Mara Sola graduated from Galway Mayo Institute of Technology with a first class Honours degree in Fine Art in 2010. She has exhibited as part of the RDS Student Art awards in 2009 and as part of the Art of Nurture group exhibition at the Hugh Lane Gallery Dublin.
Sola works mainly in painting and drawing and her practice centres around the idea of place, where the everyday meets the uncanny. By moving these images out of context, familiar subjects of objects are portrayed in a new land where there is no dividing line between the real or surreal. Sola draws on her own personal experience of cultural displacement (being originally from Spain) and uses found imagery, old photographs, memories from childhood and dreams as source material for her work. She is also informed by a love for poetry and magic realism literature and uses these to visualise and recreate such invented places. The process of using different materials and forms such as oil paint, wallpaper, gesso, collage, fabric and photo-transfers provides an added element to the work, reinterpreting certain aspects. The work presented here comes mainly from a recent project where the artist spent time drawing in the Zoology department in the NUI in Galway. Sola completed a few sketch books with drawings of all kinds of animals that she saw there and from those quick sketches went on to make these paintings in varied materials on varied surfaces. The paintings have a surreal atmosphere, they are not direct representations of the animals in display cases or the animals in their natural habitat, but rather placed in a created environment, giving the pieces a displaced quality that acts as a metaphor for the social dislocation that Sola herself has experienced.