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July/August Issue – Out Now!

The July/August issue of the Visual Artists’ News Sheet is out now. It has been sent out to all members of Visual Artists Ireland, as well as to art galleries and art centre across the country. In light of the historic vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland, we asked Cecily Brennan to reflect on the contributions of the Artist’s Campaign. In other columns, Victoria Durrer, lecturer in Arts Management and Cultural Policy at Queen’s University Belfast, discusses a new collaborative research project, aimed at evaluating the impact of art as a catalyst for reconciliation. VAI NI Manager Rob Hilken reports on the symposium, ‘Best Practice

Sounding Out

CHRISTOPHER STEENSON REPORTS ON SONORITIES FESTIVAL – AN EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC AND SOUND ART FESTIVAL THAT TOOK PLACE IN BELFAST FROM 17 TO 22 APRIL. If someone asked you where they might find a week-long, international festival dedicated to the latest developments in experimental music and sound art, you might recommend somewhere like Berlin. But since 1981, when Sonorities was founded at Queen’s University (QUB) as a “festival of twentieth century music”, Belfast has been just the place for an exploration of all things sonic. This year’s Sonorities Festival, which featured artists from over 40 countries, made a conscious effort to be more inclusive and open to the general public. By

How Do We Get Off?

CURATOR DANIEL BERMINGHAM INTERVIEWS ARTISTS EIMEAR WALSHE AND EMMA HAUGH ABOUT THEIR RECENT EXHIBITION, ‘MIRACULOUS THIRST’, AT GALWAY ARTS CENTRE (5 – 25 MAY). Daniel Bermingham: The exhibition title, ‘Miraculous Thirst’, is a totem for shameless desire, in the face of personal sexual trauma. During the development of your show, Ireland responded to a particularly violent period of national sexual trauma. Can you discuss the relationship between personal and collective trauma? Eimear Walshe: Coming from the online lexicon, ‘thirst’ is a playfully condemning word for shameless displays of queer desire. I use ‘miraculous thirst’ to describe persistent, undisguised desire that has been suppressed, under whatever personal or systemic regime. Such

Landscapes of Potential

AIDAN KELLY MURPHY INTERVIEWS ÁINE MCBRIDE ABOUT HER EMERGING PRACTICE. Aidan Kelly Murphy: Prior to studying art, you obtained a degree in structural engineering. Was this something you had planned or was it something that just evolved? Áine McBride: It wasn’t some grand master plan. I dabbled in painting, knowing that there was something interesting there, but not knowing how to articulate it; being an artist was never framed as something I could realistically pursue. I was interested in looking at art and had friends who were artists so I had an idea of what was going on, but more from the periphery. About halfway through studying engineering, I knew

Journey Through the Centuries

KIRSTIE NORTH INTERVIEWS MARY MCCARTHY ABOUT HER NEW ROLE AS DIRECTOR OF CRAWFORD ART GALLERY, CORK. Kirstie North: Congratulations on becoming the new director of the Crawford Art Gallery. I think all of us in Cork were delighted when we heard that you had been appointed. What first attracted you to the Crawford? Mary McCarthy: Well I’m now three months into the job, but a lot of things attracted me to Crawford. The first is its potential, because it really has a very important legacy in the city, and nationally in terms of presenting shows of contemporary art and shows of the collection which are culturally very significant. These are

Leo Boyd ‘Welcome to the Simulation’

Atom Gallery, London 5 – 26 May 2018 There is an immediate urgency to ideas surrounding the digital – whether in terms of its technological capabilities, the dark underbelly of its culture, or in its increasing influence across political and economic spheres. It feels definitive of the present moment in a way that is all-consuming, whilst also being difficult to fully articulate. Belfast-based street artist and printmaker Leo Boyd wrestles with the philosophical questions posed by artificial intelligence, by taking influence from the work of Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom. Are we living in a computer simulation? Perhaps life as we know it is nothing but fragments of data on some

Gerry Blake ‘Into the Sea’

Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray 19 May – 30 June 2018 When is a photograph just a photograph? How can we ask questions of the photographic image that interrogate the specificity of the medium, without having the subject matter consume our attention? The flippant answer is that we can’t; or at least it is not possible without turning a blind eye to the material world disclosed through the photographic image. Even the vernacular modernism of the 1950s and ‘60s, which sought to create a culture of ‘photography for photography’s sake’, drew on the flow of everyday life to gesture towards photography’s intrinsic characteristics as a medium of visual communication. These questions

Sarah Walker ‘Tree Drawings on the Sky’

Oliver Sears Gallery, Dublin 10 May – 22 June 2018 “When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult.” 1 Oliver Sears Gallery is located in a Georgian building on Molesworth Street. It was designed as a home, but now its rooms are beautifully used to show artwork. Recently shown at the gallery was Sarah Walker’s ‘Tree Drawings on the Sky’, a series of nine tapestries based on drawings from the period immediately prior to the death of her mother, the art critic Dorothy Walker

Elizabeth Magill ‘Headland’

Ulster Museum, Belfast 11 May – 23 September 2018 ‘Headland’ is a major exhibition of recent paintings by Elizabeth Magill, powerfully displayed across two large gallery spaces at Belfast’s Ulster Museum. Developed in partnership with Limerick City Gallery of Art and the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin (both of which have hosted the exhibition already), ‘Headland’ has finally come to Belfast and will by no means disappoint those who have long anticipated its arrival. The exhibition, which presents 24 landscape paintings, draws attention to Magill as one of the region’s finest painters. The bare limbs of trees dominate the dimly-lit gallery spaces, twisting their way across the majority of the works

Martin Gale ‘Bloodlines’

Taylor Galleries, Dublin 11 May – 2 June 2018 Martin Gale’s realist oil paintings, presented in his recent solo exhibition ‘Bloodlines’ at Taylor Galleries, bring to mind the work of masters of the American Realism genre, including Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper. Whilst Wyeth expressed a rural American splendour and Hopper depicted lonely urban dwellers of apartments and American diners, Gale’s paintings are distinctly Irish – resulting in singular visions of our own ‘wild west’ (though probably Kildare, where the artist lives). Minus Wyeth’s ethereality and doubling down on Hopper’s ominous isolation, Gale paints technicolour scenes reminiscent of The Quiet Man, minus the humour, suggesting Ireland, at moments, as perhaps

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