Articles picturethis1

Published on July 29th, 2016 | by Aidan Kelly Murphy

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Picture This – Your National Visual Arts Guide: August Bank Holiday

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August is upon us this weekend. The business end of the summer has arrived, and with it the penultimate Bank Holiday Weekend of the year. We’ve squeezed an extra day off from the boss (hopefully) and Ireland’s galleries have a host of great shows on offer. In Cork we see an exploration of the artist as a wanderer and recorder, with a host of international artist on display in the Lewis Glucksman Gallery. In Drogheda the Marmite Prize for Painting arrives on these shores for the first time with Highlanes Gallery playing host. The West provides refuge for a trio of artist from Temple Bar Gallery + Studios as they hold a group show in The Dock in Carrick-on-Shannon. While in Dublin we see the new show by acclaimed painter Brian Maguire as he tackles the migration crisis in the Kerlin Gallery. A broad range of shows to suit all ages and tastes, and four shows guaranteed to engage with their audience. In Dublin we also see the last weekend for this year’s PhotoIreland Festival with a review of the main shows here. Bank Holiday Weekends mean so many different things to different people, to some it’s an extra Saturday night, to others it’s an extra Sunday morning in bed. Others see it as a day at the beach, ice cream in hand; while some view it as a day in the park or a trip into town. Whatever you decide to do this weekend with that extra day, try and squeeze in a trip to your local gallery if you can – they’ll always welcome you.

Cork: “As a show I Went to the Woods: The artist as wanderer successfully captures this process and presents it to us the audience with an opportunity to examine it and ultimately enjoy it.”

picture2Anna Bak, “Wilderness Survival”, 2015
(Installation view at Onomatopee project space, Eindhoven, Netherlands)

What: I Went to the Woods: The artist as wanderer
Where: Lewis Glucksman Gallery
When: 23rd July to 6th November

Henry David Thoreau’s 1854 book Walden: or Life in The Woods provided both the departure point and the title of the current show on in Cork’s Lewis Glucksman Gallery. Entitled I Went to the Woods: The artist as wanderer, the exhibition is curated by Chris Clarke and Pádraic E. Moore. The show drew inspiration from Thoreau’s quest for a simpler life and a more self-reliant existence. As well as this more pared back and singular existence, Thoreau’s work discussed the quest itself and the want to communicate this journey to the world. Drawing on this broad, but focused brief, the artists, who come from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands, UK, USA and Ireland, created works that look at the role of an artist as a wanderer, a flâneur, and fundamentally a recorder of their travels. Nine artists in total, who between them have represented their various countries at numerous international events include the Venice Biennale, present a wide variety of mediums and approaches. We see practicality in Anna Bak’s large form survival hut, Helen Mirra’s hourly recording of her journey and Walker & Walker’s Northern Star installation. Walking and foraging takes centre stage in the works of Richard Long, herman de vries, Brendan Early, Fiona Kelly, Ria Parquee and Juha Pekka Matias Laakonnen – all of whom use materials collected on walks and hikes to create their works. Some are presented as discovered, others fused together to create sculptures and imagery while some provide inspiration for drawings and prints. The variety of works on show, from an even broader variety of artists, serves to highlight an artist’s primordial need to understand their surroundings, record it and capture the essence of it regardless of practice. As a show I Went to the Woods: The artist as wanderer successfully captures this process and presents it to us the audience with an opportunity to examine it and ultimately enjoy it.

Full details on the show are available here.

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Brendan Earley, Not on Facebook, 2015, aluminium, blank bound books, beech wood, steel
(Courtesy of the artist and mother’s tankstation, Dublin)

Drogheda: “Both the selection process and prize of Marmite Prize for Painting help echo the overall ideology of the exhibition – to promote participation among artists.”

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Installation shot, Highlanes Gallery

What: The Marmite Prize for Painting
Where: Highlanes Gallery
When: 8th July to 10th September

In its fifth edition, the biennial Marmite Prize for Painting is hosted outside of the UK for the first time since it began back in 2006 in London’s Residence Gallery. Drogheda’s Highlanes Gallery is the setting for this year’s award with Jessie Makinson picking up the 1st prize, and Emma Cousin and Irish artist Sheila Rennick joint runners-up. The student award, which includes a 4-week residency and a bursary, was collected  by Royal College of Art student Anthony Banks. The judicial process behind The Marmite Prize is something rather unique, with entrants submitting their works anonymously, sans biography or CV. The work is then chosen for both the catalogue’s longlist and the exhibition’s shortlist. From this shortlist a winner is then chosen by a group of established painters. The first prize is in keeping with the quirk of the selection process, with the winner receiving a sculpture by renowned English artist Alison Wilding as opposed to a cash prize. Both the selection process and prize of Marmite Prize for Painting help echo the overall ideology of the exhibition – to promote participation among artists, develop artistic relationships and for the general thrill of exhibiting. This melting point of ideas is where the name Marmite is derived from – a french word for an earthenware casserole dish as opposed to the popular British spreadable known for polarising opinions. It is possible that some of the 39 works on show could generate the same polarising opinions and debates, but then that’s the spirit of the Marmite Prize for Painting.

Full details on the show are available here.

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Jessie Makinson, So Handy

Carrick-on-Shannon: “The end result is engaging and fun exhibition – the latter of which will make repeat visits as enjoyable as the first.”

icture5Installation shot, The Dock
(Image courtesy of Keith Nolan)

What: Some kind of real
Where: The Dock
When: 1st July to 1st September

Currently in its 11th year, The Dock in Carrick-on-Shannon has presented a new exhibition born out of its partnership with Dublin’s Temple Bar Gallery + Studios. The show, entitled Some kind of real, is made up of a triumvirate of artists – all of whom are residents of Temple Bar Gallery + Studios. While each artist’s work independently explores varied themes, ranging from looking at workplaces to examining architecture, all touch on the cornerstone of what is real and as such what is reality. This helps form a core motif for the show surrounding reality, and ultimately is a comment on our perception of it. In Neil Carroll’s work we see paintings presented as large form installations that take on sculptural qualities. In these works Carroll applies a method of deconstruction to re-expose the surfaces underneath; viewpoints become shifted and the essence of the works themselves challenged. Kevin Cosgrove’s oil paintings of de-populated workspaces question the value and the placement of such values that we have on these spaces. His works are often presented in diptych form to highlight not only the the passing of time but stationary aspects to many of the spaces, most of which are labours of love for the occupants. An augmented reality is presented by Hannah Fitz in her mixed media work. Across sculpture, painting and video work Fitz challenges what is real is in both subtle and direct ways, with special mention to her video piece In Light of the Lamp which features 3 layers of video looking at different spaces and commenting on both the successful and failed interactions we have with them. In this new exhibition The Dock has presented the works of three new and exciting artists linked together not only by location and studios space but also by critical eye and attention to detail. The end result is engaging and fun exhibition – the latter of which will make repeat visits as enjoyable as the first.

Full details on the show are available here.

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Installation shot, The Dock
(Image courtesy of Keith Nolan)

Dublin: “Each work brings a personal awareness for the audience but also brings a societal awareness – and as a result this is a show that will live long in the consciousness.”

picture66Installation shot, Kerlin Gallery
(Image courtesy of Denis Mortell)

What: Over Our Heads the Hollow Seas Closed Up
Where: Kerlin Gallery
When: 1st July to 20th August

Over Our Heads the Hollow Seas Closed Up is the latest exhibition by Irish painter Brian Maguire and is currently on in Dublin’s Kerlin Gallery. The title of the show is taken from If This is a Man, Italian chemist Primo Levi’s account of his time in Auschwitz Concentration Camp during World War II – with Levi himself quoting Dante’s Inferno. In his current works Maguire echoes these historical journeys of people by looking at the current migration crisis and the resulting mass movement of people. Documenting subjects such as these is a delicate balance as the artist has to be wary of their own naturally voyeuristic tendencies and ensure that the work is both informative for the audience and respectful for the subject. Maguire manages to tame this beast while ensuring the works itself doesn’t become toothless – an impressive feat in itself. Presented in the gallery are 7 works featuring figurative outlines and broad brushstrokes with Maguire using a variety of sizes ranging from slightly larger than a3 to over 9 feet by 9 feet. There is a controlled frenzy in the work that echoes the subject matter it discusses. As you follow the work around the gallery you take a journey, beginning with The Unknown Dead, you traverse Paris, Aleppo, even Dublin, before returning to beaches of the Mediterranean with a trio of works the last of which is title The Known Dead. In this arrangement Maguire brings awareness to the almost ceaseless movement of people and the highlights the cyclical nature of the crisis. By the end of this journey we are aware of the dead, we know what has happened and where they have been. Each work brings a personal awareness for the audience but also brings a societal awareness – and as a result this is a show that will live long in the consciousness.

Full details on the show are available here.

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Image courtesy of Brian Maguire & Kerlin Gallery

Top: Fiona Kelly, Skip of Trees, lino cut on BFK Rives paper, 2012

 

 

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About the Author

is the Arts Editor for The Thin Air. He's also a coffee fiend, architecture enthusiast and general messer.



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