exhibition Details

Notes From a Digital Sea

February 27 – March 27, 2020

Paintings by Trudi van der Elsen

The Gallery | Burren College of Art | Newtown Castle | Ballyvaughan | Co. Clare

OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday | February 27, 2020 | 6-8pm

Gallery Hours : Monday-Friday | 9:30am-5:00pm

We regret to say that due to Covid-19 protocols currently in place in Ireland, the remainder of this exhibition is cancelled.  Thank you for your support.


Burren College of Art is pleased to host an exhibition of paintings by Clare-based artist, Trudi van der Elsen, which analyses digitization as a source for new abstraction in painting.

The exhibition will open on Thursday, February 27, with opening remarks at 6:45pm by Úna McCarthy, Director/Curator at Limerick City Gallery of Art.

Contact: Lisa Newman T: (0)65 7077200 e:lisa@burrencollege.ie

About the Artist

I am an artist with a practice that combines painting, drawing, installation work, performance and lens-based work. I live in Co. Clare since 2004 and exhibit regularly nationally and internationally. My recent solo exhibition ‘XR-Extended Reality’ in Toledo, Spain was supported by Culture Ireland, Nov. 2019.

In 2018, my portrait was selected for the National Self Portrait Collection and exhibited in the Bourne Vincent Gallery in Limerick. I presented Songlines, a solo exhibition in Punt WG, Amsterdam in 2012. In 2015 and 2017 my work was selected for the Annual Exhibition at the Royal Ulster Academy in Belfast, and in 2013 I participated in ‘Komplizen’, Ostrale 013 in Dresden, Germany. I was co-ordinator and curator at the Courthouse Gallery and Studios, Ennistymon from 2009-2016. My work is in private and public collections around the world, including the Office of Public Works and Clare County Council.


Having spent a number of years engaging directly with the land and the landscape where I live, through performance and lens-based work, I have rediscovered the slow concentrated focus of painting. My current work analyses digitization as a source of new abstraction in painting.

Since building my studio and working full time as a studio artist, I find myself caught between two world views, local and global: the first real and transient, the latter virtual, synthetic and petrified. Living in a timeless ‘natural’ environment, the Shannon Estuary, while at the same time being plugged into the extended reality of the digital world, I find my experience of the landscape around me beginning to shift.

A certain level of alienation and decoupling results from the speed and the flickering of the virtual world. The slowness of the act of painting serves as a way to ground these hyper-movements, while the surface of the work serves as a locus for the fragmentation that multiple vanishing points generate in our experience of the world and of ourselves. Working intuitively and at a large scale becomes an immersive, embodied experience in which I am bringing inner forms of consciousness and the fragmented movement of information and images to the surface.

For me painting has once again become necessary. The slowness of the process means that time is concentrated into the work in different layers. Although the finished work is a still image, it does not mean that it is still. The energy and motion concentrated into its making is always present, waiting to be activated by the perceiver. In contrast to the insisting flickering of the digital image the painting waits for the viewer, back to its stillness. The act of putting large paintings into the world opens a space for a different kind of attention.