Seamus Nolan's exhibition Demesne is created out of discarded cardboard and considers the distinction between waste and possibility, examining the role of landscape in the process of objectifying a concrete relationship with the external. The work considers the notion of a temporal relationship with place, looking at how the leisure or tourist industry assimilate the transitory experience of living in nature while the actual culture of historically nomadic people is situated outside of a legitimate public experience.
In Demesne, Nolan examines how the values of cultural landscapes to society are reassessed with changing economic and demographic patterns and lifestyles. He investigates the politics of culture, with specific emphasis on how the element of inclusion and exclusion affects identity, produces subjectivity, creates meaning, determines truth and history, and distributes knowledge. In this exploration of the dichotomy of nature and culture, Nolan draws our attention to how landscape, space and places are implicated in the production of these ideas and how they are understood and assimilated. The construction of to-scale caravan from found recycled materials denotes this conflict as an object of impermanence and transition, blurring the boundary between man and landscape.
In a broader sense, Nolan touches on the issues surrounding the consequences of the individuals’ right to private property and what happens when these rights are not attainable or accessed by certain groups of people. The right to private property confers control of an object to the individual and empowers individuals to make decisions about the use of the resource and by extension they act as an agent in society. Place becomes a social product formed out of the social relations between people, agencies, institutions. The structuring of space can strengthen or weaken social boundaries, thus accentuating social division or, conversely, rendering the excluded group less visible.
Visual representation of landscape became a crucial tool in the creation of social and national identities. Seamus Nolan’s current body of work makes reference to this, and the placement of a to-scale model of a caravan in the main exhibition space of Wexford Arts Centre alludes to the history of exclusion of marginalised groups to art institutions and their visual representation.
Seamus Nolan graduated from NCAD with a first class honours degree in sculpture in 2004. Recent work includes Nature Reserve, a public artwork for Agorafolly in Brussells, and Hotel Ballymun, a temporary public art work commissioned by Breaking Ground. In 2005, he took part in both 'Communism' and 'Artcirq / Seamus Nolan' at the Project Arts Centre, Dublin; 'Inside Outside' exhibition in Fota House, Cork; and EV+A 2006, Limerick. His work has been shown in the Dublin Fringe Festival 2002/03, Intermedia 2002, Triskel Arts Centre, Cork, and the Signal Arts Centre, Bray 2002, 2003, and 2004. He has recently been awarded a studio placement by Independent Artists’ Studios in Temple Bar, and a residency at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. He was also a recipient of an Arts Council bursary in 2006 and 2007.