2001 - 2003
The Surface and Trace artworks began on a fellowship residency at Ballinglen Art Foundation in Ballycastle, County Mayo in 2001. Deirdre used the direct encounter with place to dictate the form and development of the artwork, placing sheets of watercolour paper and absorbent gesso panels into bodies of water choked with Chlorophyta algae. This forms a fibrous scum on the surface of the water, leading to oxygen depletion and is a consequence of eutrophication caused by excess nitrates contaminating ground water, a serious problem in Ireland prior to EU regulation.
The artworks were a way to consider the environment through the material trace of the algae. The series extended the use of found material traces to allow nature a colluding voice in making the work. This process was further developed with the Visqueux series.