Thursday 24 January 2019

Shane: I want this art to start a conversation

Shane Keeling
Shane Keeling
Man Oh Man by Shane Keeling

Maria Pepper

A 22-year-old art student is tackling the topic of Ireland's male suicide rate for his final year art project at the National College of Art and Design.

Shane Keeling, from Oylegate, is a young artist working primarily in ceramics. He makes large scale sculpture as well as performances works and, for his final year show, his work focuses on Ireland's male suicide rate, which is the fourth highest in Europe for young people aged 19 to 24.

Shane said: 'Young males are three times more likely than other age groups to die by suicide. Men in my demographic don't allow each other to have feelings other than that of aggression and masculinity - this toxic "lad culture" that is engraved into Irish youths from a young age from their peers. It is a culture that makes young men feel inadequate and "unmanly" for having feelings that stretch beyond the primitive.'

He added that you cannot ignore something that is hanging right in front of you and said his work is intended to shock the viewer in an attempt to initiate the necessary dialogue that is needed to happen to break the taboo of suicide and mental health.

'Although the topic is sensitive, I like to add small elements of humour to my pieces to make them more palatable for the viewer and my demographic.'

Shane said his inspiration comes from outsider art, in particular Art Brút which is made by the institutionalised.

'August Walla, Leonhard Fink and George Widener are my biggest influences from this genre. I also love contemporary artists who use shock and humour to portray a message such as the Chapman Brothers.'

His works are made on a plaster lathe which he then produces a mould of in order to create multiples. 'I like to treat the surface of my shapes with a technique called on-glaze scraffito, painting it onto the glazed piece and scraping it back with a toothpick'.

They will be displayed at the NCAD degree show from June 8 to 18.

Wexford People

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