We work exceptionally hard in the arts. Whether working day in, day out in studios, travelling the length and breadth of the country, grant-chasing, freelancing or maintaining real jobs at the fringes of day jobs, we move mountains every day. While critical reflection is an inbuilt methodology of what we do, how often do we actually pause to reflect on our progress or marvel at our achievements? As the final Visual Artists’ News Sheet of the year, this issue is positioned to consider recent developments across our sector, while assessing some of the challenges that remain.
JOANNE LAWS INTERVIEWS SARAH BROWNE AND JESSE JONES ABOUT THEIR ONGOING PROJECT ‘IN THE SHADOW OF THE STATE’. Joanne Laws: Perhaps you might explain how your collaboration came about and introduce some of your initial ideas in developing this major new project? Sarah Browne/Jesse Jones: We’d known each other’s practices for many years and felt that at some stage we would find the right opportunity to work together. In 2014, we started discussing a potential collaboration with Patrick Fox (then Director of Create), and later Rachel Anderson (then producer/curator at Artangel, London). We attempted to identify the greatest urgencies for us as artists at that time and felt there was
JOANNE LAWS INTERVIEWS ANDREW DUGGAN ABOUT ‘PROCLAMATION’, A MULTI-VENUE EXHBITION FUNDED BY CULTURE IRELAND. Two neon signs in a field A public act What’s said? ‘It Only Remains’ (into the night) (out of the dawn) ‘Until Such Time’ Explicit or evocative, for discourse or meditation A spell to conjure a desired state of affairs A declaration that a state of affairs pertains Sounds: between crying and sighing What’s projected?
Sarah Browne and Jesse Jones, the Rotunda Hospital Pillar Room, Dublin, 23 – 25 September 2016 The day of the second public performance of Jesse Jones and Sarah Browne’s The Touching Contract fell on a date of heightened emotion for women in Ireland, taking place just hours after Dublin saw thousands take to the streets in the fifth annual March for Choice, part of the campaign demanding that the government repeal the Eighth Amendment. The atmosphere in the Rotunda Pillar Room’s ante-chamber was withdrawn and respectful; the audience appeared fragile. The third chapter of four performative works in the pair’s first collaboration ‘In the Shadow of the State’ was devised in
Robert Kelly, Draoícht, Blanchardstown, 24 September – 19 November Robert Kelly is a print-maker whose appetite for exploration takes his work from the flat surface into three-dimensional space. In his latest exhibition, this space is the ground-floor gallery at Draoícht, where some works are conventionally framed while others emerge and expand to more fully occupy the architecture. This choreography leads the viewer on an unfolding visual journey, underpinned by thought and process. The artworks also feature material folds, which manipulate internal spatial relations and introduce conceal-and-reveal dynamics.
Paul Murnaghan, Limerick City Gallery of Art, 15 September – 30 October 2016 Paul Murnaghan’s exhibition ‘All Mountains Are Moving’ explores archaic belief systems by courting wonderment and superstition. This new body of work refers to outmoded ways of magical thinking, but also arouses a sense of mystery in the viewer through a clever use of materials and techniques that make us question what we are seeing. ‘All Mountains Are Moving’ is exhibited upstairs in Limerick City Gallery of Art across numerous rooms around the square first floor balcony space above the Atrium Gallery. The first room on the right omits a yellowy glow, created by an orange stain on the
John Coyle and Gary Coyle, The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon, 10 September – 12 November ‘Now Came Still Evening On’ is a unique exhibition presenting the work of father and son John and Gary Coyle. John’s intimate paintings occupy The Dock’s light and airy Gallery One while Gary has created a vast immersive installation in the largest of The Dock’s three galleries. John Coyle’s paintings and drawings depict scenes and people close to his studio and home. The works have a conciseness and authority clearly developed over a long career. They are reminiscent of the intimiste paintings of Vuillard and Bonnard, and of works by their more northerly descendants in Dublin and London.
Tom Climent, Eamon Colman, William Crozier, Neal Greig, Eilís O’Connell, Peter Martin, James McCreary, Michael Ray, Conor Walton, Catherine Hammond Gallery, Skibbereen, County Cork, 9 September – 19 October The stated aim of this group exhibition was to explore and interpret the idea and theme ‘Glow’, visually echoing the shift from late summer into autumn, whether experienced as a continuous radiant beam from a light source, the result of energy produced by vibrating electric colours or, contrastingly, through the gentle light of changing luminosity. Eamon Colman’s two large oils on paper, Seeking refuge, the green earth turned towards the river and Morning swim by the Sultan’s tower introduce a strong
FIONA WHELAN TALKS ABOUT THE ONGOING PROJECT ‘NATURAL HISTORY OF HOPE’ AND EXAMINES SOME OF ITS HISTORICAL ROOTS AND TENSIONS. In a 2012 lecture, Tom Finkerpearl used Monty Python’s popular 1979 satirical film The Life of Brian to illustrate a point about a crisis in the art world.  At an angry confrontation between the People’s Front of Judea, which the character of Brian had joined, and another activist group, the Campaign for a Free Galilee, Brian calls out to suggest that they should in fact be fighting their common enemy: the Romans. Finkerpearl uses this comedy moment to highlight a tendency in the art world to become consumed in ideological
For the September/October issue of the Visual Artists’ News Sheet, I’m focusing on forms of participation and collaboration. This concern stems from a continued insistence in my own practice as a curator in a local authority on interrogating the work of artists working in social, participatory contexts. We are thinking of participation as progressive – as preferable to elitism, exclusion and bureaucracy, for instance – but we need to think of the value of participation as completely dependent upon the value of the project in which one participates. It tells us a lot about how art and artists are being routinely interrogated. And I think this is extremely flawed. In