Crooked Orbit

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Diana Copperwhite – Crooked Orbit

1st June – 1st July

‘As is well known, the word ‘orbit’ refers to a set route or path around a given point: we on earth orbit the sun, just as the moon orbits us. Perhaps less known, though, is that the word is etymologically coupled with a distinct sense of the optical: from a fourteenth century French word for ‘eye socket’. Seeing, in this understanding, is always underscored by a sense of movement or voyaging: when we look at someone or something, we simultaneously tread a track around it. Perhaps we come close to this object, but we don’t get to touch it.

I kept this double meaning in mind when thinking about Diana Copperwhite’s recent paintings. In this latest exhibition, Crooked Orbit, these are large and at least initially discordant works. It seems as though no colour has been left aside, from lurid fuchsias and cobalt blues, to neon yellow and swatches of minty green. Recurring throughout the canvases, there is also a gradient effect achieved by loading the brush with different shades of paint; and this has a consequence of suggesting that these paintings have almost outgrown the tools of their creation, those tools then being forced to convey, through colour, as much as they possibly can. Sometimes these gradient interventions are vertical and regular; at others, they are less uniform, cast in a halting semi-circle or upturned ‘u’. Throughout, they act to create the impression of space within the paintings: in one, a narrow swathe of grey, pink and white, has the look of an outstretched arm, a slight sag in the middle where the elbow could be; in another, a flat vertical plane of what looks like four gradient drags cuts a dint of architectural space. But, even when working in unison, each of these is just one gesture, loaded to capacity and worked until it dissipates, the paint run out or stopped short from further decline. Representation is at most, never quite; cast as it is though a series of distinct marks, the whole remains fragmentary, gestured towards but never quite pinned down’.

Extracted from Awkward Angle of Perception, by Rebecca O’Dwyer. The full essay will be available at the gallery from June 1st.

Diana Copperwhite (b. 1969, Ireland) lives and works in Dublin and New York. Recent solo exhibitions include Driven by Distraction, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin (2016), Depend on the Morning Sun, Thomas Jaeckal Gallery, New York (2016) and A Million and One Things Under the Sun, Kevin Kavanagh, Dublin (2015). Selected group exhibitions include Last Picture Show w/Mary Heilmann, Chris Ofili, Danny Rolph, Vanessa Jackson, Elio Rodriguez, Jill Levine, Rebecca Smith, Thomas Jaeckel Gallery, New York (2017) and Virtú, inc. Picasso, Giacometti, Henry Moore, Elizabeth Magill and Sean Scully at the Hunt Museum, Limerick, Ireland (2017). Copperwhite’s work is held in numerous public and private collections including: the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Arts Council of Ireland, Limerick City Gallery of Art, Office of Public Works, Contemporary Irish Art Society, Highlanes Municipal Art Gallery, Mariehamn Stadbiblioteque, Aland (Finland), Dublin Institute of Technology and The President of Ireland.

Rebecca O’ Dwyer is an Irish art writer, critic, and PhD candidate at National College of Art & Design, Dublin. Her writing has been published in Paper Visual Art Journal, Enclave Review, Frieze, Eyeline, Fallow Media, and the Visual Artists’ New Sheet, amongst others, and she has written catalogue texts for artists including Kathy Tynan, Fergus Feehily and Barbara Knezevic. She is a previous winner of the VAI/DCC Critical Writing Award, and the editor of the online art-writing platform, Response to a Request, which was launched in August 2016.

Rectangle, a written thing

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Sonia Shiel

Rectangle, a written thing

May 4th – May 27th, 2017

Rectangle, a written thing, 2017, is presented in four ensembles. These painted works conjure theatrical tropes without motion, containing performative moments within the stasis and composition of painting. Such poles of action and inaction, recurring throughout the installation, are echoed in an accompanying script. This written thing provides a space to situate the work in a critical context by exploring its own real and imagined materiality – and it tells the story of an artist who, in being mistaken for a tree, learns what it is to be expressive.

Sonia Shiel’s work examines her protagonists’ attempts to survive the odds of nature and the illusory world around them, through laws of their own making. Many of her works engage with each other symbiotically or con/sequentially within mixed-media installations, creating surreal narrative sequences. Often taking the form of scripted video, audio and live performances, Shiel’s works synthesise object, image and sound in self-reflexive stories of construction, exploring how real things in the world can simultaneously declare themselves fabrications and yet compel a shared make-believe.

Sonia Shiel is currently the Arts and Humanities’ Artist-in-Residence at UCD for 2017 and a recipient of the DLRCoCo and the Arts Council Visual Artist Awards for 2017. In 2014/2015, she completed the Art & Law Fellowship Program at Fordham Law School, the International Studio & Curatorial Program, in New York, and an artist’s residency at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, with Arts Council Project Award support. Recent readings and performances include Temple Bar Gallery and Studios and ArtBox. She has had recent exhibitions at Rua Red, The Crawford Gallery, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, The Lewis Glucksman Gallery and the ISCP, New York, among others. Shiel has been the recipient of the Tony O’Malley and Hennessy Craig Awards, having had solo exhibitions at the Butler Gallery and the RHA Gallery I and II, which included a major publication and a collection of essays. Her work features in many international public and private collections, including the Arts Council, The City of Frankfurt, and the OPW.

Aspasia – An Influential Immigrant

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Margaret Corcoran

Aspasia – An Influential Immigrant

March 23rd – April 22nd, 2017

Aspasia was an influential immigrant to Classical-era Athens. She was the lover of the statesman Pericles and yet famed in her own right as an intellectual. As an outsider to the culture she entered, she thrived despite its restrictive citizenship laws.
Corcoran’s large, highly colourful canvases are bold and assertive, while the works on paper are sensitively rendered and acutely observed. She brings together an unlikely grouping of references celebrating love, creativity, ceremony and independence of thought.
The artist depicts figures such as Aspasia, Eileen Gray and D.H Lawrence alongside Sudanese courting couples and Bhutanese royalty. Their coexistence as subjects in the exhibition traces an idiosyncratic and tangential body of research that incorporates references to colonialism and to a striving for human dignity and equality. Aspasia – An Influential Immigrant celebrates unexpected congruence in the lives of people divided both historically and geographically.
As a complement to the wide-ranging subject matter, Corcoran utilises varying scales, techniques and paints to identify affinities and universal motifs in seemingly disparate lives.

A recent review of the exhibition in Frieze magazine can be read here.

Many-worlds interpretation agus rudaí eile nach iad

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Geraldine O’Neill – Many-worlds interpretation agus rudaí eile nach iad

February 16th – March 18th, 2017

The subjectivity of perception provides each individual with a measure of the world; the communication of these various measures defines reality. Each one of us is like an artist, continuously creating our own personal worldview often unaware of just how subjective it is. Heraclitus believed that the world was ‘one and many at the same time’; the tension held in this opposition is the tension inherent to life.
-Don Foresta, The many worlds of Art, Science and New Technologies, MIT Press, 1991.

Many-worlds interpretation agus rudaí eile nach iad is an exhibition of recent paintings by Geraldine O’Neill. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, she includes objects from within her household that have personal significance as well as images gleaned from the history of painting. Her emphatic use of children’s drawings, as well as the appearance of children as subjects within her compositions harks to the manner in which they come to terms with their world. Children often conflate playing, learning and dreaming and this is an important reference within the artist’s oeuvre. The content of O’Neill’s paintings constitute a collage through the history of image making as well as the personal history of the artist. These paintings are detailed and dense, replete with allegory and symbolism. Through her fascination with emblematic devices in northern renaissance painting O’Neill recalls motifs and iconography and considers them afresh.

In larger compositions she includes miniatures in the background – scenes unfolding and adding to the narrative of the painting. This device recalls the works of Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1515). In his paintings, a multitude of symbols contribute to the narrative. In Minion Man, O’Neill draws on the imagery from The Haywain Triptych by Bosch. On the closed exterior of the triptych, a wayfarer repels a dog with his stick. O’Neill pictures Bosch’s ‘wayfarer’ in a palimpsest of her own painted histories. While the wayfarer journeys forth, a young child looks outward; his eyes glazed in reverie. The appearance of the two figures together conjures ideas of exploration and the pursuit of knowledge through adventure and play. However there are also dangers lurking in the background and challenges ahead. The tension between these two worlds is a defining characteristic of the work and as such renders it both solemn and frivolous. As art historian Angela Griffith has noted in a recent article in Irish Arts Review;

Despite knowing the wider cultural, social and political contexts of the objects and artworks (re)presented, O’Neill does not create polemical works. Rather, through the beguiling visual properties of her paintings she seeks to draw the viewer out by drawing them in – compelling them to look, to see and, ultimately, think.

Within these paintings various realities co-exist creating a palimpsest where many worlds merge. By reproducing and combining images, as well as using different marks and gestures within the language of paint, O’Neill’s work adds a personal voice to an ongoing conversation that spans the history of western art to the present day.

Altered Light

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January 12th – February 11th, 2017

Kathlyn makes detailed and idiosyncratic sculptures from a range of found and collected materials, often repurposing objects, salvaged and procured. Many of the structures appear shrine-like, maquettes that look like reliquaries to house treasured or sacred items. Altered Light presents a series of objects that have been transformed; they have borne metamorphosis through artistic intervention.

Many of these artworks offer us a glimpse into a world of making. They are the physical manifestation of thinking and dreaming through assemblage. Within these sculptures the external world and its structures mingle with the internal world of ideas. The work is buttressed by an instinctual understanding of architecture and carpentry. Kathlyn’s fluency with the handling of materials enables her to think through making and to project dream like structures directly from the inner eye into physical existence – she is a maker who thinks and dreams through the act of making.

Altered Light comprises a number of assemblages that are quiet and unassuming though powerful and resilient. This exhibition is the first solo exhibition of work by Kathlyn since 2011. Her work has often gone under the radar though not for her contemporaries. She has worked confidently over the years, untroubled by the flotsam and jetsam of art world trends. Within these strange objects is a world of ritual and respect that centers on the positive, regenerative aspect of destruction.

This is a particularly exquisite exhibition as the creation of these works span decades. Some works the artist has been developing gradually for years, some have been at stage of completion awaiting a final unknown component and others have been constructed in bursts of enthusiasm for fleeting thoughts. Kathlyn resurrects forgotten items and bestows on them a sense of renewed relevance. She gives them a second life.

 

For further information regarding the exhibition please contact ingrid@kevinkavanagh.ie