Caitlyn Rooke is an American artist settled in Galway, Ireland.
Statement on Coma Island series:
When I consider the current and overwhelming influence of the digital, the inconvenience of painting as a form of examination and dissemination becomes really enticing. It’s irrational and old and it grounds me in my body, allowing me to be wholly present.
It’s in this embodied presence that the in- betweenness of things and their Gestalt can become the focus. My sketchbook is crucial for this relational way of processing and visualising an alternate world in paint. When sketching, I pull from the remembered experience of exploring the outdoors on foot, creating a symbolic shorthand for the quiddity of a specific landscape.
I think of the paintings, primarily made with oils and vinyl emulsion on linen and wood panels, as unreliable narratives. They’re a chance to examine my personal mythologies spanning between two regions, the west coast of Ireland where I live, and western rural Pennsylvania, where I grew up. When unreliable narratives and memories are taken to heart, personal and plural mythologies become intertwined and have the potential to shape the current systems of power, whether that be through political, spiritual, scientific, or digital gods.
I find that the weirdness and playfulness of painting can disrupt and subvert these expected narratives by demonstrating the ease of making new ones. Although not directly visible in the painting, writing, whether on my own or with an AI tool has become a regular part of my process. It gives me the distance I need to reflect on what I’ve read, painted, and lived. It supports my ongoing examination of how landscape and technology shape prominent narratives of connection, belonging, and otherness.