These Dark Shapes is a totem to a feeling. These shapes grew in the body, they grew and took up space. They grew roots, roots that they used to cling to my bones, but also walk around on. Sometimes they would leave, sometimes they would sit inside my ribcage and draw all of my attention.

So I decided to build them, outside of myself.

“And what shall we make ourselves from today? A memory, a seedling, a word? What can we hold up to the light and find despair has not yet touched?” – The Crying Book, Heather Christle

These Dark Shapes is a study into the burden of carrying around a secret; the heavy feeling you might experience while struggling under the weight of grief or sadness. These shapes have been built as a means to dispel this feeling from the body, as means to separate oneself from an overwhelming , clenched-fist, sensation.

Through sculpture, photography and drawing, White invites the viewer to imagine the shape of their feelings, the things they carry around with them day after day. Does it have shape you recognise? Does it have a colour? Can we create a shape that the helps us lighten the load, lessen the burden. Can the act of creating the feeling outside of ourselves, help us to overcome it, cast it away, or live alongside it in the next room.

Róisín White is a visual artist based in Dublin, working primarily with photography and sculpture, while incorporating drawing and collage into her practice. Róisín holds a degree in Photography from dit, and certificates in Ceramics and Sculpture from ncad. White’s work draws from archival and found materials, exploring modes of storytelling, as well as drawing from real and fictional experiences. Recent exhibitions include Picturing the Unseen, The Finnish Museum of Photography; Zeitgeist, Robert Capa Centre in Budapest, as well as solo shows at The Library Project and The Darkroom. Róisín was awarded an Emerging Artist Grant from dlr County Council in 2019, and a Dublin City Arts Office Bursary for a residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre

Róisín White's exhibition These Dark Shapes will take place at Pallas Projects as part of Artist-Initiated Projects 2020–21.

Secret Keeper
Secret Keeper
Secret burden lifted
Seek secret
Seek Secret Keeper Seek – seek?
Secret finder
Secret sharing Secret burden lifted
Secrets lifted
Secrets left
Maybe none of this really happened.
But it felt like it did.
The shape of grief
Behind the shadow is not empty, simply blocked from current view.
Give them a map of your tears
Stuck to the back of my tongue.
A burning.
Tight across my chest. The line that follows the elastic of my bra strap, they use this as a road marker in first aid when teaching you about the body. This is where I felt the searing pressure, on my sternum.
Rid of it
Peel it off and inside out.
Latex gloves. The ones that protect me, but in time dry out my usually soft hands.
After weeks and days of it begins to feel like a hungry stone living in your rib cage. Festering and waiting to be fed.
It is absurd.
I have built my feelings so that I can sit next to them. Look at them.
See them in the corner of my eye.
I can turn the light off and lock the door.
Say goodnight, see you tomorrow.
Only sometimes
do they manage to unpick
the lock and follow me to bed.
Some are so dark that they disappear into the shadows. I don’t see them until I’ve tripped over them.
These one’s can hide in the seams of my clothing.