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The Academy’s latest ‘Women on Walls’

19 October 2017

The Academy's newest artwork acquisition of four female Members of the Royal Irish Academy was unveiled in Academy House on 12 October 2017.

Four Members of the Royal Irish Academy were part of Becks Butler’s photographic series entitled ‘Pushing Boundaries’, and their images from that series were acquired by the Academy in August 2017:

  • Anna Davies, MRIA, Professor of Geography, School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin
  • Catherine Godson, MRIA, Professor of Molecular Medicine, Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, University College Dublin
  • Celia Holland, MRIA, Professor in Parasitology, Department of Zoology, School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin
  • Kathleen James-Chakraborty, MRIA, Professor of Art History, School of Art History and Cultural Policy, University College Dublin

‘Pushing Boundaries’ was first exhibited in Griffith College Dublin on 1 June 2017.  A mixed digital and print exhibition of the series took place in the Illuminations Gallery, Maynooth University, between 25 September and 12 October 2017.

Artist’s statement

‘Pushing Boundaries’ is an ongoing project that explores the misrepresentation of women through issues of gender, power and politics. By provoking traditional ideologies of female visible identity throughout society and art history, ‘Pushing Boundaries’ works to express and celebrate the empowerment of women’s intellect.
In 1842, Anna Atkins, the first recorded female photographer, began her investigation of British algae through the cyanotype process, which is the medium employed in this series.  The process is a photographic blueprint developed through a mixture of chemistry, negatives and exposure of the print to UV light.
Women such as Anna Atkins were not congratulated or often not even recognised for their achievements during their time. ‘Pushing Boundaries’ ties past with present to honour the great minds of women.

Medium:  Analogue Cyanotype Photographic Prints

This is a photographic printing process discovered by astronomer Sir John Herschel in 1842, using the chemicals ammonium iron (III) citrate and potassium ferricyanide. The process also includes bleaching, toning, negative development and exposure of the print to the correct amount of ultra violet light.

Paper Type:  Berger Cot320


Becks Butler is a recent graduate of the B.A. Photographic Media Programme from Griffith College Dublin and she also has a primary degree in science. Her work includes fine art, video and mixed-medium photographic practices. Her projects are often driven by considerations of social and political changes including representation and identity. Throughout her graduate studies, Becks worked on several projects that were predominantly research based. Becks’s use of photography as an artistic medium evolved from her search for a mechanism to explore and present ideas of how she sees the world.Becks is currently undertaking postgraduate studies in the Masters course in Art and Research Collaboration in Dublin.

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