Hazel Coonagh

Hazel Coonagh

Title Stinger & Healer

Medium Acrylic, archival pigment arrangement and hand embroidery

Material Artist Panel

Size 60 x 80 x 4 cm

Year 2022

Artist Statement This piece draws on the nostalgia of growing up in Dublin and navigating the duality of a hard and soft environment. This is depicted through natural elements that trigger memories of my adolescence. Nettles and a large dock leaf are stitched though the empty spaces of the figure, filling in lapses of consciousness and recollection. As kids we spent a lot of time outside. Whether out on the street inventing games, or devising adventure and exploration in our local park by the Tolka. We took full advantage of the outdoor spaces available to us and they would teach us many a life lesson along the way. Nettles were everywhere. They were symbolic of caution and areas that were ‘out of bounds’, ie exactly where kids want to check out. A brush with the stinging leaves was like a wright of passage. Particularly bad versions of which were swapped like nettle war stories amongst friends. My neighbour taught me that where there were nettles, there were dock leaves close by. We would track them down and wrap the big, gentle, soothing leaves around our arms and ankles and continue on. Today, I can’t look at a bush of nettles and not be flooded with memories from 90s Dublin.

Artist Bio Hazel Coonagh is a photographic visual artist, born and raised in Dublin. Hazel’s work challenges photography’s innate realism through alternate materials, concepts and manipulation, creating surreal and otherworldly pieces of work focusing on the human experience. Integrating embroidery is a common feature of Coonagh’s work. Meticulously stitching through printed papers, canvas or wood, blending two seemingly opposing mediums together in harmony. Her work draws on personal experience and is often centred around identity, connectedness to the natural world, nostalgia and mental health. Hazel Coonagh acquired a BA in visual communications from Tu Dublin, where she graduated with several awards under her belt in 2010. She was prominently featured in the recent exhibition, ‘Saturation. The Everyday Transformed’, at the Crawford Gallery, Cork. Hazel also lectures in photography at Dublin Design Institute.

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