Padraic Barrett & Orla O’Byrne
Opens Thursday 30th January 5.30pm
Opening remarks by Dr. Helen Farrell, CIT Crawford College of Art and Design
Continues until Saturday 15th February
Exhibition sponsored by Roberts Nathan Accountants.
The Lavit Gallery is delighted to present to work of, recent graduates of CIT Crawford College of Art and Design, Padraic Barrett and Orla O’ Byrne. Each year the Lavit Gallery selects from the work at Crawford’s degree show, one or two artists as their Student of the Year. The award comes with a cash prize and an exhibition at the Lavit Gallery.
This year’s two-person exhibition is ‘Confluence’ and is graciously sponsored by Roberts Nathan Business Tax and Audit.
Padraic Barrett’s work is a response to the archetypal male and patriarchal traditions in Irish society today. By placing the naked male figure in a recognisable Irish landscape he alludes to the fragility and vulnerability of the traditional place men have occupied in Ireland, often with the feeling of being reluctantly placed on a pedestal from which falling seems inevitable.
He has merged performance and video installation to focus on the attitude of the male figure in various states of progressing and regressing. The incessant actions of the performative body in his videos signify a ceaseless search for the threshold between reflection and transformation.
By probing into the human experiences of birth and death he wants to convey our sense of the invisible and transitory, and the known and the unknown that is rooted in spiritual traditions in Eastern philosophy akin to Tibetan Buddhism and Sufism. These traditions have provided an underlying structure for my own practice along with phenomenological enquiry and the role of the shaman in society.
Identification with shamanistic rituals gives me the scope to take on the role of the performer as messenger. This type of engagement also allows him to investigate how we can rebalance the place of human beings within the natural world.
Orla O’ Byrne’s current work consists of sequences of drawings projected onto blackboards. These free-standing blackboard structures have been the site of those drawings and their traces are still visible there. Only the final drawing in the sequence is left on the blackboard. The others have all been slowly erased to make room for new ones. They were drawn using handmade palm-sized chalks, which themselves slowly reduced to nothing as the drawings were made. For Confluence she has also created a series of sculptural objects. They are partial plaster casts, hastily taken from a distinct source.
The drawings made in chalk dust point to the impermanence of everything. This is a theme intrinsic to all her work. Put more precisely, these drawings are about the impossibility of everything staying the same and how that sits with the human compulsion to cling on to what we know.
The plaster casts are like three-dimensional rubbings. They have picked up enough information to describe their subject but at the same time each has its own innate character. To make them I had to gently push the boundaries set by an institution whose job it is to keep its precious artefacts just out of our reach.
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