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.
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.