In ‘The Solar Boutique’ exists a body of work that combines Photography, Sculpture, Painting and Text to reflect through cultural analysis, the representational boundaries between Art, Anthropology, Post~Colonialism and Folk History. As an ongoing project it continues to evolve through diverse explorations of the ever shifting junctures between shared indigenous/western cultural histories and cosmologies.
A graduate of the University of Ulster @ Jordanstown, Kevin continues to spend as much time as possible reconnoitring the coastlines and interiors of Africa, India, South America & South-East Asia and documenting these journeys in candid black & white/colour photographs.
He first exhibited in San Francisco in 1999, and subsequently at Burning Man in Nevada through the years 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012. His work from this period has been published in the New York Times (see link below).
The significant time spent in ‘nomadism’ fundamentally influenced and inspired McLaughlin’s work, most strongly the impressions of Africa: the power of its light and the landscapes of the coastal regions along the Indian Ocean.
These images came out of the simple desire to record and document a series of journeys/turas/pilgrimages undertaken over a 35 year period.
With regard to the portraiture; I have strove to represent the human essence of a particular subject or situation without the diversion of slick photoshop techniques. These photographs are not so much observational but experiential. What the subjects chose to reveal here was all I was ever to know of them, however I wanted to honour and celebrate them without them becoming mere photo props.
Intrigued by the idea that a path trodden in a straight line could become a sculpture, I began to investigate the notion that a journey undertaken with the appropriate intention, could become a work of art.
Starting at my front door I could go out into the world and engage with it through the undertaking of a journey, a turas, a pilgrimage of some sort. The scale could be local or global, continental or planetary.
A camera would be an important tool.
A photograph, the medium through which I could share the experience of the journey and to bring it back into some aspect of the public domain such as a gallery space or similar.
A line or series of moments documented in still images in the landscape of the journey would be ’traces’, marks of passage made before moving on. Such images are not to be confused with biographical photography but seen to appropriate the place, the person, the scene as the raw materials of the world as it revealed itself to me in the moment. Text helps to summarise and put the journeys in context and on out into the world, to find its way as it wants.
In the Irish gaeltachts they speak of two types of journeys, “an turas amach agus an turas isteach” ~ the journey without and the journey within.
Some journeys we undertake just to find out what they mean, working from intuition from here to there. This work can be seen as a celebration of being in that place at that time. Alligning destinations and how certain things lead between them.
The selection process of a continent, a country, a route, an itinerary, a destination becomes a natural configuration of geometries & alignments presented to be understood as a totality.
This establishes a link between the Land and the Self and the resulting journey as an art work or a portrait of the world as it was found ~ the cosmological scale v the planetary scale v the personal human scale.
1982 – 1985. University of Ulster @ Jordanstown, Belfast.
1986 – 1997. Photographed extensively in South America (Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia & Chile), Africa ( Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique & Madagascar), India and South-East Asia.
1997- 2007. San Francisco, California. Studied Fine Art/Photography @ SF City College (2003).
2005/2006. Burning Man. Black Rock Desert. Nevada, USA. The ‘Driftwood Mandala’ installation.
Art Explosion Studios. Alabama St. & 19th St, San Francisco. Member 2004 – 2007.
2008. Burning Man, Black Rock Desert. Nevada, USA.
2011. Burning Man. Black Rock Desert. Nevada, USA.
2012. Burning Man. Black Rock Desert. Nevada, USA.
2017. ‘Objectecture’, New work in Sculpture. Saldanha suite, Artlink/FortDunree, Inishowen. Co. Donegal.
2015. Inner City Trust/Garden of Reflection. Derry, Northern Ireland. ‘TEMPLE; From Build to Burn’.
2015. Earagail Arts Festival. ‘TEMPLE; From Build to Burn’. Photographs from David Best’s ‘Derry Temple’ project.
2012. Burning Man. Black Rock Desert. Nevada USA. Twelve Photographs.
2011. ‘The Solar Boutique’. Thirty Photographs. Bogside Artists/Peoples Gallery. Derry, Northern Ireland.
2018. Glebe Gallery. Churchill, Co. Donegal. (sold to private collection).
2017. Glebe Gallery. Churchill, Co. Donegal.
2015. Glebe Gallery. Churchill, Co. Donegal.
2015. Artlink. ‘Mark 1’. A group exhibition @ the Saldanha Suite, Fort Dunree, Inishowen, Co. Donegal.
2014. Glebe Gallery. Churchill, Co. Donegal.
2014. NINE. A Group exhibition by the Inishowen Rural Artists Network @ the Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre, Limavady Northern Ireland.
2013. A founding member of the Cut Cast Quartet. Earagail Arts Festival; Group exhibition by The Cut Cast Quartet. Gaelic Park Gallery, Inishowen. Co. Donegal.
2013. UK City of Culture Visual Arts Programme. Derry. “Bones Don’t Rest Easy”. A group exhibition by the Cut Cast Quartet.
2012. April. ‘Easter Envisioned Enchanted’. A group show curated by the Inishowen Rural Arts Network at the Donagh Gallery, Carndonagh, Co. Donegal.
2011. August. ‘Objects of Identity’ Group Show. Leitrim Sculpture Centre. Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim.
2011. October. ‘Artikultur Ireland’ Group Show @ the 22nd Charles Macklin Autumn School. Culdaff. Co. Donegal.
2010. Winter Group Sculpture Show . Leitrim Sculpture Centre. Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim.
2009. Ionas Aiobhinn’ Group Show. An Exhibition of Landscape Photography. The Plaza, Buncrana. Co. Donegal.
2019. The Blue Nib Literary Magazine. #39/ September 2019 issue.
2018. “Wyrds of Power: New Language for a New Reality” by Richard Power (Author). Nine Photographs.
2017. BBC Radio Ulster. The Arts Show. ‘Objectecture’ ~ a conversation with Dominic Kearney.
2015. The Irish News. A review of ‘Temple; From Build to Burn’. Link;http://www.irishnews.com/arts/2015/07/23/news/permanent-record-of-a-temple-never-meant-to-last-199437/
2015. ‘Temple Stories’. A Besom Production for the Artichoke Trust. Interviews & Narratives.
2015. ‘The Temple of Derry’ by Dave Washer. (Author). An Issuu/Pacific Forest publication. Eight photographs & Essay.
2013. Culture Northern Ireland. A review of the ‘Cut Cast Quartet’ group exhibition @ UK City of Culture visual arts programme. Link;http://www.culturenorthernireland.org/reviews/visual-arts/bones-dont-rest-easy
Video Link; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe934o4vYFY&feature=player_embedded
2013. “User’s Guide to Human Incarnation; The Yoga of Primal Reality” by Richard Power (Author). Four Photographs.
2012. “Humanifesto, A Guide to Primal Reality In An Era of Global Peril” by Richard Power (Author). Five Photographs.
2009. New York Times. ‘Why We Travel’ photo essay.