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
RHA Ashford Gallery, Dublin 15 March – 22 April 2018 I moved house recently and, in the process, became acutely aware of our perceived ownership of spaces. As I emptied one house of our family’s possessions, our hold on it began to drain. And as we began to fill the new house, our presence began forcing out the previous occupants. Before I turned the key of our old house for the last time, I was left in a space emptied of our things but was also conscious that some of our memories and traces would remain. This often-indiscernible line that exists between physical structures and our relationship to them is
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,’
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.