Stuart Cairns states that his practice is centered on a love for materials, materiality and a sense of place, the found object set alongside fabricated elements.
- The objects I explore are those of abstracted vessels, utensils and tool forms incorporating found objects along side fabrications in silver, steel and various other materials such as linen thread, wood – whatever I’m drawn to. Fuelling this method of making are frequent walks through woods, along shorelines and urban settings where I collect and gather, the objects becoming moments of excitement. These gathered finds are selected, arranged and drawn against, playing with shapes until a sense of visual rhythm is found. From this I set about making. Silver elements are fabricated using an ever-evolving number of metal working techniques. Metal is pushed through a roller to add textures and distort outlines; it is forged, folded, soldered and seamed to capture a sense of drawn object.
- Oxides are left as varying carbon tones and the pieces are assembled by pinning, riveting, tying, trapping and binding to add to the sense of the handmade. The resulting objects speak of an implied life, of a past and a place, of being carried, left and lifted.
Cairns graduated from the University of Ulster in 2000 with a BA in Fine and Applied Arts specialising in Silversmithing and Jewellery. He returned to the receiving an MA in Applied Art in 2006. He is currently based in Co. Down.
University of Ulster
Ulster Museum, Belfast
Numerous private collections nationally and internationally
The Rosemary James Memorial Award for Craft
Arts Council of Northern Ireland General Arts Award
A Language of Landscape, Roe Valley Arts Centre, Limavady, Northern Ireland
Place and Process, R-Space Gallery, Lisburn, Northern Ireland
Gathered/Formed, Konsthantverkarna, Stockholm, Sweden
Stuart Cairns – Solo Exhibition, An Tuireann, Portree, Isle of Skye
Narratives in Making, National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny
Silver Speaks, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Home, Taidebunkkeri, Finland
Side by Side, National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny; Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, France
PORTFOLIO @ Solomon: Metal & Stone, Solomon Fine Art, Dublin
The Irish Connection, The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland
Danske Sølvsmede with British Guests, Koldinghus, Denmark
Culture Craft, Londonderry 2013, National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny
Setting the Scene, The Craft Study Centre, UCA, Farnham, UK
ICON, Brown Thomas, Dublin
New Silver, Galerie RA, Amsterdam
Utensil, National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny
COLLECT, The Saatchi Gallery, London
Fit For Purpose, The Victoria and Albert Museum
Linen Diaspora 4th Biennale Internationale du Lin de Portneuf at Chevrotère Mill, Quebec
Side X Side – Edge to Edge, Hämeenlinna, Finland
Ignition-New Work, Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast
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