Category Archives: Curating

Lynda Benglis

Irish Museum of Modern Art 

November 4, 2009 – January 24, 2010

The first solo exhibition in Europe of the American sculptor Lynda Benglis, best known for her ground-breaking work challenging accepted artistic norms through a pioneering merging of content and form. Comprising works from the 1960s to date, Lynda Benglis highlights the artist’s extraordinary creative output, which has defied prevailing views on the nature and function of art over 40 years. The exhibition is organised by IMMA in collaboration with museums in the Netherlands, France and the USA.

Lynda Benglis focuses on the way in which the artist’s interest in process has led her to expand the possibilities of material from latex pourings and expansions to more precious materials such as glass and gold. Taking the body and landscape as prime references, she creates abstract works that oozes immediacy and physicality. Many appear to a defy gravity, being famously described as ‘frozen gestures’. Her interest in process first manifested itself in her early wax reliefs, created by applying one layer of wax on top of another, building up a geological landscape in such works as Cacoon,1971. Materials are also at the core of Benglis’s ‘Fallen Paintings’, such as Blatt, 1969, in which liquids, including rubber latex or polyurethane foam, are poured directly onto the floor and against the wall.

In the 1970s she created a series of metallised and sparkling ‘Knots’, such as the glittering wall sculpture Psi, 1973. Looped and tied with her own physical force, they also serve Benglis’s wider purpose of disrupting the male-dominated worlds of Modernist and Minimalist art. In 1989, she described society’s attitude to matters of good and bad taste: “There will always be a Puritan strain in society that gets nervous if things are too pleasurable, too beautiful or too open. That’s the most significant legacy of feminist art; it taught us not to be afraid to express these things.”

The exhibition includes a number of the artist’s well known video works, many toying with the recurring theme of gender politics. Videos such as Now, 1973, and Female Sensibility, 1973, capture and mock the sexual prejudices of the times as well as breaking new ground in terms of early video and documentary-making techniques. Other notable works include Wing, 1970, an incarnation of one of her cantilevered sculptures, and the 1975 installation Primary Structures (Paula’s Props). Benglis’s metalised ‘Pleats’ sculptures of the 1980s and ‘90s and her more recent works in polyurethane, such as The Graces, 2003-05, and Chiron, 2009, are also being shown.

The exhibition also presents documentary material outlining the artist’s statements and photographic gestures: ‘The Sexual Mockeries’ series. Benglis used media to control her image and highlight and challenge gender imbalances and power struggles. Her most famous and explicit gesture, in Artforum magazine in November 1974, created a long-running controversy in the American art world. This was part of a series that began at the same time as she worked on videos and famously collaborated with Robert Morris.

A new work, North South East West , 2009, taking the form of  a cast bronze fountain, will be shown for the first time  in the Formal Gardens at IMMA. The artist has been developing the idea of this hydraulic sculpture since her extraordinary cantilevered installations of the early 1970s, now mostly destroyed. Her first fountainThe Wave (The Wave of the World), 1983, was created for the World Fair in New Orleans.

Eoin McHugh: Drawings

Temple Bar Gallery & Studio, Studio 6

 

untitled (pool), 2006
untitled (pool), 2006

Eoin McHugh is interested in the psychology of imagery, in the processing involved in the creation and reception of pictures. In order to look upon images as thought, he uses a number of alternative representational forms as models for my work – drawing as storytelling; drawing as didactic means; drawing as painting or sculptural study; drawings as metaphorical thought or rhetoric; drawing as theoretical analysis.

 

untitled, 2006
untitled, 2006

Each image is formed as an idea over a lengthy period. It is consciously developed and allowed to gestate on the verge of consciousness until a clear point of ambiguity has been reached. At this moment a balanced tension has come about between the mental picture of the idea, the process of its creation (the accommodation of thoughts, stories, memories etc.) and its possible meaning. A number of drawings are then made to process this conflict.

The resulting works – which depict scenes, stories, objects and experiments – can be read in terms of metaphor, allegory or any number of rhetorical devices. I am primarily interested in the interpretation of ambivalence and ambiguity in these pieces: in the space between the image, the object and the idea

 

From where I stand

Art Trail, Cork

September 21 – October 1, 2006

David Beattie, Conor Harrington, Mark McCullough, CT’ink , Karski, Ono Poiesz, Tom Campbell, Doireann O’Malley

 

CT'ink
CT’ink

From Where I Stand is an exhibition that explores the notion of identity and public space. The intention is to construct a real and imagined landscape in the realm of the public space resulting in an alternative space that co-exists with the everyday. Art Trail invited artists to respond to the dynamics of the Shandon area as a space/place. Shandon is one of Cork’s most familiar sections and one of it’s best loved. Rich in heritage, it is defined by the Shandon Bells and its winding streets. The streets have a distinctive narrative history of their own but like all narratives about place it changes over time.

CT'ink
CT’ink

When we talk of globalisation as involving some kind of loss, it seems that this loss is to do with place, and the loss of identity. According to Michel De Certeau, globalisation is impelled by a sense of place. He views the experience of the city as partly an experience of wanting change. The current homogenization of our streetscapes is a direct result of this global experience and has resulted in a lack of engagement with our surroundings. Our urban landscape is becoming indistinguishable from any other. Increasing cultural amnesia needs visiting, with a need for the public to linger on or explore the notion of public space as interactive. Shandon’s distinctive streetscape is an integral part of the city’s identity and is currently undergoing its own transformation.

Conor Harrington
Conor Harrington

The visual aspect of this year’s Art Trail will primarily take the form of an outdoor exhibition, utilising blank hoardings and disused house fronts as a point of departure. There will also be an indoor element using the Shandon Bells and the Firkin Crane as an exhibition space of video and photography Engaging with public art involves more than objects received passively as in a gallery/museum space- it may open a dialogue with its audience, drawing them together to consider issues, which are wider than the aesthetic. Public art is concerned with contributing to the quality of the imaginative life of the environment. This is a central to this exhibition.

Karski
Karski

Graffiti-Art is the most common form of public ‘art’, and acts as a site-specific installation in the urban infrastructure. It transforms streets into real-life galleries, through the manipulation and reclamation of public space. It positions itself as a social indicator, describing or expressing the collective aspects of our existence through the documenting of a moment in time. Its ephemeral nature means that it exists for a short period before it is sabotaged or erased. The intention of the exhibition is to draw attention to public spaces and to alter/question/redefine/stimulate the visual landscape.

Onno Poiesz
Onno Poiesz

David Beattie was born in Northern Ireland. As a multi-disciplinary artist his work involves installation, performance, video, and photography. Place, identityand the social interaction with one’s environment play a central role in the formation of the work. Wallball (2006) utilises the repetitive nature of kicking a ball against a wall to examine notions of boundaries, partitions, and enclosures.

Mark McCullough: Inspired by street art, his work makes a fast and immediate visual impact on the viewer. By placing the artwork in the context of advertising, one’s expectations of the contemporary urban-scape are unsettled, encouraging a re-evaluation of the use of public space which is all too often dominated by imposing corporate advertising.

CT’ink is the group name of Evol and Pisa73. Both based in Berlin, they share a studio and have shown widely throughout Europe.

CT’ink are best known for their complex, highly detailed, multi-layered stencils. Their work is a commentary on everyday life in a superficial and style-oriented environment. The tone varies between sarcastic/ironic and serious. The subjects of their paintings, as well as the range of materials employed, show CT’ink’s love for absurdities and overlooked items. Old wood, bulky waste, and cardboard are among their favorites. Most pieces are painted with a mixture of spray cans, markers, wall paint and pencils.

Evol (1972) earned a degree in product design at HFG Schwaebisch Gmuend. Pisa73 (1973) studied visual communication at FHG Pforzheim. Both artists work as freelance designers. www.evoltaste.com – www.pisa73

Harrington is interested in the transient aspect of graffiti and draws parallels between these urban traces and human migration. Within the work this manifests in the way which Harrington treats the figure. In contrast to the smooth realism, large areas seem to be receding or being erased which creates a dialogue between presence and absence.

Conor Harrington is represented by Laseridez Gallery, London. His next solo show will be in November of this year. Harrington will also participate in the BLKMRKT Annual, L.A. in early 2007.

Karski Is from the Netherlands. He studied graphic design for four year and fine art for five, later founding his own design studio. Nowadays he works as a freelancer, using different techniques and influences. His stencils are used lavishly, with different stencils for several colors, and he often dedicates his pictures to certain topics, such as dead rap artists or missing children.

Blasphemy

Oonagh Young Gallery, Dublin / The Dock, Carrick on Shannon

Co-curated Oonagh Young & Mary Cremin

January 29 – February 27,2010

David Godbold,  Factotum, Nevan Lehart , Paul Murnahan 

Screening: Rocky road to Dublin

From 1 January 2010, blasphemy is a crime in Ireland punishable by a €25,000 fine. The law states that blasphemy is committed when a person

“publishes or utters matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion.”
This law has provided an extremely dangerous international precedent. The exact wording on blasphemous libel contained in this Defamation Act is being used by Pakistan to seek a “defamation of religion” law through the UN. Irish legislation is being used to legitimise the proposals of Pakistan and the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Conference) to establish defamation of religion as a principle of international law.

Ireland voted with all other EU countries against a resolution on “combating defamation of religion” at the UN last December. Explaining that vote, Irish Foreign Minister Micheál Martin said:

“We believe that the concept of defamation of religion is not consistent with the promotion and protection of human rights. It can be used to justify arbitrary limitations on, or the denial of, freedom of expression. Indeed, Ireland considers that freedom of expression is a key and inherent element in the manifestation of freedom of thought and conscience and as such is complementary to freedom of religion or belief.”
“One man’s blasphemy is another man’s comedy classic,” the Irish Examiner editorial remarked.  Is it that simple?
Images considered blasphemous have changed over the centuries. But the response has not. Eliciting extreme reactions from particular sections of society has resulted in much work being destroyed and many artists banished down through the ages. It is clear to see that images considered ‘blasphemous’ still stir very deep and dangerous emotions such as the The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy in 2005. 
What makes an image Blasphemous? In what contexts are they considered sacrilegious or immoral? Is the introduction of this new legislation in Ireland an indication of a tolerant, pluralist and democratic society befitting of our times? The artists in this exhibition address the issue directly through their individual practices or have already confronted censorship of their work.

David Godbold is interested in the ‘conflation of grand themes and daily minutiae’. Here he presents a cluster of crucifixes (13 in total); overlaying redundant notes, lists, leaflets and official documents with religious imagery and wry captions. Godbold considers the language of suffering creating trenchant satire through ironic political commentary. 
The Vacuum (produced by the arts organisation Factotum formed by Stephen Hackett and Richard West) published two issues simultaneously on the themes of God and Satan. Two weeks later, the City Council debated the contents of these papers with some councillors accusing Factotum of ‘encouraging devil worshiping’. This started a process of debates culminating in the Council disregarding legal advice and demanding that Factotum apologise to them and the citizens of Belfast. To lampoon the Council’s demand, Factotum held a Sorry Day and published a special Sorry Issue of The Vacuum. The three issues and newspaper clippings are on display in the exhibition.
Paul Murnaghan presents ‘Map of the Empire’ which originated from Murnaghan’s utopian project ‘Neocredo’ (2008) where he traveled extensively in Europe posing a question through various media, ’if you had the opportunity to compose the opening line of a universal hymn, what would it be and how would you sing it’? Here he adds random material and imposes opinion where once was objectivity. Where blasphemy may be truly present, is in the casual misrepresentation and disregard for stated beliefs through the overlaying of various answers.

For Nevan Lahart materiality and the transforming nature of his art renders his made-objects absurd and potent. The visceral energy in his work reinforces the irony transmitted through his juxtaposition of materials and wit. Lahart is one of Ireland’s most innovative artists, defying the norms of display and challenging spaces with his physicality. He is currently showing in the RHA with A Lively Start to a Dead End.

With the kind permission of the director Peter Lennon, Rocky Road to Dublin (1967) will be screened alongside The Making of Rocky Road (2005) on Wednesday 10th February at 7pm in the gallery. There was a de facto ban on this documentary for over 30 years in Ireland because it argues that Ireland was dominated by cultural isolationism, primarily Gaelic and clerical traditionalism. Shot by French cinematographer Raoul Coutard, Lennon asks: “What do you do with your revolution once you’ve got it?”

 

 

 

 

 

Sheltering Daydreams

325 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, New York

May, 2007

Sonia Shiel,  Martin Healy, Vivienne Griffin , Francesco Simeti 

Installation view
Installation view

This group show will explore the relationship between contemporary artistic practices and the notion of ‘ Home’. The use of houses for art exhibitions has become atypical and tactical, as an exhibition site it makes a visible connection between art and home as it relates to lived experience. The unconscious process of the artist that exists outside language will reveal the contentious nature of the home as a place of protected intimacy while also signifying a site of alienation and displacement.

Martin Healy
Martin Healy 

Our altered notion of ‘home’ is a symptom and expression of a new and historically original dilemma where double-lives are led, within our culture of migration and dwelling within the diaspora. Home becomes an imagined place or a fictitiously remembered or half remembered place that people want to exist, but it survives almost entirely in memory. It becomes a site for sheltering daydreams, for a lost time. If Heidegger considered the world as the ‘house in which mortals dwell’, Bachelard in ‘The poetics of space’ will say the same of the image and memory of the house, which constitutes its own poetic place-world. The House has become a paradoxical entity. As a home, it is ‘our first universe’ and our ‘first world’. Transcending our memories of the houses, which we have inhabited, our ‘first world’ is one of protected intimacy. Our imagination recreates this intimacy in spaces that provide the slightest shelter.

Sonia Shiel
Sonia Shiel

House Project proposes to capitalize on a professional peer network that pools individual and combined resources to create an arsenal of inter-disciplinary discourse between practitioners and audiences. It is a multi disciplinary project composed of 7 events taking place in 5 venues across Ireland, one in New York and one in London that advocate the appreciation of an ‘art-local’ audience. In its selection of practices, all exceeding the confines of the gallery, it is interested in creating a play between the private and the public. Hence mobilizing the site as a discursive narrative and generating alternative spatial and temporal relations between the artist, site, work, and audience.

Sheltering daydreams, installation
Sheltering daydreams, installation

Subverting roles and their subsequent hierarchies House Project will address major concerns and trends in current agendas of contemporary practice and will question the idea of its audience and encounter. In every event there will be a combination of International and Irish artists, critics and curators on board, elevating Irish artists to an international level and developing an international audience for Irish Art. It will culminate in a significant publication – funded by the Arts Council -documenting each event with accompanying texts, which will address the ephemeral works and venues of this once off project, which carries the propensity to develop the identities of all its participants.

House Projects is co-ordinated by Sonia Shiel, Mary Cremin and Gavin Murphy

 

 

Conversations: Photography from the Bank of America Collection

Irish Museum of Modern Art

February 22 – May 20, 2012

Conversations, installation view
Conversations, installation view

Conversations: Photography from the Bank of America Collection comprises more than 100 photographs drawn from the renowned Bank of America Collection. The exhibition documents the evolution of photography since the 1850s and presents some of the most notable photographers of the 19th and 20th-centuries. Hand-picked from thousands of photographs, the works are displayed so as to create “conversations” between images by individual artists and across a wide range of themes, including portraits, landscapes, street photography and abstraction.

The exhibition presents works by some of photography’s most celebrated names, from 19th-century innovators Gustave Le Gray, Julia Margaret Cameron and Carleton Watkins, via 20th-century luminaries: Alfred Stieglitz, Harry Callahan, and Irving Penn, to contemporary image makers: William Eggleston, Thomas Ruff and Cindy Sherman. Modern works are juxtaposed with older works, European with American, and staged subjects with documentary images. These conversations create unique visual groupings, including images of visitors responding to art in museums, such as Thomas Struth’s Audience 4 (2004), which shows people gazing upward at Michelangelo’s statue of David at the Academia Gallery in Florence, and Musée du Louvre 4, Paris (1989), where visitors contemplate Théodore Géricault’s famous Raft of the Medusa in a Louvre gallery.

Conversations, installation view
Conversations, installation view

Conversations: Photography from the Bank of America Collection is made possible by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art in our Communities Programme™. The exhibition was originally curated by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, travelled to the Museo del Novecento in Milan, and has now been re-interpreted by the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

Conversations, installation view
Conversations, installation view

 

 

 

Sonia Shiel, Misadventure Seeks Rainy Afternoon

 

Part Alone, 2013
Part Alone, 2013

Sonia Shiel’s work is vested in fictional and non-fictional narratives that are illustrated through painting, video and animated sculptures, the works are inherently painterly and explore the materiality of paint.  The exhibited works serve as storyboards where the singular image becomes indicative of a larger story. Pitching base, human aspirations to survive against their odds, idyllic scenes of industry, nature and society are underscored with the preposterous violence, inflated caricature and infatiguable resilience of cartoons. Set in ungoverned, fictional or lawless environments; the wild west; the high seas; the animal kingdom and so on – Shiel’s protagonists in their various well intentioned pursuits, are confronted by nature, mortality, chance and systemic obstacles of their own creation.

bound to a mouthful, 2013
bound to a mouthful, 2013

Much of Shiel’s work has been influenced by various traditions of storytelling. Misadventure Seeks Rainy Afternoon sees the introduction of legal narratives into her practice, the questioning of human ethics and how law creates a code that determines what is moral and immoral are subjects that are brought to the fore. Following its often perverted course, a series of painted works draw on the impotency of justice against the natural world. We have an innate ability to make moral assessments when faced with certain situations, Shiel’s works posits scenario’s where we make evaluative judgements becoming at once both judge and jury based on our own established moral code. The misadventure is to allow for only one reading or outcome.

Big Jobs
Big Jobs, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

Bring in the Noise

Ormston House, Limerick

October 24 – November,23,  2013

David Beattie (Irl), Laura Buckley (Irl), Alexander Gutke (SW).

Bring in the Noise, installation
Bring in the Noise, installation

Ormston House in partnership with Limerick City Gallery of Art, will present Bring in the Noise curated by Mary Cremin. The exhibition focuses on artist’s whose practice engage with and appropriate technology creating assemblages and installations. Each of the artist’s works tends to investigate the everyday through science, technology, and mathematics. The works appeal to our natural desire to understand what surrounds us through visuals, sound and objects. The sound element of the works inhabit the space interacting with each other, creating a soundscape that is both playful and individual to each of the works

David Beattie’s pieces Auto-rock, 2013 and Erratic, 2013 combines Beattie’s interest in low fidelity sound and organic movements. The rock an inanimate object becomes a means to interrupt and determine the sound of the rotating record. The piece Erratic a 360-degree documentation of a rock in the landscape reflects on movement and our viewing of the elemental in the landscape, it echoes the rotation of the record player in Auto-rock and the repetitious voice punctuates its movement.  The piece 12.8hz, 2011 is a sculptural work that emits a sound that is inaudible to the human ear. These works highlights Beattie’s preoccupation with the intermediary moments where physics, philosophy, technology and nature collide. The low fi nature of his works and the simplicity with which these objects are presented create a dynamic interplay between the relationship of the object and it becoming something other.

Laura Buckley’s, ZigZag (The Magic Know-How), 2013 is a projection of a visual landscape documenting the everyday objects that she comes into contact with, both inside and outside of the studio.  Buckley manipulates footage interplaying it with images creating a texture and color that are both saturated and visually arresting. The mirrored structure allows for the images to expand and contract, the ambient sound of the work creates a rhythm to the visuals that accentuates the movement within the piece and the splicing of static and moving images creating a dialogue between the different visual techniques that Buckley experiments with that has it’s own visual narrative.

Bring in the Noise, installation
Bring in the Noise, installation

Alexander Gutke’s, 1-2-3-4 , is video work that plays with the notion of sculpture and performance. The lone snare drum and the cacophony of falling drumsticks focuses on illusionism, the cinematic and performance. Gutke’s work is investigative in that he is interested in the mechanics of the camera, film and slide projectors, he often uses these as tools to create a poetic and minimalist deconstruction of the apparatuses while in this film he engages in visual and aural trickery not to deconstruct the mechanics but to create an almost mystical performance without human intervention.

What connects these artists is the sense of illusion that pervades the works, they play with the viewer’s perception through both visual and sounds while also taking everyday objects appropriating them and reanimating them in an alternative context that is both poetic and romantic.

Bring in the Noise, installation
Bring in the Noise, installation

 

 

 

Aoibheann Greenan: LotusEater

Roscommon Arts Centre

August 17 – September 17, 2013

LotusEater, Installation
LotusEater, Installation

 

LotusEater is the title of an ongoing collaboration between Aoibheann Greenan and a Dublin based band of the same name. The project explores various levels at which the work can be experienced and disseminated, it will take multiple forms; an immersive installation consisting of sculptural assemblages, props and costumes; a one-night music performance. The exhibition will evolve as works are added throughout its duration culminating in the LotusEater performing in the gallery space.

LotusEater, installation
LotusEater, installation

The Greek myth that surrounds the lotus-eater infuses the exhibition with the same sense of entering an exotic set or that in-between space that is often associated with altered states of consciousness. Odysseus returning from the Trojan War tells of North African people who lived in a state of blissful forgetfulness, drugged by the fruit of the legendary lotus. Greenan deliberately attempts to illustrate the experience of disorientation and dislocation through her sculptural assemblages. The pieces reference her recent travels to India and Reykjavik, Iceland exploring the hybridization of cultures. Myths and symbols are reconfigured creating a pastiche of tropes that we recognize but which become unfamiliar somewhat sinister in Greenan’s reinterpretation. The element of kitsch through her use of b-movie references and counter cultural motifs remind us that on reflection each viewer brings their own cultural baggage to the interpretation of the pieces. The sculptural constructions explore a biographical history, that is both self-reflexive and provide a broader means of critiquing society and the history of cultural accumulation.

There is a harmony between symbol, legend and visual impact that creates a visual lexicon that is both familiar and estranged.

 

LotusEater, installation
LotusEater, installation

 

 

Eleanor Duffin, More Often Lost than Gained

Roscommon Arts Centre

March 12 – June 6, 2013

More often Lost than Gained

Eleanor Duffin explores the subtle relationship between objects and humans. She questions why we are drawn to certain inanimate objects. Is there an immaterial force that connects us to these objects? Plato wrote about Anima Mundi, which was the idea that the planet has a soul that is somehow connected to all living bodies that inhabit it. Similarly, Totemism, an important element of tribal cultures believes the power of inanimate objects to hold “conscious” spirits that interact with society. In recent times, there has being a crisis in faith and from this spiritual void there is a return to more philosophical notions of how we inhabit the world. We have become defined by what we consume or desire, in this exhibition the artist pares back visual elements that pique our visual senses allowing us to experience different materials with a more heightened sense of awareness.

More Often Lost Than Gained, installation
More Often Lost Than Gained, installation

In a time where our levels of sophistication in terms of technology and how we inhabit the world is changing rapidly this return to ideas of animism, which can seem quite basic or archaic are really the fundamentals from where culture emerged. Global and ecological crisis and the failure of the capitalist system have been instrumental in our shift to appreciating the materiality and signification of the elements that surround us.

More often Lost Than Gained
More Often Lost Than Gained, installation