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Critique

Walker and Walker ‘Nowhere Without No(w)’

Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin15 February – 3 June 2019 ‘Nowhere Without No(w)’ highlights Walker and Walker’s longstanding interest in the Modernist canon – particularly Charles Baudelaire and Stephane Mallarmé, in this instance. The themes of the works presented – and the artists’ long-running collaborative practice – are diverse, but Romantic association predominates. The exhibition is exactingly prescriptive in its use of ideas and literary references. Its sleekly direct and literal translations of ideas into form invoke the aesthetic austerity of the conceptual tradition. However, its sensuous silvers and inky blacks exacerbate the cerebral quality into kitsch and fetish, helping to establish a sense of fraught disclosure. Pathos is

Anita Groener ‘The Past Is A Foreign Country’

The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon19 January – 9 March 2019 Stories of displacement are not aesthetic. These are rushed, unplanned, reactive situations, without much time or resources for calculation or intention. Perhaps this is part of the reason why many people find it hard to identify with asylum seekers; it is difficult for most of us to comprehend such an urgent need to escape danger and to find a safer place.  Anita Groener’s recent exhibition at The Dock captured this challenge, before we even approached the work. The title, ‘The Past Is A Foreign Country’ – taken from the opening of L. P. Hartley’s novel, The Go-Between (1953) – highlighted this sense

Sam Reveles ‘Poulaphouca: New Paintings & Works on Paper’

Butler Gallery, Kilkenny17 March – 12 May 2019 ‘Poulaphouca’ at the Butler Gallery is Sam Reveles’s first large-scale solo exhibition in Ireland. The fourteen works on display in the four adjoining galleries include Reveles’s most recent paintings and works on paper. The exhibition is a journey of an experience which demonstrates the development and shifts in Reveles’s work over the last few years. In the first gallery space, one of the artist’s earlier works, Cill Rialaig 2, is an elemental example of his previous ‘grey’ period. The paper is approached episodically; an underlay of grey wash is erased by a lattice of horizontal scratchy marks. This method of creating through

‘MAKing Art: The PAINTing Exhibition’

Draíocht Arts Centre, Blanchardstown14 March – 18 May 2019 Immediacy, I’ve found, has always been an underlying characteristic of much contemporary painting. I’ve never tried to pull back the curtain of the canvas, in search of hidden meaning lurking beyond sight. Surely, I thought, there is no code to crack; what you see is what you get. However, this limiting preconception was unilaterally turned on its head by ‘MAKing Art:PAINTing’. Sitting with the paintings in this group exhibition – which includes work by Susan Connolly, Bridget Flannery, Geraldine O’Neill and Liz Rackard – I found nostalgia, warmth and physical engagement seeping out.  ‘MAKing Art:PAINTing’ is the second instalment in a

Geraldine O’Sullivan ‘Light Keepers’

Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen9 March – 10 April 2019 The crisp depiction of County Cork’s Fastnet Lighthouse – tall and erect yet submerged in a sea of blue – opens Geraldine O’Sullivan’s exhibition, ‘Light Keepers’ at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre. As one of 14 artworks on display, this painting immediately anchors the viewer in what unfurls as a world of green gushes, titanium white surf and brilliant blue horizons.  O’Sullivan’s paintings are accompanied by 11 mixed-media collages that act as visual documentation of the information, stories and anecdotes the artist has encountered since commencing research into the history of lighthouse keeping in Ireland, over three years ago.

‘Lectus’

MART Gallery, Dublin10 January – 14 February 2019 This is the third year of MART’s Exhibition Award, in partnership with CIT Crawford College of Art & Design (CCAD) and Fire Station Artists’ Studios (FSAS). Curated by Deirdre Morrissey, ‘Lectus’ platforms the work of Èanna Heavey, Sarah Diviney (both CCAD graduates) and IADT graduate Emma McKeagney. On that day in January when winter finally decided to bite, the 12-foot red doors of the Fire Station Gallery gaped open. In its jaws, a yellow bathtub, half full of cloudy murk, sits almost fallow but for a motionless floral dress, stained with an indistinct darkness. This is the sculptural residue of Diviney’s performance,

Shane Keeling ‘BAD-MAN Oh Man’

Wexford Arts Centre14 January – 16 February 2019 Wexford-born emerging artist, Shane Keeling, recently graduated from the National College of Art & Design with an honours degree in Glass & Ceramics. As recipient of NCAD’s 2018 Ceramic Residency, Keeling has developed a new body of mixed-media works which aims to generate dialogue on mental health, suicide and the stigma surrounding these conversations. Curated by Lisa Byrne, Keeling’s solo exhibition at Wexford Arts Centre is not just about the art – the artworks presented are certainly not unremarkable, but perhaps more importantly, they provide a vehicle to explore the artist’s very timely concerns.  Through the material processes of making, breaking, mending

Gerry Davis ‘Procession’

Galway Arts Centre 11 January – 8 February 2019 ‘Procession’ is a powerfully evocative exhibition by Limerick-based painter, Gerry Davis, which generates extensive narratives. In this respect, the work demonstrates how aesthetic experience transcends language. The exhibition comprises a new body of realist paintings that address timeless and contemporary issues pertaining to the function of art. Each painting poses questions about the nature of looking, as well as the interconnected roles of the artist, the viewer and the wider public.  In some of the paintings, there is an atmosphere of solitude and depravation. For example, Studio Space 4 details a dated studio, which appears to be lacking in central heating, as

Liam Crichton with Autumns ‘Stereo Object’

Void, Derry12 – 26 January 2019 Along the Grand Promenade of Derry’s City Walls stands an empty plinth, which became an empty plinth long before it was fashionable to be so. It is what remains of the monument to Governor George Walker, hero to Unionism, which for its atavistic sins was ‘blew up’ by the IRA in 1973. It’s said that hundreds of Bogsiders collected the far-flung debris as souvenirs of the war on triumphalist art. Where are all the bits of Governor Walker now? An installation by artist Liam Crichton and musician Autumns (AKA Christian Donaghey), titled Stereo Object, enacts a symbolic séance on his remains, with particular interest

‘Surveillé·e·s’

Solstice Art Centre, Navan 12 January – 1 March 2019 The exposé of Cambridge Analytica last year showed us how we are complicit in our own surveillance. It’s no longer just footage from omniscient CCTV that tracks us; self-authored social media data is also capable of being harvested, hacked or stolen. And thanks to unscrupulous but canny work of electioneers, the world now has Trump and Brexit to deal with. As the wordplay in the title suggests, the current exhibition at Solstice surveys surveillance-related art from multiple perspectives.  The show originates from Centre Culturel Irlandais Paris – Ireland’s cultural outpost in Europe – and is curated by centre director and Belfast

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