ÁINE MACKEN, FOUNDER OF ART CLASH, DESCRIBES THE MOTIVATION BEHIND THIS ONGOING SERIES OF CREATIVE CLASSES.
Art Clash began as a creative experiment, where contemporary nightlife became a platform for utilising and incorporating creativity and talent in a visual art context.
After much experience in art making, I was left with the very real awareness of the difficulty in making money through traditional art practice. The idea of attempting to apply creativity to nightlife and the industrious world of clubbing became a slightly more exciting method of generating money than making sandwiches at a deli. Club nights such as Synth Eastwood openly encouraged an environment of creativity, art making and innovation. Pubs like The Bernard Shaw and U Bar in Christchurch, Dublin had a clear and apparent mission: to combine creativity with nightlife and to enter art making into a more accessible format. However, too frequently these events contained an obvious element of voyeurism rather than participation, where punters were permitted to gawp at an artist creating work as they supped a pint.
Into the Light: the Arts Council – 60 Years of Supporting the Arts has been developed by Lead Curator, Karen Downey and is a partnership between the Arts Council and a number of prominent Irish art galleries. Partner curators have been invited to select works from the Arts Council collection and to create exhibitions which reflect the interests and ethos of their individual institutions.
‘Meditation’ (2009) by Patrick Scott, is the title image for a major series of exhibitions which will take place from December this year to celebrate the work of Irish contemporary artists and 60 years of support for the sector by the Arts Council.
The exhibitions will include over 150 works from the Arts Council collection. Many of the works have been recalled from loan locations across the country and will be on display at the following locations:
- Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane from November 28th
- Limerick City Gallery of Art from November 30th
- Crawford Art Gallery from December 5th
- The Model, Sligo from December 7th
Orlaith McBride, Director of the Arts Council said: “The collection, which was formally established in 1962, is not a ‘museum-like’ or definitive collection representing an Irish art canon. Instead, its development was guided by the deeply held principles of assisting artists to make a living from their work and of using that work to provide opportunities for the public to experience art in their locality. These values still endure, with the Council buying from contemporary artists while also ensuring that the majority of the collection remains out on loan in local libraries, museums, hospitals and other public buildings.”
As part of Into the Light, the Arts Council and RTÉ are supporting the making of four short films which respond creatively to the Arts Council collection and which will be broadcast in RTÉ Television’s weekly arts series, The Works, in November. The films to be made are as follows:
Variations on a Collection – An over view of the Arts Council collection and how it reflects who we are, by James Kelly
The Nettle Coat – Exploring the public’s response to Alice Maher’s Nettle Coat, by Pat Collins and Sharon Whooley
Reframe – Following the artist Karl Burke during the development of his new work commissioned for the exhibition at Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane, by Tadhg O’Sullivan
A Prevailing Wind – Celebrating six decades of the arts, by Ian Cudmore, Alan Kavanagh and Donal Dineen.
The exhibition ‘On the Threshold’ is based around a series of miniature drawings of cityscapes. The cities are all based on locations of latitude and longitude, they consist of a series of miniatures of the capital cities of all the countries located on the Prime Meridian and also an accompanying series of miniature works of cities located on or near the Equator.
There are a number of accompanying small drawn works that relate to the miniatures. There are two small drawings of the Diomede Islands in the Bering Straight. These islands are located either side of the International Date line meaning that someone on one island looking through a pair of binoculars at a person on the other island would be seeing someone who is physically located in the day before, or the day after dependant on your location.
The body of work in total is about those proximities and ambiguities that arise in constructing our internal and external systems of meaning. There are also a series of small oil works on paper, which depict more politically charged spaces, an oil refinery in Iraq, a miniature nightscape of Tehran and the only colour work in the exhibition which is a miniature of the Kalishnikov factory in Russia. The largest work in the show is a charcoal/pastel drawing of the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, the smallest work a depiction of the vehicles at a drive- in movie complex in the 1950’s entitled ‘a series of dislocations’. All of these works are depictions and reflections of the world we think we know and understand, they sequence how we construct our own personas through various screens and shifts of perspective within the wider context of a worldwide ‘hall of mirrors’, scenes and scenarios that hold lines of inquiry to examine who we are both from an external and internal perspective.
“.. the artist, engaged in the act of perpetual looking, can draw the audience in, as Leach does, magnifying those complex realities that remain unchallenged, highlighting unchartered thresholds between the established and the yet to be discovered.” Joanne Laws, Sept Oct VAI News Sheet
In keeping with Visual Artists Ireland’s policy we require venues or events to pay artist’s fees for exhibitions.
To mark the 10 years since the College reopened to the public, Centre Culturel Irlandais will host a series of cultural events for September 2012. Highlights include an enormous dolls house installation in the courtyard by sculptor Patrick O’Reilly, and an exhibition exploring the life and work of WB Yeats, complemented by readings from his poetry by Sinead Cusack, Marianne Faithful, Bob Geldof and Charlotte Rampling.
The Centre Culturel Irlandais is grateful for the tremendous support of our audiences over the past 10 years,” said Director Sheila Pratschke. “They share our pride in Ireland’s culture, and our admiration of all the talented artists who visit and work here. I would like to extend my personal thanks to all of the people who helped to make our Centre the success it now is and, in particular, to Helen Carey, my predecessor as Director.”
The College works in close co-operation with the Embassy of Ireland in Paris and with their French partners: the Ville de Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Ministère de la Culture and La Sorbonne. With the support of Culture Ireland, the College plays an important and ongoing role in sustaining Ireland’s international cultural reputation, and building on the existing and important links between Ireland and France.
Artists-in-residence have been appointed on an annual basis since the Irish College reopened in October 2002. Residency in one of the 45 restored rooms gives the recipient the chance to spend time in Paris and engage with the city.
The geomancers of old were Earth magicians who understood the mysterious currents running under the soil and were able to manipulate this energy to harmonise the land, bringing fertility and well being to the people.
Following in this tradition, award-winning new media artist David Bickley is transporting the form and atmosphere of a stone circle from the remote moors of West Cornwall and digitally rebuilding it with light and sound in Drogheda.
This piece, specially commissioned for the town’s art centre, continues David’s series of immersive installations under the heading An Index of Ritual Space, a series David has been working on since 1990.
Steve Hartgroves, Principal Archaeologist with Cornwall Council has called David in relation to this project, ” a virtual Merlin”.
Dans Maen is Cornish for “Stone Dance” and is the name given to a number of stone circles around the remote West Penwith area that also comprises Lands End in Cornwall. The name supposedly refers to the legend that maidens were turned to stone for dancing on a Sunday, an obvious Christianisation of a prehistoric site and its associated traditions.
In the early part of the last century, archaeologist TC Lethbridge visited one such site – the Merry Maidens. This is a near perfect circle of nineteen quartzite granite stones. He had with him a pendulum which he had learned to use for dowsing; he claims to have gotten the idea from a French nautical character who used it to find mines at sea. This idea to dowse for the energy lines, which the stones either map out or are based on, was probably influenced by the work of Guy Underwood who did much work mapping the underlying currents of many ancient sites and even cathedrals, which are all said to be built on even older significant sites or power spots. When Lethbridge started to dowse the circle he felt a very strong spiralling pull, a kind of magnetic field, he also said that the stones seemed to rock.
When I first saw this ancient circle, I was sitting in a vehicle with composer Steve Bayfield in a small lay-by looking up at their silhouettes on the moonlit hill. We both saw them appear to rock, then spin. Although I am definite that they didn’t physically move I am sure that part of my being perceived their potential to do so, and the prevailing energies that might drive them.
This piece is about that time, though I have moved my focus to a more remote circle a few miles from the Merry Maidens called the Nine Maidens. This small, fragmented circle sits on top of wild moorland overlooking St Michael’s Mount in an area known as Ding Dong…
David would like to acknowledge the generous support of Air South West and the Historic Environment Dept. Cornwall Council in the realisation of this project
Artists Fees required: In keeping with VAI policy, an artist’s fee is required
|David Ian Bickley|
|00353 087 6983033|
XXX is a pilot project comprising a series of exhibitions that showcases work made by contemporary female artists.
Taking its name from the XX chromosome, this series of exhibitions brings together female artists working a variety of media. The aim is to give a platform to artists where there is no need to respond to a theme or to force their work into a category of similarity. Although there is curatorial consideration to the groupings in each show, these artists are invited to show work that varies from their co-exhibitor, illustrating their breadth of practice.
The first of the exhibitions – XXX7 – will take place in Dublin at the beginning of 2013, a second exhibition – XXX5 – will take place at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago during Nov – Dec 2013. A 3rd venue is currently being sought for mid 2013.
The venue needs to be large enough to take installation pieces and have enough space to allow 2D & 3D work unhindered viewing space.
A catalogue will be produced to cover all 3 venues. Each venue will be properly credited and will be required to submit a brief statement regarding the XXX project for the catalogue.
The artists included in this series sre from Ireland (North & South) and USA. Although all the USA artists have worked in Ireland at some point before.
Ann Carragher (NI/UK) – Sound/Installation
Rebecca Coffey (Irl) – Installation
Eileen Hutton (Irl/USA) – Sculpture/Installation
Elaine Leader(Irl) – Installation/Drawing
Sandra Minchin (Irl) – Performance/video
Georgia McBride (NI/UK) – Printmaking
Roisín McGuigan (Irl) – Painting/Digital Media
Anna Marie Savage (NI/UK) – Painting
Erin Treacy (USA) – Drawing/Painting
Pamela Valfer (USA) – Drawing
Applications will be made to the relevant funding bodies for this project. Should these be successful, all fees to artists and administrative costs will be covered. Interested venues are encouraged however to contribute to the general costs of hosting the exhibition i.e. technical/installation assistance, exhibition lauch, publiclty & marketing and general administration.
A full brief and project details are available from the project curator upon request.
Project updates are also available on www.roisinmcguigan.com/xxx/
Please contact Roisín McGuigan on 087 629 8583 firstname.lastname@example.org
Making Cents: Life Below the Bottom Rung. Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
A series of oil paintings examining the daily existence of people in the worst working, living (and dying) conditions in the global economy.
15 oil paintings on canvas various sizes.
A catalogue and education programme can be prepared.
Any fees would be appreciated to offset costs.
Available from now.
Paintings may be seen here: http://gaelart.net/workerseries.html
GRACE MCEVOY TALKS ABOUT LINK CULTUREFEST 2012: SERIES OF VISUAL ART AND MUSIC EVENTS, ORGANISED BY BLOCK T, THAT TOOK PLACE ACROSS THE SMITHFIELD AREA OF DUBLIN FROM 25 – 27 OF MAY.
LINK Culturefest was a BLOCK T initiative; a locally, independently run festival that aimed to showcase and celebrate the culture, art and people that make up the diverse community in Smithfield and its surrounding areas. Over the weekend, the festival hosted both local and international artists, musicians and curators in a series of events for the public. The three-day programme featured an Art Trail of exhibitions, live concerts, open studios, screenings, readings and performances. These events were hosted by a collection of cultural spaces and creative enterprises that are located between Stoneybatter and Capel Street. (more…)
Dreams typically take us into the realm of wonder, horror, or a mixture of both. They leave us feeling elated, pensive, gasping for breath, or shortchanged when we wake. The selection of paintings, watercolours, sculpture, and video, that constitutes Solstice Gallery’s ‘The mind was dreaming. The world was its dream’ reminds viewers of these experiences by immersing us in a series of parallel realities, each one curiously out of sync with our own. Curated by Jacqui McIntosh, the exhibition presents antique boxes haunted by miniature illusions, absurdly proliferative bodies, and numerous instances of shadowy environments and blurring atmospheric effects.
In the exhibition, viewers experience a series of transitions taking them from a bright, light filled area into darkness. The journey begins with Diane Copperwhite’s high-keyed canvases that employ various configurations of rainbow-like colours. Here, sequences of prismatic tones imbue cloud forms, obscure detail, and reference objects lodged in semi-realistic spaces. An Abstraction of You translates facial features into a vivid atmospheric display, and a descending fog envelopes indistinct figures in The Scene Stealer. Viewers must make sense of the distortions and incomplete details, the references to refracted light, and the collections of abstract, natural, and domestic elements: features that often dissolve into one another. Moreover, atypical relationships of time and place, exemplified in An Island from the Day Before or Electronic Fossil on the Beach, force us to consider their emblematic nature.
The second gallery holds one of Michael Kalmbach’s paper-maché sculptures, plus a host of his mysterious figurative watercolours depicting bodies sprouting bodies, scatological excrescences, and other semblances. In Frau mit mehreren Kopfen / Woman with Many Heads, the human form becomes a tree-like organism bearing an affinity with the vegetation that surrounds it. The image is at once poetic, primitive, and subtly perverse. His sepia toned Großer Männlicher Mensch / Tall Male Human Being engenders similar responses. It features a human smokestack out of which a massive dense plume of swirling heads and limbs ascends, as well as smaller independent figures who are oblivious to the fleshy turbulence above them. Such enigmatic and evocative scenarios conjure up a host of associations. Do they represent nightmarish phantoms, visions of an outsider artist, or family trees? Standing out among the selection is the humorous Erde Verschluckt / Swallowed up earth, a diminutive rendition of a pear-shaped man with a sickly expression across his face. “Oh Scheiße ich hab die Erde verschluckt,” (Oh shit I have swallowed the earth) he says. A diminutive female, next to the subject, possibly represents the man’s conscience. She retorts “du Sau!” (You pig!). More illustrative than moralistic, this cartoon-like depiction of gluttony offers a marvelous inversion of scale.
The plaintive strains of an accordion and sounding of chimes condition responses to the work by adding a meditational air, and help draw visitors through the exhibition to the third and final space – a darkened sanctum holding Hiraki Sawa’s videos, and the source of the soundtrack. Sawa’s projections mingle domestic interiors, miniature objects, and outdoor views to create dreamy incantations that induce marvel and restlessness. Regretfully, one consequence of being exposed to a multitude of blurred details and drifting clouds of dust and smoke is an impending sense of tedium. The jerky movement of cogs in Sleeping Machine 1, derivative of work by Jan Švankmajer and others, tends to reinforce this impression. But Sawa’s contribution still offers many rewards. Some of the surrealistic tableaux, for example, witnessed in the miniscule Within are visually stunning. Moreover, the deceptively uncomplicated. For Saya, a small two- channel black and white video of a skipping woman that plays in a stereoscopic format, makes an even stronger impression. Rather than enhance the action, the intentionally unsynchronised pair of feeds create a most engrossing disjunction.
The title of the exhibition, a quote that McIntosh borrowed from the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges, reminds us that that there are no limits to what can be experienced through dreams. The exhibition, on the other hand, provides a glimpse into this realm. While the works convey a potent dream-like aura, they also make us aware of how difficult it is to come to terms with such illusions. In the memory, dreams exist as visual fragments; their relevance typically remains unclear. The images in this exhibition allow the viewer to revel in the processes of remembering and deciphering. This adds up to a highly rewarding experience.
is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and the University of Toronto. Currently based in Dublin, his writing has appeared in Sculpture, Framework – the Finnish Art Review, Art Papers, and other publications.
Two shows opened at the Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon, in the new year. Inside the main gallery were the prints and sculptures of Ben Reilly, and in the Red Couch Space upstairs, the ceramics of Jackie Maurer and paintings by Fiona Woods.
In the dimmed lights of the main gallery space, the sculptures in Ben Reilly’s exhibition appear like manifestations of an ancient surrealism: there is Fog, the union in wax of a horn and a traffic cone; there is
Barge, a rather large fish floating over a small boat, both covered, not in pitch, but black wax; perhaps most striking is Tank, a mummy-like figure whose distorted limbs, either bandaged in rubber inner tubes or covered in gold leaf, protrude at odd angles. These objects look halfway between religious relics and archaeological finds and their embalmed appearance relates to the artist’s enduring fascination with bog bodies.
Reilly’s series of prints, which use photographs or x-rays, are lent a similar decayed, organic look, through the graininess achieved in the photo etching process. In Cancer Head, for instance, the acid bites are linked to the disease, the moss-like growth on the print becoming malignant cells. Sharing similar territories with Hughie O’Donoghue’s paintings, Christian and mythological themes frame the enhanced materiality of Reilly’s bodies, giving them a transcendental horizon.
The name ‘Terrascope’ ties together the two words ‘terra’ and ‘scope’, reflecting upon the work of the two artists showing in the exhibition. Terra, the physical substance of the earth, and scope, to bring the breadth of the planet’s events into focus. As a ceramist, Jackie Maurer’s primary site of engagement is the earthly substance, although the art of ceramics might be conceived as removing the clay far from its primal origin to achieve exquisiteness. Three series of thrown porcelain pieces are presented here, variations on two simple forms: the pot Converse, and the cut out rim Transverse. They have then been twisted and folded, pinched and sealed, lightly brushed with glazes or left raw. The circularity of the rims has been disturbed by a wave-like movement, the capacity of the vessels sealed as a form of self- fulfilment. Maurer’s objects keep close to the function of the craft, while challenging their supposed purpose.
Fiona Woods’ series of paintings present a different approach to her interest in the transitional space between art and life, which she previously explored through posters, publications, installations, or sculptural projects in the public realm. In a folk- like, naive style, the works on paper and reclaimed wood spin together visual elements and references from mythology, history, and contemporary media, to reflect upon our contemporaneity with a simultaneously facetious and earnest purpose. The recurring Babylonian theme, for instance, has direct resonance with our financial woes, as these words in Study for Babylon Landscape suggest: “The eye of Babylon turning everything to gold”. As eyes multiply across several paintings, however, one wonders if the eye-like knots in the wood did not come first after all, suggesting reciprocity between subject and medium. In Wildlife Documentary, the hunting scene is depicted in a style recalling cave paintings, but the TV-set brand name, carved at the bottom of the panel, makes it more likely to be the recorded experience of a viewing audience than a hunter. The paintings on reclaimed wood work particularly well. This support not only offers the specificity of shape, size, and grain of each piece for the artist to elaborate upon, but it also furthers the recycling strategy developed through the imagery.
Although very different, the two exhibitions invite some comparisons. Both Ben Reilly and Fiona Woods have made use of mythology and materials that are found rather than made; the bog oak aspect of Reilly’s sculptures have a counterpoint in the raw, salvaged pieces of timber used by Woods. Furthermore, they both introduce modern elements – image or material – as counterpoints. But, where Reilly grabs the modernity of an x-ray image and plunges it back in the ageless darkness of the Cyclops myth, Woods goes the other way, having the archaic speak to our most recent actuality. In The Black Queen of Ennistymon, for instance, there is a playful interplay between title, form, and style in the effigy of the British monarch as a Black Madonna – an allusion to her recent visit to these shores, which reignited unresolved issues from Ireland’s colonial past.
is a writer on art based in Galway. She is currently collaborating with James Merrigan on the art publication, Fugitive Papers.