Alice Maher

Unloading the memory banks of an Irish female childhood

Alice Maher was born in 1956 in Cahir, Co Tyrone and studied art at Crawford College of Art, Cork and the University of Ulster. Her work unloads the memory banks of an Irish female childhood. When she moved to Belfast from Cork in 1985 a significant change took place. Drawing became central to her practice. In her MA show in Belfast she exhibited separately large drawings that were no longer preparatory or supplementary to painting, but self-sufficient. From then on, paintings, drawings and later, installation work would cross fertilise ideas.

A growing feminist consciousness marked her exhibition Transfiguration at the On the Wall Gallery, Belfast in 1988. In these drawings, paper would be scored, rubbed and scratched to assist the transfigurations at work. Clangorous issuings, psychic pressures and intense feelings mark the reworkings of religious themes by earlier male artists. They question how women have been treated throughout the history of art and they attempt to re-assert women in the iconography.

Secret and secluded conversations have been offered by the artist in the colourful tents of the Tryst series, with the textile material of these tents acting as vehicles for carrying imagery.

Maher has exhibited internationally and her work features in the collections of the University of Ulster, University College Cork, ACNI, Crawford Gallery, Cork and Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick.