Author Archive

RAUM | Elaine Byrne | 10.01-9.02 2013

Written by Lara on . Posted in Exhibitions


“Man’s living needs are simple. They become complicated and hypocritical only as a result of artificial stimulations – in architecture as elsewhere. Honest building can be done in wood, mud and stone, just as dishonest building can be done with alpha glass and beta aluminum”

Extract from ‘Pseudo-functionlism in Modern Architecture’, Frederick Kiesler. Published in ‘Partisan Review’, July 1949

Elaine Byrne’s installation Raum is a haunted space, constructed from melancholy,  symbolic fragments of ways of living that have faded away, and thinking that never was. This exhibition is a tribute to difference neutralised by the uncompromising normative pressures of what modernity actually is. Within Raum, Byrne examines the query at the heart of Modernism, articulating that Modernism is at the very least, built on ruins.  Many of those imagined, utopian futures are merely unconsciously reiterated ways of living that already have been, and are now lost. Byrne’s space is a re-invoking of the imaginative world of utopian thinkers such as Kielser. It is a world, seen from our time, of phantoms ideas and ghosts of possibilities that never came to be.

WORLD 1: This exhibition articulates this first world, as the ‘thought’ world of Frederick Kiesler, awkwardly described as an Austrian-American, avant-garde, sculptor, theatre and exhibition designer and architect. Kiesler was a man who spent a lifetime ignoring conventions and persistently asking of the world around him: simple, fundamental questions, such as ‘How are we to live?’ – the kind of questions that got Socrates killed. Kiesler suffered the less dramatic, but arguably as fatal, fate of being largely ignored, sidelined by architects as a utopian dreamer who only built three buildings. However, in his manifestos, writings and innovative exhibition designs, he consistently returned to first principles, arguing that our built environment be designed around the well-being of the ‘psyche of the dweller’. He was deeply antagonistic to modernism architectural practices , arguing that these employed the veneer of the modern to disguise the ruthless logic of economic efficiency.

SPACE 1: Byrne fills the gallery with an amended reconstruction of part Kiesler’s monumental structure  ‘Raumstadt’ (‘City in Space’) originally built in the Grand Palais, Paris (1925) as the Austrian contribution to the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. Kiesler’s structure was a ground breaking, multi-element installation that incorporated the work of other artists and designers.  It  was itself a sculptural work, which displayed other artists’ work afresh, breaking the dull, conventional ways of presentation and seeing which Kielser thought killed the power of creativity. By actively involving the spectator, Kiesler wanted the viewer to add his contribution to the creative act.

WORLD 2: The second world is the past world of a settled Irish traveller, Hanni Harty, whose cottage in County Limerick has been adandoned since her death in 1994.Byrne presents this world through the lens of context, and time, looking at the practically tangible space between realities and dreams as we can see it.

SPACE 2: Byrne’s reconstruction of Kiesler’s framework of display, which is in the scale of Hanni’s cottage, contains sounds, artifacts,  as well as photographs from Hanni’s house. A two-room house, made primarily of wattle and daub, once brightly and intimately decorated by Hanni, is now a beautiful, chromatic ruin. It is an actual space with a real history, an ‘honest building’ in Kiesler’s terms, but not from the cold mega-city of the modernist future.

‘…Cathedrals were built by slum dwellers…’ -Frederick Kiesler

Text – Nick Hackworth, London



Robert Armstrong

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(b. 1953) in Gorey, Co.Wexford and Lives and works in Dublin.

“Armstrong’s paintings re-order the fragments of a disorientated image culture. They attempt to penetrate through multiple layers of appearence, offering an incidental practice of looking in which, as T.J. Clark proposes in relation to Poussin, the image, “breaks up, recystallizes, fragments again, persists like an after image”. ”

– Declan Long, Robert Armstrong: AfterImage (2007)

Links to previous shows;

Slips and Glimpses | Robert Armstrong & Anna Bjerger | 17.11 – 17.12 2016

Group Exhibition – Instant Crush, July 4 – August 2 2014

Assumptions, January 16th – February 15th 2014

Featured at VOLTA10 Basel, 16 June- 22 June 2014

Group Show – Something tells me it’s all happening at the zoo, 29 July – 28 August 2010

Selective Perspectives, Group Show, 30 May – 27 June 2013

Building Sights, Robert Armstrong, Tadhg McSweeney, Mark Swords, 4 – 27 November 2010

Group Show – Above The Fold, Group Show, 8 – 23 December 2009

Blimp on the Horizon, 02 April 2009 – 25 April 2009


Michael Boran

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(b. 1964) in Portlaoise, lives and work in Dublin.

The photographs of Michael Boran track the fleeting traces of interactions between people and places. Tracing and mapping different movements and directions across the surface, they open up a bird’s eye view of underlying patterns and shifting co-ordinates. Often utilising aerial viewpoints from a height at which the camera seems to be about to float away from the world, Boran’s photographs offer the viewer unfamiliar visions of the familiar. Notions of scale and transference between micro and macro-cosmos are explored in a manner of mapmaking.
Searching, positioning and mapping are recurrent themes both by the artist and the protagonists who seem to wander into the frame. These maps attempt to measure not only the four points of the pictorial compass, but also look inward, into the realm of mystery, synchronicity and underlying principals. Boran’s scientific approach is also evident in the general sense in which he moves beyond questioning our notions of the real, to attempt a deeper analysis of the actual through the creation of ‘photographic’ evidence. His images suggest an experimental laboratory of the everyday, presenting a map of a journey which moves from the specific to the underlying principals that govern.

Link to previous shows;

Through the Undergrowth, April 4th – 3oth 2016

Group Exhibition – Instant Crush, July 4 – August 2 2014

Parallel Lines, Michael Boran & Igor Eskinja, 10 March – 2 April 2011

view artist’s website

Elaine Byrne

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Byrnes  research-based practice examines overlooked histories, historical texts and artworks as a platform to mobilize history as it relates to current political and social concerns.For example, she has leveraged Frederick Kiesler’s 1925 architectural manifesto to interrogate the housing crisis in Ireland.

Employing sculpture, video and photography she focuses on opening new questions for the viewer to highlight present day urgencies. Giving prominence to language her methodology often uses the interview as a way to confront difficult legal or civic issues, e.g., using James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922), the ‘Pure Codology’ interviews address the anti-Semitism in Hungary through the local attitude to Bloomsday.

Link to previous shows;


Solo Exhibition – Whenceness 05.05-28.05, 2016

Group Exhibition – Instant Crush, July 4 – August 2 2014

RAUM, 10 January – 9 February 2013

Group Show – Preview 2012, 20 December 2011 – 6 January 2012

view artist’s website

Anna Bjerger.Oliver Comerford.Diana Copperwhite | 22.11-22.12 2012

Written by Lara on . Posted in Exhibitions


Kevin Kavanagh is pleased to present new paintings by Anna Bjerger(SWE), Oliver Comerford(IE) and Diana Copperwhite(IE).

“Anna Bjerger paints heartbreaking utopias from magazine clippings. Filled with breezy landscapes and loose limbed figures, her work evokes the summer vacation version of Matisse’s Cote d’Azur. Her pictures pit ordinary life against extraordinary memories; because those reminiscences are basically voyeuristic, her paintings capture a realm of the senses that is bittersweet as anything produced by the sensualist painter of Luxe, Calme et Volupte.” Christian Viveros- Faunes

“Comerford’s paintings are , to a very significant degree, contemplative in mode-they show us spaces of suspense, but also of extraordinary, captivating stillness-and yet these unending journeys towards the edge of everyday life suggest an almost frenetic quest for calm: an unceasing and agitated striving, a hyperactive hankering for a setting, a sensation beyond the congested, contained conditions of urban existence” Declan Long

“Diana Copperwhite constantly mentions  a musical logic and a sense of musical notation and tonality as she describes the act of painting. But, on the other hand, she insists that she does not pre-stucture, that she allows one colour to suggest another, that the element of gesture and chance is essential as is the flash of insight and the swift ability then to structure it, to carry it out.” Colm Tóibín


Eatramh | Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh | 18.10-17.11 2012

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We navigate spatial plains not with sight alone but through a combination of our exteroceptive senses in order to position ourselves within the known world. In keeping with this logic, we must also apply the sense of such senses to our deconstruction of introspective and/or imagined space. Within Ní Mhaoghnaigh’s canvases, planes resonate in quiet motion coaxing an introverted state, creating atmosphere which is not didactic, but personable and honest. The works achieve not an exchange between viewer and canvas as is with most painting but ensue a sort of symbiotic amalgamation of viewer and spatial dimension. Ní Mhaoghnaigh creates aesthetic portrayal of infinite spatial dimension, non-exclusively physical, which we attempt to gain access to by means of deconstruction through language, in this case on and extending from the canvas plane.

A duality is formed in paired works. Opposing canvases turn thresholds of seaming vastness into enclosed sanctuary, completed by concave/vex equilibrium. This polarity creates a dichotomy to the way in which shifts in theatrics and notions of territory are handled, pushing against current boundaries in order to re-appropriate how we think on many. We separate their duality as they can only exist opposing one another like Nietzche’s Apollonian and Dionysian, in which order and disorder function symbiotically as separate entity’s to keep each other on track.

It has been previously suggested that Ní Mhaonaigh’s work, may be a private attempt at what Foucault called the de-sanctification of space, in which site and space cannot detach from the shroud of sanctity ever attached to what we regard as history. It is inherent in the nature of the non-linear composition to evoke the suggestion of time and with that, themes of our ever-accumulating past.

The works confidently display self-assurance, asserting through self-dissection, their own worth, place and ability free of distracting tangents. The physical application of painting acts to attain a similar affect as the resonating assimilated plains within.  Thick application of paint removes the canvas surface/frame from being our first/last port of call, dissolving final boarders. On a very straight level these works demonstrate why abstract is not ever absurd but is just not a linear narrative. Forms compete for our attention lacking a finality, creating the theatrics which accompany the possibility for infinite potential.

“They are symbols longing for an epiphany…What remains striking is the emptiness of the reformative spaces and what is absent and alluded to outside of the canvas. The viewer is drawn to acknowledge gaps in the representational attempts of the painting and the arbitrariness and instability of meaning… they may be the visualisation of a ‘mind at work’ in its dislocated search of spiritual and ontological certainty”.  Skatulski and Snow

Ailbhe O’Connor

Tadhg McSweeney

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(b. 1978) in Sligo, lives and works in Carlow, Ireland

“True, there are paintings on the wall, and several sculptural pieces distributed throughout the space, but when you look more carefully at any of them you’re likely to become less sure about what you’re looking at. What does becomes clear is that McSweeney loves the flicker between certainty and uncertainty. He likes making things that invite recognition and then cancel the invitation at the last minute. His work is not exactly a rejection of what has gone before, of artistic or aesthetic conventions, but a bid to figure out how one can make something with the remains, the residue of what has gone before.”

– Aidan Dunne. The Irish Times (2010). Extract from the review of Portmanteau (2010).

Links to previous shows;

Group Show- Many Worlds, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, 15.9-29.10.2017

Pictures From The Surface, 9 July – 1 August 2015

Group Exhibition, Instant Crush, July 4 – August 2 2014

McSweeney and Nisenbaum, 8 – 30 November 2013

Group Show, Room Outside, 28 July – 13 August 2011

Building Sights, Robert Armstrong | Tadhg McSweeney | Mark Swords, 4 – 27 November 2010

Group Show – Something tells me it’s all happening at the zoo, 29 July – 28 August 2010

Portmanteau, 15 April 2010 – 08 May 2010

Group Show – Above the Fold, 8 – 23 December 2009

Group Show – Group Therapy, 28 November – 23 December 2008

Stephen Loughman

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(b. 1964), lives and works in Dublin.

‘Loughman’s energy is enhanced by depopulating his pictures, removing story, emotion, tension, leaving only the very residue of life behind and producing landscape which is all the more compelling for its starkness…In a time so devoted to individuality, the work of Stephen Loughman visually reinforces that strangely separate quality in which we experience our lives as part of some other narrative. We come to life in these landscapes which have been taken from realities elsewhere, versions  of ourselves that have pre-existed us in imaginary form, in another medium, a cross-reference, fictionalised somewhere in the past by culture and commerce.’

Extract from Nothing is Real by Hugo Hamilton

download C.V.

Links to previous shows;

Solo Exhibition- Proven Answers, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, 2018

Solo Exhibition – W.I, October 12 – November 11, 2016

Group Exhibition – Instant Crush, 4 July – 2 August 2014

Group Exhibition – ALL DAYER, 12 – 21 September 2013 

Interiors, 25 April – 25 May 2013

Volta NY 2012, 8-11 March 2012

Group Show – Preview 2012, 20 December 2011 – 6 January 2012

Room Outside, Group Show, 28 July – 13 August 2011

Group Show – Something tells me it’s all happening at the zoo, 29 July – 28 August 2010

Group Show – Above The Fold, Group Show,8 – 23 December 2009

Our Victory, 29 May – 20 June 2009

Group Show – Group Therapy, 28 November – 23 December 2008

Sean Lynch

Written by Lara on . Posted in Artists

(b.1978) is an Irish artist who lives between Berlin and Limerick.

Sean Lynch’s artworks investigate and reflect upon the methods, understandings and representations involved in dealing with contents of history. In recent years the idea of spotlighting idiosyncratic moments of the past has been his primary concern. This occurs through actions and gestures made around particular subjects that are identified from specific research and fieldwork. The photographs, installations and publications artworks generated in this process are speculative and open-ended in nature, engaging the contingencies of interpreting legacies of historical and cultural knowledge.

Download CV | Reviews | Artist Website | Publications 

Sean Lynch will represent Ireland at the Venice Art Biennial 2015.

Links to previous shows;

Scrapyard Carnival, 07 July – 30 July, 2016

ADVENTURE CAPITAL, Pavilion of Ireland at the 56th International Art Exhibition: La Biennale di Venezia, 9 May – 22 November 2015

Group Exhibition – Instant Crush, July 4 – August 2 2014

Sean Lynch, Modern Art Oxford, 12 April- 8 June 2014

Sean Lynch, 22 March – 21 April 2012

Group Show – Preview 2012, 20 December 2011 – 6 January 2012

Group Show, Room Outside, 28 July – 13 August 2011

DeLorean: Progress Report, 7 – 29 January 2010

Group Show – Above the Fold, 8 – 23 December 2009


VOLTA8 | Basel | 2012

Written by Lara on . Posted in Art Fairs

Ulrich Vogl | Diana Copperwhite | Sinead Ni Mhaonaigh | Mark Swords | Sonia Shiel | Paul Nugent


June 11 – June 16 

Booth B24

Ulrich Vögl’s work comes across as bewilderingly heterogeneous in form, material and content. Pencil drawings on paper; animated film; sculptural installations made from recycled cardboard packaging and readymade objects; cardboard cut-outs; photographic collage; wall drawings; painted glass. Each of his projects is underwritten by a strong conceptual basis, and it could be that he chooses to realise each in the most appropriate manner, whatever that might be. But there are also persuasive consistencies to what he does that suggest a concerted engagement with certain core and processes and media, and it’s reasonable to suggest that this ongoing engagement is the dynamo that drives his work along a definite line of development

Diana Copperwhite’s work focuses on how the human psyche processes information, and looks at the mechanisms of how we formulate what is real. With her work, she is fully aware that such realities may only hold validity for an instant, and that we are constantly processing and changing what we logically hold as experience and memory. Layering fragmented sources that range from personal memory to science, from media and internet to personal memory, Copperwhite’s canvases become worlds in which the real is unreal and this unreality is in a constant state of reforming.

In Sinead Ni Mhaonaigh’s work the seductive attraction of the painting lies in their extrovertly taciturn quality, and by the way in which the gutsy, even aggressive application of colour is countered by the sensitive, even delicately tentative, scoring of the paint in all its precise and potent hues. Rare is it to see paint being worked so sensually and yet often so brutally.

Paul Nugent’s works are influenced by photographic reproductions of eighteenth century paintings from art history books. Each painting painted blue has the appearance of a print maker’s printing plate or of the early photographic process of cyanotypes. The photographic references are inverted through the painting process into negative images creating a kind of visual representation of the subconscious.

In Mark Swords’ work the hand-made aspect is clearly evident, and together with the materials, forms and use of colour, relay a sense of curiosity and workmanship. The works are finely executed, and this curiosity is apparent in the artist’s  self learning and even re-learning through his engagement with materials, such that a piece of work may result from the solving of a self imposed problem. Utilising materials that are often overlooked, including carpet, tent fabric, and string, and without attempting to hide the processes of making, the strength of Swords’ work resides in its fragility and careful informality.

Sonia Shiel’s installations, often composed of paintings, sculptures and videos, explore the propensity of art to be effective in the real world, while pitching mankind’s most earnest endeavors against their odds.

For more information please click for Volta Catalogue
VOLTA NY (2012)

VOLTANY|NewYork|Stephen Loughman|2012

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Stephen Loughman | Booth F9

VOLTA NY | 8 – 11 March 2012

Kevin Kavanagh is pleased to present, Stephen Loughman’s new series The Fisherman’s Widow, which takes its name from a print found on the wall of the room of one of Jack the Ripper’s victims. Each painting takes its source a “grab” from a film (Dressed to Kill, Klute and from the Life of the Marionettes). These images come preloaded with associations embedded within the narrative thread is the prelude to a violent act. For Loughman, the act of painting these images functions as a distilling method which slows down and fetishes what is only a few seconds of film time. The titles of the works are taken from the scripts of the respective films.

“Stephen Loughman visually reinforces that strangely seperate quality in which we experience our lives as part of some other narrative. We come to life in these landscapes which have been taken from realities elsewhere, versions of ourselves that have pre-existed us in imaginary form, in another medium, a cross – reference, fictionalised somewhere in the past by culture and commerce.”

Text by Hugo Hamilton, taken from Nothing is Real, Stephen Loughman & Mark O’Kelly (2008)

For more information please click for Volta Catalogue
VOLTA 2011

VOLTA 7 | Basel | 2011

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Booth B18

Kevin Kavanagh is pleased to represent  Gary Coyle and Sean Lynch at VOLTA 7, Basel..

Gary Coyle has been visiting the well known 40 Ft swimming spot for the last decade. The 40 Foot is a promontory on the southern tip of Dublin Bay at Sandycove, where people have swum in the Irish Sea all year round for some 250 years. In former times it was kept solely as a gentlemen’s bathing place and the gentlemen’s swimming club was established to help conserve the area. Due to its isolation and gender-specific nature it became a popular spot for nudists, but in the 1970s during the women’s liberation movement, a group of female equal-rights activists plunged into the waters, now it is open to women and children as well. The gentlemen’s swimming club still exists and is open to both genders. The Forty Foot also featured in the novels Ulysses by James Joyce, At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien and At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O’Neill.
He has bottled the water ,recorded each experience in a diary, taken photographs of the coastline and has worked on large-scale drawings of the sea. To submerge yourself in this work is to submerge yourself in the experience of the daily swimmer. View the brooding skies; the crashing waves and occasionally the expanse of calm water as most of the photographs were taken while Coyle was in the water.  The result of this investigation is AT SEA THE DAILY PRACTISE OF SWIMMING.

Sean Lynch’s artworks investigate and reflect upon the methods, understandings and representations involved in dealing with the contents of history. In recent years the idea of spotlighting idiosyncratic moments of the past has been his primary concern.  This occurs through actions and gestures made around particular subjects that are identified from specific research and fieldwork. The photographs, installations and publications artworks generated in this process are speculative and open-ended in nature, engaging the contingencies of interpreting legacies of historical and cultural knowledge. Recent projects have included finding chalk from a Joseph Beuys blackboard that was erased after a lecture he gave in 1974; trying to document HyBrazil, a mythical island in the Atlantic; locating remnants of the DeLorean car factory at the bottom of Galway Bay; investigating alleged supernatural trees, in danger of destruction from Ireland’s new motorways; and working with peregrine falcons to develop alternative representations of a housing project.

The resulting artworks resist the notion of history as simulation. Instead they suggest the presence of an actual, although hidden, past, mostly eradicated from popular consciousness but briefly available in moments evoked through artistic practice. Extended narrative sequences are central to this approach, often moving between the anecdotal and objective-informative. In working in this manner, he views history not as a structure that anchors and legitimates everything, but rather as an amalgam of tropes and shifting viewpoints. The venture is to pick up fragments and renegotiate them into alternative configurations. Gallery presentations become an open space for this feedback to occur, and allow a place for the continued dissemination of tainted evidence and marginalia to be rehearsed and played out.

For more information please click for Volta Catalogue

With support from
culture ireland | cultúr éireann
promoting the arts abroad 
cur chun cinn na n-eadaíon thar lear



Mark Swords – Mosaic

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Mosaicedited by: Mark Swords/ Declan Long
photography: Mark Swords and Peter Rowen
Design and Production: Atelier David Smith
Printing and Lithography: MM Artbook Printing and Repro
Binding: Van Waarden, the Netherlands

Published by: Mark Swords and Atelier Projects

Sonia Shiel

Written by Lara on . Posted in Artists

(b.1975) lives and works in Dublin.

Sonia Shiel’s immersive and performative installations expand the spatial and temporal boundaries presumed of painting by inviting the viewer to inhabit them as if a protagonist in the landscape, or the studio, or the street-scape, or in the artist’s mind itself. Often free-standing or set away from the wall, her paintings are oddly 3-dimensional, forming installations or fictional landscapes-cum-terrains. Whether house-size, calendar-size; soft, hard; still or moving they originate as oil on canvas works, and are later variously appropriated into other forms and onto other structures. Sometimes the works take on other lives; in animation and performances where they are the subject, the set, or the prop; and in architectural interventions where their facade’s dimensionality is just painted-on, knowingly existing somewhere between real art and fake. A similar self-reflexive dichotomy between the ‘artist’s’ idealistic intentions and the adversities that contaminate the ‘artist’s’ actual agency has come to dominate her work’s many far-fetched narratives.

She has had exhibitions at VOID, Derry; The Glucksman Gallery, Cork; Rua Red, Dublin; The Crawford Gallery, Cork; The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; the ISCP, New York; The Cable Factory, Helsinki, Atelier Frankfurter; the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery; Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, the RHA Galleries, Ormston House, Limerick; the Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, among others. Shiel has been the recipient of many awards including the Tony O’Malley Award from the Butler Gallery and the Hennessy Craig Award from the RHA. She is represented by the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin and her work features in many international public and private collections, including the DLR Municipal Collection; the Arts Council of Ireland, the City of Frankfurt, the Glucksman Gallery and the Office of Public Works. Rectangle, Squared (2018) is a series of recent short stories and plays created as UCD’s Artist in Residence for Arts and Humanities, at the Department of English, Drama and Film from 2016-18. Other residencies and fellowships include the Art and Law Program, New York; the ISCP, New York;  HIAP, Helsinki; The Kulturbunker, Frankfurt; Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Dublin; and the Leighton Artists Studios residency at The Banff Centre, Alberta. Her current work is supported by the Arts Council and the DCC Visual Artists Bursaries for 2018.


Artist Website | Reviews | Publications

Download CV here.


Links to previous shows;

Rectangle, a written thing, 04.05 – 27.05 2017

Here, While the Bees are Sleeping, 30 April – 30 May 2015

Group Exhibition – Instant Crush, July 4 – August 2 2014

Selective Perspectives, Group Show, 30 May – 27 June 2013

The Human Race – 12 January – 11 February 2012

Group Show – Preview 2012, 20 December 2011 – 6 January 2012

Paul Nugent

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Paul Nugent lives and works in Dublin. Paul Nugent’s works are influenced by photographic reproductions of eighteenth century paintings from art history books. Each painting painted blue has the appearence of a print maker’s printing plate or of the early photgraphic process of cyanotypes. The photographic references are inverted through the painting process into negative images creating a kind of visual representation of the subconcious. This recalls Freud’s ananlysis of the photographic process of the negative plate being like the sub-concious. Like images from a storybook, they show figures in conversation or preoccupied in their own thoughts. The backdrops from which the figures emerge are painted in layers of transparent Prussian blue, transforming these woodland environments into graceful interior worlds. That which is opened to us for viewing has the character of a dream or memory evoking what the biologist and theorist Gerald Edelman called the remembered present, “as if participation and conscious flourish only in the hazy light of memory”. Paul Nugent’s work has always explored notions of history.

Links to previous shows; 

Solo exhibition, Obscura, 14.09 – 14.10 2017

 I See A Darkness – 20 February – 14 March 2015

Group Exhibition – Instant Crush, July 4 – August 2 2014

Group Show – Preview 2012, 20 December 2011 – 6 January 2012

Volta NY, 3 – 6 March 2011

Group Show, Regarding Painting, 1 – 24 July 2010

Volta 6 Basel, 2010

Remembrance part II, 17 October – 31 October 2009

Paul McKinley

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(b.1973) in Birmingham, England. Lives and works in Dublin, Ireland.

“McKinley’s often large-scale views of seemingly idyllic natural settings are skilfully rendered in dazzling, intricate detail – we see, through an apparently impressionistic haze, lakes and forest glades, meadows and streams – yet only the titles and the smallest of scattered visual clues alert us to the actual urban context of these ostensibly bucolic vistas: this is ‘nature’ in its constructed, manicured, overtly cultural form. As such, therefore, McKinley’s ongoing effort to study these places (each seductive painting is the result of several months of technically testing labour, each drawing is a lesson in prolonged, patient attention to particulars) does not seem to be sustained by a Romantically-sourced passion for the ‘truth and beauty’ of the natural world. Despite the apparently resolved and reassuring appearance of these obviously picturesque scenes (crucially, they are almost too conventional), McKinley’s aim has been to develop what he is termed a ‘forensic’ mode of viewing: the work is in part, therefore, a reserved, distanced form of methodical painterly inquiry, an investigation into both the ordering and the observation of space.”

– Declan Long, After Nature, an extract from Paul McKinley, Farewell Chestnut Avenue, (2007)

Download C.V.

Link to previous shows;

Solo Show – Elysian Fields, 15.2-16.3.2018

Group Show – Many Worlds, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, 2017

Solo Show, Hanuman, 19.11-19.12. 2015

Featured at VOLTA10 Basel, 16.-22.6. 2014

Group Show – Instant Crush, 7.4 –8.2.2014

Group Show – Preview 2012, 20.12. 2011 – 6.1.2012

Canada, 6 – 29.1. 2011

Group Show, Room Outside, 28.7 – 13.8.2011

Operation Turquoise, 21.3 – 20.4. 2013

Nevan Lahart

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(b.1973) lives and works in Dublin.

Q.Write 5 sentences about your work for PR purposes.

It doesn’t seem like work.

I don’t like work.

Can I make it work for me.

Don’t give up the day job.

One last sentence and I’m done, for this seasons collection; sheer blacks with luminous earthy colours, overall a somber funerary collection with a dash of joie de vie.


Links to previous shows;

Disguise the Limit, September 8th – October 8th 2016

Group Show – Instant Crush, July 4 – August 2 2014

The Most Conservative Game in Town, 14th February – 16th March 2013

Group Show – Preview 2012, 20 December 2011 – 6 January 2012

Group Show, Room Outside, 28 July – 13 August 2011

Group Show – Above the Fold, 8 – 23 December 2009

Preview Berlin 2010, 8-10 October 2010

Group Show – Something tells me it’s all happening at the zoo, 29 July – 28 August 2010

OFFCENTRE,Nevan Lahart | George Young | Yuko Nasu, 30 July – 29 August 2009

Ugly Lovely, 8  – 31 January 2009

Margaret Corcoran

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(b. in 1963) lives and works in Dublin.

Corcoran’s interest in historical echoes comes not from a train-spotterish desire to trace references but, instead, from a wish to show how our ideas of what history is – and what it means – are informed by the images art has given us. Retell it, and you begin to realize that there are other histories that have been forgotten along the way.

-Gemma Tipton (2017)

Full review available to read on the Frieze website.

Reviews | Download CV | Artist Website  | Publications| Radio (RTE Arena)

Link to previous shows;

Oliver Comerford

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(b.1967) lives and works in Dublin.

“The American cultural historian Richard Sennett put forward the idea that something fundamental has happened to our sense of space, especially of urban space. Because we now move at speed, he argues, we have stopped paying attention to public spaces for their own sake and have made them ‘a means to the end of pure emotion – we now measure urban spaces in terms of how easy it is to drive through them…The driver wants to go through the space, not to be aroused by it.’ Driving becomes more and more like watching television: ‘Thus the new geography re-inforces the mass media. The traveller, like the television viewer, experiences the world in narcotic terms; the body moves passively, desensitized in space, to destinations set in a fragmented and discontinuous urban geography.’This could be a description of many of Oliver Comerford’s paintings. They are images of transition that never form anything so continuous and coherent as a journey. They take us through places that are at once real and insubstantial, that loom in the light and dissolve in the shadows, places where definitions blur and boarders between one thing and another seem always on the point of being washed away.”

Fintan O’Toole, Out of Here, Oliver Comerford, (2010)

Links to previous shows;
The longest

Dermot Seymour

Written by Lara on . Posted in Artists

b. in Belfast (1956). Lives and works in Mayo, Ireland

“Dermot Seymour’s picture knows what it is doing but does not end up, as so much art of this sort does, merely looking knowing. What strikes you first is not the decodable constituent of the picture but the overall oddity of it, and that the impression of not having got to the bottom of it remains no matter how long you stay with it. The world is viewed here from an enchanted distance. It is made strange and new by the yoking together of heterogeneous things like a Russian helicopter and a wild duck, wildflowers that might have come from Botticelli, and a dead fish that seems to have escaped Hieronymous Bosch; it is also made at one entrancing and inscrutable by the actual quality of the painting itself, where the representation is exactly as it described in the catalogue-namely ‘in a style approaching photorealism… [which] creates a bizarre, almost surreal atmosphere’.”

– Seamus Heaney, Fish, Flesh and Fowl, A Retrospective, (2011)


 Publications  | Reviews

Link to previous shows;

Hidden dips, Blind summits -The road to Brexitaria | 19.10-18.11.2017

Group Exhibition – Instant Crush, July 4 – August 2 2014

Fliskmahaigo, 20 November – 20 December 2014

Group Show – Preview 2012, 20 December 2011 – 6 January 2012

Room Outside, 28 July – 13 August 2011

Group Show – Something tells me it’s all happening at the zoo, 29 July – 28 August 2010

Hibernium: A Trip Across the Head of Ireland, 4 February – 3 March 2010

Eyed, 14 September – 20 October 2007


The Temple of Psychic Youth | Group Show | 11.08-08.09 2012

Written by Lara on . Posted in Exhibitions


Michael Ashur
Miranda Blennerhassett
Oisin Byrne and Patrick Hough
M and E
Mark Durkan
Jim Fitzpatrick
Dorje De Burgh
Elaine Reynolds
David Joyce
Jonah King

Organised by Pádraic E. Moore


By perception we generally mean what the body is able to perceive; that is, the information discerned by the body of the world exterior to it. To be perceived, then, a sensation must pass through the body by means of a sensory organ – be that of the eye, ear, nose, mouth, or skin. That sensation is in turn filtered and interpreted by the mind.

But what if the potential of human sense perception has not been fully understood or realised? It is this notion, the possibility of an extra or alter-sensory perception, that this exhibition wishes to address.

Traditionally, human ‘progress’ has to date denied what might be termed instinctive, living, or imaginative perception, so that intellectual perception is permitted to dominate. And yet the most profound and important things can be felt and experienced, even whilst they shirk from comprehensive human expression. Visual art’s vitality rests on its capacity to create and communicate knowledge and ideas via methods of communication which are often unwritten and unspoken. It speaks to a sphere of the psyche that quietly and unconsciously exerts an enormous influence upon our lives. Visual art thus stakes the claim to a site of pure mind/matter interaction.

The title of this exhibition derives from a fellowship of artists founded in 1981 who combined avant-garde cultural practice with modern day magick. Though the exhibition is not affiliated directly with the original fellowship, it is initiated in a spirit of sympathy to certain sensibilities of theirs; for example, their belief in a perpetual state of conditioning by which we are coerced ever further into self-restriction, into narrower and narrower perceptions of ourselves, our own importance, our own potential and experience.

Trained to ignore the evidence of our senses and experience, we feel guilt when confronted with sense-derived visions of ourselves as ‘free spirits’… And yet subjective intuition activated through engagement with works of art is perhaps the most vital part of a persons’ consciousness in that it constitutes the most valuable part of what each of us knows. It is information that shapes how we perceive the world and yet cannot be explained theoretically: it is impenetrably bound to that cognitive dimension of intuition and instinct. Conveyed by associating with people in shared activities and experiences, it is this on which the notion of the temple rests. The idea of ‘exhibition-as-temple’ is of course not new, but here the temple is one in which intuition and togetherness are key. Though the decision to bring the work together was largely intuitive, the works are unified in a synchrony of concerns and characteristics. Evident is the reference to religious or spiritual rites: more specifically the preoccupation with the sites of sacred rites or super-physical eventality.

On a personal level, this exhibition has allowed me to elucidate the meeting point of often-divergent strands of research. Additionally, it presents the opportunity to mention the work of a constellation of artists who have never exhibited together before. But it must be stressed that the aim in organising this exhibition was not to make explicit the ties that bond magic and art. Nor was it intended as an oft-iterated commentary on New Age culture’s omnipotence within contemporary art. The exhibitions’ allusions to archetypal symbolism and invocation of rituals might suggest that it was motivated by the wish to declare art’s value as a spiritual force in our secular society. In fact, the fundamental intention was simply to consider the power of non-verbal communication. The good will and collaborative enthusiasm I have encountered along this path have been wholly inspiriting. In short, this undertaking has allowed me to expand the circle of individuals whose work truly stirs within me the confidence to believe in something.



Mosaic | Mark Swords | 31.07-04.08 2012

Written by Lara on . Posted in Exhibitions

Mosaic, Book Launch


Mosaic: edited by: Mark Swords/ Declan Long
photography: Mark Swords and Peter Rowen
Design and Production: Atelier David Smith
Printing and Lithography: MM Artbook Printing and Repro
Binding: Van Waarden, the Netherlands

Published by; Mark Swords and Atelier Projects

Tesserae is a term for the individual units which together comprise a mosaic. The individual artworks in Mark Swords’ recent work could be viewed as tesserae. They amount to a diverse collection of objects and a varied approach to art making. The sum of these individual artworks form a picture of an artist whose engagement with and continuing questioning of his own working methods has led to a new and rich body of work.

The exhibition “Mosaic” was first shown at Wexford Arts Centre in April 2012 and featured Painting, Sculpture and Installation pieces. Acting as the starting point for this exhibition was the artwork “Shed”, (2010) which is a surreal representation of a garden shed and has been pieced together from old paintings and found materials. This artwork has itself functioned as a studio or production site for the artist within his own studio since Dec. 2010 and has directed and informed much of the artists practice since its “habitation”.

In 2011 Swords began working with David Smith and Atelier Design on “Mosaic”, a book made alongside the exhibition at Wexford Arts Centre. The book documents this exhibition and includes a text written by Declan Long. Also represented are a number of notable exhibitions, artworks and texts by the artist stretching back to 2006 and as such, “Mosaic” can be viewed as a catalogue of Swords’ career to date. Mosaic (both book and exhibition) was produced in connection with and funded by the AIB Art prize.


Hello Darkness | Gary Coyle | 31.05-30.06 2012

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“ It might be better to stop talking about the sublime completely seeing that the term has been corrupted beyond recognition by the mumbo jumbo of the high priests of art religion” Theodore Adorno.

Hello Darkness has taken up where Gary Coyle last left off. Returning to familiar territory  (South County Dublin) or in Coyle’s case terroir – a theme he has explored consistently over the past decade, throughout various exhibitions  (Ad Marginem (1999), Death In Dun Laoghaire(2005), Southside Gothic (2007)  At Sea (2010) – and through various media, -including photography, drawing and spoken word performance).

Coyle examines various aspects of The Gothic, Sublime’s trashier more unstable younger relation, which he has filtered through his neighbourhood, thus providing the setting for most of this exhibition.

 “One of the enduring characteristics of the gothic can be found in its emphasis, on fragmentation, inconsistent narratives and an excess of morphological, disjoined and decentralized forms & shapes”.[1] Digitally morphed heads are proliferating in the sky of Algae Bloom, viruses sweep through, Twilight Forest. The Final Final Girl (a modern day Cassandra) is a figure Coyle has used before. She is making what we hope is her last appearance. She has endured untold disasters, come back from the brink to tell us her news, and it’s not good.

The inconsistent narratives are an element we also catch sight of within the drawing of the hooded, track suited figure (another re-occurring character who featured prominently in previous drawings). Part Friedrich’s poet visionary – eavesdropping on the end of the world / part Dublin Skobie – up to no good. Illustrating that classic trope of The Gothic, the divided self, hero/villain, like Philip Gustons hooded KKK men. This duality is taken up again in The Bridge which sees the Berkowitz quote rendered into binary text, (one of the fundamental building blocks of our modern world,)  imbedded into the drawing of the Stillorgan Dual Carriage .

Another key tenet of The Gothic is the conflict between nature & man. There is a tension here which is played out in various ways throughout the exhibition. We see this in the aforementioned Twilight Forest, The Bridge or in the ubiquitous screen which has taken over the Final Final Girl. In all of these drawings the natural has largely withdrawn and been replaced by the synthetic, a place where nature is experienced as an image or via a screen. A world in which according to Thomas Mc Elvilly, “ The techno sublime, the culmination of developments in capitalist globalisation will be the terror sublime of the next 50 years”.[2]

Scattered throughout the exhibition are several more straightforward drawings. These attempt to examine the psycho geography of places, which have significance for the artist such as Moran Park, and The Stillorgan Dual Carriage Way. Locations in which Coyle has returned to again and again.

So far so serious yet at the same time The Gothic has always been playful – with its tongue firmly stuck in its cheek, “Almost all art that could be called gothic has an ironic edge, its aware of the absurdity of its position.”[3]

In Haunted, a ghost? – a figure with a sheet over its head – is posed against a gloomy Southside landscape. Registered Trade Mark  mocks the artists gloomy preoccupations. In the drawing Arrggh, a man leaping off a high building, exhausted by the past decades endless rethreading of minutia of high modernism, whose investigation in some quarters has become almost holy writ.

“Don’t think since you haven’t heard from me for a while that I went to sleep. No, rather, I am still here. Like a spirit roaming the night. Thirsty, hungry, seldom stopping to rest, anxious to please…”.   David Berkowitz, Son of Sam

[1] Christoph Grunenberg. Gothic: Transmutations of Horror in late 20th Century Art.. (MIT Press 1997) p 169.

[2] Thomas McEvilley. Turned upside-down & Torn apart. Sticky Sublime Edited Bill Beckley, (Allworth Press, 2001) p75

[3] Jerry Saltz, Modern Gothic 2004, Village Voice, The Gothic, Edited Gilda Williams, (Whitechapel London, MIT Press 2007) p 48

Trouble | Mick O’Dea | 26.04-26.05 2012

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In conversation with Professor Kevin Whelan, 5.15pm

“The War of Independence is the world of Mick O’Dea’s new, challenging and brave exhibition. His flensed vision forces us to stop and look hard again at the shop-worn iconography of the War of Independence. In his meticulously painterly way, O’Dea, working from historic photographs, brings back to vivid life the figures of this period in all their flawed and slightly sinister humanity. These are gunmen of various hues, living with and on the edge of violence, taut even when relaxed, and coiled to unleash or accept death in an instant. The Black and Tans and Auxies carry themselves knowingly, presenting a glamorous, swaggering or louche version of themselves to the camera. They court the camera and hold our gaze in O’Dea’s, brilliant re- imaginings: the living men stare back at us from these large paintings, dominating us as they once thought to dominate a country. The artist reveals their self-consciousness, their acceptance of the role they chose to play, their theatricality, their stagings of their own aggressive version of masculinity. These are modern men, not all shy or reserved in front of a camera. By contrast the men on the Mayo Flying Column appear more opaque, shielding us from access to their inner sensibilities.

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 finish. In 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 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, Mick 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.


Sean Lynch | Dear JJ I read with interest | 22.03-21.04 2012

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The Kevin Kavanagh Gallery presents Sean Lynch’s second solo exhibition at the gallery, consisting of five artworks involving photography, slide projection, sculpture and a freely distributed publication.

A story can be told and described so many times until it begins to narrow down to a particular narrative and content. Lynch investigates the loose ends of this process: footnotes that tend to get lost, misplaced or unnoticed, eradicated from popular consciousness. His work points the existence of such material within a flexible public sphere, as a disparate series of objects and narratives swaying between the anecdotal and objective-informative.

Photographs detail 28 Angelsea Street in Temple Bar, focusing on architectural ornamentation on the building’s facade where the stonemason’s skill of vermiculation is evident. Here, irregular holes have been carved, intended to resemble the process of worms eating their way through the building until it collapses into rubble. This symbolic digression of all that is built will fall into ruin might be viewed in light of the building’s current tenants, the Irish Stock Exchange.

Dear JJ, I read with interest… is an ongoing investigation undertook since 2006 by Lynch in the Kerry Mountains to find a monument to Flann O’Brien. A sixteen-minute slide projection show in the gallery details ongoing progress. Another photographic series details the current condition of a large abstract sculpture by John Burke, found upside down in a hole on the edge of Cork City in autumn 2011 after being removed after from a nearby housing estate following protests by residents. In addition, a free publication details public interaction with a varied collection of Dublin’s public monuments and sculptures.

48 bricks arranged in various sculptural forms obliquely reference an incident in the centre of a traffic roundabout in Wexford town on 1st March 2008, where stack of paving bricks were covertly removed from the ground and neatly piled on top of each other on a Saturday night. The scene was photographed and appeared in the Irish Daily Mirror later that week, with an accompanying editorial endorsing it as an unusual and successful piece of public art. The event, which went unnoticed in any local or national art criticism, marks a significant editorial shift in the Mirror’s stance on the use of bricks in art. In 1976 the paper famously led with the headline WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH, reacting angrily to the Tate purchasing Carl Andre’s brick sculpture Equivalent VIII for their collection.

Since his 2010 debut solo exhibition at the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Sean Lynch has exhibited at the Camden Arts Centre, London, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt am Main, neugerriemschneider, Berlin, Catalyst Arts, Belfast, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, amongst others. In addition, Me Jewel & Darlin’ is a public art project by Lynch commissioned by Dublin City Council located on O’Connell Street, and in late 2011 he curated A Rocky Road, an exhibition examining the history of modern art in Ireland at the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork. In 2012 he is resident at the Gasworks International Residency Programme, London and continues to lecture on MAVIS, MA in Visual Art Practices, IADT, Dun Laoighaire.



Margaret Corcoran Embarking for HyBrazil

How to Spend it – Love, Time and the Universe | Margaret Corcoran | 16.02-17.03 2012

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How to Spend it- Love, Time and the Universe, comprises a body of work, ranging from smaller drawings and watercolours to paintings of various sizes, which draws on a range of Margaret Corcoron’s inspirations and influences to date. These include key art historical works, mythology, literature and more recently the teachings of Islam; in particular the story of Adam and Eve. Corcoran uses these as a starting point, adapting and developing them in her enquiry into the world around her and how our perceptions may be guided by preconceived ideas instilled within us. Her works, usually built up in layers, often proceed to juxtapose elements and imagery in such a way as to open up the doors to an alternative manner of perceiving and understanding the subject matter. According to Islam, responsibilty was attributed equally to both Adam and Eve, a concept which has impacted on Corcoran’s mediations on the concept of the couple; the balance within this union and love. This is an extension to an already present concern with the role and perception of women throughout history. In many of the works, lanscapes with Burkean undercurrents are populated with enigmatic and vibrant figures or objects, imbuing the scenes with a surreal atmosphere and hinting at a world which is beyond the immediately visible. Who or what are these and what is their purpose here? Diamonds reflect the contrast between what is beautiful and powerful yet also fragile, while water echoes the onward movement of life as a procession. Despite art historical and mythological references, Corcoran’s art is a response to the here and now, which shimmers with a life force and positivity.
Roisin Russell