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2018 01 January/February

Building a Book

BEN WEIR OUTLINES HIS RECENT BOOK, PUBLISHED IN RESPONSE TO URBAN REDEVELOPMENT IN BELFAST CITY CENTRE. “The Claw is the blind performer It cannot speculate, judge Nor wince      Steadfast      Choreographed      Dull acts      Mechanised      Strength Hastening      Iconoclastic      Labour Blunt-cleft Buildings open Exposing truths The Claw can’t read      Crimes in plain sight      An austere vandal.”

Material Uncertainty

WITH NEWLY COMMISSIONED WORK FOR EVA INTERNATIONAL 2018 ON THE HORIZON, MATT PACKER SITS DOWN WITH JOHN RAINEY TO DISCUSS THE TRAJECTORY OF HIS SCULPTURAL PRACTICE. Matt Packer: Can you describe how your background in the medium of ceramics continues to inform your work? John Rainey: Production and imitation are aspects of the ceramic discipline that continue to be particularly important within my work. However, my curiosity about how things are made, and my compulsion to physically produce things, predates my training in ceramics. For me, processes and skills feel very enabling. I have a need to constantly examine and improve on this technical capacity, which is what drives me

Where History Begins Again

ALAN PHELAN TALKS TO MARY CREMIN ABOUT HER NEW ROLE AS DIRECTOR OF VOID, DERRY. Odd as it sounds, there is something slightly Scandinavian about Derry. Maybe it’s post-conflict Northern Ireland and the almost socialist democratic prosperity that peace has brought to the region. Industry may not have taken off just yet, but public services appear to be well-funded. The abundance of cultural centres is also mirrored by a bemusing abundance of hair salons – something that is comparable with Helsinki. Perhaps the harsh northerly climate brings with it serious approaches to both art and hair care. Derry’s various galleries inhabit historic spaces, yet have a very contemporary outlook that

Valuing Artistic Legacy

JOANNE LAWS REPORTS ON IVARO’S ARTISTS’ ESTATES CONFERENCE.1 A conference on the theme of managing artists’ estates was held at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), Dublin, on 23 November 2017. The genuinely fascinating and pragmatic event was organised by the Irish Visual Artists Rights Organisation (IVARO) – Ireland’s copyright collecting society for visual artists2. In his opening address, Director of the RHA, Patrick Murphy, suggested that the Irish visual arts community urgently needs clarity regarding the legislation that surrounds artists’ estates. In the last year alone, five RHA members have passed away, raising pertinent questions about valuing cultural heritage and preserving artistic legacies. Since the mid-twentieth century, there has been

Amharc Fhine Gall 11th Edition

Draíocht Arts Centre, 22 November 2017 – 3 February 2018 In Yvonne McGuinness’s two-channel film installation, Holding ground where the wood lands (2017) – commissioned for this year’s ‘Amharc Fhine Gall (Fingal Gaze)’ exhibition – a group of adolescents from a local Foróige club are depicted meandering through open fields and woodlands surrounding the former Plunkett Estate in Portmarnock (now Malahide Golf Club). Centred around a pivotal and formative time in their lives, the film fluctuates between documentary film and directed theatrics and depicts the young men engaged in a series of performative actions.

The Otherworld Hall

Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, 27 October – 22 December 2017 Featuring: Aoibheann Greenan, Seán Hillen, Sean Lynch, Lucy McKenna, Tadhg McSweeney, Doireann Ní Ghrioghair, Nano Reid.  The term ‘urban legends’ may trace its lineage back to the 1960s, but as a cultural phenomenon, the term has existed for millennia under the guise of folklore and mythology. The internet’s emergence has proved a double-edge sword for modern mythical incarnations, offering both the platform to spread the tale and the means to debunk it. Originally, folklore provided tales of humour or warning, and, as such, disproving them was generally not a priority. These stories often contained grains of truth – elements that

At the Fade

Birr Arts Centre, 16 October – 1 December 2017 I rarely turn down an offer to travel to Birr, a heritage town with multiple architectural attractions. One of these is the Oxmantown Hall (a former parish hall built in 1888), now Birr Theatre and Arts Centre. Open in its current form since 2000, the renovated building is a jewel of Irish architectural history and a modern hub of arts activity for the town and surrounding region. The building faces a row of impressive terraced Georgian houses on a street that is shouldered by the ornate St Brendan’s Church. I travelled to Birr to see Brígh Strawbridge-O’Hagan’s show ‘At the Fade,’

Barbara Ellison / Robert Ellison

Island Arts Centre, Lisburn, 23 November – 20 December 2017 Husband and wife, Robert and Barbara Ellison, are showcasing their recent work in concurrent solo exhibitions across two gallery spaces at the Island Arts Centre in Lisburn. Without an overarching theme attributed, the exhibitions freely explore the artists’ varying techniques and painterly styles. This is a unique opportunity to see work by these two artists in the same venue at the same time, and to observe similarities and differences across their distinct practices. When opening the exhibition, artist Neil Shawcross noted that both artists are starting to gain international attention, with Robert’s work being shown in the Agora Gallery, New