Stretching from Port a’ Chlóidh to Cill a’Ghallagáin, a 13km vista of spectacular rock formations, promontories, headlands, islands, sea-stacks and sheer cliffs, the artist questions our emotional response to the mesmerising dangers conjured up in placenames.
The Point of Deliverance, The Ledge of the Cormorant, The Thieving Ledge, The Speckled Cliff, The Three Hags of the Promontory, The Big Spur, The Fool’s Hollow, The Cliff of the Eagles, are the English translations of the remembered given Irish Language names of specific headlands, rock formations, handed down in the Oral History of the Erris Peninsula, North Mayo, Ireland. These placenames have been handed down in local oral history by the generations whose lives were spent at this junction between the North Atlantic Ocean and North West County Mayo. Drawing on the inspirational and ancient names of promontories, headlands and cliffs, as gathered by local historians Uinseann Mac Graith and Treasa Ní Ghearraigh, Amelia Stein has produced this body of work lending impact and emotion to the edge of the Atlantic.
In the making of these photographs, personal challenges have been confronted, examined and questioned. Is there an emotion between the mesmeric and pure fear? Does the scale of the drop from the cliff edge to the dark water below become subsumed in the tantalizing detail which demands your attention? Just a breath of a footstep too near to the edge. Is the wind a little high? Is that gust you feel at your back too strong? Is there the emotion which is a cross between exhilaration and tiredness? Have you just been out there too long in the wild open space, no boundaries, time only marked by the passage of the sun to its setting place, chasing shadows and highlights across the headlands. Alone you must make the decision and chose the correct time to walk back from the edge, to the calm embrace of flat bogland and a less harsh wind.
After previously exhibiting ” Erris “at the RHA, Dublin, Ireland, 2015, Stein further engages with the environment that helped shape the character of a people living on the boundary of an ocean that is a relentless backdrop to their history. The North West coast of Mayo is one of the most remote and breathtaking locations in the North Atlantic and, at close quarters, Precipice examines the concepts of fear and exhilaration inherent in the life of a small coastal community.