#ceramics #clay #bones #ecology #peformance #bioceramics #movement

Gail Mahon is a bioartist and a creative research practitioner in ceramic-bone material interrelationships within movement culture. Her works merge the somatic spaces of health, (kin-)aesthetics, performance, and art as a transdisciplinary practice that seeks to find balance in the transformations between clay, the body, and our ecology.

Originating and based along the Causeway Coast of Northern Ireland, she works as an independent Arts + Movement Educator, and founder of the collaborative practice-research community CAAKE. Her studio researches connections between bone health, sedentary culture, and climate urgencies that play into the animacy in, of, and through bodies bound to Earth and expansive ecosystems. Clay and ceramic mineralogy have become the lens through which to vision our embodied futures.

Research in bioarchaeology, biomechanics, and bioceramic engineering, map the past and contemporary shifts within our social skeletons, affected by interaction, and movements sculpted within clay and ceramic material culture over human history. The work often collage and capture images as active processes to become installations, performances, photography, films, and sensory environments. Compositions feature both hard/soft elements or imbue conditions of temporary/permanent states within the works as a reflection of seeing anatomy and active physiology as having material agency. Timelines across multiple histories play in the vastness of our awareness as living inside a larger-than-human nature and the role we play in shaping our world.

As an artist, the environments or situations created can be seen as self-archaeology experiments or opportunities to activate a deep nervous system response to the physio-chemistry, biomechanics, and personal transformations embedded in the works through the artist herself. A direct kinaesthetic understanding of forces, bodies-in-locomotion, and bioactive materials of our anatomy in movements are derived from her practices in natural movement, improvisation, gymnastic forms, and strength training.

Agreeing to the unsettled and ever-evolving transdisciplinary practice of her work has taken time, experience, and patience over a career working in the processes and ecosystems of clay and ceramics. Time to make sense of complex social concerns that permeate both our somatic and spatial architectures, that shape us, our behaviour, our actions, and our urgent adaptations unfolding in our bones.

A graduate of the Royal College of Art, Master's in Ceramics & Glass, has developed practices through residency or creative response to site-specific locations in the UK, Italy, and Ireland. A close relationship with arts organisation, Art Arcadia, as A-I-R in 2016 and 2018, has supported her approach to exploring scale and performance development. A recipient of a residency at Leitrim Sculpture Centre, 2021, with sound artist Aengus Friel Lawrence, producing Haptic Oscillations film and live performance event for Culture Night 2021. Gail is also currently a board member for ECHO ECHO Dance Theatre Company, a professional dance, and movement company based in Derry City, where she had previously performed as part of their festivals and commissioned projects.

Gail has been an invited speaker and teacher at a number of UK and Ireland universities, Ulster University, NUI Galway, and QUB Belfast, bringing the roles of Artist, Educator, and Cultural Producer together to discuss collaboration as a key transformation in her creative practice.

The founder of the CAAKE project - a collaborative art project in Northern Ireland, moving into CAAKE_Academy as a community-interest-company, which aims to develop collaborative residencies, partnerships, and public participation in workshops and events as adaptive learning situations as a way of bringing LIVING ART + ART OF LIVING together as a vision and practices of nature embedded within our bones and wider relationships to our health ecology. Programmes in public engagement across clay/ceramic arts, local ecology, and natural movement are to be offered through the research community of THE CLAY GYMNASIUM currently in development in 2023.

studioMA_hon // CAAKE_ACADEMY