Get to know…Kate Fahey

September 2017

Secret Stations (install image1) Photo Credit_Brian Cregan

Meet Kate Fahey the winner of our 2017 Graduate Studio Award!

Member Since June 2017


An introduction – please write a few sentences to introduce your work to the public.

At the core of my practice lies a concern for the surface and skin of the image through which I attempt to channel affect and a more embodied type of visuality, positing the surface as a site of mediation, transfer and transformation. Through the haptic nature of the work, I examine humans’ relationship with the digital and seek to connect with and to slow down our experience of images, calling on lost lore and old forms of knowledge to negotiate technology and scientific advancement.

Are you a self-taught artist or have you been to art school? Has this helped shape the artist you have become?

I studied fine art printmaking at undergraduate (Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen) and masters (Royal College of Art) and both had a profound impact on my practice.

Which exhibition have you visited which made the greatest impact on you and why?

Its impossible to choose one as so many types of work and practices have an effect on the way I think about my work. I’m a big fan of craftsmanship, antiques, clocks, and the old masters so probably the collections at Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath and the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon.

Who and/or what inspired you to become and artist?

I wasn’t exposed to much art in my childhood and went on to study a bachelors in science at university. In my early 20’s I was particularly inspired by an artist from my home town called Tony O’Malley. He had a previous career in banking and went on to become an internationally renowned painter later in life. I went to his retrospective at IMMA in 2005, and a couple of years later I went on to study fine art in Scotland.

Discuss a recent project, exhibition or event you have been involved in.

Secret Stations is a recent body of work developed in collaboration with two crafts people; a diviner and a wood turner, on a residency at Callan Workhouse Guild in August 2016. Guided by Richard Sennett’s suggestion in The Craftsman that touch delivers invasive, ‘unbounded data’, the research related more obliquely to embodied forms of sight and knowledge, in particular haptic vision. The project culminated in Secret Stations, a solo exhibition with Callan Workhouse Union and Trasna Productions and a Divining Walk in the town in July 2017.

Do you see collaborative practice and working with others as an important part of your practice?

Recently I collaborated with a dark matter scientist, a water diviner and a wood turner, all of which were fantastic opportunities. I have also previously collaborated with other artists in projects but find it just as exciting to work with people outside / on the peripheries of the art world. Collaboration is not essential to my practice but I have found it to be rich terrain in the past.

How do you use the studio and what you do in here? Do you have studio rituals?
I use the studio for everything, admin, writing, thinking, reading and making. I don’t have any rituals but I’m a messy maker so I try to tidy up every so often.

How does the studio become a part of your everyday life and work?

The studio has become so essential to my practice and life that it is a space I need to be in. Everything and nothing happens in the studio and most of my week revolves around my time there.

What do you get from working in a studio community? How has it impacted your work, if at all?

When I graduated from my MA, I couldn’t afford a studio and I told myself that I didn’t need one. However, having a studio has made me more ambitious and motivated. Having space to think and make, changes how you process your work and the outcomes. Being in a studio environment has exposed me to many other forms of making, conversations and ways of thinking about a practice. Having other artists around with critical distance from my work can be very useful!

What are you working on at the moment? Do you have any forthcoming exhibitions to promote?

I am working towards a four person group show entitled ‘All the Elsewheres of the World’ at Zona Mista project space ( which also houses many artists studios. We were particularly drawn to Foucault’s text ‘Utopian Bodies’ and we will use the space not as a white cube but as a body, exploring all the passages, storage and transient spaces. We intend to work together to install the show as something living, with some pieces dependent on others for their realization. The installation will play with ideas of perception, deception, and proximity and will ideally yield many unpredictable and exciting outcomes. The show opens on the 23rd of August.

Will you be showing work at Open Studios in October? If so, what can the public expect to see?

Yes, my studio will be open and people will be able to view some recent works from my Phd research and recent shows.