curated by Davey Moor
Upon entering the endangered & extinct species room on a recent visit to the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, almost all of the lights went out. Walking through the long room in this crepuscular mode was oddly fitting—eyes swimming through darkness and history in the glooming dim. As banal as it seems to highlight, elevated brightness is intrinsic to most displays of fine art—including video works closeted in dark rooms. We don’t tend to wander round galleries squinting, unless it’s from over-illumination, but tempered brightness and tone can offer more than they hide. Stepping into darkness, with both terror and exhilaration, is an essential and universal passage. This exhibition, which started an idea to broadly explore the history and mythology of the black mirror*, as both theme and object, has crystallised into a collection of visual incantations by five artists. These will be textually accompanied by excerpts from a variety of fiction and non-fiction sources in the form of a booklet.
* used variously as a tool in black magic, hypnotism, divination, scrying and catoptromancy and also as a painters’ aid (dubbed a Claude Glass) across Europe during the eighteenth century as an image reflector, to compose scenes to work from—its black surface tonally compressing overly bright landscapes.
The exhibition will travel to Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise; 26th March – 2nd May 2015.
Paul Nugent, Lux, pressed plant (common weed) on black mirror with aluminium frame. 36×21 cms. 2015
Kevin Kavanagh will present new work by Robert Armstrong at Volta New York.
Booth D7, Volta, Pier 90, New York. 5th – 8th March, 2015.
More info here.
Of the Rocks VIII, oil on linen, 60x80cm, 2015
Sean Lynch will give a public lecture ‘Bandits Live Comfortably in the Ruins’ at the Trinity Long Room Hub, TCD, Dublin. Sean’s lecture is part of the Making Ireland series and will take place on Wednesday the 18th February at 6:30pm.
More info here.
What Cannot Be Used is Forgotten, a group show featuring the work of Sean Lynch, runs from January 22nd – May 3rd in CAPC Contemporary Art Museum, Bordeaux, France.
“The exhibition explores how objects, along the circulation that constitutes their life, accumulate information thus becoming part of a historical process marked by the effects of colonialism. Even though objects do not strictly carry meaning, it cannot be said they are not significant. It is through language however that we as humans try to integrate them in the constant creation of meaning we embark ourselves on. This exhibition tries to celebrate their agency and capacity to affect others, both human and non-human. What cannot be used is forgotten seeks to understand how our relation to the material world entails endless processes of assimilation, acculturation, re-appropriation, and ritualization. ”
More info here.
Kevin Kavanagh was pleased to participate in VUE 2014 at the RHA, Dublin.
The gallery presented a small selection of Mick O’Dea’s work, in conjunction with his sh0w The Split showing in Chancery Lane.
Wild Cries of Ha-Ha is the translated name of one of the eight great charnel grounds described in Hindu and Buddhist spiritual texts. They are places of transformation, where the living and the dead communicate, populated by shamans, roaming spirits and corpses. These extremely sacred sites are feared and opposed by those without a strong-will and only the most devoted believers of asceticism and ritual practices can worship there.
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.
A phrase from a banal 1970s pop song endlessly surfaces and vanishes in a recording that murmurs throughout the exhibition, leading us in an incantation from the everyday to the mystical:
‘As we eye the blue horizon/It’s merely an illusion’.
This new gathering of works reminds us that we are not lighting upon exhibits in an ethnographic museum or a cabinet of curiosities but that the artworks with which we share the space have a transcendence that transports us, subconsciously, throughout time, and to exotic cultures and locales. The physicality, form, structure, and composition of the pieces has become more refined as the artist has constructed his own language of symbols and motifs to guide us on our journey.
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.
The above introduction was written by Michael Hill, who will hold a discussion with Richard Proffitt about the exhibition, Saturday, January 17, 12pm, in the gallery.
Richard Proffitt and Michael Hill have made a small edition of booklets that will be available at the exhibition.
The Kingcat of Keshcorran by Sean Lynch, Liam Byrne and Michael Holly runs at the Roscommon Arts Centre from 21st November – 6th February 2015.
More info here.
Sonia Shiel is participating in Motivational Deficit at Crawford Gallery Cork, from the 14th November – 17th January 2015
More information here.
Transferencias, an exhibition featuring Elaine Byrne and Oweena Fogarty runs in Mexico until December 19th.
“…It would be simple to summarize the work of Elaine Byrne’s and Oweena Fogarty’s in Transferencias as rooted in Irish identity. This is a key ingredient. But their work goes deeper into effacement of geopolitical borders where Mexico and Ireland act as an axis. The complex proposal of the two artists question intelligible boundaries, paradigms and motivations of culture, history and their crossovers; in Byrne’s case, through language and structures and in Fogarty’s collecting ghostly traces.
Elaine Byrne has been working with the Bradigan Irish dancing school in Mexico City since 2012. With over 4,000 Irish dancing students in Mexico her investigation into the globalization of culture, questions what happens to traditions such as Irish dancing when absorbed and transformed by another culture…”
– extracted from press release, by Ana Isabel Pérez Gavilán, PhD
More info here.
‘Contemporary politics is the whim of man promulgated through propaganda of imagery and symbolism. In this manner society has been provided with a new gospel for the faithful that positions questioning and interrogation as part of a dissident heterodoxy. Herein we find Dermot Seymour’s current exhibition,Fliskmahaigo.
Seymour’s paintings draw upon his Belfast childhood experience that saw nature as an escape from the troubled streets of the city. With his subsequent move to the bucolic idyll of the foothills of the Partry Mountains, Seymour continues to find obvious comfort from landscape that is changed only by the seasons. His view of this landscape, even with the placement of utilitarian structures, becomes unsettled by the interference of people, monuments and appropriated symbols that are inured with a stark and frightening power when placed outside of their usual context.
These paintings are mixed with raw human existence that compels us to question humanity’s propensity for damaging itself; an accusation that permeates Seymour’s work. Nature has a stability against which is placed the festering of a society torn apart by a continuation of an outmoded identity. Abuse, decay, and political wrangling are placed at the forefront of Seymour’s images. His customary animal protagonists stare at us from the canvas to disconcert us by their simplicity as we look at this torn manmade world that surrounds us’.
– Noel Kelly, Director, Visual Artists Ireland
Kevin Kavanagh was pleased to present new work ‘A Painful Excess of Pleasure’ by Vanessa Donoso López at SWAB Barcelona 2014. SWAB ran from 02 – 05 October at the Italian Pavilion, Barcelona, Spain.
More info here.
Geraldine O’Neill is shortlisted for the Hennessy Portrait Prize 2014, for her work Is feidir le cat Schrödinger an dá thrá a fhreastal. The winner will be announced at the opening of the exhibition on Tuesday 11th November 2014.
More info here.
532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel, NY, November 13 – December 20, 2014
When describing Diana Copperwhite’s work Colm Toibin wrote:
“Her work is about painting first and foremost; [these] references merely serve a purpose. Thus digital images which freeze and fragment an original image fascinate her, but such images in themselves are not enough, they provide a way into the painting. It is their visuality which inspires rather than any precise sense of a blurred or fragmented reality. Because she physically likes making paintings, everything is subservient to what paint will achieve.”
Copperwhite makes paintings that move fluidly between representation and abstraction. Photographs, montage and assemblage all aid the process and become ancillary works that pin down fleeting thoughts, glimpses and reactions to a media saturated age. Her interests and sources are eclectic and wide ranging, from social media to philosophical debate to art historical references. Yet, as Toibin points out, her paintings are no more about the image than they are about the process of painting itself. Her work is phenomenological in that momentarily emotional responses override the need to capture reality. Something has piqued her interest and from that initial interest she thinks in colour, in tone, and texture, in setting herself a visual problem to which there is no single definitive solution. Her palette is composed of murky undertones punctuated by bright neon rifts. The fluidity and expressiveness of the painting gives little hint of the rigorous and formal abstract principles applied to the making.
Strangers in a Room is an almost purely abstract painting, a composition of bold stripes and gestural marks. The eye struggles and fails to distinguish the strangers of the title, but the space retains something room-like, an echo of representation caught just beneath the vibrant surface. This duality is apparent in all the work, the teasing through of an idea, of where it has come from and where it may lead. The recurring motif of screens appears in Tropic of Capricorn Tropic of Cancer. Two squares like televisions float brightly facing each other. It is no accident that the title references astrology, lines of latitude, and the writer Henry Miller. A multi-media world describing the interconnectedness of knowledge. In Copperwhite’s work even the most arbitrary act demands balance, the carefully thought out response. The source may seem randomly chosen but the intellectual process, the making of a painting is not.
Diana Copperwhite studied Fine Art Painting at Limerick School of Art and Design and the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. She completed an MFA at Winchester School of Art, Barcelona in 2000. Diana is a tutor at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. Her work is in the collection of the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Arts Council of Ireland, and also in collections in the United States, Europe and Australia.
The writer Colm Toibin is currently Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of Humanities at Columbia University. He is an IMPAC Dublin Literary Award prizewinner, and has appeared on the Booker shortlist, most recently in 2013 for his play the Testament of Mary.
The Royal Hibernian Academy, which operates one of the nation’s largest exhibition galleries, elected the painter Mick O’Dea as the 23rd President of the Academy at its Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 14th October, 2014. Elected to RHA Membership in 1996, Mick O’Dea was delighted to accept.
“I am delighted and honored to have been elected as the new President of the RHA and to have the opportunity to continue the great work of our previous Presidents, most recently Des McMahon PPRHA and Stephen McKenna PPRHA. The RHA has a very strong team led by Director, Patrick Murphy. I look forward to working with Patrick, the staff, the crew and our voluntary workers who make sure that the RHA continues to punch way above its weight as an incredible resource and facility. As President, I will strive to ensure that the voice of the Academy is heard and that we are more importantly, seen. The values of tradition and innovation that the Academy stands for enables us to show and support the best of the diverse range of practices that are prevalent at this time. It is my responsibility to ensure that we hold that vision into this period of the early twenty first century. “ Mick O’Dea PRHA
Edited by Harry Hutchinson
Design and Production – Atelier; David Smith and Clare Lynch
Texts – Roddy Doyle, Aidan Dunne and Professor Kevin Whelan
Photography – Gillian Buckley and Davey Moor
Printing and Reproduction – MM Artbook Printing & Repro
Edition of 750
Published by Kevin Kavanagh (2014) ,€25
Kevin Kavanagh is pleased to present The Split by Mick O’Dea. Continuing the themes explored in Black and Tan (2010) and Trouble (2012), O’Dea has produced large-scale paintings that draw on a wide range of photographic sources.
‘O’Dea shows us the gleam of the boots, the furl of a flag, the cut of a coat, the way the hair falls across a broad brow. These are carefully wrought paintings, worked for a long time to achieve a high degree of finish. In the many groups, each figure is carefully individuated and after we look at a series of these paintings, we feel that we know these men intimately, that we would recognise them across a crowded street by their stance, the way they wear their clothes, their smiles. And always there is the overt presence of violence. Guns and holsters are everywhere: Collins’ bodyguard Joe O’Reilly, has one gloved hand and one bare, the more quickly to reach for the gun in his pocket. The gleaming boots draw the eye, and a homoerotic charge passes through these knowing masculine companies. The artist observes all and reveals all, the quality of the painting opening these lives again, as we experience these men not as cardboard cut-outs, but as fully formed individuals, dense with a vivid particularity, released back from their frozen static photographs into the living stream of history. Their sheer quality forces the observer to engage with them not as abstract and remote figures, but as real people in a real time and place. The masterly attention to establishing the backdrops – leaves on the bushes, the rise and fall of a pavement, the angularity of a bench – situates these men in a fully realised material world, and we admire the classical quality of the painting in these bravura passages.
As we start on ‘a decade of commemorations’, as we as a country engage again with 1916 and the War of Independence, Michael O’Dea has placed us in his debt. This is an artist coming into the full expression of his considerable powers.’
Professor Kevin Whelan, Keough-Naughton Notre Dame Centre Dublin.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Kevin Kavanagh has produced a fully illustrated book on the artist, featuring work from The Split (2014), Trouble (2012) and Black and Tan(2010). Mick O’Dea is designed by Atelier David Smith and published by the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery.
Kevin Kavanagh was this year invited to participate in ArtMarket Budapest, running from 8 – 12 October. The gallery is showing Robert Armstrong, Paul Nugent, Nevan Lahart, Sinead Ni Mhoanaogh, Paul McKinley, Geraldine O’Neill and Tadgh McSweeney in the Millenaris, Budapest.
Imlíne by Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Triskel Christchurch, Cork from 9 October – 1 November 2014.
Imlíne is part of Calling up the Vangard, an exhibition series curated by John P. Quinlan. The exhbition will be opened by Peadar Ó Riada on Thursday 9 October at 6 p.m.
Gallery open Tuesday – Saturday 11:00 – 5:00pm
Tadgh McSweeney has a site specific installation for Culture Night at Taylorfest. More info here
Link and Studio Gallery
12th September – 11th January
Opening reception; 5:30pm Saturday 12th September
VISUAL present a major exhibition by Sean Lynch, Ireland’s representative at the 2015 Venice Biennale. Over the last decade, Lynch’s installations, sculptures and publications have explored the subjective layers of Irish history and offered alternative readings of the influences that shape our society today.
The exhibition includes a new work commissioned by VISUAL and the Local Authority Arts Office; For The Birds is based upon the medieval Irish myth of An Buile Suibhne, or the Frenzy of Sweeney. Cursed to be half-man, half-bird, Sweeney hopped throughout Ireland lamenting his woes in lyrical verse, until he reached a farmhouse in St. Mullins in Co. Carlow where he found a strange form of kindness – each evening he was invited to drink milk out of a bowl of cowdung. In collaboration with sculptor Tom Fitzgerald, Lynch reimagines this scene in the context of Carlow’s contemporary agricultural industry.
An accompanying catalogue designed by Wayne Daly will feature an in-depth essay on Lynch by critic and lecturer Caoimhin Mac Giolla Leith.
Kevin Kavanagh is pleased to present The Abundance by Margaret Corcoran. This exhibition features new works from her solo show Return to Cythera which was featured earlier this year at The Solstice Arts Centre, Navan.
‘Margaret Corcoran is known for her lively engagement with the western painting tradition. Her 2002 acclaimed exhibition, An Enquiry, pictured her daughter looking at some of the paintings that make up the Milltown bequest in the National Gallery of Ireland… The paintings in An Enquiry demonstrated that she is a conventionally gifted draughtswoman and painter, absolutely at home with representational method. But the last thing she wanted to do was to create pastiches of neoclassical or romantic paintings. She takes a bravura, tremendously free approach in Return to Cythera,building up densely layered networks of imagery – you have to look at each image closely or you will miss much of what’s going on. Sometimes she’ll work a section of a composition to a polished conventional finish, but she always holds back from creating an overall , seamless illusion. There’s a lightness of touch, a very appealing playfulness. When she veers towards abstraction with, say, expanses of saturated colour or flurries of calligraphic brushwork, it is beautifully judged. The historical material she is dealing with becomes a rich, nutritive mass from which she draws not new stories but –as ever- new versions of old stories.’
Aidan Dunne, Irish Times, May 5, 2014.
Dr Michael Asbury, CCW Reader and TrAIN Research Centre Deputy Director, recorded his recent conversation with artist Sean Lynch, recipient of the TrAIN/Gasworks residency during the summer of 2012. Each year, TrAIN collaborates with Gasworks International Residency Programme to offer a fully funded three month practice-based research fellowship for an artist who is not based in the UK. The residency offers an opportunity for the artist to join the studio environment offered by Gasworks, while also participating in research seminars and discussions at the TrAIN Research Centre. Following his residency Sean held a solo exhibition at Modern Art Oxford and is currently living in London whilst preparing for his exhibition at the Venice Biennale, where he will represent Ireland in 2015.
Read the full transcript here
Roscommon Arts Centre Offsite is pleased to present an installation by Spanish artist Vanessa Donoso López titled Painful Excess of Pleasure as their inaugural Offsite Exhibition in the Long Gallery of King House, Boyle.
Vanessa’s intricately executed installation will transform the Long Gallery space using curios type objects and organic forms created from paper. The immense architecture of the Long Gallery will lend itself to containing and protecting these delicate objects.
The gallery will host 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.