The Idea of Islands
by Sue Hubbard and Donald Teskey
52 pp ISBN: 978-0-9548976-9-7 (hardback); 978-0-9548976-7-3 (paperback)
Set in a wild, remote landscape, on the west coast of Ireland, Cill Rialaig is a pre-famine village that clings to at steep slope 300 feet above the sea on the old road that leads to Bólus Head. The restored stone cottages of the village, which now support residencies for visiting artists, are about as far west as you can go in Europe without falling off. From this rugged coast the island rock of Skellig Michael is visible, some eight miles out into the Atlantic, where pre-Augustinian monks once built their beehive huts. This is a landscape permeated with history and memories. It was here that the poet Sue Hubbard and the painter Donald Teskey met and initiated a collaboration that resulted in this book.
Responding to her experiences of Cill Rialaig, Sue Hubbard explores
in her work both the dark and the light within human experience. She evokes the perceived and the actual world through a careful attention to the detail of things - be it nature, the incidental or the everyday – and attempts to give voice to our deepest emotions and our sense of inchoate spiritual longing. Her subjects are those of love, loss and memory. She writes of our vulnerabilities, so often concealed, and through their disclosure suggests the possibility of renewal.
Donald Teskey's large-scale drawings of the Cill Rialaig terrain are no landscape idylls. This body of work, complementary to the poems, powerfully evokes a vivid sense of that remote and harshly beautiful place, confronting us with the raw forces of nature at the inhospitable edge of the world.