As part of the MFA Studio Art program, Moore graduate students travel to County Clare, Ireland, where they are surrounded by the stunning landscape of Burren and the rich culture of western Ireland.  During the required, four-week international residency at Burren College of Art, students have opportunities to delve deeply into their studio practice, interact with international working artists, and tour the local countryside, soaking up the unique geography, culture and community of rural Ireland. MFA Candidates consistently cite  the time in Ireland as the most transformative period of their graduate education. This is confirmed by faculty who explain that students returning from Ireland come back to Moore ready to approach their art practice with greater sincerity and rigor.

As part of this special experience, students gain:

  • Access to international visiting artists not otherwise available in the United States: (Year 1 ) Jane Harris, Effie Halivopoulou, Charlotte Von Poehl; (Year 2 ) Julian Stocks, Simon Hitchens; (Year 3) Charlotte Bydler, Keith Patrick (Year 4) Stephen Brandes, Daniel Sturgis; (Year 5) Ana Prada, Bridget Smith.
  • Immersive and intensive studio experience
  • Rigorous examination of the visual art and culture specific to the region, as well as their influences on past and contemporary art

What Moore Alumni Say:

Dawn Kramlich (MFA ’13) experienced an artistic aha! moment while completing her graduate residency in Burren, Ireland. “Right before I left for Ireland, I faced a very difficult decision. However, it ended up being the best decision I’ve ever made for my work,” she said. “It was either: drop the medium or drop the concept, but it was truly the concept that was driving me. So I told myself: you're not allowed to paint in Ireland. By restricting myself, I freed myself up and discovered an aesthetic that really fused with my concept.”

Marie Lauver (MFA ’14) found that it was the people as much as the environment that made an impact on her work, removing a lot of the distractions of daily life that occur for us all. She explained, “The proximity of the school to the town allowed me to have immediate access to Burren's studios  and staff. Because of the people that ended up working close to you, you ended up exchanging artistic mediums and techniques. I ended up realizing that there has to be a close connection to materials and context/point of the work.”

Kenny Harris (MFA ’13) shared that the trip was the most “transformational single period of time” at Moore. He went on “I've always been interested in telling stories and reinterpreting narratives, but while I was in Ireland, Martha and Martina (my faculty), pushed me to think about why I have always been interested in this… In essence, my entire thesis project was born in Ireland, simply by Martha and Martina asking me ‘what do you love to do? What are your interests? Explore those.’”

Laura Petrovich-Cheney (MFA ‘11) recently completed an artist in residency program in the Arctic that was in part inspired by her time at the Burren College of Art in Ireland. “I studied the British artist Richard Long and it was his work that inspired my performance piece in the Arctic Circle,” she said. “I feel that without my education at Moore, I would not have had the confidence, skills and resources to apply for that residency.”

The School
Burren College of Art, located on a limestone plateau along a section of the Atlantic Coast, prides itself in being a hothouse for artists. Led by artists, it is a remote yet connected place that inspires reflection and compels one to consider the creative challenges of making art professionally.  The remarkable landscape surrounding the College with its megalithic tombs, prehistoric burial mounds, Bronze Age and Iron Age forts, churches, monasteries, holy wells, and medieval castles has long been a source of inspiration for, and in many cases, an adoptive home to artists of all genres, ranging from painters to playwrights.  The College is equipped with modern amenities: painting studios, darkroom and photography studio, sculpture workshop, lecture theater, library, art materials store, and other facilities which are designed to meet a student’s research and artistic requirements. 

While at Burren students work with a faculty from Moore and a local faculty member on a hybrid art history and studio course dealing with the themes of place and time. The course is led by Martina Cleary, a multi-media artist and scholar working with photography, drawing, video and installation. She received her BFA from The Crawford College of Art & Design (Ireland), an MFA from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts (Finland), and an M.Ed. from the Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Helsinki (Finland). Martina has been exhibiting internationally since the early 1990’s. Recent exhibitions and awards include; Describing Architecture/Memory and Place, Dublin (2014), Turning Point, a solo exhibition at the RHA Dublin (2012), The Irish Arts Council Project Award 2010, the Create – Phase I Artist in the Community Award 2010, the Roscommon Art@Work Residency 2009, EV+A  International 2008  at Limerick City Gallery. Impressions 2008 at Galway Arts Centre, Transformations at the Media Lab Helsinki 2004. Her curatorial work has also been supported by The Finnish Arts Council, The Finnish Cultural Foundation and The Finnish Institute in London. Along with her practice as an artist, Martina currently works as an educational facilitator and freelance consultant with a number of third-level art institutes. Her current research looks at the potential of the photograh to operate as a restorative mnemonic environment, a topic she is investigating  through practice-based doctoral research at the European Centre for Photographic Research (eCPR), Newport, in the UK.

Burren Book: Vol. II