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Critique

‘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

‘MANMADE’

Millennium Court Arts Centre, Portadown2 November 2018 – 23 January 2019 The current exhibition, ‘MANMADE’, at Millennium Court Arts Centre, features the work of several artists examining marine debris, coral life and metaphors of irrevocable danger carried by the sea, based on increasing levels of human pollution that threaten the oceanic ecosystem. The centre has developed an accompanying public programme, comprising a range of outreach activities, aimed at promoting environmental consciousness. This agenda acts to both serve and subvert the curatorial theme: collectively the artworks explore this subject and its associated materials, yet the conceptual integrity of the exhibition is undermined, in its framing as some sort of awareness campaign.

‘Infrastructures of Now’

NCAD Gallery, Dublin21 September – 30 November 2018 The glass modernist façade of the NCAD Gallery may be considered a portal into the machine itself. To function, this machine depends on an engaged, creative, intellectual exchange between students, researchers, lecturers and artists, who are in turn inherently dependent on the infrastructures and resources the machine affords them. ‘Infrastructures of Now’, curated by Anne Kelly, interrogates this interdependency, critically addressing questions of autonomy, institutional expectations and the technical methodologies and languages engaged by the contemporary practitioners it frames. The works featured in this exhibition have at some point – either notionally or physically – passed through the engine rooms of this

Tomas Penc ‘ENDUSER’

Triskel Christchurch, Cork 11 October – 22 December 2018 In large black type, the word “ENDUSER” confronts visitors, while underneath, an inscrutable text begins: “you owe me, big smooth eggs of divine fertility laid out of the window into the endless landscape.” The phrase “you owe me” is repeated throughout this text: “you owe me…snow… strawberries…colour…”. Some, but not all, of the things ‘owed’ also appear in the presented artworks.  Penc presented two distinct and consecutive phases of this exhibition, each running for approximately a month at Triskel Christchurch – an eighteenth-century neoclassical Georgian church, which functions as Triskel Art Centre’s main auditorium. The titular artwork, ENDUSER, featured in both iterations,

Chris Doris ‘The Empty Field’

The Model, Sligo17 November 2018 – 27 January 2019 This extensive exhibition by Chris Doris is installed across five gallery spaces at the Model, exploring a number of thematic strands, influenced by components of the artist’s life, namely: meditation, psychotherapy, psychology and neurobiology. Doris brings these professional interests into play and reinterprets them in the gallery context, showcasing a unique range of observational modes, as well as a lucid, coherent range of artworks.  What might initially appear as hard-edged abstraction within the galleries, is softened through the introduction of the outside world. Natural light is present in three of the five spaces; it appears to have been deliberately choreographed to

Maud Cotter ‘a consequence of – without stilling’

Limerick City Gallery of Art 30 September 2018 – 6 January 2019  The fundamental experience generated by Maud Cotter’s solo exhibition, ‘a consequence of – without stilling’, at Limerick City Gallery of Art (LCGA) is appropriately described in the exhibition text as “a mercurial landscape of the mind… a place where matter and consciousness mix”.  Cotter, who was one of the founders of the National Sculpture Factory, Cork, displays an uncanny understanding of, and meticulous control over, the materials she uses, as dramatically evident in two large-scale sculptures: without stilling (2017–18), a skilfully imagined construction, produced entirely of finely cut Finnish birch ply in the South Gallery; and matter of fact

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