone lithography: Lola O’Reilly draws inspiration from landscapes; the solitude, peace, escape and paradoxical comfort it offers. Using sketches made on long walks and explorations, from desolate mountains to a sea view from a busy road, she works from these as starting points to create work about the memory, feeling and identity of specific places.
We are overloaded everyday by visual information. Our ability to remember, and to draw from memory as artists such as Turner once did, appears to have diminished.
She attempts to recreate landscapes in this way, adding the magical dimension of stone lithography; allowing this elusive, difficult process to impart its own language upon the prints.
The image is dissected on the stone, transformed through many layers of scraping back, washing-out and rolling-up.
She battles the process; then let go, and there are beautiful results.
Statement about her residency in Corris:
Having the time to focus on one’s work without the distractions of day-to-day life, is something that first attracted her to applying for a residency at Stiwdio Maelor.
The more remote location, compared to where she usually is, in a busy university town, allowed time to reflect on her practice. She became inspired by and more sure of ideas and places that were new to her.
Initial project plans inevitably changed during her week there, and there was plenty of opportunity to explore unfamiliar avenues such as collecting plant material to make dyes for paper. Large scale drawings were created from sketches made in situ. She walked everyday and explored magical ruins, strangely calm abandoned quarries; waterfalls bursting from a thickly wooded valley. On returning to the School of Art at Aberystwyth University, O’Reilly used those large scale drawings and mixed media sketches to inspire a series of stone lithographs: some of which were used in the final year Degree Show, in May 2015.
Solitude is not something that frightens her; quite the opposite: it is something to treasure. Spending a week in Stiwdio Maelor in January, as the only artist in residence, meant she had time to get her teeth into ideas and into the area. O’Reilly has since returned many times, to the array of events that have been hosted there since: it is beautiful, inspiring and like a clear spring offers energy and nourishment for any artist.