A Séance of Objects & Images

SUSAN MACWILLIAM DISCUSSES HER TOURING SURVEY EXHIBITION ‘MODERN EXPERIMENTS’, WHICH WILL HAVE SHOWN AT F.E. MCWILLIAM GALLERY, THE HIGHLANES GALLERY, UILLIN: WEST CORK ARTS CENTRE AND THE BUTLER GALLERY BY THE END OF 2017.

It’s a strange experience when works come back after an absence, materialising from their coffin-like crates or emerging into the light after a decade or more in darkness and obscurity.

A survey show feels like a form of mediumship. Past worlds collide in the present. These worlds are made by me, fabricated in the studio by different versions of myself at different stages of my life. Some works ‘know’ other works, while others meet for the first time – converging like a gathering of relatives, mapping their family tree with regurgitated connectedness. The ancestors are here, having paved the way for descendants and works born of others. Having multiplied, they gather: siblings, cousins, great grandparents, aunts and uncles. Some are more assertive and demanding, while others lurk quietly in corners. Some take longer to get to know yet persist and linger.

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Embracing Complexity

FIONA WHELAN TALKS ABOUT THE ONGOING PROJECT ‘NATURAL HISTORY OF HOPE’ AND EXAMINES SOME OF ITS HISTORICAL ROOTS AND TENSIONS.

In a 2012 lecture, Tom Finkerpearl used Monty Python’s popular 1979 satirical film The Life of Brian to illustrate a point about a crisis in the art world. [1] At an angry confrontation between the People’s Front of Judea, which the character of Brian had joined, and another activist group, the Campaign for a Free Galilee, Brian calls out to suggest that they should in fact be fighting their common enemy: the Romans. Finkerpearl uses this comedy moment to highlight a tendency in the art world to become consumed in ideological arguments pitting one form of creative approach against another at the cost of a collective fight.

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Sexting

SARAH DEVEREUX WAS INVITED TO CONTRIBUTE AN ARTWORK COMPOSED OF TEXT AND DRAWING FOR ONLINE VIEWING. THIS CONVERSATION BETWEEN JAMES MERRIGAN AND THE ARTIST AIMS TO DRAW OUT A CONTEXT FOR THIS ARTWORK, WHILE ALSO BROACHING THE SUBJECT OF SEX AND ART.

Devereux small online 2James Merrigan: After experiencing your BFA Degree show in the basement of a building on John’s Lane, Dublin, I was smitten. You disappeared off my radar for a couple of years until sometime in 2014 I caught the tail end of a thread of your perverted commentary on Facebook. There was an uncensored precision to it all that I equated to art, even though it was being displayed on something as fugitive as social media. To my mind you were a cross between American poet Patricia Lockwood’s Twitter ‘sexts’ and Raymond Pettibon’s hyper-dialectic drawings. I questioned why I didn’t get to see more of this kind of stuff, sex stuff, in Irish galleries. Do you know why sex and art don’t tag team as much as they could in the Irish arts scene?
Sarah Devereux: Well James, is this “tag team” a case of art slapping sex in the hand as its partner to tag in against the world, or is it a question of art vs. sex? You have to be more specific when it comes to tag teams. Who is against whom? Is there consent? Is there equal involvement? Is there mud involved? These are the things everyone must ask before partaking in a tag team between sex and art. Is the sex willingly becoming art or is it trying to just remain sex? Are we too afraid to tag in? Or do we think we are better than having sex in the gallery. Of course I mean sex as a subject matter. As a matter of interest, have you?

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And Time Begins Again

EAMON O’KANE WRITES ABOUT THE PROGRESSION OF HIS CAREER OVER THE LAST 10 YEARS.

In 2005, I wrote an article for the VAN titled ‘Constant Production and Exposure’, which outlined my career trajectory up to that point (eamonokane.com). At that time, I was living in Bristol and was a lecturer in Fine Art at the University of the West of England. Myself and four others had set up an artist-run gallery space called LOT, which ran for one year and involved an ambitious and dynamic programme.

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