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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On the Border Between Time and Loss


Victoria J. Dean, Niamh O’Doherty and Laura Smith
Galway Arts Centre, 22 January – 26 February 2016

Boundaries and partitions are staple themes in Irish cultural production. Over the last 100 years the Irish have struggled with the realities of a physical border, alongside metaphysical, social and political divisions. In this centenary year, such themes convey the complexities of our national identity. The three artists in this exhibition all explore aspects of what borders mean in relation to the passage of time.

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In the Flesh

Bridget O’Gorman, The LAB, Dublin, 29 January–12 March 2016

In 2015 Bridget O’Gorman was invited to respond, in collaboration with research partners and institutions, to the 1916 Rising in its centennial year. So began 12 months of site visits with historian Brenda Malone at the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks and a collaboration with writer Sue Rainsford. O’Gorman’s response is the first in a series of such exhibitions commissioned by The LAB, a gallery which regularly facilitates cross-disciplinary collaborations.

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Things Made for Drawing

David Lunney, Eight Gallery, Dublin, 29 January–7 February 2016

Eight Gallery is housed in a large room on the first floor of a Georgian mansion on Dawson Street. Natural light enters through the grimy panes of three tall sash windows overlooking the street. A redundant chandelier shines weakly from the ceiling rose. Things Made for Drawing is a small, formally cohesive show, its eight works placed sparingly around the jaded but elegant room. There are six wall works in two sets of three, their titles, Three Rock and Kilmashogue, referring to well-known locations in the Dublin Mountains. Each of these sets has a causal connection to one of the two remaining works, a pair of squat, jerrybuilt structures standing apart on the grey painted floor.

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Situational Erotics

 

JAMES MERRIGAN ASKS WHY SEX AND ART DON’T ‘SWING’ IN THE IRISH ART SCENE.

I have been thinking a lot about sex recently and its relationship to art. One reason is artist Emma Haugh’s question “How do we imagine a space dedicated to the manifestation of feminine desire?” proposed in her recent solo exhibition ‘The Re-appropriation of Sensuality’ at Dublin’s NCAD Gallery (an edited version of the script performed during the exhibition is included in the March/April VAN).

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Pursuit & Practice

BELFAST-BASED ARTISTS DOUGAL MCKENZIE, SUSAN CONNOLLY AND MARK MCGREEVY DISCUSS THEIR PERSPECTIVES ON PAINTING IN THE CITY.

Dougal McKenzie: From my experience, so much of what has happened for painters in Belfast coalesces around the MFA. When I discovered that Alastair MacLennan – who was the MFA course leader in my time – had been a painting student at Dundee (although I was coming from Aberdeen), I was interested in how he thought about painting in relation to performance. I wonder how much the MFA affected, and continues to affect, how we see painting in the North, and whether it truly does have any more of an influence than the undergraduate painting course in Belfast?

As an undergraduate student in Scotland I only knew about the MFA in Belfast, outside of the London options, and it seemed like an exciting choice. I very quickly discovered that painters who had come out of the MFA in the late 1980s and early 1990s had remained in the city, in what was an active arts scene. The interesting painters for me at that time were (and still are) Paddy McCann, Ronnie Hughes, Michael Minnis and Áine Nic Giolla Coda, so they seemed like one good reason to stay. (Interestingly, these artists are all still teaching painting, at Belfast, Sligo, Galway and Limerick.)

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Adventure: Capital

Sean Lynch, LCGA, 21 January–24 March 2015

“Man was born naked, without claws, unable to run fast, with no shell or natural armour. But he could observe nature and imitate it. He saw how water ran down the side of a hill without sinking, and then invented a roof for his house. Soon more houses and villages appeared, and more stones were needed. Mighty tools and machines were invented. Demand increased. My chisel got harder, my hammer heavier. Villages turned into towns…towns into cities…stone…rock…next stone…next rock.”

Sean Lynch, script excerpt from ‘Adventure: Capital’

Lynch’s project ‘Adventure: Capital’ traces a journey around Ireland and Britain following the personified spirit of architecture and sculpture “from myth to modernism”. Using narratives, sites and objects, Lynch enacts a unique form of cultural anthropology and investigates art, form, function and worth. From Greek river gods to public art, via abandoned quarries and a traffic roundabout, the scale of materials and research is exhaustive.

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She Devil

Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, 17 December 2015–16 February 2016

In ‘She Devil’, two video projection screens fill the huge darkened warehouse space of Golden Thread’s Galleries One and Two. This doesn’t mean, however, that there are a small number of artworks on show. Between them, these two screens play a continuous loop of 15 video works. The ‘She Devil’ project has been presented, with different content but in a similar format, in Rome and Bucharest.

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