While artist Abigail O’Brien was in the UK taking photos of the iconic Aston Martin sports car, the #MeToo movement was revving up around the world.
Prince Andrew was being interviewed on prime time television about his affiliation with the convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, while, in New York, Harvey Weinstein sat in the witness box as the women he had sexually abused gave their testimonies.
O’Brien has entitled her new show ‘Justice – Never Enough’. It is the final part of a 15 year project using the four Cardinal Virtues – Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude and Justice – to explore and investigate issues of gender. As its title suggests, this latest promises to be the most explosive.
The Aston Martin, a symbol around which much of the exhibition is centred, has long been associated with the character of James Bond, and, as such, represents a particular kind of flamboyant male power. Bond’s machismo and outdated misogynistic attitudes, however, are no longer celebrated in the way that they once were, and it is within this evolution that much of the work lives.
O’Brien can be playful. The exhibition includes a sequence of large, vivid colour images of Aston Martins being assembled. Onto each of these, she has subtly inserted one of Bond’s more risqué quotes.
Other elements are more charged. In the show’s centrepiece, a mangled Aston Martin Volante, which O’Brien has named ‘Harvey’ is presented as a true Weinstein metaphor: a disfigured monster surrounding himself with beauty and sophistication.
The more prevalent issues exposed by the Weinstein case and through the #MeToo movement have never been fully resolved, but some measure of justice (“Never Enough”) was obtained in 2019 when Harvey Weinstein was jailed for 23 years.
This timely and provocative exhibition also includes a newly written soundtrack by James O’Neill (Bitches with Wolves). The six minute song ‘Justice’ is a Bond song to beat them all.
This exhibition is presented for the 2021 Drogheda Art Festival.
Opening to the public on September 4th 2021, Highlanes Gallery (offsite) at The Methodist Church, St. Laurence’s Street, Drogheda, from 12pm-4pm.
Highlanes Gallery is grateful for the ongoing support of Louth County Council, Arts Council and Patrons, Benefactors and Friends.
Highlanes Gallery is reopening 5 days a week from Tuesday 31st August, open Tuesday – Saturday, 10.30am – 4.30pm.