Mairéad McClean’s visual art practice spans film, video, sound, and photography. She collects different kinds of factual material, taken from a wide range of sources, to use in her work: found footage, historical and family archives, filmed performances and televisual media all feature in her artwork. Her films often feature ordinary people as they cope with forms of control. Memory, and how and why we remember, has been explored in many of her short experimental films.
Fragments make us think about the whole, about what the fragment once belonged to.
Mairéad has received a number of awards in the UK, Ireland, France and Russia. She was commissioned by the Wapping Project, London, in 2018, The National Museums of Ireland in 2015. Her video work No More (2013), exploring questions around the introduction of internment without trial in Northern Ireland in 1971, won the inaugural MAC International Art Prize in 2014. No More was acquired for the National Collection of Ireland at The Irish Museum of Modern Art in 2017. Other notable recent exhibitions and screenings include the Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris (2022) Deutscher Künstlerbund e.V, Berlin, (2020), The BFI London Film Festival, Experimenta, (2019) The Now & After Exhibition, Video Art Festival and Exhibition, Fabrika, Moscow (2017) Whitechapel Gallery, London, (2016) The Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival: Faces of Conflict, Pittsburgh, USA, (2016), CCA Glasgow (2015). Keynote presentations include; Revisioning the Past, University of Portsmouth & University of Bristol (2022), The Irish Literature in Exile Symposium, Center for Migration Studies, Northern Ireland (2019), Art in Politics at The Irish Museum of Modern Art, (2018) and The Whitechapel Symposium OBJECT: On Documentary as Art (2017). Her work has been included in ‘Artists’ Moving Image in Britain since 1989‘, Edited by Erika Balsom, Lucy Reynolds and Sarah Perks, Yale University Press (2019) and Portraits of Irish Art in Practice by Prof Jennifer Keating (USA), Palgrave Macmillan (2022)
Mairéad was born and grew up in Beragh, Co. Tyrone. She currently lives and works between Bath, England and Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland.
Detail from the 1766 Census Return of Cullen Union (National Archives of Ireland, IHP/1/688), superimposed on a fragment saved from the fire at the Record Treasury in 1922. Original artwork copyright Mairéad McClean, 2022