Using landscape imagery to embody both real and imagined space, Willie Doherty investigates the relationship between history, personal memory and contemporary experience. For his exhibition at The Renaissance Society, Doherty, who lives and works in Derry, Northern Ireland, has created an installation that explores the self-images of Irish Americans. The work employs conventional journalistic processes-video footage, and one-on-one interviews-that were shot and conducted by the artist in Chicago and Ireland. The installation offers multiple, open and fluid viewpoints of the cultural landscapes by presenting the video footage in five projections. The ambient noises of the diverse locations, are joined with the fragmented sounds of Irish and American voices, creating a landscape of image, sound, and text.
In the early eighties, Doherty made topographic photographs overlaid with words inserting language into landscapes of contemporary Northern Ireland, a nation wrought with a long history of social and political turmoil. But despite the familiarity and literal nature of the photographs, Doherty’s works are infused with a quiet, indecipherable tone.