Daily Archives: April 16, 2015

Selected Articles from the March/April 2015 Issue of the Visual Artists News Sheet


Cover Image. Amanda Ralph, Paper Boats, River Brosna, Clara 2000. Public Art Commission for Offaly Co. Council. Re-installed at Lough Boora in 2014.

After each issue of the Visual Artists News Sheet is distributed to members we make a selection of the published articles available on our website. In the latest issue residency report, Clea van der Grijn discusses a recent residency in Mexico where she explored Irish and Mexican attitudes to death, mourning and identity. Anne Bradley interviews Jennie Guy in Over Lapping with Young Minds discussing the Mobile Art School and other projects exploring the role of contemporary artists and curators in schools. Treasa O’Brien explores Irish attitudes to protest and civil disobedience in Roads of Least Resistance. And finally, Dorothy Hunter describes her experience of there VAI and  Digital Art Studio award.

The Visual Artists News Sheet (VAN) is published by Visual Artists Ireland. The most effective way to ensure that you receive the Visual Artists’ News Sheet both regularly and promptly is to become a member of Visual Artists Ireland.

Membership is open to all artists and entitles you to an annual subscription to the Visual Artists’ News Sheet as well as a host of other benefits.


VAN Critique March/April 2015: Sabina Mac Mahon at Belfast Exposed Photography and Queen Street Studios & Gallery

Screenshot 2015-04-16 15.04.28

Maimie Campbell, The Death of Cuchulainn, 1929, tempera on board 67 x 55 cm

Sabina Mac Mahon
‘An Ulaid – South Down Society of Modern Art’
Belfast Exposed and Queen Street Studios, Belfast
16 January – 28 February

Sabina Mac Mahon’s research project, An Ulaid – South Down Society of Modern Art, is displayed in two different venues in Belfast: Belfast Exposed Photography and Queen Street Studios & Gallery.

Belfast Exposed’s downstairs gallery bears all the familiar hallmarks of a museum-based show, in which factual information and a collection of artefacts are utilised to construct characters and tell a story. The open layout – vitrines, free-standing and wall-mounted display cases, framed archival photographs and an abundance of wall panels – provides detailed information on a group of seven artists: Maimie Campbell, Pauline Doyle, Edward Hollywood, Sarah Leonard, Iris McAragh, Heber O’Neill and Thomas Pettit, who co-founded the South Down Society of Modern Art in rural Northern Ireland in 1927.

Mac Mahon has included an incredible amount of detail in the texts incorporated in the exhibition, which appear to be thoroughly researched and chart the formation of the group, their inspirations, travels, influences, styles, output and eventual decline in 1930. Hand-written postcards, aged and frayed, contain correspondence between the members whilst abroad. Black and white photographs show a group of smiling young artists and the spaces and places where they grew up and in which their meetings and art making took place. Even the biscuit tin in which Mac Mahon found the memorabilia that initiated her research project sits on a plinth under a protective case.


VAN Critique March/April 2015: Teresa Gillespie at Wexford Arts Centre


Teresa Gillespie, below explanation (clocks stop at 3pm and existence continues), mixed media with found objects and video, 2014/15

Teresa Gillespie
‘below explanation (clocks stop at 3pm and existence continues)’
Wexford Arts Centre
12 January – 7 February 2015

“Phenomenology fails to provide a guaranteed tether to the world and its things. The relationship between consciousness and content remains to be worked out.” (Arthur C. Danto) (1)

The annual Emerging Visual Artist Award (EVAA) is one of the most sought-after visual art opportunities in the country. The winning artist is awarded €5,000 and a solo show at Wexford Arts Centre (WAC). As the 99% majority of visual artists in Ireland could be categorised as ‘emerging’ the profile of artists who do apply is most likely very colourful.

The profiles of EVAA recipients suggest that the term emerging applies to new and relatively young artists. Since 2006, when Seamus Nolan was the inaugural winner, three male and six female artists have taken home the award. Yes, strange to see the gender imbalance swaying the other way for a change in an art context. The last five artists to win the award have been female. A turning of the tide perhaps?

Just over a year after receiving the award in 2013, Teresa Gillespie’s resulting solo exhibition at WAC is a sprawling shag pile of heavily textured and layered materialism. The theory behind the art is derived from Jean-Paul Sartre’s philosophical novel Nausea (1939), a makeshift narrative delivered as a series of diary entries by a protagonist who one day pulls the scab off existence to find nothingness underneath. This old existential chestnut (a chestnut tree root being the main visual maker of nausea in Nausea) originates in Sartre’s proposition that “existence precedes essence”. In one particularly existential moment the protagonist, Roquentin, observes that “the diversity of things, their individuality, were only an appearance, a veneer. This veneer had melted, leaving soft, monstrous masses”.(2) (more…)