Amanda Coogan’s I’ll sing you a song from around the town is reviewed by Aidan Dunne in the Irish Times. The review can be read here.
the longest road comprises an exhibition of recent paintings by Oliver Comerford in which the open road and the surrounding landscape furnishes a meditation on points of intersection between photography, film and painting. These small-scale paintings are fundamentally autobiographical in the sense that Comerford tends only to paint places that he himself has passed through and this serves to heighten the associative value of the work. Personal experience forms part of the narrative as the source material consists of many thousand photographs, indicating the significance of encountering such scenes first hand. These photographs are edited and distilled through the medium of paint, evoking a sense of placelessness, yet despite this ambiguity the paintings retain a level of familiarity and resonance.
Much of this familiarity exists because a road or a path has often stood as an analogy for the avenues we choose in life. Colours and shapes merge and mesh, picturing a fleeting landscape from the vantage point of a moving vehicle. These paintings propel a sense of acceleration, implying that the landscape that escapes into our peripheral vision is now in the past. Through the painted medium, imagery of uniform highways and liminal commute zones are elevated, encompassing broader, more philosophical contemplations.
Extracted from ‘To Begin, Begin’
– Ingrid Lyons is an artist and writer based in Dublin
I’ll sing you a song from around the town, a retrospective of the work of Amanda Coogan, will run at the Royal Hibernian Academy from September 4th – October 18th, 2015.
Opening reception Thursday September 3rd, 6pm. More information can be found here.
The retrospective was reviewed in The Irish Times by Aidan Dunne on the 8th of September. The article can be read here.
Catherine Hammond Gallery presents In Arcadia, including work by Margaret Corcoran, running from 14th August – 10th September, 2015.
More info here.
Mick O’Dea is the visual artist in residence at the Kilkenny Arts Festival 2015, running from the 7th – 16th August. More information here.
Eye before e, except after see, an exhibition of new work by Vanessa Donoso López is now open at Limerick City Gallery until August 28th, 2015. More info can be found here.
All’s well that begins well and will have no end.
With an airy lightness, seemingly brittle but with underlying strength and resilience, Tadhg McSweeney’s assemblages document an exploration of the world around us – it’s various landscapes and built environments. He explores boundaries between painting, sculpture and installation with a broad and experienced understanding of how things work. McSweeney’s process involves combining off-cuts, fragments and found objects to investigate the properties of materials and how they behave. They are maquettes of abstract forms that disregard responsibility towards practical function, structures that spring forth as manifestations of ideas that take place intuitively-plans are not drawn up, leaving space open for unpredictability and imagination. Some structures are built using older works that have been taken apart, sundering various assemblages from previous exhibitions and allowing them to become part of a new piece. This process of construction and deconstruction is one of the defining factors of McSweeney’s practice as fragments within the work are granted a cyclical function. His recent work, often becoming a museum for previously articulated ideas as the history of the artists practice is contained within each piece, like a set of matryoshka dolls. Lighting is also important. It shines through the assemblages illuminating various reflective surfaces and casting an array of shadows across the floor. Ripples of light permeate a frosted window onto the wall behind and silhouettes shudder. These shadows and silhouettes are very much a part of the work as they create other surfaces and images. The purpose of shadows is to deceive the senses and present us with a phantom world. McSweeney’s assemblages reveal, simultaneously, their interior and exterior and there is a feeling of being presented with several perspectives at once. In many ways McSweeney’s work is concerned with how we produce our environment and subsequently how we interact with that production. The dialectic of inside and outside is ubiquitous and thus evokes Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space, in which he writes extensively on the matter. Bachelard highlights as a poetic example, the work of Henri Michause and his tendency to “aggravate the line of demarcation between outside and inside” in his struggle to resolve his inner understanding of the world with his outer participation in it. We can observe a similar preoccupation between the dichotomy of inside and outside in the work of McSweeney who brings his knowledge and skill of building to bear on these precise and idiosyncratic structures that simultaneously evoke carpentry and architecture. The work spurs reflection on such dichotomies as interior and exterior, absence and presence, fragment and whole. In a series of three-dimensional collages that often relate to each other, there is a development of terrains, landscapes, cityscapes and archipelagoes as well as structures that evoke an anti-monumental and transient kind of architecture that is characteristic of shantytowns. Fractured and segregated, sectioned, bordered and self contained, the work alludes to the closing gap between nature and culture that is associated with modernity. Embedded in Tadhg Mcsweeney’s practice is his admiration for sculptors of the Russian avant-garde like Vladimir Tatlin and Kazimir Malevich. Consequentley the work is given an art historical context that relates to developments in the medium of sculpture at a time when such artists were coming to terms with the rapidly chainging landscape of modernity as well as the role of art in society and revolution. Malevich’s futurist opera Victory Over the Sun tells a story of capturing the sun and thus establishes a new viewpoint amidst the continuities of time and space. The first scene of the opera begins with two strongmen surging through the curtain onto a black and white set to declare “All’s well that begins well and will have no end”. A poster dating from 1913 proclaims that the performances, which took place in Luna Park Theatre in St Petersburg, were the first productions of Futurist theatre in the world. The Strongmen close the opera much as it began calling out again “All’s well that begins well and has no end. The world will die but for us there is no end”. The opera was an expression of both revolution and cyclicality. Similarly Vladimir Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International (1919-1925) contained compartments inside the tower that revolved at different speeds. Svetlana Boym, in her essay entitled Ruins of the Avant-Garde has argued that the significance of Tatlin’s tower lay in its emblematic stance; as a symbol for revolution, “Tatlin’s tower embodied many explicit and implicit meanings of the word ‘revolution’. Originally from a scientific discourse, the word first meant repetition and rotation. Only in the seventeenth century did it begin to signify its opposite: a breakthrough, an unrepeatable event”. In essence these are artistic productions that champion unfinalizeability, a sentiment echoed in Tadhg McSweeney’s work whose assemblages conjure a structurally evolving world that is perpetually constructed and reconstructed, manifesting in a surface topography that acts simultaneously as a vessel for past values and utopian projections of the future. – Ingrid Lyons is an artist and writer based in Dublin
This week at Basel Kevin Kavanagh presented a display of work by Diana Copperwhite, Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Geraldine O’Neill, Paul Nugent, Vanessa Donoso Lopez and Tadhg McSweeney.
More information here.
Richard Proffitt is part of a group exhibition. The exhibition entitled Between seeing and Blindness runs from June 18th until July 2nd.
More information here.
Elaine Byrne is part of a group exhibition at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts NY. The Whitney Independent Study Program Exhibition will continue until the 27th of June. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 12 – 6 pm.
Elaine is Showing new video works and collages.
More information here
Anecdotally and by way of contextualizing his practice, Romanian artist Dumitru Gorzo recently described an analogy that likened inspiration to a small bird that may come to land on your shoulder but that would spook easily and take wing given any sudden movements or rash decisions.
In response to this analogy Gorzo affirmed that he would rather think of inspiration arriving through the process of making work. He ascertains that painting has the capacity to incite questions regarding a person’s psychical nature. He is confident the passing of time, various changes in mood and shifting intentionality all become apparent in the work when he is engaged in the act of painting in a focused and yet intuitive manner, and so his paintings are explorative and impulsive in their function.
This exhibition, comprised of more recent work, sees Gorzo moving into abstraction in a tenacious and adventurous manner. The ten paintings demonstrate Gorzo’s protean and variable practice. Mainly working in acrylic, Gorzo often incorporates materials such as sand and dirt in order to accentuate the surface texture. The use of sand, synonymous with process painting which rose to prominence in the US and Europe in the mid 1960s, lends the work a kind of retro feel and adds to its sense of miscellany.
An interest in Brutalist architecture, Italian Metaphysical painting, Cubism, Abstraction, Arte Povera and Tribalism all seek expression in his work. These paintings are seemingly disparate notes and fragments that, once added together, comprise the formation of the artists’ painterly identity. Gorzo rejects the will to categorize or limit his work so it can become a useful tool in the search for a way of painting that can act as a vessel for all of his interests.
– Ingrid Lyons is an artist and writer based in Dublin
Richard Proffitt’s atmospheric assemblages and installations are eerily accurate representations of the sanctuaries and relics used by cults, tribes, hippies, and loners in their attempts to communicate with otherworldly energies. We encounter intensely detailed shrines illuminated with sinister red darkroom lamps or flashing disco lights, burnt-out campfires with infinitely looped chants and mantras, ramshackle shelters plastered with anarchist newspapers, medicine wheels sprinkled with sage and incense, and collages of record covers, psychedelic posters and drug paraphernalia.
Throughout all of Proffitt’s work, ordinary objects, scraps of discarded junk, and obsessively collected artifacts are crafted and altered into tools of divination or magic. Wire hubcap rings are reconfigured into elaborate dream-catchers with feathers, bones, cassette-tape, and pin-badges dangling like talismans. Totemic icons and fetishes are fashioned from crude bits of driftwood, bones and charity shop treasures. What appear to be ancient slates with silvery etched primitive drawings are absurdly revealed to be painted foil crisp-packets.
– extracted from a text by Michael Hill.
Richard Proffitt’s recent exhibitions have included A Modern Panarion, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane; Take Me To The Other Side, Pallas Projects, Dublin; Eternal Spirit Canyon (solo), The Joinery, Dublin; Rendezvous 11/12, Institute of Contemporary Art, Lyon and National Gallery, Cape Town.
Links to previous shows;
Diana Copperwhite is part of a group exhibition at Wexford County Council, This lasted until dawn…
The works are from the collection of IMMA and runs 21st May until 21st June 2015.
More info here
20th May – 23rd May
Kevin Kavanagh is pleased to present new work by Nevan LaHart at Art15, London.
The review can be read here.
Sonia Shiel’s highly imaginative mode of representational painting references the art historical lexicon of painting – early Flemish, romanticism, portraiture, surrealism and yet creates work that is distinctively her own style. The works are wilfully eccentric and play with the lines between truth and fiction. Her use of a multitude of characters creates a mélange of intimate fictions. They are drenched in narratives, creating singular vignettes that are often times humorous and absurd. Edgar Allan Poe’s Eureka: An Essay on the Material and Spiritual Universe, a feat which was associated with dark romanticism, a sub genre of writing, was ultimately concerned with the fallibility of human nature, using imagery of anthropomorphised evil to illustrate mans inherent nature. Shiel’s work is resonant with Poe’s language of terror in the apocryphal images that they conjure, along with the compression of her works’ titles and our navigation of the space into a short poem on a nocturnal nature. Within these fictions human truths can emerge, that when constructed into an artifice, have the allusion of being both vulnerable and monstrous. Shiel’s paintings are often populated with animals and nature that serve as a poignant reminder of our fate and relationship with the elements. Being nocturnal, the certain sleep of a bee presents a respite to the fearful. The aquatic romance in the work aquatics glow (2015), illuminates the octopi, offered as a lover’s gift. The luminosity and the play of light within the works add to their fantastical nature. Light conspires with ordinary things to create a kind of supernatural gleam in works such as clouds break (2015), where light emerges from the young girls palms, or in burrows open (2015) where such illuminations highlight the centrality of colour and saturation to this body of work. Each painting is a forced nocturne, from the blind folding of subject in colour changes (2015) to the obtuse lunacy of the moon shines (2015). Darkness looms through Shiel’s skilled combination of dramatic subject matter, theatrical lighting, expressive composition and masterful handling of paint. She delivers the plight of her subject through colour and brushstroke to raise the emotional key of her composition. We are confronted by a dimension between the interior and the exterior, a pictorial device used to create a sense of alienation and anxiety. The combination of fantasy with the modern transforms the everyday. Shiel’s visual trickery includes bringing painting into sculptural form such as never rousing (2015) and creates a hyper-real sensibility, where the border between fact and fiction is blurred.
This breaking-up of compositional rules creates work that is both raw and sensual. The exploration of the carnivalesque and supernatural takes us to Shiel’s underworld. It is reminiscent of the lines from Edgar Allan Poe’s poem The Raven – ‘Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before’.
– Mary Cremin, independent curator
Kevin Kavanagh will present new work by Michael Boran, Stephen Loughman and Paul Nugent at Art Brussels 2015.
Brussels Expo, Hall 3, Booth 3A-31, 24th – 27th April 2015.
More information on the fair can be found here.
Kevin Kavanagh is pleased to present new work by Michael Boran, Stephen Loughman and Paul Nugent at Art Brussels 2015.
25th – 27th April
Vernissage; 5pm, Friday 24th April
Hall 3, Booth 3A-31, Brussels Expo (Heysel), Place De Belgique 1, BE-1020 Brussels
More information on the fair can be found here.
DeLorean Progress Report by Sean Lynch will be on display in Roncini Gallery, London from 22nd May – 27th June, 2015.
More info here.
Imlíne, an exhibition by Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh is at the Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, Co. Wicklow from 3rd April – 23rd May.
More info here.
“…Copperwhite’s paintings follow a logic of their own, they are recycled and they grow out of one another by remaining susceptible to the materiality of paint. She often interjects with obstacles that she brings to bare on the paintings in a way that encourages them to define their autonomy. This approach allows for accidents to happen yet these accidents are staged purposefully to allow the paintings to escape from her grasp. In this regard they have a character and vibrancy that evidence the pursuit of an epiphany, whereby the painting surprises the artist as often as the artist exacts change upon the painting. She is a painter who is fully taken up with the act of painting and the materiality of paint.
A latent interest in physics also defines the work, more specifically the speed of light in vacuum as a universal physical constant. The paintings express an interest in light, in colour and in the interlude between what the observer looks at and what is being observed. The speed of light as a concept suggests that by the time you see something, it’s not what you are looking at anymore, as though a buffer zone exists between the physical and the optical. This phenomenon represents a slippage, or a space in between that can’t be accessed and denial of access to such a space prompts the imagination into vistas that are exponentially larger than any possible truth. Perhaps this proposed space does not exist at all. The pursuit of such a place engenders possibilities, and these possibilities diminish through discovery. This example is analogous to all human attempts in grasping at truth.”
Extracted from ‘World is Suddener Than We Fancy It’
– Ingrid Lyons is a writer and artist based in Dublin
Kevin Kavanagh presented a solo display of new and recent work by Robert Armstrong at VOLTA NY 2015.
More information at www.voltashow.com
Sean Lynch is included in Artsy.net’s selection of ‘five Irish artists you need to know now.’
Mick O’Dea’s The Tan War is at Triskel Arts Centre, Cork until the 4th April.
More info here.