Preview: 5–8pm Thursday 12th August 2021
Pallas Projects are pleased to present manic panic by Suzanne O’Haire, the 6th exhibition in the Artist-Initiated Projects 2020/21 programme.
For manic panic, Suzanne O’Haire exhibits a series of 12 assemblages made during 2019, while on a 4-month international residency at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). Due to the COVID pandemic, this work sat untouched in a garage in North Meath for two years. Alongside this work is a new sound recording, twelfth, that O’Haire developed through the 2020-21 lockdown.
manic panic (2019) + twelfth (2021)
What now feels like no time at all but also a lifetime ago, back in April 2019 I arrived at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) for a 4-month international residency. The plan for this experience was to wedge in some headspace and upscale my working process. Looking back, what gradually emerged was a series of pieces that resembled human proportions, where certain elements within assemblages also related to the body. This was neither an intention nor a conscious stream of thought while working, but on refection it makes sense; this was clearly a response to some personal events occurring at the time.
Without any pressure to resolve work on the residency, two significant pieces did eventually surface; dangerously safe things and a series of twelve assemblages titled manic panic. As my time at IMMA drew to a close, I figured I’d only be able to squeeze one of these works into the Ford hatchback for my return journey home. So, manic panic was boxed up and taken to North Meath (thanks Dad for allowing it to claim the garage). I promised it was a temporary measure, that I’d sort its future within a year. Then it happened, and everything went awry. So, there it has sat, untouched, for two years.
With so much cancelled, postponed or put on ice, the team at Pallas Projects made a commitment to artists to make things happen when the world allowed, offering a glimmer of something down the line. So, my thoughts again returned to this work, and how our relationship had changed as we’d become so physically detached; it and I both in limbo. Then that title, manic panic, all the additional connotations this now summoned!
During the pause/in-between/gap, a need to add something else to manic panic began to stir. With a growing sense of becoming somewhat isolated, my voice became the layer I needed to work with. twelfth (elf being an acronym for extremely low frequency) came about from me being initially compelled to make twelve pieces for manic panic, without an apparent understanding of why. Over time, twelve spoken chapters came together, and this felt like a way to [re]connect with the work from a distance.
I’m writing this six weeks ahead of the planned exhibition opening. What may happen between now and then I wonder? Will the work be as I’d left it, or perhaps some element or creature has disturbed it? The events affecting manic panic post IMMA now seem oddly apt — it awaits its next manifestation.
Conjured from inert and defunct matter, Suzanne O’Haire’s work manifests itself through a series of initiations and metaphorical elements. Arrangements of acrobatically stacked, bundled or tentatively balanced forms are instilled with personal narratives and references from the mundane to the esoteric; however, these need not define the work. What she is curious about is how work may toy or create a tension with how it is read, from say the seemingly flirty to a more unsettling or sinister underbelly.
Seeking out playful forms or objects with mesmeric surfaces is ritual for O’Haire, from a gold-tipped cigarette butt, crushed soda cans spread like scabby spillages, a glistening smashed wing-mirror, artillery-like NOS canisters and garish fake nails. Discarded junk, found matter and castings feed into a process of reconfiguring structures until something holds, says something.
Assemblages are mostly displayed in groupings or perform in sequences, where a system, numerological element or notion of magical thinking plays an underlying and consolidating role. O’Haire sees this habitual urge to collect and reimagine matter as a way of filtering an external, over-stimulated and saturated world, or at times endeavouring to make sense of the chaos — these days increasingly so.
Suzanne O’Haire (b. 1968, London, UK) is an East Sussex UK based artist who works primarily with domestic-scale sculptural assemblage. O’Haire studied at Camberwell College of Arts UAL in 2010 and 1990. Recent exhibitions/awards include; ABCOA: Artists’ Book Cooperative (international network) (2021); IMMA International Residency, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2019); TIME after [ ( ) ] after TIME: The Briggait, Glasgow (2019); peck o’ trouble (solo), The Regency Town House, Brighton (2018); Exeter Contemporary Open selected by Kristian Day, Alys Williams and Matt Burrows, Exeter Phoenix (2017); Europa, Transition Gallery, London (2016); Then Me, John Marchant Gallery in association with Eagle Gallery and Emma Hill, London and Galerie Simpson, Swansea (2016); Creekside Open selected by Richard Deacon, A.P.T Gallery, London (2015).
Artist-Initiated Projects at Pallas Projects/Studios is an open-submission, annual gallery programme of exhibitions taking place in the context of a gallery space with a dedicated tradition towards the professional development of artists in a peer-led, supportive environment. This unique programme of funded, artist-initiated projects selected via open call is highly accessible to artists, with a focus on early career, emerging artists and recent graduates. Projects are supplemented with artists’ talks, texts, workshops or performances, online events and gallery visits by colleges and local schools.
Pallas Projects/Studios Artist-Initiated Projects is funded by The Arts Council