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Editorial – ‘Women Artists at Venice’, Visual Artist’s News Sheet, July/Aug 2017

Women Artists at Venice

The 57th Venice Biennale, curated by Christine Macel, proclaims an emphasis on “art and artists, positivity and reinvention”, in contrast to curator Okwui Enwezor’s overtly political stance in 2015. Probing the ritualistic aspects of art-making, Macel’s ‘Viva Arte Viva’ manifests a widespread preoccupation with craft and its traditions – an almost anthropological inquiry that occasionally borders on self-conscious ‘primitivism’.

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Cecilia Danell, ‘The Last Wilderness’, The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon, June – August 2017

Geometric Choreography

The current exhibtion at The Dock is ‘The Last Wilderness’ by Galway-based Swedish artist, Cecilia Danell. The exhibition was produced in collaboration with the Galway Arts Centre, where a different configuration of these works was previously presented from March to April 2017. This iteration at The Dock showcases fewer artworks and there is a greater emphasis on theatrical presentation devices, in keeping with Danell’s subject matter and ontological inquiry. This approach is also subtly site-responsive, referencing the theatre space housed on the ground floor, which invariably attracts a different audience from the gallery visitors who ascend the stairs. Playing with the staircase as a metaphor for connecting these two institutional realms, the kickboards have been painted in a soft purple hue, in a spirited gesture that also echoes the name of Danell’s music band: ‘A Lilac Decline’.

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Catalogue Text – Ronnie Hughes, ‘Strange Attractors’, published by the Model, Sligo, on the occasion of Hughes’ touring exhibition, 2017

Notes from the Surface: Chaos Suspended

 

“For him, to get one’s bearings on the world meant to conceive all its contents as simultaneous, and to guess at their interrelationships in the cross-section of a single moment.”

― Mikhail Bakhtin, Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics (1929)

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Interview – with John Hutchinson (former Director, Douglas Hyde Gallery); Visual Artist’s News Sheet, May/June 2017

PDF A Sense of Stillness

A Sense of Stillness

JOANNE LAWS SPEAKS TO JOHN HUTCHINSON ABOUT HIS 25-YEAR DIRECTORSHIP OF THE DOUGLAS HYDE GALLERY.

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Ailbhe Ní Bhriain, The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon, April 2017

Shrouding to Make Visible

In showcasing Ailbhe Ní Bhriain’s current solo exhibition, The Dock’s bright and expansive gallery spaces have been dramatically transformed into dark cinematic chambers. Black wall-mounted curtains lend an insulating quality to these newly immersive settings where Ní Bhriain’s captivating moving image works are slickly presented. The artist is best-known for her multiscreen films which combine computer-generated imagery and video montage techniques. Her wider practice explores notions of representation and displacement, and the works shown in this exhibition portray deep interrogations of place. Though some of the films appear deceptively slow-paced, muted and even minimal, they function as portals into vast and complex territories. On multiple visits to the gallery I grappled with this complexity, negotiating ways to position myself as a viewer and calling upon cultural and art historical references to anchor my encounters.

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Report – ‘Radical Actions’ seminar, ‘From the Margins of History’, Visual Artist’s News Sheet, March/April 2017

PDF From the Margins of History

From the Margins of History

JOANNE LAWS REPORTS ON THE ‘RADICAL ACTIONS’ SEMINAR, HELD AT KING HOUSE, BOYLE ON 2 DECEMBER 2016.

‘Radical Actions’ was an ambitious, three-part international project curated by Linda Shevlin, curator-in-residence at Roscommon Arts Centre. The first phase was an exhibition in RMIT Gallery, Melbourne, in September 2016, that formed part of Culture Ireland’s commemorative programme I Am Ireland, aimed at highlighting the centrality of the arts to the evolution of Irish identity over the hundred years since the 1916 Rising. The exhibition featured the work of Duncan Campbell, Jesse Jones, Seamus Nolan and the collaborative duo Kennedy Browne – Irish artists perceived as identifying with the “politics of social agitation, revolution and rebellion” by engaging with non-idealised versions of Ireland’s past.

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Catalogue Text – ‘It’s Very News School’, Rua Red (4 March – 22 April 2017)

PDF It’s Very New School

A Lived Activity, Not an Abstract Pastime

It’s Very New School seeks to address what curator Jennie Guy calls a ‘crisis’ in post-primary education. Using the stagnation of the Leaving Certificate Art curriculum and other perceived educational deficiencies as points of departure, It’s Very New School asserts an important role for contemporary artists in society. Whether as a site of research-based and experiential learning, or as a vehicle to promote criticality and questioning, contemporary art has the inherent capacity for philosophical inquiry and imagining alternative realities. It’s Very New School has found vibrant ways to transpose these assertions into the gallery setting. Read more…