The Yielding Glass

The Glass album is a series of late 19th century photographs that were used in the Irish courts to protect the lives of civilians on a murder charge and facing the death penalty. The photographs depict the desperately poor inhabitants of Gweedore, clinging to the precious land that sustained them.

The Yielding Glass utilities stain glass techniques to assemble a collection of simulated glass plate negatives into the shape of the chapel, outside of which the original offense took place. Hydroponic light from above the chapel stimulates the peat bog inside it, nurturing the weeds and flowers in this glass sanctuary.

According to accounts I have read, glass was so expensive after the American Civil war, that people were buying glass plate negatives and installing them in greenhouses. Often the negatives were images of soldiers lying dead on the barren soil. This gave rise to a poignant situation where light was refracted through images of the dead in order to germinate the seedlings below.

This exhibition is inspired by The Glass Album documentation relating to the Father McFadden murder trial in 1889 which was compiled and curated by Declan Sheehan and exhibited in July 2013 at An Gailearaí Ghaoth Dobhair.