Swimming to Inishkeel, sculpture and video by Malcolm McClay


Artist Talk: Saturday Feb. 13, 6pm
Opening Reception: Saturday Feb. 13, 6-10pm
On View Through Saturday March 5

Inishkeel Island is a small uninhabited Island off the west cost of Donegal, Ireland accessible by foot at low tide. St. Conal Coel founded a monastery on the island in the 6th century, hence the original name Innis-Coel, Inish being the word for island in Irish. The remains of two 12th century churches, St. Conal’s and St. Mary’s are still there. The site is also home to two cross slabs from the 8th to 9th century and a large boulder known as St. Conal’s bed.

In the Celtic tradition a thin place is the name given to a place where the visible and invisible worlds touch or are at their closest, a space where the veil between the temporal and celestial worlds has grown thin. For me, Inishkeel is such a place. I grew up visiting the island, first with bucket, spade and picnic, later with a windsurfer, boat and kayak and now each morning when I am at my parents house, I walk the few minutes to the beach and swim to the island and back. It is about a half hour each way but when I get there I am on my own and have the island to myself. The coldness and clarity of the water, the stillness and unchanging nature of the landscape bring me to a place where I am more alive than at any other time. For this exhibition I have created a series of meditations on this idea through static and kinetic sculpture, performance video and photography.