Author Archive

Hanuman | Paul McKinley | 19.11-19.12 2015

Written by Ingrid Lyons on . Posted in Exhibitions

Hanuman, November 2015

In this exhibition of recent works Paul McKinley refers to the history and folklore of Sri Lanka to inform his paintings. Hanuman details a period of Sri Lankan history, focusing on the last days of a civil war that ended in 2009. In the grassy verges and lush thickets, guerilla fighters – men and boys – lay hidden in bunkers enshrouded by dense foliage. They fought in the overgrown forests and ditches of the north Sri Lankan landscape. Hanuman is also the name of a central character of the Hindu epic Ramayana. McKinley observes and comments upon the manner in which an epic poem such as the Ramayana still has the ability to drive political action. In drawing a parallel between the two, McKinley seeks to emphasise dormant narratives that lie in the landscape and thus he presents us with a history of the area-twice told, through the violent conflict of 2009 and through the bitter feuds of the ancient Ramayana.

Through this series of paintings McKinley pursues an investigation into the phenomenon of ‘dark tourism’ in places where major trauma has occurred and the proximity of idyllic tourist trails to scenes of extreme violence. Though McKinley has focused on the idea of ‘dark tourism’ in the past, this is the first time that he has referenced a narrative that has elements of the fantastical, with universal, transcendental themes. Working from source material acquired by people visiting or living in the area he considers the development of images as they are created, passed on and re-purposed. In doing this he approaches the differences between recording and representing, documenting and describing.

Owing to the strong connections between the paintings and their narrative referents a special text has been commissioned by the gallery to accompany the exhibition. Literary journalist, former United Nations official and author of The Cage, Gordon Weiss has liaised with Paul McKinley to write an essay that further contextualises the work and illuminates the dark days of the Sri Lankan civil war.

Paul McKinley (b. 1973) Birmingham, England, graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in 1996. McKinley has exhibited widely in Ireland and abroad at art fairs such as Volta Basel in 2013. Recent solo exhibitions include Gacaca, RHA, Dublin 2014, Operation Turquoise, Kevin Kavanagh, Dublin, 2013 and Palisade, Third Space Gallery, Belfast, 2011. McKinley has also taken part in many group exhibitions including Periodical Review # 3, Pallas Projects, Dublin, 2013 and Interlude (Aspects of Irish landscape painting), The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, 2011. Mckinley was awarded the Credit Union Painting Prize in Claremorris Open 2015, an Arts Council Bursary in 2014 and The Nissan Art Project in 2007. His work is held in many important public collections including the OPW and AIB as well private collections in Ireland and across Europe.

Finders Keepers

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Finders Keepers, an exhibition of artworks from the State Art Collection and featuring work by Stephen Loughman and Paul Nugent, runs at dlr Lexicon, Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, until January 16th, 2016. More info can be found here. 

Ulrich Vogl

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Ulrich Vogl SOX show

Coming soon, a solo exhibition by Ulrich Vogl, is on show at Sox Berlin until December 4th 2015. More info can be found here.

Ulrich Vogl Freitag 13 show

Vogl also has work in Freitag, der 13, a group exhibition at Circle1, Berlin, running until December 19th, (more info here), and in If On A Winter’s Night at Galleria Comunale d’Arte Contemporanea, Monfalcone, until January 10th, 2016 (more info here).


GREY·WHITE·KLEE | Agnes de Vlin | 10.11-14.11 2015

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10 – 14 November, 2015.
Opening Tuesday 10 November, 6pm

Irish Design is a yearlong initiative that aims to raise the profile of Irish design by increasing awareness of the value of design in all aspects of life. The Kevin Kavanagh gallery, designed by architect Philip Crowe of MCO Projects, is one of the few purpose built art spaces in Ireland. In celebration of Design Week 2015 Kevin Kavanagh will host a presentation by Agnes de Vlin that will run for one week as part of Irish Design 2015.

De Vlin comes from a multi-disciplinary background with formal training in graphics, sculpture and print. De Vlin’s Patterns and Visual compositions evidence a curiosity for harmony and synchronicity that occurs within synthesized as well as natural patterns. Her designs arise out of a process of observation, drawing, focusing in and beginning again – they are complex though not complicated. She is continually researching the rhythmic devices apparent in repeat patterns and through her designs she articulates transient characteristics that extend beyond symmetry, repetition and scale. Throughout this presentation, De Vlin responds to the visual codes of the art gallery by heightening the interplay between grey, white and the tonal range that exists in between. De Vlin has worked with The Store Yard on a number of refurbishment projects under the name F·O·U·N·D @The Storeyard and a selection of these pieces will be included as functional components of the presentation.

Elaine Byrne

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22_endless-resistance2014-wood-and-single-cell-foam-290x204x108inch-Elaine Byrne has been short listed for the Celeste prize in Milan for ‘Endless
Reistance’ which was shown at the Limerick City gallery of art.

A team of international jurors, led by Koyo Kouoh selected the finalists from thousands of applications from 72 different countries.

The finalist exhibition will be held in Milan at ex-BAZZI from 14 to 22 November 2015 with the prize winners being announced on 14th November.

More information can be found here.

Sean Lynch

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5Sean Lynch has curated an exhibition ‘Reverse! Pugin’ at Lismore Castle Arts, Waterford.

Reverse! Pugin is a group exhibition that will run from the 23rd of October until the 6th of December 2015.

More information can be found here

Paul Nugent

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Paul Nugent 'Solanum Book V'Paul Nugent will show new work at Solstice Arts Centre, Navan as part of an exhibition entitled ‘ In Darkness Let Me Dwell’. The three person exhibition also features work by Patrick Jolley and Gary Coyle.

More information can be found here


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Stephen Loughman, Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Geraldine O’Neill

SLAG Gallery, 81 Grand St, Williamsburg, New York
October 16th – November 15th, 2015.

Opening Friday October 16th, 6 – 8pm

SLAG Gallery is pleased to present a group exhibition of three Irish artists. Stephen Loughman, Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh, and Geraldine O’Neill take paint as their medium though with vastly different results, each granting sophisticated articulations that span a broad range of interests. These three highly regarded artists have sought out a unique language of their own through paint, though in three very different ways.
Stephen Loughman paints peculiarly unpeopled scenes that hint towards recent or imminent activity. A pervading sense of vastness and spaciousness infers a manipulation of time and space through the medium of paint. The paintings are often developed from film stills and are latently indicative of an underlying cinematic narrative. There is a tension – a sense of anticipation that exaggerates and prolongs the present, drawing it out into a more expansive temporal plane.

Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh’s exuberant and lively paintings are abstract though there are obvious truths at play. Colour, pattern, form and structure appear convincing yet obfuscated by further application of paint. They are sumptuous and unapologetically painterly objects. Ní Mhaonaigh’s works intuitively allow the texture and tone of paint to inform each gesture. Though they could be considered abstract they are evocative of sensory overload, of a glut of visual information combined with optical distortion. It is as though a number of images converge and recede and Ní Mhaonaigh’s paintings capture this optical and cognitive process as it occurs.

Geraldine O’Neill’s paintings absorb a plethora of genres in response to various art historical interests yet they are simultaneously personal and sensitive in their subject matter. Embedded in these paintings is an acknowledgement of paint in its resilience through the passing of time, both in the history of western painting and in the artist’s personal history. Through layers of varying gestures O’Neill creates a multi-surfaced montage that declares an excitement for and fascination with the possibilities of paint.

Made possible with support from Culture Ireland. More info on the exhibition can be found here.

NIGHTSHADE | Paul Nugent | 08.10-07.11 2015

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Kevin Kavanagh is pleased to present NIGHTSHADE, an exhibition of new work by Paul Nugent.

NIGHTSHADE is a series of paintings that present a change of direction within Nugent’s practice. In previous works he has often painted lavish interiors in which objects chime and resonate in their surroundings. They tremor and glimmer leaving behind a ghostly imprint of their movements. Patterns that appear in these paintings are often reminiscent of oriental tapestries and textiles evoking a sense of grandeur. Such grandeur in interiors of the western world infers the appropriation of oriental design and motif through exploration, travel and colonisation. In this new series of paintings we can see that Nugent has focused on various aspects that have previously occurred within his oeuvre. His investigation into symbolism and significant motifs throughout art history have become more imminent in the work as though he has entered the paintings and become immersed and absorbed in detailed fragments within.

In NIGHTSHADE Nugent has gilded the surface of the canvas to venerate humble images of weeds and brambles. In this regard he considers the manner in which we assign value and on the impact of using such a prized material. Gold and yellow leaf also conjures the use of such materials in icon painting to depict light emanating from a sacred object or person. Within an art historical context gold holds a semiotic position that communicates ritualistic uses and Nugent avails of this connotation to elevate the lowly nightshade. Another painting, Silver forest, depicts a dying forest or woods rendered in silver detail on a dark background and in the artists own words ‘the plant or motif glows within the surrounding silver and symbolises a kind of regeneration, a good omen perhaps’.

Though his new series of paintings appear different from previous work; it is not a complete departure from his practice to date but rather a continuation of his investigation of symbolism in imagery as well as in the materials used. He continues to manipulate the painted surface through layering, illusion, simulation and depth. With Nugent’s work there is always a sense that the painted surface is hiding something, that preceding layers have been veiled and that hidden elements may reveal themselves over time spent looking at each composition.

Paul Nugent (b.1964) lives and works in Dublin. He graduated from The National College of Art and Design with a BA in Fine Art Painting. Nugent has exhibited widely both in Ireland and abroad. Recent solo exhibitions include a presentation at VOLTANY, New York (2011) as well as Remembrance Part I & II, Kevin Kavanagh and Dublin Remembrance, Kerava Art Museum, Finland (2009).

Nugent’s work was included in Trove (2014) at IMMA, curated by Dorothy Cross. Nugent’s work is held in many private and public collections including the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Office of Public Works and Dublin City University.

The Longest Road | Oliver Comerford | 03.09-03.10 2015

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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

Amanda Coogan

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The Fall

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.

VOLTA11| Basel | 2015

Written by Ingrid Lyons on . Posted in Art Fairs

This year during Art Basel Kevin Kavanagh was pleased to present work by Geraldine O’Neill, Diana Copperwhite, Paul Nugent, Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Tadhg McSweeney and Vanessa Donoso López at Volta 11.

Pictures from the Surface | Tadhg McSweeney | 09.07-07.08 2015

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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   

Kevin Kavanagh at VOLTA11

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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.


Elaine Byrne at The Whitney Independent Study Program

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 Rakoczy's March, 2015,  42 mins.

Rakoczy’s March, 2015, 42 mins.

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

Strata | Dumitru Gorzo | 11.06-04.07 2015

Written by Ingrid Lyons on . Posted in Exhibitions


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

Written by Ingrid Lyons on . Posted in Artists

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;

Written in Water, Shone in Stone, Lost in Light, 8 August – 9 September, 2017

Wild cries of Ha-Ha, 8 January – 6 February 2015

Group Exhibition – ALL DAYER, 12 – 21 September 2013 

view artist’s website

Art15 | London |Nevan Lahart|2015

Written by Ingrid Lyons on . Posted in Art Fairs

20th May – 23rd  May

Kevin Kavanagh is pleased to present new work by Nevan LaHart at Art15, London.

Olympia Way,
W14 8UX