"bosca dearg is a box that contains boxes and bags that contain other boxes and bags, long and short, big and small, containers that pop and twist, and secret drawers and wrapped bundles containing lots of odd things which begin to speak when they come out and sit beside other odd things, and this, my friend ... is all I can tell you"….
The process of bricolage and the appropriation of the found object has its artistic roots in Dada and Surrealist movements of early to mid 20th Century, further developed and adopted in the Pop art movement in 1960-70's with particular interest by Robert Rauchenberg and Edward Keinholz. The 'boscai dearg*' are curated boxes, specific to each cause or project, ranging from architecture to local history, politics, landscape, folkloric, environmental and educational projects. These boxes are a developed method of speaking through objects, a language of play that varies and morphs according to each participants relationship and engagement with the objects.
Created on a commission basis. Please contact for further details.
The box itself
This box came to me full of fire crackers (literally) at a squat in Berlin where i was staying while visiting and documenting Edward Keinholz’s retrospective exhibition at the Berlinischer Gallery, for my college thesis in 1997. The box and other objects gathered in Berlin along with other talismans collected from around the globe on my travels became the foundations of my graduate exhibition that same year and still appear in and disappear from my various bodies of work to date.
A red wooden box with a hook, much like that in Dr Seus Cat in the Hat has occupied my studio ever since. It now serves as the container of treasures that comes to life at various given opportunities. It lives in my house, it moves mostly between the sitting room and my studio and sometimes the garden until time to time when it travels to play with certain events and public situations or field trips.
While it lives in our house, this robust red box, myself and my 3 young children make sure that it is emptied, refilled, half filled, stood on, launched off but most importantly that its ever changing contents employ a certain language that is unique to how we interpret things in this family nest.
As a lifetime hoarder with an undeniable penchant for fabrics amongst other things, there are bags, mostly drawstring of all shapes, lengths and sizes that contain libraries of colour schemes, opacities and textures which sometimes become the background of a story, a method of covering and revealing, tying, layering. There are containers of all descriptions (another weakness of mine) with hooks and twists and buttons most of which contain objects, figures, blocks, a general brocante of all things interesting to me and my kids.
As the seasons change and other situations enter our lives be it a birth, a death, a marriage, a design project, a school history lesson, a film we have watched together, an exhibition we have seen or a painting i am working on…. the box comes out, we scramble around the house through the recycling bin, drawers, under the couch, into the many toy baskets and along with perhaps the most recent or old reliable contents of the box and we build worlds and scenarios, stories and dialogues that can go on for days, this generally extends itself given a trip to a thrift store.
This is my process, my life as an artist presently with small children with less time in the studio for practice. It is a way of my children understanding how i think and for me to learn about how they think which in turn informs my practice and i think their lives, how they interpret the world with the everyday.
As a child Montgomery was involved with her Father’s professional process of architectural model making. Many of these models for which she made trees and other tiny scale objects appeared in interpretive heritage centres around Ireland. The process involved field trips and meetings with local folklorists and historians. Montgomery has been engaged with an interpretive and narrative process from a young age.
The genesis of this project began with being invited to create and further develop the 'discovery box' project in collaboration with the West Cork Arts Centre, Uillinn 2012-2014. Montgomery was chosen for this project because of the participatory nature of her practice working with found objects and bricolage, and also being a parent of 3 small children.
" On this occasion i was given an empty box, it had remnants of an art cart of sorts, feathers, scissors, glue..etc..i was shown no archives or examples, simply told to fill the box with what i see fit to engage young audiences and their carers with the current exhibition”.
The successful box resulted in her immediate commission of another box which further received an Arts Council Travel and Dissemination Award for further collaboration and development of the project with the Arts Centre and subsequent travel to various Arts Centres in Ireland accompanying that touring show. For this particular commission Montgomery collaborated with two other artists in their creation of one off elements in the forms of a ‘Soft Catalogue' which documented her box and a ‘Witness writing’ which was an essay on the experience of the her delivery of a workshop with this particular box. Both elements traveled exclusively with this particular box. The West Cork Arts Centre, Uillinn now uses the developed box, inviting other artists to follow this developed format..
Since then Montgomery has used her process of bricolage and the appropriation of found objects to create and develop her own 'Boscai/Boxes' which she then coined the title ‘bosca dearg’, which allow her to engage with her myriad concerns such as architecture, local history, landscape, environment, folklore, heritage as an artist in her studio, in schools, and in the community with various ages.
Discovery box for Rita Duffy's Arctic Circus, commissioned by WCAC 2012
Discovery box residency and interactions for Bernadette Cotter and Sue Mc Crellin at and commissioned by WCAC an tandem with awarded residency.