Born in Wexford (1985) Serena Caulfield is an Irish 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 then a BA (hons) from Wexford Campus School of Art and Design, I.T Carlow. In 2008, she received the Travel/Training Award from Wexford County Council, and attended Norwich University College of the Arts, UK, where she attained a Master's Degree in Fine Art.
Since graduating in 2009, she has evolved a multi-strand approach to her work. She returned from the UK to set up a small and experimental art space and studio, The Sweet Shop Gallery in Rosslare, Co. Wexford. There she aimed to allow a place for audiences to engage with contemporary art in the informal and formative setting of a sweet shop, where she encouraged interaction from the local community and welcomed people in to visit her studio.
Serena has exhibited locally and nationally in various group exhibitions; PeripheriesOPEN, and ‘As Creatures Dream… A New Language’ at Wexford County Hall and Wexford Arts Centre. Her work is part of Wexford County Council’s permanent collection as well as many private collections internationally. She was recently awarded the Tyrone Guthrie Bursary from Wexford Co. Council and is currently unrepresented.
I think of my paintings as inventories that are fragments of a much bigger picture. They are improvisational and constructed pieces that aim to question our personal experiences and perception of the world through visual language, knowledge and art history above all else.
Paint is used as a vehicle for the interpretation of the art historical image and narrative, which, in an age of technology and social media is something I feel to be quite significant. The images become recognisable and familiar in content or form, but also transcend the viewer's expectations of that image, hopefully facilitating an enquiry or extended curiosity.
My art school education didn't allow much room for the academic study of the history of art, and if anything we were taught how not to paint, beyond a certain stage. Using art historical references has allowed me to be a little self indulgent and curious as well as discovering my own way of working towards creating my own visual language.
The physicality of the paint itself is perhaps as important as the image; it is tactile, permeable, malleable, and through a process employing mark-making, pleasure and aesthetics, has empowered me to make visible what can be overlooked by the historicising of the artist.
My interpretations mostly dwell on personal experience - the images that I tend to reference are often chosen carefully based on the narrative or subject or myth. I think of Greek Mythology in particular to be very relevant to contemporary culture. Artists have always represented the consequences of the interaction of human nature and the natural world; the changing of the seasons, beauty and destruction - portraying the human condition in all its complexities.
Many artists throughout history have reimagined and challenged the works of masters as part of their training. The inquiring eye slowly realises the importance of Greek and Roman Mythology as a pervasive cultural phenomenon.