Ruth Le Gear
My life’s work is to understand and communicate with water. I work with it in all its layers – from the tiny microorganisms that live in one drop, to huge oceans and sea creatures, as well as lakes, rivers, clouds, mist, rain, sleet, hale, icebergs, and glaciers. I live in the Northwest of Ireland and it rains here a lot, mostly pure North Atlantic water, swept up in the storms above Greenland and Iceland.
As an artist and researcher, I have travelled extensively with my work, sampling waters in northern Europe, the USA and South Africa as well as the Arctic circle, attending symposia, collaborating with university faculties, and presenting several international solo exhibitions.
My practice resonates with healing techniques through water, involving vials of water essences, and the inversely proportionate strengths and values of healing. ‘Teardrops in Wonderscape (2008)’ was my starting point, exploring how a drop of water has the capacity to hold the memory of a substance that has passed through it. The investigation of this notion of water as a conductor of memory has led to an interest in homeopathy. Intrigued by the emotional content of a tear, I began collecting tears from the public to make a homeopathic remedy. Each tear, like a snowflake, has its own unique structure.
By 2012, my thinking had developed further, with the intention of working towards healing polluted bodies of water. I traveled to the Arctic waters around Svalbard and worked with Masaru Emoto, best known for his belief that human consciousness has an effect on the molecular structure of water.
Working with several dilutions of sampled melt waters, I made water remedies, in this case not originally for human consumption. The contradiction of a remedy made from water and diluted with itself presents interesting questions around the uses and permutations of a landscape whose energy fields mediate and co-exist with the human body. This work reflects on the ephemeral and delicate sense of loss, causing us to contemplate and reflect on the contemporary environment we find ourselves in. We are living in a world where we only see the tip of the iceberg; big energy in little spaces. My practice at this point became more ritualised and empathic, dialoguing with my surrounding landscapes and waters.
Over the past year I have been working with Sally Annett on a long-distance residency at the Atelier Melusine (AM) in southwest France, an exercise in trust with her and the waters (atelierdemelusine.com). I had to change my methodology to allow Sally to be my ‘body on the ground’, collecting the water samples and returning the waters by post to Ireland. Sally writes: “Le Gear has worked almost completely blind to the actual locations, the decision being made to keep the sites secret to all but the AM team, during the development of the remedies. This has allowed Ruth a purity of engagement with the waters outside of their natural surroundings – in their essential, chemical form.”
Sally and I have communicated weekly, sometimes daily. I have been sending images, texts and instructions to Sally, as well as my immediate reactions and impressions in the form of sound files and free flow writings and charts. Sally continues:
“There is much more to the artistic and healing processes in Le Gear’s practice, but the crucial workings remain undisclosed by Le Gear, even to me. Working remotely has emphasised that it is the direct connection to the waters, a subtle exchange, which takes the form of words, and which is mediated through Le Gear. What is evident is that this is a deeply magical practice. Le Gear works actively to create a profound exchange of energy and understanding of the essential, physical, psychological, spiritual and divine or unknowable aspects of water, their energies, their wounds and disruptions, but also to seek a way to balance the waters. It is again, a contract of service, a devotional practice.”
Le Gear (b.1985)
A graduate of GMIT CCAM, Le Gear has exhibited solo at (2018) Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus (DE)
(2017 ) Water Senses | Leitrim Sculpture Centre. Trace at the Center of Contemporary Art, Gdansk (2015)
Polar Forces: universe of an iceberg at LSC (2013). Water that Sleeps at Galway Arts Centre (2009)
Group shows include
Solas Nua | New Voices of Ireland | Washington DC 2018
Artworks at Carlow Visual (IE)
2016 [Art_Ecology] LAAW + SFAI present Tributaries Santa Fe Art Institute
Phase Change – Northern Spark (US)
Et Si On S’etati Trompe at the Centre Cultural Irelandais (2015) Contemporary
Art at Tell in the University of St.Gallen, Switzerland (2014) Eight Gallery, Dublin
(2014), Crystalline at the Millennium Court Arts Centre, Portadown (2012) and
Residencies include an upcoming residency at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Centre (postponed)
Land Arts of the American West and SFAI (2016) CCA Laznia (2014), Leitrim Sculpture Centre (2013), Arctic Circle (2012), Fire Station
Artists’ Studios (2011) Iceland (SIM, 2012/09) Cill Rialig, (2011) Tyrone Guthrie (2010) and Limerick City Gallery of Art (2008)