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Painting

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

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

BEAUFORT (“about the weather”) / Simulations / White Line Series

Solstice Arts Centre, 25 August – 13 October 2017 On show at Solstice Arts Centre are three solo exhibitions by different artists, each with their own title and separate room. Free from a fixed or unifying theme, the exhibitions are loosely bound by a general sense of abstraction within the artists’ creative processes, along with some allusion to local history, heritage or landscape. Upon entering the first space, David Quinn’s works appear minimalistic, with a series of nine intimately-sized pieces in muted colours. The strength in Quinn’s works emerges when we draw closer and discover the detail present. The works are built up of layers that variously comprise gesso, oil

Haptic Encounters in Painting

MARTIN HERBERT INTERVIEWS RONNIE HUGHES ABOUT HIS TOURING EXHIBITION ‘STRANGE ATTRACTORS’. Martin Herbert: Perhaps we could start with a simple question: Why did you choose the title ‘Strange Attractors’ for this exhibition? Ronnie Hughes: As some people might know, it’s a term from Chaos Theory. I’ve had a layman’s interest in science and science fiction for years. Attractors are determinants within a given system that cause it to take a certain kind of form, while a strange attractor is one that has a fractal dimension. It’s a sequential or mathematical relationship, in part, that I like to use as an analogue for what happens in the paintings. For years, chaos

Biographical Landscapes

JOANNE LAWS INTERVIEWS ELIZABETH MAGILL ABOUT HER PAINTING PRACTICE. Joanne Laws: Can you describe your studio setting and your painting routine? Elizabeth Magill: My studio is in a complex with other artists run by the organisation ACME in East London. It’s a 700-square-foot white cube with light coming in from the south and looking onto Mill Row, a narrow one-way street shadowed by a four-storey brown brick and grey concrete block of council flats, built in the 1970s. I’ve been here for a long time, so I’m used to this view. I like its low-level visual interference. I also have a smaller workspace on the Antrim coast, but when I’m

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