A limited-edition hardcover book, Under a Grey Sky, was published to accompany the exhibition Under a Grey Sky by Simon Burch. It features 34 exquisitely reproduced images and a text by Justin Carville. Signed and numbered books are available exclusively in the Gallery of Photography Ireland Bookshop, price €30.
The Gallery of Photography is proud to present the premiere showing of Under a Grey Sky, a magnificent body of work by the Irish photographer, Simon Burch. Made over four years, the work explores the rain-soaked peatlands of Ireland’s central plain, the most intensively industrialised landscape in the country.
In large scale colour landscapes and portraits, Burch captures the distinctive textures of this unique area, revealing hidden surprises. With its palette of browns and muted greys, Burch’s work has a strong painterly quality. In the centrepiece installation of three large-scale works, goudged and scarred landscapes meet monotone skies; expansive horizons convey a sense of freedom and possibility.
The work presents a dichotomy between the desolation and emptiness of the peatland, and the latent energy it holds for the community. These are negative spaces providing a positive utility, albeit at the cost of their own destruction. Laced between the worked bogs are villages whose inhabitants are intrinsically linked to the land, either by past generations who have been locked in by economic needs, or others seeking to live where they feel free.
The exhibition adds an important element to the national iconography. It is a timely intervention too, as this unique landscape is set to disappear over the next 15 or so years when the turf is depleted and production ceases. Then, the land will be put to agricultural and recreational use, and the visual evidence of a such a significant national industry will be covered over.’ Gallery of Photography 2009