Stacey Mulligan (b. 1998, London) is an Irish Contemporary visual artist based in the West of Ireland, graduated with a First- Class Honours in a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Contemporary Art at the Centre for Creative Arts and Media, GMIT. Her practice explores gender in its traditional and contemporary context, analysing the socio-political framework that surrounds it. She is determined to create a new sense of looking, one that is guided by the perspective of a contemporary female. Mulligan has participated in group exhibitions such as “Transience” in The Coach Station, Eyre Square, Galway, “Pro.jection”, 2020, a virtual exhibition available on Instagram. She has also exhibited in the Long Hall Gallery in the Centre for Creative Arts and Media, GMIT as well as the Dominican Hall, 2017, Galway. She is taking part in an upcoming, graduate-led exhibition “Transience” in June 2021 at The Coach Station, Galway.
Using film, ceramics, sculpture and physical action, my practice explores how to disrupt the ideology of archetypes. I believe that gender is a social construct. Its oppressive, binary system requires a transformation to allow for more inclusive and ambiguous ways of understanding. Gender archetypes enforce limitations on all individuals. We are conditioned from childhood to conform with established social norms.
The hammer is conventionally seen as a masculine object engendering the perception of men as the builders. It is an object that is capable of both design and destruction. I refer to this object within my imagery to question cultural stereotypes. During my process, I subvert the hammer and the nail to produce a new object, one that is delicate and fragile.
By exploiting materials such as metal, wood and plaster, I create structures that comment on the complex notion of gender. Using simplified forms, space, and textures, I construct minimalistic installations. These installations embody the physical challenges of cheerleading such as weight and mass, balance and tension, resilience, and durability.
Inspired by the deceptively feminine sport of cheerleading, (traditionally an all-male activity), I explore the conventional, masculine characteristics of aggression and strength. The formal qualities of balance, weight, tension, mass and time are reflective of the conditions I must master in order to successfully complete the actions of my performance. It seeks to push beyond my body’s limits to reveal its true potential of endurance. My work examines traditional stereotypes. Through the process of my practice, I develop an understanding of these attributes i.e., aggression, strength, passiveness, and fragility.
In doing so, I hope to evolve new perceptions of what defines gender, to manufacture a contemporary understanding of what gender could represent.