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Painting

A Painter’s Life

CHRISTINA MULLAN PROVIDES AN OVERVIEW OF THE STEPHEN MCKENNA RETROSPECTIVE AT VISUAL CARLOW.  Writing on the notion of painting in 1994, Adrian Searle remarked that painting exhibitions are often classified as a “resurrection” of sorts. He argues that we need not consider these events in such a manner – that painting “is not a patient, it is not ill or dying, or in need of resuscitation. It is not convalescing, or in remission, reborn or revived. It needs no revivals: painting is not an old-time religion”.1 If anything can testify to this statement, it is the current retrospective exhibition, ‘A Painter’s Life: Works from 1958–2016’, and the accompanying group exhibition,

‘MAKing Art: The PAINTing Exhibition’

Draíocht Arts Centre, Blanchardstown14 March – 18 May 2019 Immediacy, I’ve found, has always been an underlying characteristic of much contemporary painting. I’ve never tried to pull back the curtain of the canvas, in search of hidden meaning lurking beyond sight. Surely, I thought, there is no code to crack; what you see is what you get. However, this limiting preconception was unilaterally turned on its head by ‘MAKing Art:PAINTing’. Sitting with the paintings in this group exhibition – which includes work by Susan Connolly, Bridget Flannery, Geraldine O’Neill and Liz Rackard – I found nostalgia, warmth and physical engagement seeping out.  ‘MAKing Art:PAINTing’ is the second instalment in a

The Truth of the Encounter

JOANNE LAWS INTERVIEWS NICK MILLER ABOUT HIS PAINTING PRACTICE AND HIS CURRENT EXHIBITION IN LONDON. Joanne Laws: The term ‘Encounter Painting’ is commonly associated with your work. I guess this relates to things happening in your daily life and how you respond to them?  Nick Miller: Not really, it’s more formal than that. Back in 1988, still in my late-twenties, I had a kind of eureka moment about what art could be for me while on a residency in Dublin Zoo. I began to draw from life again, facing the otherness of animals in captivity. It became about meeting and holding contained energy through the act of drawing. It coincided

Gerry Davis ‘Procession’

Galway Arts Centre 11 January – 8 February 2019 ‘Procession’ is a powerfully evocative exhibition by Limerick-based painter, Gerry Davis, which generates extensive narratives. In this respect, the work demonstrates how aesthetic experience transcends language. The exhibition comprises a new body of realist paintings that address timeless and contemporary issues pertaining to the function of art. Each painting poses questions about the nature of looking, as well as the interconnected roles of the artist, the viewer and the wider public.  In some of the paintings, there is an atmosphere of solitude and depravation. For example, Studio Space 4 details a dated studio, which appears to be lacking in central heating, as

‘Infrastructures of Now’

NCAD Gallery, Dublin21 September – 30 November 2018 The glass modernist façade of the NCAD Gallery may be considered a portal into the machine itself. To function, this machine depends on an engaged, creative, intellectual exchange between students, researchers, lecturers and artists, who are in turn inherently dependent on the infrastructures and resources the machine affords them. ‘Infrastructures of Now’, curated by Anne Kelly, interrogates this interdependency, critically addressing questions of autonomy, institutional expectations and the technical methodologies and languages engaged by the contemporary practitioners it frames. The works featured in this exhibition have at some point – either notionally or physically – passed through the engine rooms of this

Chris Doris ‘The Empty Field’

The Model, Sligo17 November 2018 – 27 January 2019 This extensive exhibition by Chris Doris is installed across five gallery spaces at the Model, exploring a number of thematic strands, influenced by components of the artist’s life, namely: meditation, psychotherapy, psychology and neurobiology. Doris brings these professional interests into play and reinterprets them in the gallery context, showcasing a unique range of observational modes, as well as a lucid, coherent range of artworks.  What might initially appear as hard-edged abstraction within the galleries, is softened through the introduction of the outside world. Natural light is present in three of the five spaces; it appears to have been deliberately choreographed to

‘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

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