Derry Journal, 17th November, 1998
DIFFERENT LEVELS by Mary Kelly
'The glow of fire through a dark wood, a wall, painted white to cover layers of previous attempts at décor, but colours showing through nevertheless. Decaying vegetation and crumbling walls. Dark and light, physical and spiritual, sturdy and fragile. Angela Hackett, a comparatively recent graduate from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, works on contrasts. Having already taken part in several group shows, not only in Ireland but also in Europe, she is now showing recent work in her first one woman show in the Context Gallery in Derry.
Her work consists of two large pieces, two dark and two light made up of many smaller units, which are a compilation of mixed media, such as paper, tissue paper, paint, bandage, wax, soil, oak leaves and varnish. It is necessary to back off and see the work at a distance and also to move closer to examine the surface texture. Anyone who enjoys combining different materials will understand the fascination this holds for the artist. The final outcome can work on different levels. Firstly, there is the joy of experimenting with the materials and allowing the result to be a legitimate outcome of the process. There is also the intention of the artist at the outset, to use the materials and processes to interpret some idea. Lastly, the final result can work on a different level for the viewer, allowing each of us to interpret it individually and see or read a meaning.
The artist herself uses descriptive and contrasting words to describe her work, eg. Creative/destructive, urban/rural, fragmented/whole. In addition to those already mentioned, can we see these qualities in the work in the Context gallery? Yes, we can, if we the time to look, these are works not only to be looked at but also to be contemplated. As already mentioned, we see the glow or fire or light shining through darkness, or colours which shine from underneath. Why are the soil and leaves incorporated, and why the oak leaves? There is age and decay, not only in the darkness but in the light. There are scores and tears, layers and wrinkles. What does the damage signify? What is the darkness and light to each of us? Which do we prefer?
Angela’s creation can have several layers of meaning and work on different levels for each of us. These different layers, levels and contrasts, which make us different also enrich us, but we don’t always realise it.
If you can face the challenge, the work can be seen in the Context Gallery until November 21st. The gallery is closed on Sunday and Monday. On occasions you may have to ring a bell for admission, but worth the effort.'