Ulrich Vogl | Diana Copperwhite | Sinead Ni Mhaonaigh | Mark Swords | Sonia Shiel | Paul Nugent
VOLTA 8 || BASEL
June 11 – June 16
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.