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Harrington’s work explores restriction and oppression with the ideas of judgement and punishment often manifesting in the context of class. The themes and issues that arise spring from the repressive nature of society and the constraint of its social systems. Some of the works refer to conditions and injustices such as addiction and alcoholism, access to education and homelessness in a direct way. Other artworks take a more layered approach in dealing with generational poverty, classism and working-class experience. Recent artwork utilises wood, concrete, metal, found items and mixed media to create objects, which at first glance appear to be utilitarian, domestic or recreational and innocent in nature.
Reappropriated entities are reworked to covertly interrupt their original function, providing playfulness with an undercurrent of aggression. An integral aspect of the artwork is engagement and interaction, as well as performance and play with installation, object and audience which incites spontaneous verbal and kinetic articulations that transcend the narrative of the work, evolving it to a performative, spatial activity, durational and endurance practice.
"Elayne Harrington is a consummate artist and wordsmith who has extended the definition of poetry on the island of Ireland. A gifted communicator and a riveting performer, she catalyses the energy of her audience through chant and rhythm, in lines that are charming, uplifting and radical."
- Former poet laureate of Ireland & professor of poetry, Paula Meehan
"Elayne is a superb communicator, with a creative, playful and responsive approach to her work and it's delivery."
- NCAD lecturer and artist Gareth Kennedy