Born in Wexford, Serena Caulfield is an artist specialising in painting and drawing. She was part of the first course to complete a BA in Art from Gorey School of Art and Wexford Campus School of Art and Design, IT Carlow. In 2008, she attended Norwich University College of the Arts, UK, where she attained a Masters Degree in Fine Art.
Since graduating in 2009, she has evolved a multi-strand approach to her work with the primary focus being on painting. With over a decade of experience in her professional creative practice, her work uses the physicality of paint to explore our perceived experiences of the world through visual language, knowledge and art history. Paint is used as a vehicle for the interpretation of image and potential narratives. The physicality of the paint is as important as the picture created; it is tactile, permeable, malleable, and through a process employing mark-making, pleasure and aesthetics, has the power reveal what is overlooked by the historicising of the artist.
Serena has exhibited regionally and nationally. Recent solo/two person shows include Painters with Hanneke Van Ryswyk, Wexford Arts Festival, 2019, Fragments Wexford Festival Opera at VINE, Wexford 2018, and Coastlines, Write by the Sea Festival, Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford 2018. Recent group shows include ARTFORM Contemporary Annual Art Fair 2019, The Quay, Waterford, PeripheriesOPEN, Michael Warren Gallery, Gorey and And Creatures Dream... A New Language Wexford Arts Centre and Wexford County Hall.
She was recently awarded an RHA Supporting Artists Award , an Artlinks Visual Arts bursary and Tyrone Guthrie Bursary from Wexford Co. Council. Serena had been living and working in London and was undertaking the Turps Arts School Correspondence Course. Due to the CoVid-19 crisis she has had to return, for the foreseeable future, to work from a studio in her parents’ house in Co. Wexford.
My work focuses on painting and drawing and is influenced by architecture, landscape, language, spaces, and the use of metaphor.
I seek to engage myself in literary sources and psychoanalytic reasons for doing things but believe that too much rationality leads to ineffectiveness. My attitude about art is formed on what I read and engage in as well as the world around me and develops pre-existing theoretical and critical arguments. I am determined to keep pushing my practice to explore new possibilities in the act of painting itself.
I approach making a painting in an intuitive manner, scratching or drawing into the surface, applying paint, pulling it off again, often leaving a trace of what was there before. Whilst there are traditional elements to my work, I utilise experimentation with colour and composition in a much more abstract way using various mark-making techniques. Using blades, cutters, lino cutting tools and sandpaper, I've been deconstructing my older paintings in order to reconstruct them again. The process is cathartic and exciting as well as analyticial and reflective.
Thinking of paint as a metaphorical skin, my works represent the dual aspects of vulnerability and strength. This in turn allows me to seek out equivalences between the self and the medium. It is the passage between internal and external; inner strength and outer fragility, between the paint tube and the epidermal deposit of paint on the surface, between the subject matter and pictorial form, and between the real and the imagined. Fragility, fragmentation and the emergence of pictorial matter coincide with the interchangeable habitation of the self. Many meanings can evolve out of many layers; layers that permit cracks and fragility, allowing a shift in matter and meaning.
The skin is a reminder of the body’s permeable boundaries. I like to think of it as a protective layer or barrier in which we are contained. It is also a permeable layer, which allows a transformation or crossover to occur. It is not simply a surface, but a real place of transformation, contact and exchange.
Observing the changing nature of our world, I want my paintings to communicate a universal language.