Sean Lynch | A Murmur Repeated | 09/01/20 – 01/02/20

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Kevin Kavanagh presents A Murmur, Repeated, Sean Lynch’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery. 

Opening on Thursday January 9th with Sean Lynch and curator Brenda McParland in conversation at 6.15pm, followed by a reading in the gallery by award winning author Kevin Barry at 6.45pm and reception from 7-8pm.
Alongside a varied collection of photographs, drawings and sculptures, Lynch presents a new 22 minute video, shot in the English port city of Southampton and nearby Stonehenge, featuring actors Gina Moxley and Timmy Creed. Time travel and spirit possession drive a surreal narrative where a bard from seventeenth century Ireland ends up encountering the empty car park of an out-of-business Toys R Us, IBIS hotels and the heritage industry surrounding the Neolithic landscape. Caught between a desire to fit into the constraints of the contemporary world and the seemingly liberal possibilities of a more poetic, distant life of the past, Lynch’s central characters grapple with the construction of public space and the role of history in the everyday.

A new publication, Bardlore / This is Bardcore, is published as part of the exhibition. Images of Lynch’s video are featured, accompanied by an essay by Kevin Barry, digressing from an overview of bardic culture of Ireland to consider Hollywood screenwriters, Mexican drug lords, and the strange rituals used in the making of verse itself. 

Sean Lynch’s recent exhibitions include Henry Moore Institute, Leeds (2019); CRAC Alsace (2019); Groundwork, Cornwall (2018); Martin Janda Galerie, Vienna (2018); Charles H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver (2017); Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2017); Rose Art Museum, Boston (2016); Modern Art Oxford (2014). He represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 2015. A Murmur, Repeated was first exhibited at John Hansard Gallery, Southampton in 2019.

SILVER | 25 Year Anniversary Show | 20/11/19-21/12/19

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To mark 25 years as a gallerist in Dublin, I have put together a special exhibition, SILVER. It is a personal selection of art works, each by an artist associated with the gallery and each, I feel, of exceptional quality.

Over the years, it has been an honour and a privilege to work with many of the finest artists in Ireland and elsewhere.

The gallery’s primary aim has always been to exhibit the artists’ best work in the most auspicious way, enabling and encouraging an appreciation of its character and quality. Apart from a full program of exhibitions the gallery has also worked with other venues throughout Ireland and abroad and promoted artists in international art fairs.

Art is a precarious enterprise for artists and gallerists alike. Their commitment is driven by passion, but of course that counts for nothing without the equally passionate commitment of collectors. Collectors of contemporary art contribute immeasurably to the cultural vitality of their society in the most immediate, direct way. The importance of their role cannot be over-estimated, and I greatly appreciate the support of the gallery’s loyal patrons through the years.

We live at a point when Ireland’s mid-career artists are the equal of their peers throughout the world, and the rising generation of artists has never seemed more promising and exciting. I look forward to continuing to work with both established and emerging artists, and with those who ultimately make it all possible, the collectors.

Special thanks for SILVER:

Aidan Dunne (text), Linda Hickey (advice), Robert Armstrong (more advice), Stephanie Deady (invite design), Mark O’ Kelly (insight) Martin Mackin (press), Adrian O’Carroll (photo), Peter Prendergast (install), Tony Kilduff (encouragement), Diana Copperwhite (support), Kathy Tynan (persistence) Patrick P. Higgins (patronage), Michael Corrigan (drinks), Harry Hutchinson, (hospitality) and Michelle Kennedy (patience, love and kindness)

Thanks to all the Artists:

Mick O’Dea, Robert Armstrong, Anna Bjerger, Michael Boran, Elaine Byrne, Michael Coleman, Oliver Comerford, Margaret Corcoran, Diana Copperwhite, Gary Coyle, Cecilia Danell, Stephanie Deady, Nevan Lahart, Stephen Loughman, Salvatore of Lucan, Vanessa Donoso Lopez, Sean Lynch, Alice Maher, Celina Muldoon, Aileen Murphy, Paul McKinley, Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Tadhg Mc Sweeney, Paul Nugent, Lesley Ann O’ Connell, Mark O’Kelly, Geraldine O’Neill, Richard Proffitt, David Quinn, Dermot Seymour, Sonia Shiel, Joe Scullion, Mark Swords, Kathy Tynan, and Ulrich Vogl.

Diana Copperwhite | Proto Fiction And The Sleep Of Reason | 10/10/10-09/11/19

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how things stand, at this very moment

In Diana Copperwhite’s exhibition Proto Fiction and the Sleep of Reason, her paintings appear to pulse, glow, dissolve, vibrate, radiate, to fade in and out of focus even as you look at them. Layers of scuffed, scraped and smeared colour partially obscure any underlying images or suggestions of recognisable subject matter. You, just briefly, see something there, a hint of the familiar, before it disappears again – and even the memory of its vision dissipates in turn. Copperwhite is adept at implicating the spectator in her artistic process, as she registers and records the intangible and the imperceptible: radio waves, infrared light, a change in atmosphere, impinging external distractions, flights of memory or free association. These ephemeral, evanescent elements all come together in the canvas, even if only momentarily before being buried within subsequent gestures.

Consider, for example, Electric Scream, with its overpowering central image of an oval void, a gaping aperture outlined with concentric, coloured rings. They seem to reverberate, ripple, and throb as they echo out from the centre. Despite the essentially abstract nature of the composition, I’m reminded of Edvard Munch’s The Scream, and particularly Frederic Jameson’s perceptive reading, that the work: “elaborately deconstructs its own aesthetic of expression, all the while remaining imprisoned within it. Its gestural content already underscores its own failure, since the realm of the sonorous, the cry, the raw vibrations of the human throat, are incompatible with its medium.” Similarly, Copperwhite’s piece implies sound without making any, or, perhaps more accurately, visually records those sounds that remain inaudible to the human ear (but which can nevertheless still be felt physically, like a deep bass note). She has often mentioned the role that music plays in her work, in the background of the studio, just occasionally catching her attention and pulling the painting in a new direction. The inverse of this is all those instances when music is not noticed but registers nonetheless: it insinuates itself into the work without specific intent or reference, as a mark of other, unseen, voices in the room. They hum under the surface.

The studio – and what happens in it – is key to understanding Copperwhite’s work. She has described her propensity to work on multiple paintings simultaneously, a willingness to let her antennae guide her away from a work in progress, to pick up where she had previously left off, to catch some invisible frequency and pursue the slightest flicker of a new idea or direction. This sensitivity is, of course, refracted through the agency of the artist herself, her distillation of these various instances into action and materiality, into paint on canvas. As Sara Ahmed writes:

“So we may walk into the room and “feel the atmosphere,” but what we may feel depends on the angle of our arrival. Or we may say that the atmosphere is already angled; it is always felt from a specific point. […] Having read the atmosphere, one can become tense, which in turn affects what happens, how things move along.”

Rather than merely serving as a conduit to or document of her environment, the painting, in its ongoing development over multiple returns and revisions, filters back into and affects that very same atmosphere. There is a dialectical back-and-forth of external factors informing internal reflection motivating action which, caught in a loop of feedback, becomes one of those factors in the room. Only when Copperwhite moves to ‘finish’ the work, to consciously terminate this potentially never-ending process, does it come to an end (at the time of writing, some of the works in the exhibition are still undergoing the final stages, gradually circling towards their moment of conclusion).

The prismatic effects deployed across numerous canvases operates as an indication of this spatial awareness as well, an abstract(ed) representation of the immeasurable, impalpable qualities that permeate the air around us. In The Sleep of Reason, rainbow-like swathes bend and swirl, captured in pure, intense vibrancy and in muted, washed-out stillness, while in another, as-of-yet untitled, composition, a sweep of vivid colours, capturing the full spectrum of light, juts up against an implied figure, a silhouette in blue-purple-maroon-white. There is no differentiation or distinction between solid form and ambient atmosphere: they are composed of the same qualities, the same subatomic particles, the same tubes of paint. This synthesizing effect is deeply embedded in Copperwhite’s works, bringing together memory and insight, the physical and the ungraspable, into a cohesive whole, towards an instant of perfect coherence. Before the atmosphere shifts, angles itself, and the painting responds in kind.

Chris Clarke, 2019

Green Like Now | Kathy Tynan | 05/09/19-28/09/19

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Kevin Kavanagh is proud to present Green Like Nowa solo exhibition of new paintings by Kathy Tynan opening 5pm Thursday 5th September.

From Wednesday 11th to Sunday 15th  September, Green Like Now will be transformed into a set for Pretty Feelings, a new play by Isadora Epstein written in response to Tynan’s paintings, performed by Epstein, Conor Lumsden and Ruan van Vliet. This will be part of The Dublin Fringe Festival. Booking is required so for show times and tickets please contact the Dublin Fringe Box Office.

On Culture Night, Friday 20th September the gallery will host a musical performance by Sinéad Onóra Kennedy at 8pm.

It was finally now. It was simply now. It was like this: the country was at 11:00 A.M. Superficially like a green yard of the most delicate superficiality. Green, green- green is a yard. Between myself and that green, the water of the air. The green water of the air. I see everything through a full glass. And nothing is to be heard. In the rest of the house the shadows are all swollen. Ripe superficiality. It is 11:00 A.M. in Brazil. It is now. That means exactly now. Now is time swollen to its limit. 11:00 A.M has no depth. 11:00 A.M. is full of eleven hours up to the brim of the green glass. Time quivers like a stationary balloon. The air is fertile and wheezing. Until, with a national anthem, the tolling of 11:30 cuts the balloon’s restraining ropes. And suddenly we’ll all reach noon. Which will be green like now

Extracted from Clarice Lispector’s The Passion According to G.H. 


a poem by Karina Tynan 

It’s a faint groundedness,
Hard to reach not to mind touch.

Sometimes almost found
In the turn of an autumn day

When the promise of evening
Has a feeling of shelter in it

And familiarity.
The music of the news on the telly,

Maybe something frying, always the usual
Nothing special like salad or pine nuts.

A very faint groundedness like the memory
Of  a love that never took shape.

SIRENS PART III |Celina Muldoon |22/08/19-31/08/19

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Kevin Kavanagh is proud to present SIRENS Part III, an exhibition and a performance by Celina Muldoon taking place Thursday 22nd at 7pm. Performance duration approx 25 mins. Muldoon will also be in conversation with Sue Rainsford in the gallery at 1pm Saturday 24th August. There will be a screening of the performance followed by an artist talk at 4pm Saturday 31st August.

SIRENS Part III is the third in a series of test events. For 2 weeks in August Kevin Kavanagh Gallery will become a site of call/response; action/reaction. 
SIRENS was originally conceived out of a desire to identify mythological races based around her home in Donegal and the isolated community of the North West of Ireland. What transpired was a deep exploration into our ancient cultural heritage and the supernatural sea-faring race called the Fomorians or Fomoire. Her research involved collaboration with young people in Donegal around their ideas of identity, isolation and a sense of place while living within fringe territories. Recurring topics where relationships with space, connections between landscape and escapism and rally culture.
Muldoon collaborated with writer Sue Rainsford to explore language, text and symbolism in ancient folklore and how they might translate in contemporary culture. Working with music producer Keith Mannion they tested experimental sound techniques to create a ‘battle cry’ or ‘Siren Call’ for the contemporary world. What evolved became a re-imagining of the power structures within Irish folklore to claim space through live performance, sound and text. SIRENS live installation – performance has been presented as a solo exhibition in Pallas Projects and Studios, as a Live procession from Temple Bar Gallery to The Project Arts Centre as part of LIVE COLLISION festival and will be exhibited as part of RHA FUTURESthis November.
Celina Muldoon
Muldoon (b.1980) is an Artist based in North West Ireland. Graduating with a First Class Honours degree in Fine Art, I.T. Sligo in 2014, with work in their permanent collection. Muldoon completed  an MFA in Sculpture from N.C.A.D. in 2016. Her graduate work ‘We are in cahoots…You and I’ was selected  for Mobius(Boston) int. performance festival 2017 and Craw festival Berlin 2018. She has exhibited in TBG&S, The Complex, waveparticle and Celine gallery, Glasgow and Project Arts Centre Dublin. Residencies include  MART and the Tyrone  Guthrie Centre. She has been awarded the Next Generation Bursary award, The Artist in the community scheme award and a residency in Cowhouse studios in partnership with The Mothership Project in November 2018 and the prestigious Temple Bar Gallery and Studio Project Studio Award 2019. Current research projects include a collaborative performance and  film culminating in a major exhibition in 2020. The debut of this project took place as part of Periodical Review #8 in PP/S Dublin.  
Sue Rainsford
Sue Rainsford is a fiction and arts writer based in Dublin. A graduate of Trinity College, IADTand Bennington College, she is a recipient of the Arts Council Literature Bursary Award, theVAI/DCC Art Writing Award and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. Her debut novel, Follow Me To Ground, was awarded the Kate O’Brien Award, and is longlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Award. Follow Me To Ground is available from New Island Books, and is forthcoming in the UK with Doubleday as well as in the US with Scribner. Currently, Sue is a visual arts writer in residence at the Roscommon Arts Centre, and with the generous support of the Arts Council she is working on her second novel, Redder Days.
Slow Place Like Home
Slow Place Like Home is the music of producer/musician Keith Mannion.
Based in the forests of Donegal, in the North-West of Ireland, he has released a series of EPs and two albums – debut ‘Romola’ in 2015 and the critically acclaimed sophomore ‘When I See You… Ice Cream!’, in 2017. He is currently writing new material as ‘Slow Place Like Home’ and is also a member of the band ‘Gaze is Ghost’, for which he is currently finishing a new album. His music and videos have featured on TV and Radio both nationally and internationally including MTV and Australian terrestrial T.V. His work has aired on radio stations such as KCRW, WFMU, BBC Radio 1 and BBC 6 music. Mannion has played live shows with Fujiya &MiyagiDan DeaconSquarepusherPerfume GeniusDay WaveEzra FurmanMoodoïdPrince RamaGlass Animals,Pantha Du Prince, Gold Panda and Amadou & Miriam. He has collaborated with luminaries such as Fearghal McKee (Whipping Boy) & The Cyclist (Stones Throw Records). He tours with various versions of his live band and will embark on a European tour in late 2019. Mannion is currently signed to Galway’s Strange Brew record label.

High Day | Group Show | 01/08/19-17/08/19

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01th – 17th August 2019

Sean Lynch, Elaine Byrne, Mark Swords, MIck O’Dea, Richard Proffitt, AileenMurphy, Geraldine O’Neill

High Day is a celebration of the accomplishments and diverse processes of a selection of gallery artists at varying stages of their careers. Incorporating a mixture of drawing, painting, sculpture, photography and collage, the exhibition hosts a vibrant conversation between form and medium.

Aileen Murphy’s gestural paintings on paper depict colourful figures playfully contorting their bodies and reveling in their own fleshiness. Through whimsical brushstrokes of vivid yellows, pinks and greens, the painted bodies seem at once internal and external, corporeal and intangible. Also making reference to the body, Richard Proffitt grounds​ his delicately assembled sculptures with painted hands and feet made of clay. Shown alongside some works on paper, these lumpy, disembodied appendages provide a necessary support to a series of fragile objects held together by sticks and string in a way that is both funny and strangely tender. 

Mick O’Dea’s works on paper disclose a ritualistic annual return to an island off the west coast of Ireland. While the paintings are made in the same location each year and contain certain abiding features, they also radiate with an otherworldly quality. These summer scenes, although true to life could have taken place in a completely different time ​or in some other hemisphere. Ice Cream Dream, a large painting by Mark Swords conjures all the joy and exultation of a child’s day at the beach. The liveliness of both composition and colour within the painting gives rise to dreams of beach huts adorned with glittering plastic, pink candyfloss and inflatable beach balls. The painting also contains certain markings and layers that convey an alluring sense of secrecy or an impression that its message has only been partly revealed.

Sean Lynch’s photographic close ups of seabed dioramas extend an invitation into another world. This one is filled with manmade sea anemones, baby squids and rippling foliage against a painted backdrop of shadowy oceanic depths. The photographs create mysterious moments of a kind of fabricated intimacy in which the viewer might feel inclined to dwell. Accompanying her sculptural works, ​Elaine Byrne’s photograph, Mushroom, depicts a curvy mushroom cap growing from the side of a mossy tree on Saint’s Island, Lough Derg. The piece is part of a series originally shown in a solo exhibition in Rome in which the artist examined the contemporary notions of corruption and punishment through the texts of 14th century pilgrims. Geraldine O’Neill’s paintings fall somewhere between past and present, dreamscape and reality. With masterful technique, O’Neill intermingles the grandiosity of art history with the normality of the everyday in a way that provides them with an equal status. Her canvases create a space of hallucinatory freedom for ideas to roam and flourish. 

High Day offers the opportunity to pause and take stock of these artists’ practices as they are in the present moment and also to look to the future through new artworks, indicating journeys yet to come. Bringing together a range of distinct and contrasting practices, High Day explores the abundance of information contained within each artwork. The exhibition invites the hazy blurring of boundaries that occurs when the artworks are read in relation to one another.

David Quinn|Joyful Mysteries|04/07/19-27/07/19

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Kevin Kavanagh is proud to present Joyful Mysteries an exhibition of new paintings by David Quinn.
Joyful Mysteries – Quinn’s first solo exhibition in almost 10 years, comprises a contemplative tone poem of paintings set in a world of crystalline light and detachment. 
As often with Quinn the point of departure is the porous interface between us and everything we feel that is not us. Light, land, water, flesh; all made of the same stuff – as we always knew it was, but never quite felt to be true.
 Presenting a catalogue of quietly charged moments and events; each painting’s surface becomes an instrument of almost binary measurements. Value is noted and assigned literally point by point; fields of nodes drilled directly into the panels create woodblock-like surfaces which underpin the enclosed intimacies depicted.  At times re-imagining art-historical tropes, meaning and pictorial significance is explored and delighted in. These are paintings as shifting substrates, accepting and activating the projections and values we as viewers assign, playing a little with our expectations while holding to the light the moment in question – which as ever, is at once familiar and unknowable.

David Quinn is an artist living and working in Mayo. He graduated with a BA in Fine Art from the National College of Art and Design in 1991.

Quinn has a longstanding relationship with Kevin Kavanagh. He has exhibited six solo shows at the gallery, most recently Hungry Rock (2010), and participated in numerous group shows. Quinn has shown work in institutions country-wide, including the Fenton Gallery, Cork (2007), the Hamilton Galery, Sligo (2011) and the RHA, Dublin (2004, 2017). His work has also been exhibited internationally in Glasgow (Leabhair Mor na, 2003) and Tallahasse(Works on Paper, LeMoyne Art Foundation, 2003). 

Quinn was the recipient of the Royal Dublin Society Taylor Art Award in 1991 and the Golden Fleece Merit Award in 2007. Public collections include the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Irish Embassy Washington D.C, the European Parliament (Brussels) and the Office of Public Works.

Lesley-Ann O’Connell | Midnight Swim | 06/06/10-29/06/19

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When you look at Lesley-Ann O’Connell’s paintings, over time it becomes apparent that they are in flux, spatially and temporally. Nothing within them is static and instead moods drift over the canvas and furtive notions make a brisk appearance. The titles of the work refer to atmospheric vignettes that conjure sensory experience, leaving an emotional imprint. In Midnight Swim, the moon spills its reflection over the choppy tide and unexpected colours lap over the waves and pierce through clouds.

They are strange and mysterious compositions that incorporate elements of visionary landscape painting, still life and abstraction. Experientially, the paintings have a tendency to leave the viewer unmoored, with very little by way of logic or points of reference to cleave to. And yet in this negation, other ideas of abstraction release, allowing for a more existential capacity within the paintings.

O’Connell has described a painting process in which her own handling of paint is secondary to the potential for chance and caprice to inform the work. Compositions are often dismantled or obliterated by unpredictable gestures, causing them to digress or to re-iterate a motif that has endured within them. It is an explorative process whereby the urge to glean a sense of satisfaction from chance aesthetic unity is constantly set aside by O’Connell who continues to reset paintings and pose contradictions within them. She is an artist who is less interested in controlling the medium or imposing a resolve and instead she allows the paintings to coalesce on their own terms.

Sometimes, tentative suggestions seek each other out and converse across a plain of faded palimpsest and they are let alone – their frivolity contrasting with the dense residual patina of the paintings own history. In this way the forms, colours, marks, washes and tones within the paintings cooperate to create a sense of drama. In some instances, paintings appear to have been imprinted upon each other giving a sense of resonance amidst as cacophony of marks. The paintings inform each other, grow from one another and in some cases are cannibalised by each other recurring as collage elements and composites of another painting.

This is a reflection of the myriad temporal and spatial dismissals that occur within O’Connell’s compositions. The viewer is allowed glimpses from numerous perspectives that soar to bird’s eye vantage points and drop into subterranean chasms. The paintings can be disorientating and idiosyncratic and still they retain a sense of synchronicity.

Other echoes
Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?
Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,
Round the corner. Through the first gate,
Into our first world, shall we follow
The deception of the thrush? Into our first world.
There they were, dignified, invisible,
Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves,
In the autumn heat, through the vibrant air,
And the bird called, in response to
The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery,
And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses
Had the look of flowers that are looked at.
There they were as our guests, accepted and accepting.
So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern,
Along the empty alley, into the box circle,
To look down into the drained pool.
Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged,
And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,
And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
The surface glittered out of heart of light,
And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.
Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.
Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.

Extracted from Four Quartets, Quartet No. 1: Burnt Norton by T.S Eliot

Text by Ingrid Lyons

An Enquiry II | Margaret Corcoran | 09/05/19-01/06/19

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Kevin Kavanagh, Dublin is proud to present An Enquiry II by Margaret Corcoran. This exhibition is part of a Production Residency at IMMA in collaboration with Kevin Kavanagh Dublin. Corcoran re-enters and elaborates on the themes from an earlier series; The Enquiry Series painted in 2002. In this earlier series, subjects such as identity, national identity, colonialism and post-colonialism are explored in an art-historical and social context. The Enquiry Series takes its title from Edmund Burke’s theories of The Sublime and follows the gaze of a young female, (the artist’s eldest daughter) during the final years of her childhood – finding her way along the green walls of the Milltown Rooms in The National Gallery of Ireland, viewing the historically and politically loaded paintings.

It is unusual for Corcoran to revisit her older work but in this case, the opportunity presented itself organically. An immediate prompt for this new series of paintings, entitled An Enquiry II, was the occasion of her daughter Thérèse, at a similar age, standing in front of the recent Vermeer exhibition at the NGI. But also the exuberance of a now complete renovation of the entire building and the riot of colour, the gleaming re-gilded frames and the new orders and choices of hanging. Permission and assistance was granted by the NGI and documentation began in order to produce a large body of paintings. 

Much has changed in the intervening years. Ireland has undergone cultural transformations. As a nation we are changed and we are also in changing times. Interestingly, the previous work was made just as the euro replaced our Irish coinage. In both series we are exploring rooms where our Irishness played out against a backdrop of colonialism and the great beauty and complexities of European art. These new paintings are made in the looming approach and unfoldings of Brexit. Still we feel the effects of the political decisions of our British neighbours.

These new works reflect the times we live in. They convey the hope for a new national confidence, particularly in female terms. The young woman walks freely through the rooms before the iconography of myth and religion. She has choices.

How The Oyster Makes The Pearl |Sonia Shiel | 11/04/19-04/05/19

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Kevin Kavanagh is proud to present How The Oyster Makes The Pearl, a solo show by Sonia Shiel. Sonia Shiel’s interdisciplinary practice combines key methodologies from art, law and theatre to imbue characteristics, autonomy and personal narratives in the inanimate objects and painted works that she creates. Playfully usurping the normal conditions of an artwork with a kind of self-conscious agency usually reserved for living things, her works are often free-standing or traversable; presented with their own volition, backstory, or environment; and sometimes consolidated within installations, audio works, performance or video. Shiel’s collection of paintings for How The Oyster Makes The Pearl presents the world translucently in a careful matrix of tone, opacity and colour. While framed, stuffed or folded like things we intend to keep safe and admire forever, Shiel’s flat vanishing spaces are already evanescing. They reveal the shape-shifting dimensions of a sentient landscape, in which reflections abandon their hosts, horizons untether themselves from their axis, gestural marks pose willfully and light plays tricks before disappearing. 

MICHAEL COLEMANS STILL LIFE |Michael Coleman | 14/3/19 – 6/4/19

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Kevin Kavanagh is pleased to present MICHAEL COLEMANS STILL LIFE, an exhibition of paintings which opens Thursday 14th of March. We are delighted to be working with Michael again for the first time since his solo exhibition in 1997 at the Jo Rain Gallery in Temple Bar. Born in 1951, Michael had his first one man show at the Oliver Dowling Gallery in 1977. In the same year he was awarded the Carroll’s Open prize at The Irish Exhibition of Living Art. 1979 saw him win the first prize for painting at EV+A and in 1980 was awarded the same prize for a second time. Following these successes he moved to Vienna where he lived for some years, returning to Ireland in 1989. In 1991 he Featured in ‘Irish Art of the Eighties’ a survey exhibition at the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College Dublin. Two major solo shows in the 90’s include his Hoeys Court Paintings at the RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin in 1994 and his ‘Temple Bar Painting’ Installation at the Hunt Museum, Limerick, 1998. He has presented solo exhibitions at the Green on Red gallery 1998 and 2000 and the Cross Gallery, 2004, 2006 and 2012. His work is represented in public and private collections in Ireland and abroad. He lives and works in Dublin. 

“There is an attractive openness about Michael Coleman’s paintings that involve building up in layers: painting out: painting over: experimenting, faltering, adjusting, recovering, redefining, triumphing. Always toying with failure, always nudging ideas towards the outer imaginative reaches. He bears witness to the nature of experience and memory, while simultaneously transmuting them into art” – Dennis Driscoll

Squeegee Paintings | Robert Armstrong | 07/02/19 – 09/03/19

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“If I am forced to associate, I think of my pictures as explosive landscapes, worlds, and distances held on a flat surface”. 
– Helen Frankenthaler

In his new paintings Robert Armstrong delights in the dripping, slipping, scraping, melding, oozing, brushing, and drying of oil paint on a heavily gessoed linen ground. The squeegee ravages the surface, clearing, and altering the physical ground as well as shaping the image itself. The results present ‘paintscape’ images of their own making and they connect to natural and man-made processes in landscape. The world depicted seems poised in a state of flux, suggesting the natural cycle of change, yet witness also to the interference of humanity.

Born in Gorey, County Wexford, Ireland, in 1953, Robert Armstrong lives and works in Dublin, and is represented by the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, also in Dublin.  He is a Founder Member of Temple Bar Gallery & Studios, Dublin and was Head of Painting at the National College of Art & Design (NCAD) from 2002 until his retirement in 2018, having taught at the college since 1991.  He has exhibited regularly in Ireland and abroad for more than forty years.  His work is included in many private and public collections and has been the subject of essays by writers including Aidan Dunne, Declan Long and Colm Tóibín. 

Winter Wanderer | Cecilia Danell | 10.01.19 – 02.02.19

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Cecilia Danell (b.1985) is a Swedish-born, Galway-based artist.  Her current body of work is based on winter walks in the area surrounding her family farm in Sweden, where the experience of being in the landscape influences the paintings beyond the photographic source material. She walks and traces an environment that she knows intimately, happening upon decaying remnants of human activity, further upending the romantic notion of nature as untended wilderness. Foregoing the picturesque for the partial and askew, there is an appearance of melting of the landscape, suggesting an existential undoing, as well as an ongoing exploration into the possibilities of the medium of paint.

Recent exhibitions include: ‘Futures Series 3 Episode 2’ RHA, Dublin (2018), ‘Island Life’, Kevin Kavanagh (2018), BEEP Painting Biennial, Swansea, UK (2018),
‘The Last Wilderness’ (solo) at Galway Arts Centre (2017) and The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon (2017). She was a 2017 recipient of the Arts Council Next Generation Award and has previously received Arts Council Bursary and Project Awards, the 2011 Wexford Arts Centre Emerging Artist Award and a 2016 residency award at the Nordic Artists’ Centre Dale, Norway funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Culture.

Vox Materia | Alice Maher | 29.11.18 – 22.12.18

Written by Ingrid Lyons on . Posted in Exhibitions


Alice Maher is one of Ireland’s most established and influential artists and yet despite the long familiarity of her work she hasn’t lost the ability to surprise and unsettle. Her art is always mutating, fresh and dynamic. This new installation, Vox Materia, continues her sustained interrogation into the aesthetic potential of hybrid forms. Maher claims that her work is “not declamatory” but instead driven by a desire to “extend figuration into other realms” and offer a haptic as well as visual poetics of form. It includes a series of hand-made sculptural forms and largescale prints on paper. In common with a lot of her well-known work Maher began with a figure drawn from mythology and folklore. In this case it was a 12th century carving of a Mermaid from the neighbouring Kilcooly Abbey.

Maher describes the mermaid as a “hybrid creature that transgresses boundaries between human and animal” making it an exemplary figure for embodying many of the themes and motifs that frequently appear throughout her rich and exquisite oeuvre. As a site for projecting both human desire and fear the mermaid offers the promise that the body can become reconsidered and reconstituted through relationships with unfamiliar forms. It also serves as a powerful political and ethical metaphor for the general ways in which identities can be subsumed. In particular it refers to the contemporary conditions of female identity and the possibilities offered the female voice.  It also reminds us that erotics and aesthetics are often inseparable.

Above is an excerpt from a text by Francis Halsall for Irish Arts Review

See the full text here.

Lost Highway Guy | Mark Swords | 2.11.2018 – 24.11.2018

Written by Ingrid Lyons on . Posted in Exhibitions, Uncategorized

There is a song on “repeat play” in the studio. It is late. I am wallowing in my thoughts, my focus drifting between the music and my own ideas, surrounded by paintings.


“…all alone and lost…”

I am there, very much alone and must somehow use this time, make it count.

“O the day we met I went astray …”

I should be somewhere else, helping someone else. Nothing here could be as important as that.

“…and now I’m lost, too late to pray…”

I have made five paintings. I made them with my thoughts, my obsessions and my anxieties. I let myself make this work. Lost in thoughts. What I have lost.

“Take my advice or you’ll curse the day, you started rolling down that Lost Highway.”

I tried to allow anything into the paintings – from the big questions to the incidental, the accidental. I made this work with revisions and editing, with experience and knowledge because I had to, I cannot “unlearn” who I have become. I am older now.

“Take my advice or you’ll curse the day you started rollin’ down that Lost Highway.”

I made these paintings while thinking about the future. I am a father now. I made them while thinking about my past. I am a son, still. Probably everyone is on that Highway or, at least feels it occasionally. Maybe he was lonely but he sure wasn’t alone. His was no VIP club. It is late and time to go home.

“… just another guy on the Lost Highway.”