Author Archive

From thirteen to one | Amanda Coogan | 29.05 2014

Written by Ingrid Lyons on . Posted in Exhibitions



From thirteen to one

Performance Thursday May 29, 4-8pm.

Amanda Coogan is currently on the ARP residency programme at Irish Museum of Modern Art. Recent exhibitions and performances include, The Life and Death of Marina Abramović, 2012 & 2013, Dublin Contemporary, 2011,Collecting the new: Recent Acquisitions to the IMMA Collection, 2010, AmandaCoogan, When Time Becomes Form, Artists’ Space, New York, 2009, Jameson International Film Festival, 2012, The Yellow Series, Kevin Kavanagh, Dublin, 2009, Yellow Series Expanded, Tulca 09, Nun’s Island, Galway, 2009, Snails, After Alice Maher, Altered Images, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2009, The Fall,  Kevin Kavanagh, Dublin 2009, Points d’Impact, MAMCO, Geneva, 2009, The performance Collective, Catalyst Arts Center, Belfast, The Benshi Project, Project Arts Centre, 2009.

Contours | Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh | 01.05-23.05 2014

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Speaking recently about the power of painting, the American art critic Peter Schjeldahl noted:
“… there’s something irreducible about a rectangular surface covered with marks that are all absolutely on purpose and made of physical stuff like we are. When it’s good, it demands – and allows – the highest degree of refinement of our feelings and perceptions.” [i]

His words seem to apply directly to Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh’s paintings, for her works extol both the dynamism and complex subtleties of her medium, and get us thinking about the world around us in entirely new ways. Wielding a palette primarily comprised of black, white, pinks and yellow-greens she creates resolute compositions that yield a potent optical charge and induce distinct moods in viewers. Moreover, a powerful sense of physicality adds to their impact. The way she brushes on, dabs, scratches into and scrapes away paint not only delivers striking juxtapositions of colour, texture, pattern and shape, but also impart tactile qualities that intensify each work’s presence.

Ní Mhaonaigh’s solidly structured pictorial statements hover somewhere between abstraction and representation. Referencing landscape, various types of structures and natural phenomena, the compositions range from the visually dense to austerely minimal and come in closed and open formats – with or without a painted surround that can intimate a window frame, proscenium stage, or the border of a television screen, instagram image or story board. But what the pictures truly convey is open to interpretation. On one hand her scenes propose fleeting glimpses, fragmented memories and discontinuous narratives; on the other the application and manipulation of paint appears to be their focus. One cannot easily skim over her work. At heart, something elemental resides in her blurred vistas, fluffy vehicles and oft kilter constructions, call it a force or tension, which captivates. Its vigour demands protracted engagement and, by necessity, viewing turns out not only to be durational; it also becomes a highly personal experience.


[i] James Adams, For New Yorker art critic, all art is contemporary, The Globe and Mail, 21 March 2014 Accessed 10 April 2014.

ART | Brussels | 2014

Written by Ingrid Lyons on . Posted in Art Fairs

Nevan Lahart 
Solo presentation

Fri 25 – Sun 27 April
Brussels Expo (Heysel)
Booth 3B-42

Solo by Nevan Lahart (1973), lives and works in Dublin, Ireland.
For Art Brussels 2014 Kevin Kavanagh presents a series of works by the artist Nevan Lahart. The exhibition ‘Serf Vice Paintings’ encompasses a variety of painting techniques depicting the role of the artist and patron in art history and the artist within the market today. The stand will act as both a capsule of history and a questioning of contemporary art and politics

A brief synopsis of what to expect:
Fancy Forgery Series No. 26
The Phaidon 3 million $ Holographic Coffee table
Coffee with Rembrandt
Trouble with the Wi-Fi
Constable’s Cloudy Conspiracy
Art and Ammo @ the Armory
Portrait of the artist as an Elite Super Hero
The Blue Chips go shopping at the Degenerate Art fair
Richter pays homage to Def Leppard in the style of Oldenberg
Richard Prince has a Krieg böse moment
Malevich’s DNA fakes a PRADA
The L.S. Lowry Ultras
Militant Mondrian
Monsanto Calendar Girls
Carpet Bomb
Daumier’s Post Modern Poster Racket
Chicken Chardin
Serious Cereal
AND MUCH MORE>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>………….


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A Blow by Blow Account of Stonecarving in Oxford

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Sean Lynch
A blow by blow account of stonecarving in Oxford
12 April – 8 June 2014

A blow-by-blow account of stonecarving in Oxford is an installation by Sean Lynch exploring the work of the nineteenth century stone carvers, John and James O’Shea, whose naturalistic renditions of animals and plants are still visible in the architectural detail of buildings in Oxford and Dublin.

Sean Lynch investigates distinctive and often overlooked moments in history that have left fragments of evidence, objects and narratives. He explores these sidelined histories through photographic and sculptural installations, prefabricated or found artefacts and small-scale publications.

The O’Shea brothers had completed a series of notable stone carvings in Dublin during the 1850s before accepting an invitation from the University of Oxford to work on the new Natural History Museum. Controversy quickly surrounded the O’Shea’s carvings of primates on the museum’s façade, as many people interpreted the work as a representation of
Darwin’s theory of evolution, a contentious and powerful subject within theological, intellectual and social debates of the time.

Following a quarrel between the O’Sheas’ and the University, James O’Shea attempted a series of impromptu carvings on the entrance to the museum intended to caricature the authorities of Oxford as parrots and owls. These carvings are still visible on the building today.

Lynch activates this story through a variety of objects sited throughout the exhibition. Subtly placed into the shop and café, a collection of material is exhibited about Favorite, a fried chicken outlet now found on what was once the site of Britain’s first public museum, the Ark, in Lambeth, London.

Artefacts from the Pitt Rivers Museum, the Natural History Museum and stone carvings by Dublin-based Stephen Burke each evoke the playfulness of the O’Sheas’ work. In Lynch’s accompanying slide projection, these seemingly unrelated objects come together to weave a narrative about museum culture, public space, individual agency and the construction of history.

The Hinterlands | Mark Swords | 27.03-26.04 2014

Written by Ingrid Lyons on . Posted in Exhibitions

The Hinterlands brings together a body of disparate artworks from 2009 to the present day. This work has not been made with any single unifying theme or goal in mind. The individual pieces that comprise The Hinterlands might best be described as a series of potential answers to seemingly random questions, eg “Can I make two paintings one painting?” or ”What is a box that can’t be opened?”

 I was about ten. One day I saw that my friend had put a bowl, a cup, a teapot, and a square carton on the edge of a well, had filled them all with water, and was looking at them attentively.

 “What are you doing?” I asked him. And he answered me with a question in turn.

“What shape is water?”

“Water does not have any shape!” I said laughing. “It takes the shape you give it”.[1]

This small story above serves as an analogy in Andrea Camilleri’s Novel “The Shape of Water” in order to demonstrate the difficulty of defining truth. The suggestion is that truth can, depending on one’s viewpoint and circumstances, be changed or reshaped like water. The quote highlights a beautifully ambiguous grey area, an aspect of our world, which cannot be defined in terms of black and white.

Outside of the story’s analogous intent it is also of interest as a description of an experiment. In order to answer a fascinating but potentially useless question, “What is the shape of water?”, the boy has set up an experiment. He then sits to consider the results. This is also, in essence, a description of what I do as an artist.

The Hinterland Posts is an ongoing project that further explores various aspects of this exhibition.
It can be seen at:

The Hinterlands is Sword’s latest solo show with Kevin Kavanagh since being awarded the AIB Art Prize in 2010. In 2012 he showed in Painting Now, Ron Mandos Gallery, Amsterdam and in Making Familiar, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin. More recently, Swords took part in I won’t say I will see you tomorrow, a group project and exhibition based on the writings and architecture of Ludwig Wittgenstein curated by Aoife Tunney. In 2014 Swords will show work at VOLTA Basel with Kevin Kavanagh.


[1] The Shape of Water, Andrea Camilleri, 2003






VOLTANY| New York |Sonia Shiel|2014

Written by Ingrid Lyons on . Posted in Art Fairs

Vernissage, 6pm Thursday 6th March
Fair open to publin Friday 7th- Sunday 9th March, 2014

For VOLTA NY 2014, Sonia Shiel  presents  new paintings and sculpture.

Shiel’s work pitches mankind’s mighty and small aspirations for a better world, against their odds. Through comedic devices it also explores its own artifice and the propensity of ‘art’ to be effective in the real world. Eschewing  ‘big’  ideas, this work lampoons myth; economic, social and art history; psychosexuality and fantasy; moral and political philosophy and propagandist pulp.

In recent work, paintings and sculptures are contracted together by innuendo where idyllic scenes of industry, nature and society are underscored with a perverse violence usually associated with cartoons. The inconspicuousness of ‘painting-on,’ allows her to caricature the epic, setting the human and artistic dilemma of everyday scenarios with elaborate costumes and role play, benign weaponry,  subversion  and inflammation of power and caricatures of virtue and vice, hero and villain.



Assumptions | Robert Armstrong | 16.01-15.02 2014

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The title of Robert Armstrong’s exhibition of new paintings refers to his version of The Assumption of the Virgin, a Nicolas Poussin painting from 1650. Nonetheless, it cannot be assumed that the ascension into heaven of the Virgin Mary after her death is in any significant way the subject of Armstrong’s painting or the theme of the exhibition.

The paintings in the show originate in different ways, sometimes in direct response to the history of painting – perhaps to a specific painting – and at other times as a retort to contemporary circumstances. In some cases, the original narrative, often one with an edifying moral purpose, has been extracted, in the search to find language that is both of the tradition and moving it forward.

The tension between figuration and abstraction is a constant. The viewer might choose to hunt for clouds, whether floating or grounded, for trees and mountains, or for saints and saviours translated into slashes of colour; or opt purely to regard the act of painting. Armstrong’s paintings are not presented for exhibition as a premise in an argument or thesis. Attempting to keep several balls simultaneously in the air, they are evidence of his reliance on and response to spontaneous impulse, representing a position of experimentation, ambiguity and adventurousness.

Enigma | Roxana Manouchehri | 06.12-14.01 2014

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Kevin Kavanagh is pleased to present this exhibition in collaboration with the Assar Art Gallery in Tehran.

Leonardo da Vinci, the original Renaissance man, was a prolific polymath whose enduring contributions to contemporary world culture, half a millennium after his death, include the most famous portrait ever painted, the Mona Lisa, and the most widely reproduced religious painting of all time, The Last Supper.  A third iconic image, his drawing of Vitruvian Man, aspired to transcend the limitations of history and geography entirely, disregarding ethnic difference and other divisive factors, including gender, in pursuit of a universally valid depiction of ideal human proportions.

All of which makes Leonardo the perfect recruit to Roxana Manouchehri’s latest investigation into the many ways in which aspects of identity and vectors of identification may be coded in contemporary art.  Born and raised in Iran, Manouchehri has led a peripatetic life since graduating from the Art University of Tehran, spending a significant period of time in South Korea before moving to Ireland some years ago. An early admiration for Leonardo, the by-product of a cosmopolitan upbringing, informs this new suite of paintings, which she disarmingly describes as ‘my own detailed, monochromatic versions of ten Da Vinci portraits’.  Her selection of ‘portraits’, all women, includes the Mona Lisa alongside lesser known works, providing a delicate balance of familiarity and mystery, as well as a blending of precise detail and nebulous sfumato.  The paradox inherent to the figure of Leonardo, the contrast between the inexorable logic of the pioneering scientist and the enigma of the archetypal artist, is astutely reflected in the combination of up-to-date digital manipulation and old-school painterly execution by which she has generated these ghostly shades of Da Vinci’s five hundred year-old originals.

This, however, is only half the story.  For each of these ten paintings is encased in a thin box-frame with mirrored sides, while the glass panel through which we view the painted image is adorned with one of a selection of geometric patterns, each derived from a specific precedent in the rich history of Islamic decorative art and architecture. In this meticulous mélange of disparate cultures one might expect the Da Vinci borrowings to prove overpowering, yet this is not the case. Far from usurping their Near Eastern settings, these spectres from the canon of European art history, trapped within their bespoke gilded cages, appear to shimmer and shrink from view behind the lattice of shadows cast across their painted surfaces.  The reflection of the viewer’s own image in the mirrored surfaces of the picture’s inner frame adds to this sense of compromised access to the image of an Other. That the flowering of geometric abstraction in Islamic visual culture was related to its virulent aniconism is of relevance here, as is the fact that the patterned pane through which we view each of these pictures recalls the grille of a Catholic confessional. Clearly, we are dealing here with no simple binary opposition between East and West, but something more complex.Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith.
Born in 1974 in Tehran, Iran, Roxana Manouchehri is represented by Assar Art Gallery, Tehran. In 2012, she received the Royal Hibernian Academy Award in Dublin and the Visual Art full Stipend Award for an art residency in Barcelona. A catalogue has been published for this exhibition designed by Tony Waddingham with a text by Dr. Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith.


Tadhg McSweeney & Aliza Nisenbaum | 07.11-30.11 2013

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This is a two-person show with Irish artist Tadhg McSweeney and Mexican artist Aliza Nisenbaum. Tadhg McSweeney paints and makes sculptures with a seamless connection between their form, function and colour palette. Yet each work has a defined independence and abstraction within the body of work. His work disturbs notions of  the conventions of representation, display and perception. Sculptures, devised of paint, glass, paper, residues of glue and silicon, other sculptures, wood and various recycled materials, are the frames to themselves and to the paintings positioned behind them.The work plays with the potential of the found and used material to create a vision of a new world.Objects, structures, monuments and landscapes for a new utopia.

Aliza Nisenbaum’s work focuses on the liminal space between attention and intention through observation. Her work includes portraits of  immigrant communities in the US, to still life compositions. Her process combines a close viewing of people and items while considering the ethics of representation and the ‘other’. Recently her work is focused on paintings of flowers, which explore a different ethics of exchange. Flowers are emotional and economic currencies—cross-border and transpersonal vehicles. They are modest emblems for the flows of labour, money, and goods in a globalized world. The exchange of perishables, such as flowers, is an economic form available to immigrants in both the US. and Mexico. Not unlike the undocumented immigrants that transport and tend to them, flowers are finite silent things, natural things that cannot speak. They are portraits without faces. Both artists approach representation and the potontial for new existences.


Tadhg McSweeney (b. 1978) in Sligo, lives and works in Carlow, Ireland.  Recent exhibitions include  Edifice Complex, Visual, Carlow 2013, Portmanteau, Kevin Kavanagh, Dublin, 2010, Overworld, The Lab, Dublin, 2008, and group show Nailing jelly to the wall, Catalyst, Belfast, 2013. Aliza Nisenbaum (b. 1977) in Mexico City, lives and works in New York. Recent exhibitions include Aliza Nisenbaum at Immigrant Movement International, Queens, NYC, 2013, Holly Coulis and Aliza Nisenbaum, Susanne Hilberry gallery, Detroit, MI, 2013, We Remembered, We Anticipated a Peacock and We Find a Peony, Patricia Treib and Aliza Nisenbaum, Golden gallery, NYC, 2011.


Adiaphora | Conor Mary Foy | 30.10-02.20 2013

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Adiaphora: a philosophy that signifies things outside of the moral law, i.e. actions, pursuits that are not sanctioned or forbidden, but indifferent.  It holds the equal potential of swinging in favour of good or evil, a sense of looming possibility that things may take a turn for the worse, and simultaneously, knowing that the turn may never happen.

Conor Mary Foy’s visuals are filled with loaded trinkets and symbols; there is a sense that the significance of these objects is perhaps, indifferent.  Symbols encompass the opportunity and a readiness for appropriation; a platform for the eternal capability of potentials. This brewing possibility spills onto the context within Foy’s video and photography work. Each scenario is placed within a neutrality, with no structure to discern in these scenes; historical, present or futuristic, and the presence of these loaded symbolic visuals sitting in a vague and un-telling backdrop is one that is easily very unfamiliar; what could be from our time or someone else’s, from our world or the next. The sequential purposefulness of the narrative in these works progresses in tandem alongside the gearing of Adiaphora’s fundamental implications; an impending, indifferent possibility of things. The cultish direction of Foy’s video works strive towards the sense of a greater indifference.

Adiaphora is a solo exhibition by Conor Mary Foy consisting of video, sculpture, photography, live art and sculpture. The live art performance on the opening night will be one of the central elements of the exhibition.



Amanda Coogan- Available Work

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ALL DAYER | Aoibheann Greenan.Seamus Harahan. Richard Proffitt. Stephen Loughman | 07.08-30.08 2013

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Music Event 21st September at 4-8pm

The Harbourmaster | Ickis Mirolo| Maria Somerville | The Third Policeman | Ed Devane

Curated by Aoife Tunney
Where did you grow up?
First in London and then in Derbyshire. In London, punk ruled but further north people listened to northern soul. I loved northern soul and used to go to all-dayers since I was too young to go to clubs.

You know they had the all-nighters at Wigan Casino, that was the place to go. There were a couple of places, Nottingham Palais and Matlock Bath who arranged all-dayers instead. You went there in the morning, listened to music and danced all day.
What type of area did you live in?
We were living in an area called Golden Valley, it had one pub and a couple of houses and it was all very conservative. A friend of mine dyed his hair green one day. When my mother saw him she forced him to wash it with Ajax before his mum would see it.
Bilinda Butcher singer and guitarist from My Bloody Valentine.

All Dayer brings together artists and musicians to embrace a commitment to the potential of new belief systems. The origins of Northern Soul came from the independent and lesser known producers of soul music, and this show reflects an independent faith in counter culture and the thresholds of change that music, art and rituals can invoke.
Throughout the exhibition a stage will be set in the centre of the gallery awaiting performance and change. On Saturday 21st of September we will have a series of music performances running in the gallery from 4-8pm.


A PAINFUL EXCESS OF PLEASURE | Vanessa Donoso López | 6.09-26.10 2013

Written by Ingrid Lyons on . Posted in Exhibitions



We move and displace ourselves from the moment we are born. We try to identify with objects from an early age, in order to make a connection between our inner reality and the world outside of us. ¬1
When an individual displaces themselves to an unknown geographic space, deliberately placing oneself in an alien context, they transform into the fundamental protagonist of a challenge, a challenge that is often initiated with the acceptance of loneliness. Nonetheless we are able to enjoy the freedom that anonymity allows us and to appreciate the possibilities that uncertainty offers us.

Vanessa Donoso López traces the journey from a familiar place to an unknown environment, and the type of experiences one encounters in order to assimilate in this transition. A Painful Excess of Pleasure, attempts to deal with this notion of a struggle between the enjoyment of experiencing a new environment and at the same time the pain of trying to adjust to it. Jouissance ( A painful excess of pleasure) is Jacques Lacan’s notion which posits that the subject divides and is compelled to transgress the prohibitions imposed on his enjoyment and to endure a pain beyond pleasure.

For this show Donoso López works with transitional objects, such as collected and handmade furniture, objects in glass boxes and various plants that act as vessels, holding the experience of surviving and changing in altering contexts. The plants are presented as traces of their original self made from a homemade laser machine- rekindling a sort of low-tech artisanal skill. Alongside these works Donoso López places a series of drawings which contemplate and explore the subject and its psychic duplicity.

The gallery hosts a large greenhouse structure, which like so many of Donoso López pieces, acts as a container and a laboratory in which plants can alter and grow. This space invites the audience to walk in and around the objects within, traversing elements of the artist’s “inner psychic reality” and “external reality” and her past and present. The provisionality of the structure and the imperfect domestic objects talk of the balance between being settled and being uprooted. Vanessa Donoso López ‘s work is committed to exploring concepts of transitional phenomena allied to contemporary life, with its cross-cultural identity and narratives, its mutability and intricacy, and its potential for the loss of identity, language, and compatibility with original cultures.

Vanessa Donoso López was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1978 and now lives and works in Dublin. She studied in Spain at Llotja School of Art and Design, Barcelona and the University of Barcelona, and at Winchester College of Art in UK. Since graduating in 2004 Donos López has exhibited both internationally and nationally and prolifically shown work throughout Ireland and Europe. Her decision to move to Ireland was deliberately to place herself within unknown location, culture and landscape.

1 In 1951 English paediatrician and psychoanalyst Denis W. Winnicott introduced the theory of transitional object. This object, he suggested occupies an intermediate space between the “inner psychic reality” and the “external reality”.

Robert Armstrong – Available Work

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Work Available

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Elaine Byrne – Available Work

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Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh – Available Work

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Scheme of Things | Adam May | 04.07-27.07 2013

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For Scheme of Things Adam May enquires into perceptions of solidity and permanence. May’s work arcs between the natural and the manufactured, counterposing tactile and tensile qualities, capturing a momentary balance between force and fragility.

May harnesses wood, metals and polyamides, creating dissonances between worked natural substances and the abstract perfection of contemporary materials and processes. These pieces present as serene and withheld, but they are marked by the violent history of their making. Torched, drenched, hewn and spattered by liquid metal, these sculptural objects have had a turbulent passage into their current forms.