"Migration has been ever present throughout history, with tales of epic journeys filled with optimism and nostalgia. Contemporary images and stories of migrants are extremely evocative, being greeted with a mix of empathy and fear."
Oran O'Reilly's work responds to the stark press images of migrants on boats, part way through a journey for a better life. The figures are physically and metaphorically between one place and another, drifting and encountering the unknown.
The artist seeks to give new currency to photographic images used within the media, that may be seen as momentary, then left to float in the boundless parameters of the internet. Using a process of creating woodcuts from ink drawings these works re-interpret the photographic image and set up a contrast to the speed of the image consumption. He hope that these works add to the lineage of politics and propaganda that is inherent through the historic use woodcut.
The prints are dusted with graphite and iron powder, giving the image physicality and also a sense of time by employing natural processes of oxidation and hence engaging the work in a slow process of transmutation to continue the journey of the image.