Cecilia Danell (b.1985) is a Swedish artist based in Galway. Her practice is process based, where accumulated research into landscape and the psychology of place is coupled with a strong interest in materiality and making. Through her own encounters with the Scandinavian landscape, she explores the theatricality of places that become imbued with artifice, as they can’t live up to the human need for that which is primal, wild and untouched. In recent years, her work has been based on walks in the area surrounding her family farm in Sweden, where the experience of being in the landscape influences the paintings beyond the photographic source material. Danell details each walk through maps, photographs and notes in her journal, but once in the studio, the quality of oil paint and the hands on process of making become as important to her as the initial source material. She walks and traces an environment that she knows intimately, happening upon decaying remnants of human activity, further upending the romantic notion of nature as untended wilderness. Recent and ongoing research interests include the psychogeography movement and the psychological impact place has on a person, surrealist and expressionist early cinema, speculative fiction and Science Fiction. Danell’s work always pulls the viewer back to the fact that what she’s presenting is a construct. The painted landscape is melting, ocular glitches of unnatural colour present themselves as part of the scenery. Her sculptural objects use the language of theatre props to construct objects with the surreal quality of being made in the likeness of something, yet falling short of true semblance.
Recent exhibitions include: ‘I Trust The Quiet’ (solo), Burren College of Art Gallery, Co Clare (2021), ‘Mise en scène’, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris (2021), 'I set a Bait for the Unknown' (solo), Kevin Kavanagh, Dublin (2020), 'In a Landscape' (solo) at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), Dublin (2019), 'Winter Wanderer' (solo) at Kevin Kavanagh, Dublin (2019), 'Futures - Series 3 Episode 2' at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), Dublin (2018), BEEP Painting Biennial, Swansea, UK (2018), 'The Last Wilderness' (solo) at The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon IE (2017) and Galway Arts Centre IE (2017). Residencies include Ballinglen Arts Foundation (2021), Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris (2020) and the Nordic Artists’ Centre Dale, Norway (2016). She was a 2017 recipient of the Arts Council Next Generation Award and has received several Arts Council Bursaries and Project Awards as well as the ESB Keating Award at the 190th RHA Annual Exhibition (2020), the Wexford Arts Centre Emergence Award (2011) and she is on the current shortlist for the Hennessy Craig Award at the RHA. Her work is in several public collections including the Arts Council, Trinity College, Galway City Council, Wexford County Council, Motala Municipal Council, Sweden and the Office of Public Works as well as private collections in Ireland, UK, Sweden, Canada, France and Norway.