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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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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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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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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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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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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Roots of the Matter

LOUIS HAUGH DESCRIBES HIS TIME AT ARTFARM (11–27 SEPTEMBER 2015), A RURAL ARTISTS’ RESIDENCY IN COUNTY GALWAY.

For the past year, I have been researching the history and practice of commercial forestry in Ireland. I’ve always been perplexed by the wealth of non-native coniferous trees across Ireland’s landscape and by the dwindling number of our native broad-leaf trees, such as oak, ash and beech. So I traced the roots of this matter (quite literally) back to the National Herbarium in Glasnevin. It is here that the Augustine Henry Collection is housed: an archive of thousands upon thousands of tree samples, including leaves, twigs, seeds, cones and roots, all meticulously boxed, labelled and archived.

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The Ties That Bind

JENNIFER TROUTON DISCUSSES THE PROCESS BEHIND HER WORK ‘THE TIES THAT BIND’, WHICH WAS SHOWN AT THE ROYAL ULSTER ACADEMY’S 134TH ANNUAL EXHIBITION (16 OCTOBER 2015 – 3 JANUARY 2016).

My painting The Ties That Bind has its roots in the 1700s and the patriarchal mindset of the founding president of the Royal Academy of Arts, Sir Joshua Reynolds. In a sweeping generalisation, Reynolds decreed: “Let men busy themselves with all that has to do with great art . . . let women occupy themselves with those kinds of art that they have always preferred, the painting of flowers”. This statement, and the attitude toward still-life painting that it evokes, put fire in my blood in 1999 and has continued to be a source of motivation to this day.

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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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