Alice Maher (born 1956, Co. Tipperary, Ireland) has produced some of the most iconic images in contemporary Irish art: sculpture, photography, film-drawings, installation, video, charcoal drawings, watercolours and prints. She is well known for her series of sculptures using natural materials, her drawings and installations using human hair, and photographic portraits of the artist using her own body and elements taken from the wild. Her work is embedded in cultural history, mythology, folklore, fairy tales and medieval history.
In Maher's series of watercolours, The Glorious Maid of the Charnel House, 2015-16, the internal and external worlds interface, co-exist and self generate. Maher's reference points include art history, mythic narrative and medical textbooks, as her shape shifting maids call down and mischievously intervene with the often problematic history of visual representation of the feminine throughout these fields. The inner and the outer body unfold and enfold simultaneously and human, animal and vegetal intermingle and overlap in intense hybrid form. The Glorious Maid of the Charnel House demonstrates her continuing quest to allow her work to evolve into new languages and material.
Her recent series of large scale prints, Vox Hybrida, sees Maher continuing to question the visual potential of hybrid forms. She states that her work is 'not declamatory' but instead driven by a desire to 'extend figuration into other realms' and offer a haptic as well as visual poetics of form. As in much of her work, Maher began with a figure drawn from mythology and folklore. For Vox Hybrida her inspiration is a 12th Century carving of a mermaid from Kilcooly Abbey, Tipperary, Ireland.
Alice Maher's work is held in many public collections including: Arts Council of Ireland; Brighton Museum & Art Gallery; British Museum, London; Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, Dublin; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Massachusetts and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Becoming, a retrospective exhibition, was held at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, in 2012-13.