A Dormant Light Resides In The Eye


A Dormant Light Resides In The Eye

'Plantae Novae Ursinum Herba Salutaris 2.6', Lucy McKenna, 2022

20th August to 22nd October 2022


Exhibition opening: Saturday 20th August,  2:30pm – 4pm,


Curated by Brenda McParland

Solstice is delighted to present a major solo exhibition of new work by Lucy McKenna. The exhibition title A Dormant Light Resides In The Eye, comes from the book ‘Bright Colors Falsely Seen’ [Dann, 1998], which navigates the interesting history of synaesthesia up until the modern day.

McKenna’s practice is multi-disciplinary, and this exhibition of new works includes drawing, print, photography, sculptural acrylic and light installations. McKenna’s work explores communication and language with hypothetical civilizations beyond our own planet, as well as research that is broadly about the universe and comprehending our place within it, often referencing folklore, mythology and spirituality. Recently, as the world changed tempo and shifted focus, McKenna developed a new interest in plants and gardening. The process of planting, curating by colour, texture, size and time has inspired a new body of work that features in this exhibition.

The exhibition brings the visitor on a journey beginning with imagined groundwork, a folded origami piece with research notes, botanical carbon prints with native plants imbued with mythology as test subjects, and an unfamiliar language that could travel as lightwaves ahead of a botanist as a self-assembling message for any life form it meets. Small drawings depict recent astronomical travellers within our solar system: 67p, Halley’s Comet, GN1 and our first known interstellar visitor - Oumuamua.

Making your own journey as an astronomical botanist, a blueprint lays out a roadmap and an AI voice describes an unfamiliar world. Lifeforms begin to make themselves known, growing in and out of substrates, melting, swimming, blending and communicating through colour. Organic plant-like life speaks to the multiple energy sources in its sky and it is down to the botanist as visitor to make new discoveries.

‘An evolutionary design by nature paired with an innocent and optimistic refusal to quit, plants combine the vast universe and the quantum realm in one. Biological growth pulls fuel from light, transforming blue and red photons to energy, expanding in space through time. In Ireland, our native plants have performed this scientific act for centuries, linking hands with the star in our solar system on a daily cycle, while also being bound up in our human folklore and culture, serving medical purposes, providing magical protection and being a vessel for our storytelling.’ – Lucy McKenna



Lucy McKenna studied at NCAD. Recent projects include Artifacts, group exhibition, Casa Hoffmann, Bogotá, Colombia (2021), Ollphéist, group exhibition Ormston House, Limerick (2020), Subliminal Sublime - Roscommon Arts Centre Park Project (2019), Cube Space, The LAB, Dublin (2017); Periodical Review #5, Pallas Projects/ NCAD Gallery, Dublin (2015); Residencies include ISCP New York (2017), The Artist Observatory - Catalyst Arts & Armagh Observatory (2016), Facebook AIR Program (2015). Awards include DCC Artist in Residence Award (2018), Culture Ireland award for international exhibition (2013), Irish Arts Council Project Award (2012).




Various Dates - Gallery Tours using Visual Thinking Strategies

Adults/teens/primary & secondary school groups

Various dates & times available, check website for more info

Free, booking required


Tuesdays - Saturdays - Creative Corner


Open from: 11am – 4pm, throughout the exhibition  

Free, booking required


13th, 20th, 27th September and 4th October - Connect – Create - Ignite


10:30am – 12:30pm

€60 (for full block)


14th, 21st September and 5th, 12th October - Sensory Connections

Children/young adult groups with additional needs

10am – 11am

Free, booking required


29th September - In Conversation with Lucy McKenna


6:30pm – 7:30pm

Free, booking required


29th September - Little Joe (2019)

Film screening

Cert: 12A

7:30pm – 9:15pm

Free, booking required


1st October - Our Illuminated World

Families with children aged 4 -11

10am & 11:45am

€5 per child


4th October - Light Play – Beyond the Eye

Primary school groups,

2nd – 6th class

9:30am & 11:30am

€3 per student


21st October - Seen – Unseen

Event for blind and visually impaired adults

11am – 12pm

Free, booking required


Solstice Arts Centre 
Railway Street, Navan, County Meath, Ireland, C15 KWP1 
T: +353 46 909 2300 


Gallery Opening Hours  
Tues – Sat: 11am – 4pm 
Admission: Free