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Painting

‘Lavish and Judicious’

CCA Derry~Londonderry 11 August – 12 October 2018 ‘Lavish and Judicious’ is a multivalent and complex exhibition, presented across the three gallery spaces at CCA and featuring work by four female artists: Aideen Doran, Jaana Kokko, Jennifer Trouton and Caroline Achaintre. There are essentially six artworks in the exhibition, including a single-channel film installation and sound installation. According to the exhibition statement, these works speak to “the overlaps between the historical, the ethnological, landscape and colonialism” and how these forces can be “mapped to contemporary systems of production”. The exhibition’s starting point is Sion Mills, a model village and linen mill in County Tyrone, established by the Herdman family in

Museum of Mythological Water Beasts

Ormston House, Limerick 7 – 27 September 2018 Having spent almost an hour visiting the exhibition, ‘Museum of Mythological Water Beasts’ (curated by Mary Conlon and Niamh Brown) I was happily joined by my international colleague, Mat Rappaport, a Chicago-based artist and curator who was holidaying in Ireland. Mat had given a riveting talk on his practice in LSAD the previous day and was keen to explore the vibrant Limerick art scene he had heard about in the States. We walked around the exhibition together and later discussed the merits of the show, which had captured our joint imagination, if for somewhat different reasons. I particularly enjoyed the exhibition’s accumulative

Finding the Line

JOANNE LAWS INTERVIEWS THREE EARLY-CAREER ARTISTS ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCES OF MAINTAINING A PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE AFTER COLLEGE. Joanne Laws: What were your priorities and expectations upon leaving art college? Cecilia Danell: I graduated from GMIT in 2008 with a BA Hons in Fine Art Painting. I was pretty young at the time, having gone straight into college in Ireland after secondary school in Sweden. Despite being awarded GMIT Paint Student of the Year, and feeling committed to pursuing a career as an artist, I have to admit that I knew very little about the realities of life after college. It was terrible timing, as the recession hit Ireland with full force

Bren Smyth ‘Substance of Things’

Pallas Projects/Studios, Dublin 25 July – 4 August 2018 Bren Smyth’s ‘Substance of Things’ at Pallas Projects/Studios consisted of nine framed works on paper. Curated by Róisín Bohan, this was Smyth’s first solo exhibition, which was funded by Dublin City Council. The Artist-Initiated Programme at Pallas has proved crucial in the Dublin context, where accessible platforms for emerging artists to exhibit their work appear to be diminishing. The nine works displayed were mostly monochromatic, made using charcoal and gesso. The surface quality of each work has a tension between the chalky dry white gesso and the greasy application of the black charcoal. Most works tend towards grisaille, although there are

Ronnie Hughes & Evgeniya Martirosyan ‘Outflow’

126 Artist-Run Gallery, Galway 16 – 29 July 2018 ‘Outflow’, a two-person show at 126 Artist-Run Gallery, was one of the highlights of this year’s contemporary art offerings at the Galway International Arts Festival. It was a thoughtful and considered pairing of two very different artists, curated with sensitivity by Stephan Roche. The intricate, puzzle-like, abstract paintings of Ronnie Hughes were teamed with Evgeniya Martirosyan’s sculptural mechanisms and enigmatic film. The two bodies of work both contrasted and complemented each other, each presenting different interpretations on themes of accumulation, pattern and system theories. Numerous abstract figures and forms populate Hughes’s intimately-sized paintings, which draw the viewer in close. I was

The Shape of Thought

JOANNE LAWS INTERVIEWS ALISON PILKINGTON ABOUT THE METHODS AND INFLUENCES UNDERPINNING HER CURRENT BODY OF WORK. JL: Your paintings seem to combine abstract, diagrammatic and figurative approaches. Are you conscious of having a particular aesthetic in mind, when you embark on a painting? AP: My aesthetic approach or painting style has evolved a lot over the last ten years or so, particularly since embarking on a practice-based PhD at NCAD, which I started in 2009 and completed in 2015. During this time, I made quite a deliberate break from gestural abstract painting. I think I felt the need to free myself up from a particular style of painting. It is

Like Me

The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon 10 February – 31 March 2018 Featuring: Alice Hanratty, Kian Benson Bailes and Eleanor McCaughey ‘Like Me’ is a show which demonstrates the continued relevance and vitality of painting and drawing. Amongst other things, the three artists explore relationships between two-dimensional artworks and architectural space, while art of the past acts as a source of joy and inspiration, rather than as a ‘dead hand’, stifling creativity. Alice Hanratty’s newly-commissioned work, Procession, is a frieze of head-and-shoulder profile portraits, based on Cinquecento paintings, such as Piero della Francesca’s The Duke and Duchess of Urbino (1467–72). The works, which form a continuous frieze around The Dock’s central hall, are

Shane Berkery ‘Contemporary Paintings’

The Molesworth Gallery, Dublin 1 – 24 February 2018 The title of Shane Berkery’s latest exhibition imparts little more than an implied focus on recent work, spotlighting where he is in his developing career through paintings that reflect his influences and interests. Dublin-based with Irish-Japanese parentage, Berkery eschews an overtly conceptual approach to his practice, and so may also be commenting on what contemporary art can be. The 11 canvases fall into two broad groupings, one with images of young ‘contemporary’ subjects, the other drawing on black and white photos relating to his Japanese heritage. Dating from the 1950s and ‘60s, these are characterised by informal poses and the clothing

Push and Pull

RHA Ashford Gallery, Dublin, 19 January – 11 February 2018 In a TED talk entitled ‘How architecture helped music evolve’, the musician David Byrne (of Talking Heads fame) suggested that the relationship between architecture and music is directly formative. Byrne argued that the spatial and architectural features of a venue specifically influence the sonic and acoustic characters of the music performed there. In other words, American punk band, Black Flag, are to the small hardcore club what AC/DC are to the open-air area. If we imagine visual art to be engaged in a similarly formative relationship with its venues of display, it is interesting to consider whether Niall de Buitléar’s exhibition,

Latitudes

Dunamaise Arts Centre, 19 January – 28 February 2018 Tom Climent’s exhibition, ‘Latitudes’, at Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise, was described in the gallery text as “investigating the boundaries between abstraction and representation”. Climent presented twelve roughly similar landscapes featuring a central mound, peak or outcrop on a slightly higher-than-centre horizon line. While these compositions fall within the recognisable tradition of landscape painting, the artist’s synthetic colour palette, along with occasional architectural additions, serve to unsettle the familiarity that the genre normally fosters. Perhaps Climent’s expansion of this disciplinary boundary is less focused on stylistic approaches and more concerned with how the viewer rationalises personal expectations of painting. It helps that they

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