Electronic artist

Cork-based artist Kate McElroy chooses her favorite music and exhibitions

Kate McElroy is a multidisciplinary artist from Limerick, currently based in Cork. She is a member of Sample-Studios and of the artist collective Inter_Site. A graduate of Crawford College of Art and Design, Kate is also the public engagement artist at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Center.

Best Recent Book You’ve Read: A field guide to get lost, by Rebecca Solnit. His writing style is so visual with an incredible ability to weave together different subjects in the most evocative way. This led me to deliberate attempts to get lost!

Best recent film: A series of short films during the Cork Film Festival. I went to an Experimental Film Workshop by Lynne Sachs at the Crawford Art Gallery. She has a subtle and investigative approach to everyday encounters with layers of meaning in the movies.

Best recent exhibit you’ve seen: “The City is Never Finished” by Peter Power and a team of artists from the Kilkenny Arts Festival, a site-specific multisensory and multimedia installation.

Best song you have listened to recently (new or old): I’m addicted to this piano piece ‘Lambent Rag’ by Clarke from the album Playground in a Lake. It starts off light and melodic and builds up to a crash.

The very first work of art that really moved you: Thinking back to school. I loved discovering the artistic movements and concepts of the 20th century and the societal influences that informed them. “Der Blaue Reiter” and “Die Brücke” are distinguished by their expressive style. I didn’t visit my first art gallery until a little later, so it was through books first.

The best exhibit you’ve ever seen (if you had to pick one!): The ones that have the most impact on me in the long run are the ones that make me want to know more and that I just can’t quite grasp at the moment. So I keep coming back again and again and have to dig for more information. A job that I know there is intensive research on it and the show only touches the surface. Nikolaus Gansterer, ‘Tracing (In) Tanglibles’, which I saw at the Krone Gallery in Vienna; and Grace Weir’s solo exhibition “3 Different Nights, Recurring” in IMMA are such examples.

Watch television : I love Adam Curtis’ documentaries on YouTube for their collage-like approach to political history and sociology. I liked the documentary Fantastic Fungi on Netflix for showing the invisible underground networks so visually.

Listening to radio and / or podcasts: Debbie Millman’s “Design Matters” podcast sometimes goes with me to sleep. She has a very calming voice and in-depth interview style.

You are organizing the exhibition of your dreams – who are the three artists on display, living or dead? I will choose Irish artists today who create site-appropriate works in a city. Choose the following artists; ‘Inter_Site’, (an artist collective of which I am part with Padraic Barrett, Deirdre Breen and Aoife Claffey) and with artists Peter Power and Kerry Guinan.

Your best / most famous meeting with celebrities: I saw Francis Brennan cross the road once!

You can access any cultural event or art era – where, when and why? Something old for a complete contrast of experience and understanding of a different way of life. Perhaps the first winter solstice in Newgrange.


In your life, have you done anything in particular related to climate change, biodiversity, etc. ? I try to use found objects and reuse a lot of elements in my art practice. It’s both an anti-consumer act and I use materials that have a story in them. For example, I did an installation before using old glass sheets, found them thrown in places around Cork City, and my dad had collected glass from old windows over the years. It is very anti-waste and foams things for years. We have become very anti-clutter, but I think there is something important about valuing objects and materials. It also causes you to be more resourceful when you think of creative solutions, how can I use what I have rather than buying again.

In the educational work that I do, I try to incorporate a sustainable ethic and often orient the workshops around nature and how art can be used as a tool to solve problems such as climate change. On a daily basis, I mostly walk, eat mostly vegetables, and I take a gourd wherever I go!