Aoife Layton is the second artist in residence on Swansea Print Workshops, Drawn to Print project. Layton’s residency runs from August to September 2012.
Thematically, my work is concerned with the precarious balance between culture and nature, both in terms of social organisational principles and in terms of self-governance.
The home features in my prints as the locus of tensions between the two forces, the location of a cultural fault-line through which instinct seeps. The home is the space in which we are at once most protected and least on guard, its very familiarity being the precondition of the uncanny or the foil against which any breaches of cultural equilibrium are most apparent. The animals represented in my prints exist at the point of intersection of culture and nature; the monkey and dog are nearest to us in terms of biology and sentiment while the spider, fly and rat are spatially closest whether their presence is humanly sanctioned or not. Birds enter into human spaces and imagination as scavengers, omens and familiars; they are symbols of liberty as well as being the mythological alter-egos of shamans, deities and prophets. In my work I aim to utilise anthropomorphic thinking/feeling without presenting the animal engaging in activities foreign to its nature. I am interested in the viewer’s grafting of motivation or emotion onto the body of the animal and the various assumptions made regarding their behaviour.
I explore these themes through drawing both as a preparatory and an autonomous medium and also through printmaking. As an undergraduate at Cluain Mhuire, Galway, I studied printmaking and specialised in etching, monoprinting and lithography. My recent work has focused on the mezzotint technique.The theoretical basis for and implications of contemporary uses of the animal in art formed the basis of my MA in Art and Art History at Aberystwyth University, Wales.