Category: Visual Artists News Sheet

VAN and e-bulletin archives

VAN Critique Jan/Feb 2015: Debra Bowden ‘Beginnings’ at the Toradh Gallery

Debra Bowden Cave V11

Debra Bowden, ‘Cave V11’, 2013, pigment, oil bar and mica on paper

Debra Bowden
17 November – 16 December 2014
Toradh Gallery, Ashbourne, Meath

. Why are they such a popular subject for paintings? In many hands, even when well executed, they come across as sentimental, chocolate-box images, anodyne and unchallenging. In Debra Bowden’s work, now showing at the Toradh Gallery in Ashbourne, Co. Meath, they are none of the above. Of the 24 pieces on display, the majority feature this benign-seeming animal, but its representation goes well beyond the simply bovine, reaching as far back as prehistoric times.

In its subject matter, execution and choice of palette, Bowden’s work evokes the primitive cave drawings of Lascaux and Chauvet. These works are fascinating. Were they recordings or decorations? A means of communication or ritual markings? Whatever their purpose, they are a vivid reminder of that most human activity: creation, and a rebuke not to confuse primitive with paltry or puerile.

The warm ochres and rough materials that Bowden uses – sand, pigment, mica – bring us on that heady journey into the depths of prehistoric markings, reminding us of our origins and remonstrating with us for assuming that in our evolution we have somehow left behind the primeval. Recently, there have been anecdotes about cattle becoming more aggressive, explained perhaps by their lack of human contact in an environment which is more industrialised and less peopled than in the past. When Bowden speaks of exploring that “empathetic relationship between man, his environment and the indigenous animals that inhabit it,” she is asking us to examine just how strong that relationship is now, and to wonder what we may have lost over time.

In this exhibition, Bowden shows six images from what is presumably a larger series – the numbering here is not sequential – of which ‘Cave I’ is the most dramatic. It presents to the viewer an animal that, although familiar in form, has nothing of the bucolic or pastoral. This is a beast, a force to be reckoned with, presented in strong, minimal lines and earthy, tactile media. There is confidence and coherence in Bowden’s conjunction of skill and subject matter. (more…)

VAN Critique Jan/Feb 2015: ‘Uchronia’, Sinead McDonald at Draiocht, Co Dublin

Sinead McDonald, Uchronia

Sinead McDonald ‘Self Portrait If I Hadn’t Walked Home Via Camden Street in 1989’

Sinead McDonald
28 November – 7 February 2015
Draiocht, Blanchardstown, Co Dublin

Artist Sinéad McDonald does not like her photo being taken.1 So what motivated McDonald to produce her first solo exhibition made up almost entirely of self-portraits? The answer is that while McDonald is the subject, artist, photographer, director and all-round protagonist in this series of works, they are fictions.

The show’s title, ‘Uchronia’, which literally means other time, draws the viewer into the realm of the ‘what if’. As the press release for the exhibition states, “these images investigate fate, free will and predestination, truth and longing, and look at how decisions, accidents and circumstances can change us utterly. What is it that makes us who we are? What if we could go back and undo things? Do we really have the power to shift our own narratives?”

McDonald is a Dublin-based artist, photographer and digital media producer and a graduate of the Art in the Digital World Masters at NCAD. She describes her research and practice as focusing on issues of authorship and narrative in portraits and images of people, and the creation of identity in online and offline spaces. McDonald’s work incor- porates new technologies: digital production, web based art and physical computing, alongside photography, video and historical lens-based processes. (more…)

VAN Critique Jan/Feb 2015: ‘Studies on Shivering’, Damir Očko at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin

Damir Ocko

Installation View of ‘Studies on Shivering’ at TBG+S, 2014


Damir Očko
Studies on Shivering
21 November 2014 – 24 January 2015
Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin

The clear and ordered manner in which Damir Očko’s works are arranged in ‘Studies on Shivering’ may initially conceal the extent to which Očko intends for these works to slide across into each other and cross-pollinate. This process of synchronous readings makes for a demanding experience in which our own cognitive processes are implicated. A musical score is presented with a poem embedded within it and we read in the opening inter-titles to the film TK that the piece is “for voice and string”. This invitation to experience a work in a way that seems initially incongruous to it, places a hesitancy within the audience – triggering the sense that a more authentic reading of the work may lie elsewhere. This strategy of deflecting hierarchies of meaning permeates the entire show and ultimately forces us to reflect upon how we derive meaning from sensory stimulus and how that might effect our perception of the world. (more…)

VAN January / February 2015

JF15 cover

Cover Image. Nom Nom Collective, Ropey Smurf , paint and ink on repurposed album cover.

5. Roundup. Recent exhibitions and projects of note.
5. Column. Jonathan Carroll. Fag Ends.
6. Column. Linda O’Keefe. Socio-sonic Textures.
7. Column. Mark Fisher. A Time for Shadows.
8. News. The latest developments in the visual arts sector.
8. VAI News. Research, projects and campaigns.
9. Regional Focus. Visual arts resources and activity in Wicklow.
12. VAI Event. Belfast Open Studios. A profile on the Belfast Open Studios event.
14. MAC International. Archives & Time Machines. Hugh Mulholland interviews Mairead McClean, winner of the inaugural MAC International Award.


VAN November / December 2014


Phillip Napier Soon ‘These Immovable Walls: Performing Power’ Dublin Castle 11 – 12 June 2014. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Joseph Carr

5. Roundup. Recent exhibitions and projects of note.
5. Column. Francis McKee. Under the Radar.
6. Column. Jason Oakley. Let’s Be Modern About It.
7. Column.Conor McGrady. Ex-centric Alternatives.
8. News. The latest developments in the visual arts sector.
8. VAI News. Research, projects and campaigns. (more…)

VAN Critique Sept/Oct 2014: Eva Rothschild at Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane

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Eva Rothschild, installation view, Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane, 2014. All works © Eva Rothschild. Courtesy of Stuart Shave / Modern Art, London, Galerie Eve Presenhuber, Zurich, The Modern Institute Glasgow and 303 Gallery, New York.

Eva Rothschild
23 May 2014 – 21 September 2014
Dublin City Gallery, the Hugh Lane

Eva Rothschild’s sculptural practice is positioned within the aesthetic of an earlier generation of artists, whose oeuvre was determined by intrinsic material properties and an obstinate respect for classical modernity. Artists like Richard Deacon, Alison Wilding, Richard Wentworth and, in Ireland, Eilís O’Connell and Maud Cotter, established a tradition in which their innovation was moulded through the inherent characteristics of metal, plastic, leather, paper, wood, plaster, glass, ceramic and so on. The principles of their work seem to be in opposition to current tendencies towards a fragile, unravelling and explosive approach evident in the work of Jessica Stockholder, Sarah Sze and, in Ireland, Tadhg McSweeney and Aleana Egan. In a tentative way Rothschild’s work could be viewed as a bridge across to this fragmented approach, whilst retaining a fundamental rational order. (more…)

VAN Critique Sept/Oct 2014: Caoimhe Kilfeather at Temple Bar Gallery


Camille KIlfeather, ‘This Attentive Place’, Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin, 2014

Caoimhe Kilfeather
‘This Attentive Place’
Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin
20 June – 20 August 2014

Caoimhe Kilfeather seems interested in the space around objects as much as the objects themselves. In her recent exhibition a diaphanous blue screen (made from overlapping sheets of oiled and pigmented paper) reshaped the gallery’s coordinates and provided an atmospheric setting for a number of seemingly related though rather mysterious artifacts. (more…)

VAN Critique Sept/Oct 2014: ‘The Starry Messenger: Seven Artist Filmmakers’, VOID, Derry

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Live projections as part of ‘Starry Messenger’ at Void, Derry. Image by Paola Bernadelli

‘The Starry Messenger: Seven Artist Filmmakers’
5 Aug – 26 Sept 2014
VOID, Derry

Marika Borgeson, Janine Davidson, Rebecca Myers, Michaela Nettell, Samantha Rebello, Talena Sanders, Ana Vaz; curated by Declan Sheehan.

‘Starry Messenger’ presents the work of seven contemporary artist filmmakers in a kind of cry from the heart for the medium of film. It brings together 16mm, 8mm and Super8 films in a way that puts the beauty of the medium centre stage. (more…)

VAN Critique Sept/Oct 2014: Marilyn Lerner at Butler Gallery

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Maria Lerner, ‘Centre Point’, 2011, oil on wood

Marilyn Lerner
Circle in the Square
Butler Gallery, The Castle, Kilkenny
9 August – 5 October 2014

For artist Marilyn Lerner New York is a frenetic city from which her practice provides a haven of peace. This exhibition, Circle in the Square, Lerner’s first in Ireland, comprises 21 examples of her work, the main body of which is oil on wood, with just four pieces on paper. Lerner started out as a sculptor, working with wood for three years before moving to painting. This experience is reflected in her wood supports, which are made specifically for Lerner, and feature distinctive bevelling that allows the work to stand away from the wall in a very understated way. The deep grey walls and well-placed lighting (the exhibition has been carefully curated by Gallery Director Anna O’Sullivan) further enhance the work. (more…)

VAN Critique Sept/Oct 2014: Graham Gingles at The MAC, Belfast

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Graham Gingles, ‘At Times Like These Men Were Wishing They Were All Kinds of Insects’, The MAC, Belfast, 2014

Graham Gingles
‘At times like these men were wishing they were all kinds of insects’
The MAC, Belfast
3 July – 17 August 2014

‘At times like these men were wishing they were all kinds of insects’, Graham Gingles’s installation at the MAC, comprises a maze-like structure of architectural elements – doors, window frames, bannisters, architraves – painted a ghostly white, that a vaults above the viewer. The edifice is softly lit, with the scent of white lilies filling the small gallery. The work leads viewers into a visual maze: ladders lead up, drawers open out and windows both hide and frame elements the work. Drawers and cupboards hold various objects: a wooden train, a collection of transparent crosses, toy battleships and a group of toy soldiers. (more…)

VAN September/ October 2014


Cover Image. Eva Rothschild, installation view, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, 2014. All works © Eva Rothschild. Courtesy of Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich, The Modern Institute, Glasgow, and 303 Gallery, New York.

5. Roundup. Recent exhibitions and projects of note.
5. Column. Cliodhna Shaffrey. Alternative Scenarios.
6. Column. Jonathan Carroll. Theme Or No Theme?
7. Column. Chris Clarke. Site Unseen.
8. News. The latest developments in the visual arts sector.
8. VAI News. Research, projects and campaigns.
9. Regional Focus. Visual arts resources and activity in Kilkenny.
12. Career Development. Tacit Presence. Isabel Nolan discusses the development of her art career. (Archived)
13. Public Art Profile. On The Right Track. Joanna Hopkins profiles ‘Changing Tracks’.
14. Studio Profile. Encouraging & Enabling. Ben Crothers profiles Queen Street Studios, Flax Art Studios Pollen Studios and Platform Arts.
15. Residency Report. Complete Engagement. Margaret O’Brien describes her experience of the TBG&S / HIAP residency in Helsinki. (Archived)
16. How Is It Made? Unsettling Essences. Liam Crichton discusses his installation ‘Untitled’.
17. Curation. Perception & Representation. Helen Carey reports on the Addis Ababa Curatorial Intensive.
18. Project Profile. Critical Congregation. Monica Flynn discusses her project ‘The Café Society’. (Archived)
19. Critique. Eva Rothschild, The Hugh Lane; Graham Gingles, The MAC, Caoimhe Kilfeather TBG&S, Fabienne Audeoud, Triskel; Marilyn Lerner, Butler Gallery; ‘The Starry Messenger’, Void.
23. Studio / Residency Profile. Stronghold. Ruth Lyons discusses new developments at The Good Hatchery.
24. Symposium Report. Civic Works. Joanne Laws reports on ‘The Workers Symposium’.
25. Project Profile. A Moment In Time. Jennette Donnelly reports on an exhibition and discussion event at Tallaght Hospital, which focused on the impacts of art in functional healthcare environments.
26. Project Profile. Swansong For The Lifeworld. James Merrigan reports on ‘Catch The He(Art)’.
27. VAI Northern Ireland Manager. Tone & Noise. Rob Hilken details the rise of sound art in Belfast.
27. VAI West Of Ireland Representative. Western Lags. Aideen Barry on a new aspect of her role with VAI.
28. VAI Event. Ethical Transitions. Jason Oakley reports on ‘Art in a Time of Transition’ And ‘Artists and Ethics’, discussions held at the VAI Get Together in association with AICA Ireland.
29. Gallery Focus. Materiality & Home. Olivier Cornet introduces his Dublin gallery.
29. VAI Help Desk. Tax Made Easy. Niamh Looney highlights information that every artist should know.
30. Institition Profile. Getting Familiar. Matt Packer outlines his plans as the new director of CCA, Derry.
30. Award Profile. The MAC International. Hugh Mullholland talks about the new £20,000 international art prize devised by The MAC, Belfast.
31. Public Art Roundup. Public art commissions, site-specific works, socially engaged practice and various other forms of art outside the gallery.
32. VAI Advocacy. Public Art In Crisis? VAI CEO / Director Noel Kelly outlines some current issues concerning public art commissions
33. Opportunities. All the latest grants, awards, exhibition calls and commissions.
34. VAI Professional Development. Current and upcoming workshops, peer reviews and seminars.

VAN Critique July/August 2014: Nickey Teegan and Conor Mary Foy at NCAD Gallery, Dublin


Nicky Teegan and Conor Mary Foy ‘At dawn we will stand in a circle, as the sun rises it will renew the souls of the pure’ installation view. NCAD Gallery, Dublin, photo by Barry Keogh

Nicky Teegan and Conor Mary Foy
‘At dawn we will stand in a circle, as the sun rises it will renew the souls of the pure’
NCAD Gallery, Dublin
11 April – 15 May 2014

Nicky Teegan and Conor Mary Foy have worked as collaborators on other projects and At dawn we will stand in a circle, as the sun rises it will renew the souls of the pure’, their show at NCAD Gallery presents some of these collaborations re-worked. Nature and rituals, folk imagery and science fiction blend and overlap to create a body of work from artists who are in an intriguing dialogue with each other. (more…)

VAN Critique July/August 2014: Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh at Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin

sinead94770Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh
Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin
01 May – 23 May

Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh’s showing at the Kevin Kavanagh gallery reveals the latest phase in her dynamically evolving practice. ‘Contours’ finds her parked, for now, within a ‘difficult’ aesthetic that feels like an up-to-the-minute exploration of the parameters of painting. Working largely in the abstract idiom with referential accents, this has much to do with her distinctive palette and the dense, conflicted handling of her medium. (more…)

VAN Critique July/August 2014: Susan Connolly at The MAC, Belfast

20140508 Susan Conno#7333A7Susan Connolly
Something About Some Thing To Do With Paint
9 May – 22 June
The MAC, Belfast

For work so rooted in surface and medium, Susan Connolly’s ‘Something About Some Thing To Do With Paint’ makes surprising use of light – translucency is the first taste of the exhibition space.

Upon descending into the MAC’s sunken gallery, the soft red light falling through and backlighting R/Y/B Fluorescent catches the eye. The translucent canvas has a surprising delicacy among all its hardware: like all three works it is heavily spot lit, sitting away from the wall’s surface with a steel ceiling mount. The layers of acrylic and household paint that were built upon the canvas are scored and peeled away by Connolly in a single curtain, which trails on the ground like a fabric train. (more…)

VAN Critique July/August 2014: Kennedy Browne at Crawford Art Gallery, Cork


Kennedy Browne The Myth of the Many in the One. Image © Kennedy Browne, photo © Jed Niezgoda, installation at Crawford Art Gallery, Cork

‘The Myth of the Many and the One’
Kennedy Browne
The Myth of the Many in the One
The Crawford Art Gallery
11 April – 7 June 2014

Titles can be abstracted, distanced, tenuously connected, and even arbitrary, but The Myth of the Many in the One is exactly what it describes, an exploration of the modern day mythic figures synonymous with Silicon Valley, such as Bob Noyce, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs. Kennedy Browne (the collaborative practice of Gareth Kennedy and Sarah Browne) extensively researched the bibliographies of these men and their relationship to Silicon Valley, weaving facts, anecdotes, inferences and biblical quotes in a unique process of redaction to form a single narrative. (more…)

VAN Critique July/August 2014: ‘Re-Framing the Domestic in Irish Art’ at Highlanes Gallery

Janet Mullarney, Domestic Gods II, 1998, wood, plaster, wallpaper, mixed media

Janet Mullarney, Domestic Gods II, 1998, wood, plaster, wallpaper, mixed

‘Re-Framing the Domestic in Irish Art’
Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda, Co Louth
29 April – August 2014

Paintings from Drogheda’s Municipal Art Collection provide a starting point for this ambitious exhibition co-curated by Highlanes director Aoife Ruane, artist Amanda Coogan and art historian and writer Jane Humphries. Drawing on the respective interests of the curators, the show’s premise is an attempt to address a movement in Irish art that has been, if not ignored, then perhaps passed by. Humphries has written eloquently on what she has termed the “domestic avant-garde” (1), examining the work of Irish women artists in a feminist / home context in order to explore how these artists have subverted tropes of ‘home’ as part of their work (2).

Coogan meanwhile, often employs performative gestures in her work which can be interpreted as alluding to the domestic, such as sitting on top of a bucket while scrubbing fabric in Yellow (2008), or with the project ‘Labour’ (2012), a touring exhibition of live art where each of the participating Irish female artists worked with their own bodies (3). (more…)

VAN July / August 2014


Cover: Tom Climent, Acrobat, oil on canvas, 30×30 cm

5. Column. Treasa O’Brien. Speaking of I.M.E.L.D.A.
6. Column. Boredom, Compulsion & Anxiety. Mark Fisher.
7. Column. Constructing Migration. Emily Mark–Fitzgerald.
8. News. The latest developments in the visual arts sector.
8. VAI News. Visual Artists Ireland’s research, projects and campaigns.
9. Regional Profile. West Cork, Resources and Activities – Blue House Gallery; Kinsale Arts Festival, West Cork Arts Centre, David Bickley; Wendy Dison.
12. How is it made? Expansion & Transformation. Maud Cotter talks to Bernadette Cotter.
13. Career Development. Material Negotiation. Barbara Knezevic’s approach to professional practice.
14. Organisation Profile. Championing a Medium. Ben Crothers profiles Belfast Print Workshop.
15. Project profile. Ultra Violet Orange. Sarah Kelleher profiles ‘Iron R 2’ at NSF, Cork. (more…)

VAN May / June 2014


Cover: Locky Morris, Dead On, dead elm tree, audio, Brooke Park, Derry, VOID Sites Artists’ Gardens commission (December 2013 – Spring 2014). Photo Paola Bernardelli, treatment by Joe Coll (

5. Column.
Be There. VAI Get Together 2014.
6. Column. Jonathan Carroll. Recalling Bocadillo-gate.
5.Roundup. Recent exhibitions and projects of note.
7. Column. Els Borgart. Forwards & Backwards.
8. News. The latest developments in the visual arts sector.
8. VAI News. Visual Artists Ireland’s research, projects and campaigns.
9. Regional Profile. Donegal. Artlink, Fiona Mulholland, Sarah Lewtas, Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny, Earagail Arts Festival, Glebe Gallery.
12. Project Profile. Spark & Grit. Rgksksrg discuss the DCC / Lab Emerging Curator Award. (more…)

VAN Critique May/June 2014: Robert Kelly at Droichead Arts Centre


Robert Kelly, The Space Between With Triangles

Robert Kelly
Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda
9 March – 25 April

‘Interconnectedness’, the title of Robert Kelly’s exhibition of abstract prints at the Droichead Arts Centre, alludes not only to the visual links created between works through the repeated use of plates, but to the persistence of motifs and themes that have informed his practice since the 1970s. Geometric forms and grid patterns are infused with less taut characteristics to explore the tension between order and chaos in a modern-meets-postmodern interplay. Hidden spaces, perception and the impact of time and motion are also pitched within a resonating set of relationships. (more…)

VAN Critique May/June 2014: Richard Gilligan at The Copperhouse Gallery, Dublin


Richard Gilligan Warsaw, Poland

Richard Gilligan
The Copperhouse Gallery, Dublin
13 March – 3 April

Secluded down a quiet laneway off Synge Street, Dublin the ‘Copper House’ is wrapped in thin sheets of the eponymous metal, an eccentric cladding for an otherwise nondescript industrial block. The two- storey structure houses a photographic studio and digital printing service with a ground floor gallery offering a showcase for the company’s output. This immaculate exhibition space provides a pristine air for the 16 colour photographs that make up Richard Gilligan’s exhibition, ‘DIY’. (more…)