The Visual Artists' News Sheet – September October 2022

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TheVANVisualArtists’ News Sheet A Visual Artists Ireland PublicationIssue 5: September – October 2022 ArtsCastleLismore 2022October&September HallCarthageSt LismoreStreet,Chapel WV96P51Waterford,Co SensesContradictory 2022October2-September3 HallCarthageSt OrlaLynch,RoseanneDunne,RobertCotter,MaudBarry,Aideen Spillane.PádraigbyCuratedWolf-Haugh.EmmaMcKeever, Hayden.SarahbytextabyaccompaniedisexhibitionThe 54061(0)58+353www.lismorecastlearts.ielocation:eachoftimesopeningFor MillThe Lismore A2R5P51Waterford,Co CastleLismore Lismore F859P51Waterford,CoORIGINS: ExhibitionAwardGraduate 2022October2-September3 MillThe O’Halloran,ChloeMeckauskaite,RobertaCullen,GraceBarker,Heather White.JessieWalsh,AshilingVarian,MargaretSmith,BoefMaevegirlsgirlsgirls 2022October30-April2 CastleLismore SianCollins,PetraChantladze,EleneBourgeois,LouiseBarber,Sophie &LynchEimearHaeussler,IrisFiggis,GenieveCross,DorothyCostello, JosianeOsborne,SharnaNamoda,CassiHorn,RoniWhisker,Domino FrancescaWeir,HarleySzapocznikow,AlinaSherman,CindyPozi,M.H. Yang.LuoWoodman, RochaSimonebyCurated (2019—20)SungEverSongbirdaSongGreatestTheBarber,Sophie cm399×412.5canvas,onOil Niezgoda.JedbyArtsCastleLismoreatphotographInstallLondon.Jacques,AlisonandartisttheofCourtesy Inside This Issue RENCONTRES THESPEECHPHOTOIRELANDD’ARLESFESTIVALSOUNDSATVISUALWHITNEYBIENNIAL

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The Visual Artists' News Sheet September – October 2022 Page 31 Page 9 Page 34

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Kumbirai Makumbe, Pre-Intertopia, 2022, sculptural installation, ‘Speech Sounds’, VISUAL; photograph by Ros Kavanagh, courtesy the artist and VISUAL. 6. Roundup. Exhibitions and events from the past two months. 8. News. The latest developments in the arts sector. 9. Workshops and Wheelbarrows. Cornelius Browne discusses his recent painting workshop at Dublin Plein Air Festival. Head Orientation. Thaís Muniz reflects on her practice. 10. Speech Sounds. Iarlaith Ni Fheorais outlines the curatorial methods and ideas underpinning a recent show at VISUAL. 11. Ghosting Contemporary Art. Bridget O’Gorman shares her experiences of sustaining an art practice with a disability. 12. A Manifesto of Tiny Victories. Paul Roy uses mark-making as a metaphor for losses experienced with chronic illness. The Art of Enactment. Day Magee considers phenomenology, performance, and the body’s experiences of chronic pain. 13. Cats in the Archive. Eve Parnell discusses the Irish Exhibition of Living Art archive, which is housed in NIVAL. Kunstverein Aughrim. Kate Strain discusses a new venture.


The Visual Artists' News Sheet: Visual Artists Ireland: Republic of Ireland Office Visual Artists Ireland The Masonry 151, 156 Thomas Street Usher’s Island, Dublin 8 T: +353 (0)1 672 9488 E: W: Northern Ireland Office Visual Artists Ireland 109 Royal Avenue BT1Belfast1FF T: +44 (0)28 958 70361 E: W: visualartists-ni.orgInternational

FestivalCritique/ Biennial 19. Sean Hillen, The Great Cliffs of Collage Green, Dublin, IRELANTIS, 1997; courtesy the artist and PhotoIreland Festival. 20. PhotoIreland Festival 2022. 22. ‘Beyond Drawing’ at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre. 23. Summer Show at The Engine Room Gallery. 24. Kevin Atherton at Butler Gallery 25. Patrick MacAllister at Mermaid Arts Centre. 27. Many Rivers to Cross. Laragh Pittman outlines the participation of Irish group, Art Nomads, in documenta 15. 28. Quiet As It’s Kept. Chris Clarke reviews the Whitney Biennial. 30. Reclaiming the Contrast. Varvara Keidan Shavrova reviews works at the Rencontres d’Arles and Arthur Jafa at LUMA. 18. A Sense of Place. Marek Wolynski on ‘Art in the Landscape’. Page 21

ExhibitionSeminar Profile 14. Made X NW. Phillina Sun discusses a group show at The Dock. 16. Lament. Jennie Taylor reviews ‘Lament’ at Pallas Projects. 32. In a Contrary Place. Ruth Clinton and Niamh Moriarty discuss their new film and accompanying storytelling performance. 34. Love and Odd Posters. Marie-Louise Blaney speaks to Ciara Phillips about her recent solo exhibition at The Model. Project Profile 35. Brian Curtin reviews Negative Space 36. Sinéad Gleeson reviews England on Fire. 37. The Activism of Art. Miguel Amado and Georgia Perkins interview Gregory Sholette about his latest book. Art Publishing 38. Entre Chien et Loup. Ingrid Lyons on her recent residency. Residency 39. Citizens. Belinda Loftus on her show in Rathfarnham Castle. Member Profile

Kurnugia Now Celina Muldoon 10 Sept - 12 Nov 2022 An Arts Council funding scheme for individual artists with disabilities. Round 2 Opens: 05 September Deadline: 01 November at 4pm Download application forms, guidelines and Easy Read information from 05 September here: Contact: Arts ConnecDisability+t F.E. MCWILLIAM GALLERY & STUDIO An exhibition to celebrate the skill and vitality of our island’s makers.island s 24.09.22 – 21.01.23 Are you an artist working collaboratively with a community? Are you an artist or community group with an interest in working on a collaborative, socially engaged project? The Arts Council’s Artist in the Community (AIC) Scheme, managed by Create, offers awards to enable artists and communities of place and/or interest to work together on researching, developing, and delivering projects. Closing Dates Round One: 28 March, 2022 Round Two: 26 September, 2022 Image: Otolith. Ruairí Ó’Donnabháin and the community of Cape Clear Island, Goldsmith Helle Helsner and Composer Seán Ó Dálaigh. Photo: Debbie Scanlon The Otolith XENOGENESISGroup 07 July 2022 - 12 Februar y 2023 Tickets from €8 | Book Now

púca in the machine Alannah Robins, Niamh Fahy & Shane Finan 12th November 2022 7th January 2023 TrunkShow featuring Kate Strain and Props 7pm Wednesday 2nd November. Booking essential OneNightOnly Mermaid Arts Centre, Main Street, Bray, Co. Wicklow artistthecourtesy/DurandMichaelImage: € 10 (STG£9) WWW.IRISHARTSREVIEW.COM SAVE 10% OFF SUBSCRIPTION RATES TO THE IRISH ARTS REVIEW! ONE-YEAR SUBSCRIPTION FOR VAI MEMBERS NOW €44! BOOK A SUBSCRIPTION TODAY! Email: Tel: +353 1 676 6711 GRILSE GALLERY Debbie Godsell, Residues 7 October – 27 November 2022Wed–Sat 11–4pm or by appoinment 087 604 vCo.KillorglinTheThewww.grilse.ieeither@grilse.ie7559FisheryBridgeKerry93a2ty Micheál O’Connell / Mocksim System Interference 17 September to 26 October 2022 Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre Skibbereen, Co. Cork Monday to Saturday 10.00am to www.westcorkartscentre.com4.30pm Touring │ Wexford Arts Centre and Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda │ 2023

QSS Artist Studios QSS presented ‘Lands in Between’, a two-person exhibition by Kwok Tsui and Ben Malcolmson, from 4 to 25 August. In ‘Lands in Between’, the two artists engaged in deep play with the traditions of landscape image-making and the questions about space and representation that the genre of landscape asks. These artists, in their reflex ive engagement with the spatial mechanics of the traditions and mediums in which they work, offer new ways of thinking about our movement through the material world.

The Otolith Group presents ‘Xenogene sis’, an exhibition that brings together a significant selection of works by the Lon don-based artist collective, founded in London in 2002 by Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun. Featuring a cross-section of key works produced by The Otolith Group between 2011 and 2018, the exhibition reflects the artists’ ongoing commitment to creating what they think of as ‘a science fic tion of the present’. On display at IMMA from 7 July 2022 to 12 February 2023. Solomon Fine Art Michael Wann presented a new collection of compositions in which themes of bound ary and perimeter are central. In ‘Void Pas toral’ Wann used landscape as a metaphor and drawing as a vehicle for an underlying augury of environmental anxiety. Through an emotive resonance of light and shade, the mostly unpopulated ‘everyday’ rural set tings in Wann’s compositions are charged with unease and a disquiet of perspective. Temporal moments of weather speak of memory and place, of pictorial space, and the mapping of terrain. On display from 7 to 30 July.

Temple Bar Gallery + Studios Currently showing at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios is ‘Paintings from The Last Gal lery & Studio’, a new exhibition by Ramon Kassam. Kassam’s self-referential attitude to painting includes third-person narratives and thematic world-building. His artworks are permeated with tactics and tropes that enliven storytelling through painting and display. In his most recent work, Kassam indulges an appetite of painterly fantasy, dreaming up a contemporary Irish painting folklore that connects reality with a fiction al analogous universe. Exhibition continues until 10 September.

Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 20226 Exhibition Roundup

‘Family Lines’ is a multi-platform proj ect by artist Alice Rekab in collaborationwith Éireann and I (a community archive for Black migrants in Ireland) and with contributions from Holly Graham, Salma Ahmad Caller, Larry Achiampong, and Cypher Billboard, London. In their work, Rekab explores embedded personal and cul tural narratives; the stories that we tell and the stories that we are told about ourselves. ‘Family Lines’ focuses on Black and MixedRace life in Ireland across generations. On display from 1 July to 25 September 2022.


PS² ‘Between matter and words’ was presented in two consecutive groupings: ‘Group 01’ (22-30 July 2022) and ‘Group 02’ (05-13 August 2022). Practice as research often sits uneasily in academic regulatory frame works, yet this reflexive field plays a sig nificant part in the identity and work of Ulster University, while also offering vital contributions to wider culture. The show foregrounded the diverse outcomes of PhD researchers, encompassing works-in-prog ress as well as more summative results that arise from study in the arts. Belfast Exposed Belfast Exposed presented ‘Parr’s Ireland: 40 Years of Photography’, a retrospective of work by esteemed British documen tary photographer, Martin Parr. Parr has been taking photographs in Ireland over a 40-year period from 1979 to 2019. Between 1980 and 1982 Parr lived in Ireland, making his home in Boyle, County Roscommon. During this period, he extensively photo graphed the West of Ireland and contin ued to return to Ireland for a further three decades. On display from 4 August to 24 September. Golden Thread Gallery Golden Thread Gallery presented ‘Room Without a View’ by Ailbhe Greaney. Greaney’s work challenges our unique per spectives and views of life today. Focusing on the physical view from a garden window, the exhibition uses this as a starting point to explore our different visual perspectives through photography. Collaborating with young women with Vietnamese, Chinese, and Indian heritage, living now in France, Ireland, and England, Greaney’s work weaves connections across time and place. On display from 30 July to 10 September.

Framing of artworks for the ‘Páipéar’ exhibition; image courtesy Hang Tough Gallery. Martin Parr, O’Connell Bridge, Dublin 1981; photograph © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos, courtesy the Martin Parr Foundation.

National Gallery of Ireland Works by Alberto Giacometti (1901–1966) were displayed in ‘Giacometti: From Life’ which included bronze and plaster sculp tures, paintings, drawings, and prints. The artworks dated from Giacometti’s early years in his native Switzerland through to the late work he made in his Paris studio. The exhibition highlights the artist’s close working relationships with family members and friends who modelled for him, among them, his brother, wife, and writers and art ists. On display from 9 April to 4 Septem ber.

DublinDouglasHyde Gallery

Vault Artist Studios Rob Hilken’s solo exhibition, ‘It Could Be You: Religion, Gambling & Elvis’ was pre sented at Vault (19 – 27 August). Accord ing to the press release, the presented artworks “draw on his experiences of grow ing up as a Quaker and attempts to nav igate the long-standing Quaker testimony against gambling”. The exhibition explores his conflicting views of religion and its par allels with gambling and addiction, chan nelling the gaudy extravagance of casinos and the equally opulent aesthetics of tem ples, churches and cathedrals, all designed to inspire awe and ultimately exert control.

The first exhibition of Ron Mueck’s work in Ireland brings together seven of his key works including Dead Dad (1997) and his monumental work In Bed (2005). Mueck’s sculptures each reflect an inner world of private feelings with unsettling power. The artist’s intimate, understated meditations on universal experiences, of compassion, vulnerability, fear and loss, draw each viewer to their own reflection. Mueck’s work elicits an immediate emotional response, using all the traditional elements of his medium. On display from 29 July to 20 November. Belfast


Hang Tough Contemporary Hang Tough Contemporary presented ‘Páipéar’, an exhibition that featured art works by over 115 of Ireland’s leading contemporary artists on display at Central Plaza, Dame Street. Selected artists have been invited to create a new work on paper exclusively for the exhibition which opened to the public on 15 July and ran through to September. Entry to the exhibition was free and organisers anticipated over 20,000 vis itors throughout the summer months, with the hope that it will become one of the key cultural destinations of the year.

Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 2022 7Exhibition Roundup

Linenhall Arts Centre ‘GUIDES’, (15 July – 3 September) is an exhibition and events programme curated by Séamus Nolan, which was devised in cel ebration of the 70th anniversary of the Arts Council of Ireland. The exhibition features artworks of national significance from the Arts Council’s permanent collection that also tell the stories of communities across County Mayo. It includes artworks dealing with social, cultural and political issues that are hugely relevant today, whose very mate riality speaks of concerns that continue to shape collective memory and meaning. Lismore Castle Arts

The group exhibition, ‘A Different Horizon’ at St Carthage Hall, was curated by Mary Cremin and Paul McAree, exploring the complex nature of how we understand and translate experiences of our social and envi ronmental structures. The exhibiting artists – Myrid Carten, Isadora Epstein, Áine McBride, Alice Rekab, Sheila Rennick, and Eimear Walshe – have diverse practices and represent dynamic and distinct voices in contemporary art in Ireland. The exhibition was on display from 16 July to 21 August.

Regional & International Amanda Wilkinson Gallery

Courthouse Gallery & Studio

Oisín Byrne’s ‘Act Natural’ considered how the self can be expressed or contained in the many layers that make up a person. The audience stood on a carpet illustrating the edges of Byrne’s notebooks, with flu orescent post-it notes poking out, mark ing pages, and busily mapping the artist’s thoughts; there was a sense of exuberance, generosity and sharing. The sensory and affective exchange presented a queer per formativity that was at once empowering and fallible. On display from 12 May to 18 June.

Sarah Walker Gallery

Limerick City Gallery of Art ‘PULSE’ is a new initiative introduced by Limerick City Gallery of Art in the wake of the devastating impact of COVID-19. Specifically, ‘PULSE’ is a response to the group of new graduates, many of whom were denied a Degree Show or opportu nities to exhibit their work more wide ly. ‘PULSE’ was an Open Submission in which graduates from Irish colleges (between 2017-21) were invited to submit a sample of their work for inclusion in this group exhibition. On display from 22 July to 18 September.

Kilkenny Arts Festival Stephen Doyle is a Cork-based artist at Backwater Studios. The artist is exploring issues of queer identity through the rela tionship between figuration and the politics of representation. Doyle makes figurative depictions of LGBTQIA+ people, and often includes objects in the paintings, a gesture of ‘othering’ the art that mirrors the subject matter it investigates. For Kilkenny Arts Festival, Doyle exhibited a carefully curated selection of work, showcasing the artist’s investigations over their career. On display from 6 to 14 August. Galway Arts Centre Galway Arts Centre presents the presti gious 2021 Turner Prize-winning work by Array Collective, ‘The Druthaib’s Ball’, from 13 August to 1 October. This is the first time the work has be seen in Ireland. The work is on loan from National Muse ums NI, who acquired it for their perma nent collection at the Ulster Museum. The installation is presented in Galway Arts Centre’s performance space, Nun’s Island Theatre, while a wider exhibition of works is on display in Galway Arts Centre’s gal lery space, just a short walk away. Garter Lane In 2019, Waterford-based artist and writ er James Merrigan, invited nine artists to contribute to an experimental process, which involved them submitting images and drawings for screen-printing as part of Merrigan’s ‘Small Night Projects’. The cul mination takes the form of a dynamic exhi bition, ‘WEAREFETISHISTS’, at Garter Lane Arts Centre (6 August – 24 Septem ber). It presents a suite of large-scale prints, zines and a letter addressed to the artists, questioning ideas of ownership through the psychoanalytic object of the fetish. Charles Tyrrell, G5.20, 2020 2020, mixed media on paper; photograph by Con Kelleher, courtesy of the artist and Grilse Gallery. Jill Mulligan, Lough Gill, 2020, oil on canvas, 36 x 36 cm; image courtesy the artist and Solas Art Gallery. Stephen Brandes, Heron, 2021, acrylic on canvas; image courtesy the artist and The Model.

The Graduate Summer Show 2022, ‘What’s Going on in the Garden?’, featured Kate Power, Jodie Caswell, Peter Naessens, Alannah Murphy (NCAD), Klaudia Laso ta, Camilla Winquist (MTU Crawford) and Mathew Hayes (LSAD). The garden is conceptualised as an imagined world, the planet that we inhabit and effect, the flora of past and present, or the emotive atmo spheric landscape of memory and experi ence. Established artists create an echoing of an already rich conversation while offer ing a quiet support for the emerging artists. Grilse Gallery ‘Between the Lines’ was an installation of almost 100 drawings made between 2002 and 2022 by Charles Tyrrell, who stated: “to varying degrees these drawings are me talking to myself. Private conversa tions. Intimate. Quiet time spent without thinking of how they might be perceived, or even thinking of their artistic worth.” A limited edition of 12 silkscreen prints was made for the exhibition at Grilse Gallery by owners Lucy and Robert Carter in col laboration with the artist. On display from 20 May to 17 July. Solas Art Gallery Solas Art Gallery’s Summer Members’ Group exhibition was on display from 24 June to 20 August. This exhibition was an eclectic mixture of styles and mediums from around the county. Every kind of artwork in a variety of mediums and styles (from the figurative to abstraction) to suit all tastes, was on show. All works were for sale; how ever, the primary concern as a commu nity art gallery was to invite the public to experience this extraordinary creativity in a comfortable and friendly space without any kind of expectation or pressure.

The Model

The Model presented a newly commis sioned body of work by the artist Stephen Brandes. ‘Schmerzbau: It’s not all just mis ery’ explores how both comedy and trage dy can sit side-by-side through juxtaposi tions of representation and abstract form. Schmerzbau itself is a made-up word, join ing together two German words; schmerz, meaning pain or grief and bau, meaning construction. It is also a play on another constructed word, Merzbau, coined by the German artist Kurt Schwitters. On display from 2 July to 25 September.

The Courthouse Gallery & Studio recent ly presented a solo exhibition of new work by Sligo-based artist Cléa van der Grijn. The exhibition, titled ‘Disembodied #1’, ran from 9 July to 6 August, presenting films and a selection of new paintings. The artist employs various media in her practice, including site-specific installa tion, experimental film, large format pho tography, sculpture, drawing and painting. The exhibition was produced around her award-winning film, FLUX (2021), along with her recent film, Jump (2018).

ing on a series of assemblage works and will begin work on a script for monologue per formance.” Experiment! Award 2022 Experiment! provides an alternative form of residency. Based on feedback from VAI members, it is clear that it is difficult for the majority of visual artists to take time out of their lives to take advantage of residential residencies. Therefore, we have designed this residency in the form of research sup port, providing €3000 for the selected art ist to experiment and undertake research which is designed to bring their practice to a newHollylevel.Márie

The contenders for this year’s Zurich por trait prizes have been revealed by the National Gallery of Ireland.

at many international festivals, muse ums and galleries including the Whitney, MoMA and IMMA, Dublin. Retrospec tives include Crawford Art Gallery, Cork (2009), Tate Modern (2010), SEFF Seville (2016), and most recently, Jeu de Paume, Paris (2021). Her most recent documenta ry New York Our Time (2020) premiered at DIFF Dublin and has won several awards. She currently lives in Dublin. Conan McIvor is a filmmaker, theatre maker and video artist who creates exper imental films, drama shorts, documentary, video installations, immersive environ ments, large-scale outdoor video projec tions and moving image design for live per formance. His work has been exhibited in site-specific venues and traditional gallery spaces, screened at international film fes tivals, national theatres, and off-Broadway performances, and has been broadcast on national television. His practice is primarily concerned with themes of identity, mascu linity, tradition, and mythology. With the Experience! Award, Vivienne and Conan will engage in an exchange of mentorship and tuition, drawing upon their respective experiences in Super 8 filmmak ing and digital video production to create a space for potential creative collaboration and experimentation across mediums. Exchange! Award 2022 Exchange! is for VAI members to exchange and enhance understandings of different cultural contexts. The purpose of this award is to provide support and funding of €3000 to the selected artist(s) who may wish to create an opportunity for growth and bet ter understanding across different cultural identities.Chinedum Muotto is an inter-disci plinary artist who conjures magic through various creative means, as he takes us on journeys concertedly to places known and unknown. His current interests pertain to performances of the banal, exploring new ways of resurrecting performance within the public and private spheres of our exis tence. His works have been incubated with in institutions such as: IMMA, CREATE, plan-B (Lagos, Nigeria), re-contemporary (Turin, Italy) & DCCCC. Upon receiving the award, Chinedum stated: “The Exchange! Award had me

Twenty-six artists have been shortlist ed for the Zurich Portrait Prize; 20 artists, aged between four and 18, have been short listed for the Zurich Young Portrait Prize.

All have made it through to the final round out of hundreds of entries, in a variety of media, from across the country.

The judges are the artist Diana Copper white, Anna O’Sullivan, Director of the Butler Gallery in Kilkenny, and the artist Nick Miller. In the Zurich Young Portrait Prize, five winners — one from each age category plus an overall winner — will receive art supplies as well as a cash prize; all shortlisted artists will have their work professionally framed/ prepared. The judges are Janet McLean, Curator of the National Gallery of Ireland, the comic illustrator Nick Roche, and the artist Una Sealy. The shortlisted works for both compe titions will be on display at the National Gallery of Ireland, on Merrion Square in Dublin, from 26 November 2022 to 2 April 2023. The exhibition will then be on display at the Regional Cultural Centre in Letter kenny.

VAI Award Winners

Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 20228 News Susan Mannion has been announced as the winner of the Merrion Plinth Award 2022. She is the second suc cessful artist of this biennial contem porary art prize which was estab lished in 2019 to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the Merrion Hotel. This prize aims to directly support contemporary artists with a prize fund of €5,000, and the winning work will be on view in the hotel for two years amongst its significant col lection of late 19th century and early 20th century Irish and European Art. Susan’s artwork, Liminal Space, can be seen in the Merrion’s glass link which occupies a position at a bound ary or threshold between important areas that guests transition through. The jewel-like colours of the enamel enhance the garden experience and the glass-like qualities of the enamel surface are in keeping with the glass of this linking corridor. This unique artwork consists of a steel panel onto which a skin of vitre ous enamel at 950 degrees in a kiln has been applied. Susan has taken inspiration from the gardens beyond the glass corridor where the artwork is displayed. The location allows for the natural sunlight that enters this space to draw out the qualities of the glass of the enamel. This year the judges were: Loch lann Quinn, Chairman, The Merrion Hotel; Patrick Murphy, Director, RHA; and Oonagh Young, Director, Oonagh Young Gallery. Susan was presented with the prize of €5,000 by Mr Loch lann Quinn, Chairman of the Merrion, at a reception in the hotel on 4 July.

We are delighted to announce the winners of the following four awards: • VAI Residency at CCI Paris 2022 –Cian McConn • Experiment! Award 2022 – Holly Márie Parnell • Experience! Award 2022 – Conan McIvor and Vivienne Dick • Exchange! Award 2022 – Chine dum Muotto VAI Residency at CCI Paris 2022 This year we are providing a two-month, research-based residency at Centre Cul turel Irlandais in Paris. Accommodation, one return flight, and a stipend of €750 per month is included in the residency, which was open to all VAI members at all career stages, working in all visual art forms. The residency offers a great opportunity for the selected artist to tap into the resources of CCI, as well as being an important means of showcasing Ireland’s dynamic contem porary culture on an international stage. Cian McConn (b.1980, Ireland) com pleted his MFA at the Royal College of Art, London, in 2012. He is a visual art ist and performer whose non-hierarchi cal approach toward multimedia practice embraces image-making, text, performance, and collaboration with others. Thematically he works with concepts of identity, persona, and the performance of the self in relation to gender and community. Recent exhibi tions and performances include ON EDGE: Living in an Age of Anxiety, Science Gallery London; I AS IN US with Vivienne Grif fin (IRL), MNAC, Bucharest; Augusto with Alessandro Sciarroni (IT); and no sense left to be shared with Nicole Bachmann (CH).

Zurich Portrait Prize 2022

Parnell is an artist film maker based in County Wexford. Taking a documentary approach, her work is built from personal encounters and is motivated by the subtle yet powerful truths of embod ied knowledge and lived experience. She is interested in that which is not easily articu lated, looking at the ways we impart mean ing and value through layers of authority and language. She is a recent alumnus of the FLAMIN Fellowship, and an MFA graduate of the Slade School of Art. Recent awards include the Arts Council Film Proj ect Award and a residency at RUPERT, Lithuania.Forthe Experiment! Award, Holly Márie will explore access and the moving image through a series of workshops. She is collaborating with her brother, David Par nell – who is nonverbal and speaks using eye gaze technology – to explore themes of communication, voice, and what it means to receive the moving image. Experience! Award 2022 Experience! provides funding of €3000 for artists working across the generational divide to come together to share knowledge and experience. The goal of the award is mutual learning, growth, and the encour agement of collaboration between different generations and levels of experience within VAI’sViviennemembership.Dick makes multi-layered, open-ended work framed from a female perspective and with an interest in gender politics, ecology, music, and philosophy. Her early work is associated with the ‘No Wave’ music and film movement of late sev enties New York. Her work has been shown FROM THE ARTS SECTOR

thinking of cultural reservoirs that we as artists hold and embody to certain degrees. As an artist with Biafran origins, I explore how my cultural heritage manifests in my work, creating space for these lives to come forth. Son of Ngozi Akamelu – truly, I am my mother’s son. As such, I will use this award and opportunity to immerse myself in the customs and traditions of mask-mak ing in Nigeria and parts of West Africa.”

Merrion Plinth Award 2022

Commenting on his award and forth coming residency, Cian stated: “While undertaking the VAI/CCI residency, I will explore the mythology surrounding Paris as a site of refuge for exiled and queer artists. My initial focus will be on James Baldwin and Samuel Beckett adopting Paris as their home. This period of research and devel opment of new work will be informed by the archetype of the exiled artist in Paris, addressing preconceived ideas about mas culinity, artistic identity, and the history of Paris in relation to racial and gendered ideas of success. I intend to continue work


Susan Mannion with her winning artwork, Liminal Space 2022, installed at the Merrion Hotel; image courtesy the Merrion Plinth Award 2022.

The winner of the Zurich Portrait Prize will receive a cash award of €15,000 plus a €5,000 commission to create a work for the national portrait collection. Two addition al prizes of €1,500 will be given to highly commended works from those shortlisted.

AFTER YEARS OF solitude, I find myself leading a party of artists towards Ardgillan Castle, the trundle of trolley wheels blend ing with excited chatter. I turn on the slope and walk backwards, my gaze flitting from face to face, and holler that for me, walk ing is preliminary drawing. In the depths of winter, I was invited to tutor this workshop on the last day of Dublin Plein Air Festival. Yesterday, I arrived into the city for the first time in five years, and was swept towards the heart of the Pride parade. Music fills some of the conversations I overhear as we arrive at the spot I have chosen for our workshop. Glastonbury Festival unfolds as we set up our easels, its return a beacon. As we collectively eye the expanse of sea and sky that will occupy us for the next three hours, wildflowers sing in greeting. Brutal as the weather forecast may be, I believe nothing could dampen our spirits.

Thaís Muniz, Ori Blessings Performance, at glór, Ennis, 25 June 2022; photograph by Eamon Ward, courtesy of the artist and glór.

Paul D’Arcy fits me with a headset, and suddenly my voice carries. The festival is in its sixth year, and during that time has been lovingly nurtured by Paul and his wife, The resa. They care passionately that each artist who registers has an enjoyable and fruit ful day – I get the sense that they would move mountains for their artists. Dublin Plein Air Festival spans seven days, each day travelling to a fresh location around the city, thereby ensuring a lively mix of sub ject matter. The mix of artists is also zestful; seasoned professionals rub shoulders with the most enthusiastic amateurs it has been my pleasure to meet. This air of friendliness defines the festival and energises the paint ings. It’s instantly infectious. Volatile skies conjure up electrifying mir acles of light and colour on the water, and I turn the workshop into a game of catching these fleeting moments. As paintings prog ress, I encourage painters to risk all for the chance of a glorious mauve, a fugitive play of blues. Showers sweep in, leaving trans formed paintings in their wake. We merge with the energy field and stay entirely open for the duration of the workshop, the land Plein Air Cornelius Browne giving a plein air painting workshop at Ardgillan Castle, June 2022; photograph by Ray Watts, courtesy of the artist and Dublin Plein Air Festival. scape an active partner in the creative pro cess. I’m thrilled when one artist remarks that the rain is painting as much as she herself.Thunder booms as the day draws to a close, and rain cascades. In a lull, I judge the competition. This astonishing exhibi tion under dripping trees is in place for only half an hour. About one hundred artists painted here today, and the standard is skyhigh. Third prize I give to Patricia Sweet from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, whose tiny paintings are mon umental in terms of feeling. Second prize goes to Mayo painter Desmond Downes, who recently enjoyed success on Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year. His paint ing is well-nigh perfect. Winner is Lynsey McKernan, who studied Fashion Design at NCAD. During the workshop she was as fast as she was fearless, fusing with the life force of the landscape to create a painting that expresses a primal joy and connection withThenature.first workshop I ever tutored, at Glebe House and Gallery in Donegal, hap pened to fall two days after my wife, Paula, was diagnosed with cancer. I hadn’t slept for a week. I had never felt so raw and vulnera ble. Painting tips were far from my mind; I was gripped by a passion for living and art making. My workshops since have striven to share this fire. Artists often grow towards the sun of other artists. For a decade, I have been vir tual friends with Brooklyn painter, Paul Goss, who I’ve never met. Recently, I posted on Instagram a photo of my wheelbarrow laden with easel and painting materials in a wild Donegal field. Soon after, Paul posted his grocery cart similarly laden, a New York cityscape as backdrop. Quick-fire response: my wheelbarrow is waving from across the Atlantic Ocean.

TEXTILES ARE A familiar and accessible medium that I’ve been dealing with since my childhood because my two grannies were seamstresses. I’ve been a pattern col lector since 2012 and have been using tex tiles and headwraps as my primary medium. As an interdisciplinary artist, my work aims to unfold intimate practices of collective learning through community workshops, performances, installations, and urban interventions. I also expand my vision through audio-visuals, collages, celebra tions, and more recently, sculptural textiles.

I started experimenting with analogue collages using photography, fabrics, paper, embroidery and other elements. Some of these collages and other works were shown in the exhibition ‘Place After Pattern After Place’ at glór, Ennis (24 June – 6 August 2022). In this two-person exhibition, Ennis-based textile artist Laura Vaughan and I were invited by curator Moran Beennoon to share individual and collaborative pieces. We each revisited our archives to respond to the use of pattern and repetition in fabric designs, and how it can connect us to places. This was my first exhibition in Ireland, which gave me the opportuni ty to show new and older artworks, exper iment with techniques I have been using for a long time and create textile sculptural pieces on larger scales. I also presented the performance ‘Ori Blessings’ and the head wraps workshop as part of the exhibition’s engagement programme. In 2021 I was invited by the RHA through the Angelica Network to par ticipate in the ‘Interventions’ series and respond to the exhibition ‘Look, then Look Again’ by artist Denis Kelly. I created Dar ling, Don’t Turn Your Back On Me (2021) as a multidisciplinary piece which gener ated visual narratives through installation, sound recording, writing, and performance in the Ashford Gallery. The work aimed to share the experience of what it feels like to encounter the gaze of others as a reception, or as a statement of symbolic violence. I reflected on protective rituals and elements used in the installation, after a walk through town.Recently, I was appointed as one of four IMMA artists who are currently in res idence at The Dean Art Studios in Dub lin. I also experienced a residency at Cork Printmakers. Both exposed me to gather ing more knowledge and information, and meeting other professionals, while increas ing my possibilities to continue learning, working and disseminating art across var ious disciplines and topics of interest.

Thaís Muniz is an interdisciplinary artist interested in the Afro-diasporic connections, identity, belonging and healing.

Cornelius Browne is a Donegal-based artist.



I am interested in the territories of iden tity and cultures with a strong focus on the Afro-diaspora. I have specific interests in the re-appropriation of stories, narratives and habits to propose healing and recon struction from an anti-colonial perspective against innumerable mechanisms of collec tive illness. I understand my work as a sim ple way of sharing essential topics towards cultural integration, inward love, and decol onisation of the mind. Since 2012, I’ve been developing a body of work and research about turbans, headwraps textiles, and the relationships of non-verbal communication implied through the head, from historical to con temporary times. I connect with others in tactile, ephemeral, and educational ways. I called this platform Turbante-se – a word I created that means ‘Turban Yourself’.

Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 2022 9Columns Workshops and Wheelbarrows

As part of a new Atlantic triangulation, belonging, assimilation and the replace ment relationship around the sense of home are topics I have been connected to since before I was born, but only started to pay more attention to after moving to Dub lin in 2014. I am an artist from Salvador de Bahia – the blackest city in the world outside Africa – which is on the northeast coast of Brazil in the Global South. We have a strong cultural heritage connected to West Africa, especially to Yoruba people. It connected me to the metaphysical con cept of Ori, which is the Yoruba belief that occupies the centre of sacredness. The phys ical ‘Ori’ (head) is a symbol of the ‘inner head’ or ‘the inner person’.


Ori Blessings is a performance in which I link the headwraps to the Ori protection and spiritual energy, as well as display that goes beyond aesthetics. In this, I propose to adorn the heads of attendees, sharing the understanding of the head as a centre of vital energy control.

Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 202210

The written word leaves a mark on the body in a temporary tattoo by Francis Whorrall-Campbell, featuring a quote on learning and failure from The Undercom mons (Minor Compositions, 2013) by Fred Moten and Stefano Harney. Brian Teeling’s human scale prints feature phrases from J.G. Ballard’s dystopian novel, Concrete Island (London: Jonathan Cape, 1974), giving a fleshy immediacy to the written word. The ways we connect back to the past and to ancestors is evoked by Maïa Nunes, using interviews with their aunt, archival material, and music to uncover histories of slavery and migration in the Caribbean.



In Frank Wasser’s Work in Relapse (2021) the artist pairs a photograph taken by his hospital bed with a towel taken from the hospital embroidered with the words ‘Hos pital Property’, attending the artist’s con cern with institutional critique and power. In the 1989 photograph, Cutting the Ties that Bind (Heroes), Mary Duffy makes a “vibrant statement about my life and the lives of other disabled people, our commit ments and our values”. In Non-Verbal 1, 2 & 3 by Bridget O’Gorman the power of writ ten word over the body is excavated, mim icking anatomy posters; the scream is both prescription and symptom, giving voice to the intelligibility of the body in pain. In relation to race and gender, Dita Hashi’s moving-image work, SAMRAA (2021), pulls from the archive of Arabic popular music, to evoke the historical and social meanings of an Arabic term with racial and gendered designations. These works reveal the symbolic weight bodies hold, and how we might read and disrupt these meanings.

Referencing ritual practices of the Shona people and speculative interstellar travel, Kumbirai Makumbe imagines the body in-between time and space, in the sculptur al installation, Pre-Intertopia (2022). The team at VISUAL worked with skill and grace to make this ambitious exhibi tion happen. VISUAL’s Production Man ager Anthony Walsh, Benjamin Stafford and I designed a wooden structure, divid ing the main gallery into four corners, creating a more intimate space. This was installed alongside 23 artworks by techni cians Tadhg McSweeney, Jimmy Snobby, Saidhbhín Gibson, and Laura McAuliffe. Learning Curator, Clare Breen, curated a playful Learning Gallery where audiences could experiment with alternative ways to communicate. Interim CEO, Paula Phelan, held sensitive conversations with partners to ensure artists and audiences were sup ported in their experience of the exhibition. Finally, I am deeply grateful to have worked with Benjamin Stafford, who led on pro duction, and who provided invaluable guid ance and support throughout.

IN WINTER 2020, I was invited by CEO and Artistic Director, Emma-Lucy O’Brien, to be Curator-in-Residence 2021 at VISUAL Carlow. I commissioned six artists – Ebun Sodipo, Jonah King, Kumbirai Makumbe, Maïa Nunes, Joey Holder, and Jennifer Mehigan – to produce new work. This cul minated in the exhibition ‘Speech Sounds’ (9 June – 21 August) which was presented at VISUAL as part of Carlow Arts Festi val (CAF). ‘Speech Sounds’ included work by the commissioned artists, work select ed through VISUAL and CAF’s ART WORKS open call, and work loaned from the Arts Council Collection. Curated with Visual Arts Curator Benjamin Stafford, ‘Speech Sounds’ featured 23 artworks –including sculpture, sound, painting, film, photography and installation – by Eman uel Almborg, Jenny Brady, Once We Were Islands, Paul Hallahan, Dita Hashi, Aus tin Hearne, Vishal Kumaraswamy, Brid get O’Gorman, Eoin O’Malley, Kinnari Saraiya, Matt Smith, Brian Teeling, Frank Wasser, Francis Whorrall-Campbell, Mary Duffy, Maïa Nunes, Jonah King and Sue Huang, Ebun Sodipo, Marielle MacLeman, Kumbirai Makumbe, Jennifer Mehigan and Eleanor‘SpeechDuffin.Sounds’ is the title of a short story by American sci-fi writer Octavia Butler, which takes place in the aftermath of a global pandemic that has left most of the survivors without the ability to speak, read, or write. During the early days of the Arts & Disability lockdown, I retreated, as many did, to scifi movies and novels. Reading these texts through a Crip lens – the critical reading of disability – it became clear that many of these narratives share concerns with the body, communication, and disability. Spe cifically looking at ‘Speech Sounds’, these stories reveal problematic views of the ways disabled people communicate. I wanted to hold space for artists interested in the body, language, the speculative, and communi cation. This included works exploring the languages of disability and access, love and loss, of living and imagined languages, the material of words, and dialogues with his tory.Shown in the Main Gallery, Jenny Brady’s 2019 film, Receiver, explores Deaf history through a heated phone call, a protest at a university for Deaf students, reflecting on the Milan Conference of 1880, which led to the banning of sign lan guage in a school for the Deaf. Upstairs in the Digital Gallery, Emanuel Almborg’s film Talking Hands (2016) explores the his tory and ideas around the Zagorsk school for deaf-blind children near Moscow in the 1960s and 70s. Using archival 16mm film, the work features scenes of children caressing bronze monuments and using sign language for the blind in which hands converse. These works explore the languag es, cultures, histories, and acts of resistance by Deaf people, in the struggle for language rights and liberation.

Iarlaith Ni Fheorais (she/her) is a curator and writer based between Ireland and the UK. @iarlaith_nifheorais Kumbirai Makumbe, Pre-Intertopia 2022, sculptural installation, ‘Speech Sounds’, VISUAL; photograph by Ros Kava nagh, courtesy the artist and VISUAL. ‘Speech Sounds’, installation view, VISUAL; photograph by Ros Kavanagh, courtesy the artists and VISUAL.

1Notes:bridgetogorman.comDaisyLafarge,‘Ghosted’, Life Without Air (Granta Poetry, 2020)

5 Céline Condorelli, The company we keep: a conversation with Avery F. Gordon, part one (Chisenhale Gallery, 2013)

Bridget O’Gorman works with text, live events, video and sculptural installation.

6 Daisy Lafarge, ‘Ghosted’, Life Without Air (Granta Poetry, 2020)

I have found solidarity and strength through crip friends like Iarlaith Ni Fheorais, thinking through slow strategies and tools for a sustainable practice. To quote Condorelli, “I think finding ways of sharing space… is becoming for me an absolute priority. This is partly to do with the fact that everything is pointing us in different directions, towards not sharing anything but protecting”. In a world which cultivates a ‘siege modal ity’, which actively de-realises bodies through inac cessible healthcare, abortion and inclusive rights for trans women, it is more imperative than ever to think about the ways in which we affect each other beyond the ‘bounded body’ ascribed to us. It feels significant that in a time when the threat of illness divides us, last year’s Turner Prize shortlist was made up entirely of artist collectives: bodies operating across ecologies of mutual exchange. As LaFarge observes in her consid eration of the personal, ecological and institutional lig atures which bind us into relationships: “The ghosted just want to be listened to, too”.6

3 Eula Biss ‘How Motherhood Radicalized Adrienne Rich’, 30 April 2021

WHEN I BECAME a parent, my spinal condition deteri orated irreparably; my physical ability to participate as an artist faded into a vaporous memory of some pre vious presence. Since then, it is unclear to what extent I have ghosted contemporary art, or whether contem porary art is ghosting me. Either way, my relationship to my work is inherently problematic. I would like to borrow Lafarge’s image of the ‘siege modality’ in the hope of communicating my experience as an artist with a chronic pain condition – pain being that which I have been trained to perceive as the enemy, which now insinuates itself into every aspect of my being. Unpicking the ways in which we extend beyond ourselves, writer Daisy Hildyard explores the assump tion of the fully bounded ‘humanimal’, stating that “a human body is rarely understood to exist outside its own skin – it is supposed to be inviolable”.2 Anything else is threatening; it speaks to that which is beyond fixity. Because of this, and because I am loathe to elicit pathos or discomfort in others, I have become adept at keeping a straight face as my central nervous system fires off internally. In particular, I do not wish for my young daughter to notice. When an embrace is required, her body gravitates like caramel towards mine. As we merge, I wait until her face is nestled safely against my neck before allowing a restless wince to surface. I low er my forehead to touch hers and my vertebrae shifts audibly. A combination lock: one. two. three. Spicules of granulated bone piercing – we are bolted into this together.Thesocial model of disability argues that we are dis abled because we exist in a world which won’t meet our needs, impairments, or divergences. But there are oth er reasons why people, not just those with disabilities, cannot always operate safely within the arts. In 2020, writer Eula Biss shared her feelings on being a mother: experiencing “ambivalence, weariness, demoralization” and “powerlessness” in respect of her ability to work.3 Since I acquired irreversible impair ment upon entering this territory, the professional art community has become largely inaccessible. Busy private views at venues without seating or accessible spaces, during times that clash with parenting, and inflexible or poorly remunerated opportunities are just some of the reasons for this. Yet the concerns expressed by Biss about parenting and creativity, are for me also intrinsically entangled with the experience of occupy ing a disabled Impairment,body.reduced mobility and a complex sche ma of pain management now necessitates my consid eration of what it means to create work with a sup port worker. It is not that I wish to extol the virtue or exclusivity of my own hand. Perhaps I am uneasy at exposing my vulnerability within the context of my profession. I am also apprehensive about what I view as the challenge to bend my own, already compromised and convoluted version of time as a disabled mother, to another’s schedule. I am sitting at my desk speaking with the academic Jade French via Zoom. She has dedicated her research to understanding inclusion in the arts and has worked as a support worker for artists over many years. I share my reticence about approaching my practice in this way. “Ok, first of all” she responds, “you have a real ly skewed idea of what it is to use a support worker”. She tells me that knowing the artists she worked with inside out was essential to her job. She describes how the success of her role lay in the ability to read the art ists’ body language, to really see and hear them to the extent that she could anticipate their needs ahead of voicing them. “These are all things one might expect in a relationship with a close friend, or someone you love”,


I observe. She nods in agreement. In ‘Nothing Worth Doing is Done Alone’, a pod cast about friendship and feminist organising, one of the contributors, curator Kim McAleese, shares that her work has been enriched by artist Céline Condorel li’s thinking around friendship as a mode for making things public. Condorelli has stated that “Friendship in this sense is both a set-up for working and a dimension of production”.4 In an interview Condorelli describes how she located the most interesting models of friend ship in practice “amongst the excluded”. She explains that for the assailable, “friendship works as a modal ity of social change, which can produce other forms of doing things, and these are more than just about work”.5 Doubling back to Jade’s portrayal of friendship through support work, can the disabled experience and the role of the support worker be viewed as a model for a more evolved way of living, whereby the systems (and constraints) of care and access within capitalist struc tures are rendered visible, and remunerated properly?

2 Daisy Hildyard, The Second Body (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2020)

4 Céline Condorelli, The Company She Keeps (London: Book Works, 2014) quoted by Kim McAleese in the podcast ‘Nothing Worth Doing is Done Alone’ organised by Sabrina Fuller and Helena Reck itt

Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 2022 11Columns Arts &

‘Speech Sounds’, installation view, VISUAL; photograph by Ros Kavanagh, courtesy the artists and VISUAL.

“You have ingested a siege modality; you perceive your pain as a castle assailed by ghosts, a movement from outside to in. ‘They’ are not ‘you’.”1


Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 202212 Columns

Day Magee is a performance-centred multimedia artist based in Dublin, narrating bodily playtimes at Bodyjam.

Paul Roy is an artist and writer living in Westmeath, who recently graduated from NCAD with an MA in Art in the Contemporary World.

A Manifesto of Tiny Victories

I am a human being in the twenty-first century standing in the doorway of a dark room. Where else would my hand go but Arts & Disability to a light switch? It is musculature, a cho reography of objects from body to bulb, conducted by belief. We take technology, whether lightbulbs or language, for granted once they have become operatively invisi ble to us – integrated into being. A light bulb, to this end, is an extension of the body. Its ideological dimensions, its shape that we live out and carve, is revealed to us as we encounter its limitations, when our extra-corporeal limbs can reach no further, and innovation, if not an alternate or sup plementary methodology, is necessitated. Ideas, in order to sustain themselves, must be believed, participated in. One angles the body through time and space like a four-dimensional pictogram, per forming moving images to oneself and to others. Artists engage the materialities of their culture, subverting their otherwise rational implementations as ideological compositions in their own right – stone, chisel, sculpture, and so on. As we approach a transhumanist future, it is not just the digital – itself a frontier of bodily extension – that arises as a material to subvert; nor simply the body, as has been conceptually distinguished from mind. It is mind itself. Our thoughts. Experiences. The stories our bodies tell us and enact. Performance engages the body directed through time, space, and witness – the wit ness of spectating bodies, as well as the per forming body performed to itself. This wit ness behaves individually and collectively to consolidate the temporal event as it has been situationally constructed. The mind is a constituent element of the body, itself an interior surveillance culture, convincing itself of itself. The medium, thereby, is the same as one’s everyday life. These coalescing properties result in enactments.

A LIFE FUNCTIONS as the performance (or enactment) of a body’s subjectivity. Our lives are marks upon time and space. Bod ies are conditioned to function according to how they occupy time and space. To do so, a body (including its mind) must arrange itself into shapes. You wake up horizontally in a bed, then fold at various simultaneous angles to stand up, then again so as to walk in order to leave the bedroom, enter the bathroom, then again so as to sit and def ecate. The conditions of this process reflect not simply bodily functions, but social pro prieties, ideologies of architecture and of ‘home’. To speak deterministically, a body is written; written to enact and replicate social contracts, to varying degrees of leg ibility, to others or to oneself. It is in these repetitions that worlds are made. They are choreographed, qualitative ly induced in articulating the body to itself and to others, as it is extruded through time and space. The body – including its psychological narrative and its self-mythol ogy, constructed via memory – is arranged according to what it experiences, while striving to maintain equilibrium, as is expe rientially proportionate. Pain is the body’s primordial language. The perceiving body flexes from moment to moment according to resistance to (or acceptance of) its sensory inputs – whether good or bad. This experience is interpreted, mediated by the nervous system, simulated to itself in a series of 1s and 0s, presences and absences, flows and interruptions. The infinite configurations of these binary val ues and their exchange produce the count less greys and ambivalences nuancing our experience. We live out (or enact) our phe nomenological code. Our experience is gen erated back and forth through the localised sensory gradient of our perception, pooled across the perception of others and bodies that are not our own. Bodies are recording devices, whether staged via circumstance or the convention of an audience.

In order to flourish, ideas (systemised as ideologies) must be believed, and so lived out. I reach for the light switch and let there be light, not because I understand or can independently and meaningfully repro duce the theoretical principles of electric ity for myself in a vacuum, but because I have repeatedly borne witness to and lived the formal process and ritual of flipping a switch. I have, in effect, no evidence oth er than experience that light will shine – it functions as magic. Even should light not shine, I need only then conduct another rit ual: change the bulb; check the main circuit breaker; light a candle. I am not the theo retical arbiter of these processes; I am but the means of their formal re-enactment. I livingly subscribe to lightbulbs.


An enactment functions as a microcosm of life, whereby bodies compose themselves to collectively generate a reality. These real ities pertain not only to everyday life, but to performance as well – notions of enter tainment, of attention and its conduc tion. This is where the body can play with ‘be-ing’ (in the Heideggerian sense). Where the social contract itself is a material – not escaped but curved, and from there, sculpt ed, manipulated, even changed. Here, ideas may live in the form of people.

MARKS ARE MADE upon us. We make marks as artists. They all signify.The academic Colm Tóibín, in his RTÉ documentary, Jack B Yeats: The Man Who Painted Ireland (Broadcast: 28 June 2022) states: “It’s possible to ask any artist, includ ing any writer, what is it you have lost?” He expands by referencing the idea that it might be a house that isn’t there anymore, a person who is no longer present, or simply a previously felt atmosphere that is lost to the individual. And this complex question can just as readily apply to the losses one experiences around illness. Loss is a wound, often interpreted as a mark upon us or hidden within. For an artist, there is often a protracted process of translation to communicate these marks from one sense to another. It is easy to imag ine all art making as an act of translation; a vision turned into the visual language with which we desire to communicate. I express my creative desire through a series of inky marks on some rough paper, while considering the ‘friction’ I spoke of in my last column. I reflect on the idea that every contact we have has the potential to abrade us, to leave scratches on the surface, or indeed to smoothen out some uneven ness. I also consider that the marks of loss that illness engenders may also at times undergo a smoothening, to make things more even or navigable. Marks can be, simultaneously, both positive and negative. They speak of events, of people, of things, all saying: “I was here”. There is the heart break of lost friends, the bumps and scars of childhood, the treasured photograph we frequently return to, among the recollection of beautiful moments– everything has left its So,mark.we become a ledger of experience, with the process of creating seen as an attempt to ‘balance our books’. We try to keep ahead, to stay in the black. As an art ist with the left-hand column of illness in the ledger of marks, I must consider how this alters my own mark-making. Just as the scarring of granuloma in my lungs is the physical mark of my illness, so the fatigue of low oxygen is unseen upon my process. It is a slowing and altering variable, like the poor light, the unaffordable studio, the impossible time-management that so many other artists must face. Illness sits amongst these as just another impediment to prog ress.However, small progress is still progress. Mine is the manifesto of tiny victories – a series of little marks that becomes a com plete image. We build and build, we scratch at the paper, taking and adding. This does not necessarily mean that the process drags or is impossibly slow; a few simple marks can rapidly express the infinity of possibil ity. The smallest victory can fundamentally alter the Recentlyworld.Ihave started a process where Arts & Disability in I find an off cut of paper in my studio, and I divide it into a grid of nine squares, like noughts and crosses. Any time I have an idea for a mono-print, I write it into one of the squares. When all nine are filled, I ink up a sheet of glass, take some suitable paper, and I try to make nine small gestur al artworks based on this grid, hoping that some element amongst them will become the artworks I desire. This simple process –which translates thoughts into images – is how I make my mark. Returning to Colm’s question, I consider the sense of loss that illness brings as both personal and internal. Fundamentally it is the loss of one’s previous self – the twostairs-at-a-time youth, or the child flying high on a swing in the bleached-out pho tograph. Paul Roy, Sad Wounds, 2022, monoprint; image courtesy the artist.

The Art of Enactment

The IELA scrapbook is filled with pho tographs, invitations, catalogue entries, letters to the editor, and critiques. But one particular critique seems to leap off the page. The title is ‘I Sometimes Think… Artists Are Cruel to Cats. Do we actually look like that? Puss Protests’. Perturbed? So wasThisI! long review by Irish Dramatist Lennox Robinson has been carefully pasted and dated by Anne. Due to her diligence and the very good state of preservation of the scrapbook, the article is as easy to read as the day it was printed in 1953. Robinson relates “walking through the rooms of the National College of Art on whose walls are exhibited one hundred and twenty-seven examples of Living Art”. Robinson’s cri tique comprises an unbelievable combina tion of factual observation and extraordi nary outbursts. The article has been carefully Visual Culture Anne Yeats’s ledger for The Irish Exhibition of Living Art; image courtesy of NIVAL. reassembled in more than ten pieces across two pages of the album. Anne’s choice and application of glue means all the segments are secure and there are no dog ears, which is lucky because Robinson really lets the artists ‘have it’ over their representation of cats!It is very thoughtful of Robinson to rep resent the opinions of the cats the artists have depicted in their artworks. For exam ple, ‘No.7’ – listed in the catalogue as In the Kitchen by Nano Reid (which incidentally cost £25.00) – features, according to Rob inson, a cat named Liz, who explained her feelings about Reid’s depiction of her and her “beloved child, Michael” in great detail.


The first newspaper clipping is from The Irish Times, 8 July 1943 and the last is dat ed 21 August 1957. The second page holds a black and white photograph of Elizabeth Curran, IELA Secretary, standing with pencil, paper, and spectacles in hand as she studies paintings on a wall. Not only is this a fascinating ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse of the exhibition before it opened to the pub lic, but it is also a record of fashion – from Elizabeth’s modish hairstyle (curls pinned up with clips) and her small, practical wristwatch, to her 1940s blouse, displaying the influences of WW2 and the Regula tion L-85 clothing ration, which stipulated, for example, a maximum of two bows, one pocket, and one ruffle per sleeve.

SITTING AT A desk in the Reading Room in NIVAL, I carefully open an archive box. It is perfectly sized to hold a rather plain, fat, anonymous-looking book, which I know holds some treasures. The ledger itself is a Walker’s Century Scrap & Newscutting Book (No. 4 Size, 240 pages) acquired by Anne Yeats for the purpose of saving articles and ephemera related to The Irish Exhibition of Living Art (IELA).1

The review continues with this stormy com bination of dry art review and accusation. The seemingly sympathetic ear of Rob inson became tired of “Liz’s bitterness”, and he crossed the room. It helps here if you speak a little French à la Inspector Clou seau because “the nice black cat” in Hen ri Matisse’s “Femme [sic] Au Chat Noir 1910” has the last word: “And what do you think would M. Matisse think of this exhi bition as a whole? The nice black cat’s gaze travelled sleepily around the walls. “I fink” she said, “he it would call, comme vous disez en anglais, ‘Ze cat’s fiskers’!” Eve Parnell is Artists Database Editor/ Library Assistant at NIVAL.

1Notes:nival.ieTheIrish Exhibition of Living Art (IELA) was established to address the need for a wider explora tion of contemporary Irish art and the public demand for such a forum. The committee to organise the first annual exhibition in 1943 included such renowned figures as Evie Hone, Mainie Jellett, Louis LeBroc quy, and Norah McGuinness. The IELA Archive was donated to NIVAL by the family of Anne Yeats, art ist and daughter of W.B. Yeats, following her death in 2001. This extensive archive contains meticulously compiled documentary material from her time as sec retary for the IELA from 1947 to 1971.

CuratorialKunstverein Aughrim

KUNSTVEREIN AUGHRIM IS a new curato rial office and production agency for con temporary visual art projects, located on the ground floor of my home in Aughrim, County Wicklow. The word ‘kunstvere in’ comes from the German word kunst meaning ‘art’ and verein meaning ‘organisa tion, association, club or union’. It’s distin guished from other art organisations by its membership system. Kunstverein Aughrim is part of an international network of sis ter kunstvereins, with branches in Amster dam, Milan, Toronto, New York, and now Aughrim.Theidea for Kunstverein Aughrim evolved out of my desire to frame an existing independent curatorial and commissioning practice, building on my experience of five years as artistic director producing projects at Grazer Kunstverein (Austria) and to attempt to address the gap that sometimes exists between artistic practice and pub lic presentation in contemporary Irish art today. Kunstverein Aughrim seeks to serve a purpose somewhere between a strategic planning and administration office, sup porting artists to plot ambitious projects; a production studio or project manager’s HQ, developing and delivering work; and a presentation venue for encountering contemporary art practices – fragments of them, excerpts from them, or portals into them. Neither a studio, office, nor gallery, but something in between, with an idiosyn cratic membership system that is developed over this first year of operations. Kunstverein Aughrim will opens its doors on 9 October. The artist collective, Forerunner (Tanad Aaron, Andreas Kin dler von Knobloch, and Tom Watt) have been developing the inaugural commission – a project titled Granite Leap. This new permanent, site-specific artwork involves paring back and reconfiguring the existing physical site of Kunstverein Aughrim and installing a large, three and a half-tonne granite boulder into the centre of the space. Aughrim is widely celebrated for the quality of its granite, sitting as it does on a 300-million-year-old batholith. The vil lage itself is known as The Granite City and boasts material presence as far afield as Liverpool Cathedral, where 450 tonnes of Aughrim stone was shipped to construct the foundations. Given the context, Fore runner’s suggestion of locating a massive boulder inside the building makes perfect sense. At the moment, we’re on the hunt for the perfect specimen in the fields and quar ries around Aughrim and the surrounding townlands.Embodying layers of narrative in its materiality, Forerunner’s installation sum mons millennia alongside the transience of human life, casting a complex perspective – that of geological time – into sharp relief. If we manage to find a boulder, to move it, and to fit it through the door, it will become a relational prompt in the middle of the room, to be constantly negotiated, worked around, ignored, or incorporated into how we inhabit the space. Granite Leap connects what we are doing with the local geograph ic context, serving as both the foundation stone of our presence in the community, and a springboard for the projects Kun stverein Aughrim will develop elsewhere.

Kate Strain is director of Kunstverein Aughrim.

Site visit in search of Aughrim Granite, July 2022; photograph courtesy of Kunstverein Aughrim.

All compelling artworks require an anchor, a concrete base from which wild ideas can jump and soar. I hope that’s what Kunstv erein Aughrim can become. Supported by the Arts Council, Kun stverein Aughrim will officially open at 12 noon on Sunday 9 October, unveiling Granite Leap within a public programme of events, including new performances by Isa dora Epstein, photography by Rich Gilli gan, a new commission by Yurika Higashi kawa, hospitality devised by Jennie Moran, and an exhibition of Aughrim’s Intangible Heritage Collection by The 1798 Club.

KATE STRAIN DISCUSSES A NEW CURATORIAL VENTURE IN COUNTY WICKLOW LAUNCHING IN EARLY OCTOBER. What happens to us Is irrelevant to the world’s geology But what happens to the world’s geology Is not irrelevant to us. We must reconcile ourselves to the stones, Not the stones to us. – Hugh MacDiarmid, excerpt from On A Raised Beach (1934)

Photographers Dee Barragry and Tommy Weir respond to the rural nature of the Northwest. Barragry depicts cattle at a mart or in close confinement, while Weir’s photographs, from a series called ‘John’s Field’, depict the prickly, sparse landscape of a work

Made X NW


‘MADE X NW’ at The Dock (2 July — 27 August) is a group exhibi tion featuring emerging and well-established artists, who currently reside and work in the Northwest of Ireland. The curator, Ruth Carroll, has thoughtfully selected an eclectic array of works in var ious media, which together suggest the region’s status as a dynamic environment for the visual arts.

14 Exhibition Profile Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 2022

Text art continues with Walker and Walker’s untitled work in which scrolling LED text discloses the statement: “Take cog nisance of the fact that something is lost at the very moment in which it is found.” The digital is an apt medium, in how it subjects knowledge to an erasable state.

Blending poetic sensibility with an interest in visuality, Alice Lyons’s installation Want/Plenty (2005/2022) draws on local his torical archives to consider the past and its resonance in the pres ent. Vinyl lettering has been placed on the risers of the building’s Georgian staircase, consisting of two words: ‘want’ and ‘plenty’. The text refers to a census taken during the famine in the townlands surrounding Mohill, in which each individual’s name was marked with either W (for Want) or P (for Plenty), thus ascribing their socioeconomic status. The work cleverly uses architecture to refer to the structural inequities under the Protestant Ascendancy rule, which contributed to the iniquities of the region under colonial ism. Originally created for the same venue in 2005, at the height of the Celtic Tiger, Want/Plenty continues to resonate in a post-lock down present in which many families struggle to find affordable housing and pay bills.

[L-R] Ronnie Hughes, Waltzer 2021 acrylic co-polymer on canvas; Mark Garry, Landscape again and again, 2020, analogue photograph; photography by Paul McCarthy, courtesy the artists and The Dock.

Nick Miller’s bold, urgently expressive painting, Flowering and Seeding (2018), depicts thistle and mead owsweet in a riotous tangle above the vases that barely contain them. Texture suggests the extravagant fecun dity of nature, which seems to overflow the surface. If a still life implies human control over nature, then this is Walker and Walker, Untitled, 2015, scrolling LED text; photography by Paul McCarthy, courtesy the artist and The Dock.

Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 2022 15Exhibition Profile ing farm in tight closeups. Both artists address agricul tural environments fraught with calculations made in relation to soil and livestock. Sharply contrasting the high detail of Barragry and Weir’s respective works, Mark Garry’s photograph Landscape Again and Again (2020) is replete with obscure shapes that suggest landscape elements, com pelling the viewer to decipher the beguilingly ambig uous shapes: is this a field, is that a wood, are those clouds?Many of the paintings on show use abstraction to convey distinctive experiences of space. Coloured dots pinball Ronnie Hughes’s canvases, either arranged with rectangular shapes into a grid, or laid over other dots, so that the canvas appears covered in crescents or eclipses.

Patrick Hall’s In the vicini ty of the Yellow Mountain (2007) presents a striated field in which isolated figures move near a yellow triangle, denoting the eponymous mountain; this is a landscape suggestive of an interior state, and one of solitude.

Urban centres have historically been seen as hubs for creativity and modern innovation, but as the hous ing crisis continues, artists are fleeing towards cheap er European cities, or to the rural environs of Ireland.

Phillina Sun is an American writer based in the Northwest of Ireland. Her most recent publication is A Woman Walks Alone at Night, With a Camera (2022), with Ruby Wallis and EimearJean McCormack. @phillina.sun

Paul Hallahan’s ethereal canvases, Beautiful Liar (2022) and Bamboo Puncturing (2022), consist of washes of paint in transparent layers, which build up to create eerie, almost oneiric compositions, like residues of dream – objectless paintings that nevertheless summon shadowy figures out of mist.

Alice Lyons, Want/Plenty 2005, Vinyl on aluminium, site-specific installation, staircase; photography by Paul McCar thy, courtesy of the artist and at The Dock.

The Northwest has a lively and vigorously nurturing visual art scene, as evident in its large community of professional artists at all career stages, and its vibrant institutions, galleries, and other infrastructure. Despite Ireland’s relative isolation from Paris, Mainie Jellett produced, with her Cubist interpretation of religious iconography, a uniquely Irish expression of art. This exhibition offers similarly engaging approaches.

Irish painter Mainie Jellett is the subject of Grace Weir’s film, A reflection on light (2015), which is taken in a single shot that roves in and out of photographs and domestic spaces. Jellett’s Decoration (1923) was among the first abstract paintings shown in Ireland, while Let there be Light (1939) hangs in the School of Physics in Trinity College Dublin – one of three build ings depicted in the film, alongside a gallery space at IMMA, and the interior of an apartment once owned by Jellett. Not only is this film an engrossing foray into art history; it demonstrates art theory as well, by play ing on translation and rotation – the principles Jellett used to create her works. Movingly, the film visualises the idea that there is no separation between history and the present, as enfolded by the artwork itself.

As stressed in the exhibition title, what links these works is the location of their makers. Often when art is discussed in relation to the Northwest, it is to con sider how its famed romantic landscape has invited much writing and visual art in the past, functioning as both source and symbol of Irish national identity.

Orla McHardy, Goodnight, 2020, hand drawn animation, HD, Colour, Stereo, 16:9, (dimensions variable); photography by Paul McCarthy, courtesy of the artist and The Dock.

Often a writer or artist will come to the Northwest with the explicit idea of rendering the landscape into an object or setting in their work. However, the works in this exhibition are not linked to the landscape in this manner; rather they have developed as responses to the opportunities of time and space that aren’t immediately at hand in cities.

a kind of anti-still life. Meanwhile, painting does come to life in Orla McHardy’s short, animated film, Good night (2020). Against a white background, blue shapes quiver, merge and separate. There’s a frantic, barely con tained energy, reflective of the time of lockdown during which it was made.

Jo Conway’s collages combine paint and maga zine images from the early twentieth century on large square sheets, hung with binder clips. In A Classroom, a seal-headed woman looks up at a sky in which children hang precariously and fish fall like bombs. In A Cir cus, the central image is of a bound woman, offered up for the delectation of viewers. These are tense surreal scenes, which seem to portray helplessness.

[L-R]: Camilla Hanney, Danse Macabre, 2022, porcelain, underglaze, lustre; Camilla Hanney, An Bean Chaointe, 2022, porcelain, glaze, pear lustre; photograph by Viktorija Kacanauskaite, courtesy the artist and Pallas Projects/Studios.

Spheres, snakes, and silk feature in this body of work, which was loosely and suggestively curated into two parts at Pallas – one almost pseudohistorical and the other leaning into the autobi ographical. The first grouping hosted a series of stage-like props, actors, and dead ideas, laid out at low height, potentially echoing the level of a ceramist or a keener at work. Vessels, vases, and fig ures marked their territory. Plinths were like graveyards, the dead manifested in ceramics, in the process of rising. Lit porcelain offered deep shadows. A pair of hand mirror forms, installed on the wall, appeared to hover in the space. There was a general sense of mourning being acted upon and suppressed in equal measure. Vulnerable vases were mixed with more resolved, confident things, featuring delicate details such as beads, pearls, and silver tears.

Lament 16 Exhibition Profile

Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 2022


The exhibition reflects, embodies, and presents a his tory of keening – an act of public grief for the dead, historically car ried out by women in Ireland. Upon entry, a group of plinths faced the viewer. The space was still and silent, aside from the consistent and strangely comforting sound of diluted holy water, flowing in the fountain of a sculpture, titled Babble, Gurgle, Flow – an ani mated and surreal piece, populated by figurines with beaded heads.

CAMILLA HANNEY’S SOLO exhibition, ‘Lament’, showed sculptural and installation work, theatrically placed in Pallas Projects/Studios (1 – 16 July).

Transitioned by an L-shaped plinth – which seemed to echo the subtle L-shape of the gallery space – the second grouping of works tapped into the artist’s family history. Revealed behind a curtain, a vital thing in itself, thinner shadows emerge in this section, with more information, as if a little closer to the present. In Something Blue, imagery of Hanney’s late grandmother’s disembodied dress ing gown floated, a cyanotype which looked like an x-ray. Skeletal hips and hands made heart-shaped patterns in burnt silk, framing

Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 2022 17

Camilla Hanney, Danse Macabre, 2022, porcelain, underglaze, lustre; photograph by Viktorija Kacanauskaite, courtesy the artist and Pallas Projects/Studios.

Jennie Taylor is an art writer living and working in Dublin, Ireland. Camilla Hanney, ‘Lament’, installation view, Pallas Projects/Studios, 2022; photograph by Viktorija Kacanauskaite, courtesy the artist and Pallas Projects/Studios.

Visual Exhibition Profile a skull with floral bones in a quiet, suspended image, titled Shroud. Having seen bones and flowers interchange, I began to project them onto the decorative, floral shawl of An Bhead Chaointe (2022), depicting a disembodied head and hands, proportionally skewed to suggest that the hands were originally stretched out in front of the face. Dance Macabre (2022) was also magnetic, wonky and asymmetrical, yet deeply ornate and beautiful with its own specific sense of importance. Overall the exhibition had faith in fixed objects and the atmosphere their placement generated was pal pable. In referencing forgotten traditions, the works almost seemed of the past, and therefore held an unknown power, much like French artist Marguerite Humeau’s exhibition, ‘Birth Canal’ in New Museum, New York, in 2017. In ‘Birth Canal’, recorded audio and a manufactured scent filled the room, supporting sculptures of prehistoric figures in asserting their pres ence. In ‘Lament’ there were fewer multisensory devic es but the presented works handled and asserted their material limits. The exhibition statement considers themes of loss as extending beyond death to include the loss of jobs, time, education, and economy, as a result of the pan demic. It emphasises care and repair as central themes, while suggesting the act of keening as a path towards emergence from grief. Hanney discusses how keeners (who were once respected members of society before the Catholic church removed them) were carers, griev ing on behalf of a group of people, channelling volumes of odourless, shapeless pain, to honour loss and to bol ster its unexpected power. What resonates most in ‘Lament’ is a strange whip lash sensation one can get from engaging with Han ney’s bodily forms and range of scale. Bones are made visible, bodies miniscule, heads life-size, and tears solidified. These distorted parts trouble unchecked understandings of the contents of a body. They fore ground loss and make space to recognise repair in its convoluted and messy elegance.


‘ART IN THE Landscape’ took place online on 25 May. This international seminar was part of a larger, ongo ing project with Offaly County Council (lead partner), Mayo County Council, and Visual Artists Ireland. Studio Response, a renowned public art and creative engagement organisation, was the cultural producer for this illuminating event. The conference brought together artists, architects, academics, curators, and researchers who shared inspir ing case studies and discussed a range of perspectives on the intersections of art, landscape, communities, environmental tourism, and economies. The event also shed light on the role of sculpture trails and parks in delivering environmental and social resilience. It stim ulated ideas in relation to two major outdoor sculp ture locations in Ireland – Tír Sáile Sculpture Trail in County Mayo and Lough Boora Sculpture Park in County Offaly – and presented original ideas for future development. Given the post-pandemic realisation of the value of natural surroundings, the seminar was a timely deep-dive into environmental art. Movements of Art Legendary sculptor and land artist, David Nash, delivered the first keynote. He told a fascinating sto ry of Wooden Boulder, an artwork which is often called the first ‘free-range sculpture’. The titular boulder was, in fact, a huge piece of 200-year-old oak, which was brought down by a storm and cut down by the artist in 1978. When being transported to David’s studio, it got stuck in the River Dwyryd in Wales, and for the next 35 years, it travelled downstream before eventually vanishing. Although the artist kept documenting the transient boulder, he let it move freely, stating that land art is about collaborating with nature and revisiting it, rather than intervening. The story provided a valuable opportunity to address a common dilemma – that of decommissioning. David noted that decommissioning, when given considerable thought and attention, has the potential to generate exciting opportunities. Mag dalena Jetelova’s Giant’s Chair (1986) was mentioned as an example; her public artwork crafted out of oak was converted into charcoal and creatively repurposed by schoolchildren.

Marek Wolynski is a London-based curator, creative producer, and strategy consultant who specialises in cross-sector partnerships.

‘Art in the Landscape’ workshops, County Mayo and County Offaly, facilitated by artists Rachel Jones, Anna Horton and Studio Response; photo graph by Miles Umney, courtesy of Studio Response.

The following keynote, delivered by philosopher, writer and curator John Thackara, continued to accen tuate the experiential. “We need to shift away from telling people to behave or think differently, towards experiences, as a result of which we’ll all behave dif ferently,” he stated. John offered multiple examples of immersive interconnectedness with the land, includ ing birdwatching, listening to earthworms, eating soil, and undertaking rewilding activities. He stressed that partnering artists with local legacy institutions – such as bookshops, post offices, and farms – can create new forms of connections with long-lasting effects on local communities. While Thackara drew attention to prior itising social and ecological systems in policymaking, Professor John Thompson, an expert in social entre preneurship, pointed out the critical role that fun and joy – aspects of projects that are often dismissed in art discourse – play in ensuring greater place-recognition and securing economic revenue.

The seminar concluded with a panel discussion emphasising key takeaways. One of the conference mediators, Paola Catizone, highlighted phrases that kept recurring throughout the day, including ‘a sense of place’, and ‘reinventing the notion of capital’. Terre Duffy drew attention to the presence of art in the land scape and its pivotal role in societal development. The chat section was also lively with numerous references and links to resources that now inform the seminar’s website.Inher closing remarks, Emma M Prince, Co-di rector of Studio Response, elucidated that cross-sec tor collaboration is indeed the key to achieving com mon goals and influencing politics. After all, shared issues hold shared solutions, and art is a truly inspir ing ingredient of this polyphonic search for the most beneficial outcome. Poet Alice Kinsella noted that the landscape allows for leaving a positive legacy that blurs the boundaries between the ordinary and the excep tional. What caught Alice’s attention throughout the conference was the strong emphasis on togetherness and teamwork. As she sublimely expressed in Hiraeth – the poem accompanying the seminar: “Immerse in the fields like a hot bath. / Roam, take and give away. / Break down the barrier between / expert/everyday / a reframing, a changing, a saving”.

Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 202218 Seminar

Art as Infrastructure

Identity of Place How can manmade structures be incorporated into natural environments? Anders Tväråna from White Arkitekter, an interdisciplinary practice from Stock holm, approached this question in his presentation. While reflecting on designing and branding Nation al Parks in Sweden, Anders highlighted the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency’s guidance encapsu lated in three meaningful words: PROTECT, CARE, SHOW. The architect brought up the contradiction of dealing with the “sometimes hard to combine aims of protecting and showing to the masses.” He also focused on effective architectural solutions, including the use of natural materials, low construction, clear but minimalist signage, and wheelchair-accessible trails. While contemplating working in tandem with nature and engaging local businesses, he stressed that “inter ventions don’t need to be large, but they need to be thoughtful and grounded in a deep understanding of theNotionslandscape.”ofsocial engagement reverberated through the discussion with artists and researchers Rachel Jones and Anna Horton Cremin, who reflected on how art can be used as a research tool to understand communities and places. Both speakers highlighted the importance of cross-sector collaborations, which enable an exchange of different perspectives and con tribute to long-term public engagement. Geraldine O’Riordan, a seminar attendee who previously partic ipated in a workshop organised by Anna and Rachel, acknowledged that the event inspired her to set up a local discourse group to encourage neighbours to take ownership of local nature and biodiversity. The session finished with another valuable remark: what changes people’s minds and behaviours is an experience, not statistics.

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

Critique The Visual Artists' News Sheet Edition 63: September – October 2022 Sean Hillen, The Great Cliffs of Collage Green, Dublin, IRELANTIS 1997, collage; image courtesy the artist and PhotoIreland Festival.

2022 Various Locations 7 July – 28 August

Visual Artists' News Sheet | September – October 2022

Colin Graham is Professor and Head of English at Maynooth University.

Amongst the other satellite exhibitions was Daragh Soden’s ‘Ladies & Gentleman’ in Rathfarnham Castle, which cleverly and compassionately inserts layers of seeing and being seen into the visualisation and per formance of drag.

NOW IN ITS thirteenth year, PhotoIreland Festival’s 2022 iteration, titled ‘Opening The Gates’, has, with a fine balance of determination and nuance, taken on the task of surveying the field of (art) photography in Ireland. The central and immensely impressive exhibi tion is ‘Images Are All We Have’ – adapting a phrase often attributed to Beckett and turning on the hopeful ly waning sense that Irish cultural production is, or has been, dominated by ‘words’. ‘Images Are All We Have’, along with several attached exhibitions, was shown in the Museum of Contemporary Photography of Ireland in The Printworks at Dublin Castle, with an even more ambitious remit than its previous version in 2019. The polemic edge to this temporary museum and the insistence on the importance of photography as a cultural form in Ireland is, in effect, an argument for a national institutional response to the lack of a ful ly-functioning, comprehensive and dynamic ‘muse um’ of photography in the state or on the island. The argument for such can be, and has been, made in the abstract, but much more effective is to show the wealth and variety of the work that has been made in pho tography in Ireland in recent decades and to begin to imagine how it might be viewed in situ. ‘Images Are All We Have’ gathers together a comprehensive and sensi tively curated set of images, arranging them into loose ly themed sections but allowing for a fluidity between the sections of the exhibition and an under-determined approach, which suggests that everything could be rearranged and new patterns found, if only a ‘museum’ could be more permanently created to accommodate them.‘Images Are All We Have’ reaches back to the late 1970s and early 1980s, citing the influence of, for exam ple, Paul Graham and his work in Northern Ireland in bringing a documentary form to bear on a place which had been visually codified via photojournalist modes. The exhibition also recognises Irish roots in the 70s and 80s, including work by Tony O’Shea and Tony Murray, and then spreads out to broadly thematise more than 300 works by around 200 artists. The scale – both the number of works and the number of photographers – is in itself important. This is a substantial cultural phe nomenon with no home. It does not need a canon or an exclusive club, but it does warrant a celebration, a critical reckoning and proper recognition. It’s always going to be the case that Irish photog raphy will, like any ‘national’ photography, reflect the recent history of the nation; but it will also see things differently, at angles, with alternative clarities. The landscape photography in ‘Images Are All We Have’ is an almost inexhaustible example of this, from the very judiciously-chosen aerial view of Belfast by Cecil New man – a 1979 photograph which pre-figures the Goo gle-mapping of later decades – to simple yet brooding recent work by, for example, Caitriona Dunnett and Robert Ellis. Ireland’s rural landscape is seen through out, worked, farmed, changed, wild, cultivated, while the urban experience is both documented and tracked for its people and its textures. Frederic Huska’s striking ‘Flyover’ images from 2019 are a surprising example of urban photography morphing into the abstract without losing its documentary mode. Equally rewarding and ready for a thoughtful criti cal articulation is a line of conceptual photography (a poor way of describing complex work) which begins, or which has its earliest example here, in Les Levine’s 1979 series, ‘Using the Camera As a Club’. ‘Images Are All We Have’ carefully avoids grouping this work, which includes abstract and montage forms; Suzanne Mooney’s Equilateral Coercion (2010) is striking, as are Aisling McCoy’s images from the series, ‘Studies in Time and Distance’ (2020) and Alan Phelan’s Joly screen photographs. The institutions of Irish and globalised life, of the two states on the island and their international interac tions, are brilliantly visualised here by photographers as diverse as Mark Curran, Noel Bowler, Ailbhe Ní Bhri ain, Fiona Hackett and David McIlveen. Ní Bhriain’s video works are a particular joy and it’s good to see the crossover into video included. Vukašin Nedeljković’s crucial work on Direct Provision (as an institution al setting) is included, and ‘Images Are All We Have’ integrates work which interrogates and understands the lives of relatively recent immigrant populations into Ireland, via the photography of Ala Buisir, Ieva Bal taduonyte and Olamide Ojegbenro. While ‘Images Are All We have’ is the centrepiece of the festival, it is surrounded by a vibrant sense of other possibilities via other projects. PhotoIreland contin ues to support emerging artists through the New Irish Works programme. Alan Butler’s 2017 video instal lation, On Exactitude in Science (alluding to the short story written by Jorge Luis Borges in 1946) was also on show in The Printworks – a stunning dual-screen pro duction with Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi (1982) on one screen and Butler’s remake, using the virtual world of gaming, on the other. It’s unsettling and brilliant.

Amy O’Riordan, Transition, 2002, photograph; image courtesy the artist and PhotoIreland. Kate Nolan, Kilbroney Integrated Primary School, from the series ‘LACUNA’, 2019, photograph; image courtesy the artist and PhotoIreland.

The PhotoIreland Festival 2022 shows what pho tography in Ireland has become. At its centre is the most comprehensive survey yet undertaken of the past decades of photography on the island. Let’s hope it’s an indication of what could be, and that the tempo rary Museum of Contemporary Photograph of Ireland becomes something permanent, and as generous and capacious as this festival.


CritiqueVisual Artists' News Sheet | September – October 2022

Olamide Ojegbenro, Dear Uncle Papi, 2022, photograph; image courtesy the artist and PhotoIreland.

Robert Ellis, Lorna’s Garden June 2012 from the series ‘New Line’, 2012, photograph; image courtesy the artist and DaraghPhotoIreland.Soden, Ladies Gentlemen 2019, photograph; image courtesy the artist and PhotoIreland.Aisling McCoy, The Radiant City, 2014, photograph; image courtesy the artist and PhotoIreland.

‘Beyond Drawing’, installation view, Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre [L-R]: Marisa Rappard, Waves of Whispers, Traces, Tidings 2015-2022, mixed media, drawings, wooden sticks; Felicity Clear, Hodograph Drawing 2022, elastic and paper tape; Marleen Kappe, Echoes in time, 2022, mixed media; photograph by Jed Niezgoda, courtesy the artists and

Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre 23 July to 8 September DRAWING IS AN innate, shared visual lan guage of expression and remains an essen tial medium for addressing and interacting with the world today. In ‘Beyond Drawing’, six contemporary artists – three Irish and three Dutch – disrupt and reconfigure its position. Curator Arno Kramer has created a framework for contextualising drawing’s physical and immaterial elements, testing new possibilities. The concept of the line manifests itself on paper, in steel, wood, and in light and shadow. On entrance, one is met by a sense of expansive minimalism, as each work configures its meaning – in plac es overlapping or echoing certain themes, methods, and modes of production. Felicity Clear and Marleen Kappe’s artworks present an experimentation with lines that dance between the gestalt of geo metric sculpture and modern architecture. Clear’s large-scale, site-specific drawing, Hodograph (2022), is made from elastic and paper tape, reflecting in physical form, how the wind changes direction. Three-di mensional elements of this spatial drawing synchronise with the gallery walls. Kappe also pushes boundaries, creating a type of incidental architecture. Her mixed-media work, Drifting Fragments (2020), references urban landscapes which incorprate two-di mensional marks with three-dimensional compositions.BothClear and Kappe’s work reference a common language – an abstract, non-ob jective aesthetic that perhaps owes some thing to the “energy, movement, economy, and material sensations [that] were inter woven into an organic whole” in the art of Suprematism.1 There is a definite architec tural sensibility here and a correlation with the process of Zaha Hadid, who once said: “I wanted to capture a line and the way a line changes and distorts when you try to follow it through a building, as it pass es through regions of light and shadow.”2 Both artists have constructed artworks spe cific to the space, generating subtle, percep tual, even bodily responses, that affect our perceptual world.

Romy Muijrers, through delineation of form in pencil, composes sculptural three-dimensionality on paper. Recall ing pages from comic-strip publications, drawings are underlined by singular texts from the literary group, Oulipo.3 Muijrers merges sources in art history and literature with subjective, phenomenological expe rience and touches on many temporalities and varying registers, generating abundant worlds that ask to be explored. On the main wall of this same room hangs Kiera O’Toole’s monumental Weaved Drawing from reworked drawings (2022). Made from hand-cut strips of layered graphite, varnish, and acrylic on woven paper, this piece has a totemic presence. The use of weaving, an ancient and traditional practice, can perhaps be seen as symbolic of our position within the universe, as oppos ing forces combine to make one whole. Several thematic threads run through this group exhibition, from the movement of air and urban landscapes to the explo ration of temporalities and ubiquitous networks. Priority is given to materiality and evidence of labour. In every instance, the core of drawing practice is advanced, whether by exploring new surfaces, mate rials, presentation devices or subject mat ter. Some works overlap with one another, while others gently hold their own space, but each contributes to the conversation and offers a chance to recalibrate the role of drawing today.

Celebrating Suprematism: New Approaches to the Art of Kazimir Malevich (Bos ton: Brill, 2018) p118.

Marisa Rappard’s large-scale mixed-me dia drawing on paper flows down the opposing wall and onto the floor, providing subtle colour in a monochrome expanse. Recalling the omnipresence of images in contemporary culture, she makes physi cal a network to interrogate the human/ post-human, and the concept of informa tion dispersion. There is a fluidity of differ ent perspectives as connections shift upon our changing vantage point. In the first-floor gallery, Mary-Ruth Walsh presents four architecturally themed drawings coupled with installations. They convey a curious mood, and the use of light and dark, as well as the texture of the repre sented subjects, reveals almost hyper realis tic detail. Playing with the idea of scale and perspective, concepts of the permanent and disposable are obscured, introducing a sense of material and human vulnerability.


Visual Artists' News Sheet | September – October 2022


2 John Michaud, ‘Zaha Hadid: The Lady Gaga of Architecture’, The New Yorker, 15 July 2011. 3 ‘Oulipo’ refers to a loose gathering of (mainly) French-speaking writers who utilised creative and contrasting writing techniques to experiment with the possibilities of literature.

‘Beyond Drawing’, installation view, Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre, Mary-Ruth Walsh, [L-R]: Drawing for E.1021, 2022, pencil and watercolour on paper, Model for E.1021 2022, plaster, Still Life, 2019, pencil and watercolour on paper, A Silent Space in the Turning World, 2019, pencil, watercolour, pure pigment, and oil on prepared paper; photograph by Jed Niezgoda, courtesy the artist and Uillinn.

Mieke Vanmechelen is a film artist from Kenmare, currently based between Kerry and Dublin.

‘BeyondUillinn.Drawing’, installation view, Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre [L-R]: Kiera O’Toole, Weaved Drawing from reworked drawings 2022, ink, acrylic, graphite on paper; Romy Muijrers, intervals 2019, pencil and coloured pencil on paper; photograph by Jed Niezgoda, courtesy the artists and Uillinn.

Jonathan Brennan is a multidisciplinary artist based in Belfast.

Elsewhere, there is a poignant pairing of figurative pieces: a sensitive small portrait of a young child in a blue anorak (Victoria Perykash, Refugee); and Head by Jack Pakenham, a profile of a head cut from canvas and mounted on a blood-red support. In the latter, the profile is featureless and wrapped in what appears to be packing or insulation tape, covering the eyes, ears, mouth and throat. Although it looks to be an outtake from his 2000 painting National Identity Crisis (fea turing similar cut-out heads) and more to do with the political situation in Northern Ireland (the cranium is daubed with the letters INLA, RUC, etc.), the implica tion of being silenced and unable to see or breathe also has troubling resonances with the refugee experience.

Patrick Conyngham, Flight of The Wise; photograph courtesy the artist and Engine Room Gallery. Cheryl Bleakley, Megalith; photograph courtesy the artist and Engine Room Gallery.

Placed is one of four acrylic and charcoal pieces in the show by Natalie Gibson. A recipient of the 2022 Freelands Painting Prize, her works here show lifeless lambs in various poses, their gaunt little bodies with protruding ribs modelled with scratched lines, like a comb dragged through wet paint. In Placed, the delin eated enclosure that contains the animal calls to mind similar structures found in the paintings of Francis Bacon.Indeed, animals feature throughout the show, for example in Jenny King’s large-format painting, Dog Teeth – a canine Laocoön with writhing serpents and a pathos-filled dog portrait; or the cows in Liam de Frinse’s multi-layered and stencilled mixed-media pieces, Far Off Fields 1 & 2; Austin Clarke’s stark Big Lonely Dog, the red animal possibly semi-submerged, creating a sensation not unlike Goya’s Drowning Dog (1823); Coby Moore’s densely scratched, drypoint print, Black Bird; or Sara Falloon’s wonderfully inven tive and playful sculptural assemblage birds. Howev er, as already indicated, it is difficult to make further general statements about such a varied show in which almost every genre is represented.

BACK IN LATE-NINETIES Belfast, a loose agreement was formed between several like-minded artists in the east of the city to organise a group exhibition in a local ven ue. Said venue cancelled before the show could open but thanks to the benevolence of an open-minded developer, and the persistence of founder Cliff Brooks, the Engine Room Gallery-cum-collective was born in an old linen mill, occupying the site of the building’s former engine room. Since then, the gallery has been through many incarnations, or at least locations, in its 25-year history. On short leases in several sites – in the east, the city centre, and now spread over three large floors in its current location in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter – the gallery has maintained its independence and seems to be thriving. The recent ‘Summer Show’ comprised close to 100 works by approximately 50 artists. There was no theme for the exhibition and there was a huge range of work on display, in keeping with the gallery’s ethos of embrac ing artists at different careers stages – from those with no formal art qualifications and recent graduates (the gallery offers a series of Belfast School of Art awards) to established artists, RUA members, and internation ally-recognised figures. The show encompassed diverse subject matter, style and media, ranging from figurative and abstract paintings to assemblage sculptures, instal lations, prints and drawings. Also evident was an impressive range of scales, from Leanne McClean’s small and delicate animal figures –the forms suggested by found objects such as bleached wood fragments, seed pods and clock parts (there are horologists in the family) – to recent graduate Juste Bernotaite’s heavily impastoed painting, Sibire (Siberia in Lithuanian) (2022) which is almost two metres in width. An aspect of the space that Brooks remarks on, with reference to the gallery’s previous location, equally applies here, namely that it is “large enough to allow you to see, especially larger scale works, from a distance [which is] unusual, apart from museum-type spaces or large, funded spaces”. As I enter, I catch sight of the piece used to advertise the exhibition – Megalith by artist, and psychoanalyt ic psychotherapist, Cheryl Bleakley. Square in format, the painting is an abstracted landscape composition of carefully balanced forms, one of which resembles a standing stone, in harmonious shades of warm and cool greens. A second work by Bleakley in the show couldn’t be more different; a surreal, abstract still-life of bio morphic, stacked forms, rendered in paint dribbles.

CritiqueVisual Artists' News Sheet | September – October 2022 Summer ’22 Show The Engine Room Gallery 7 July – 1 August 2022

There is a trio of small works on paper by Marjo rie Block from her ‘Black Flag Iris’ series. A flash of rusty orange in the middle piece provides a contrast in what is otherwise a melancholy and emotive series of dark flowers silhouetted on muted greys, some of which seem to have been produced around the time of the first lockdown in 2020.

2 October



‘The Return’ Butler Gallery 6 – 2022 AT ONE POINT many years ago, during a par ticularly bizarre arts-funded junket to Sicily – in the midst of a heatwave – myself and another arts worker found ourselves watch ing hours of puppet videos while sweltering in a heavily curtained, puppet-maker’s bed room. That is to say, re-encountering Sicil ian-made puppets at Kevin Atherton’s ‘The Return’ at The Butler Gallery, 25 years later, felt far too soon. But while the two encoun ters had some things in common – puppets, a heatwave, film – this body of work that plays with linear narrative, reframed my flashback, while the cool grey space kept the worst of the heat at bay. ‘The Return’ features nine works – the majority being film combined with per formance as well as some sculptural and photographic pieces. From the 1970s up to the present day, these works encompass the artist’s perpetual re-entry into the work. That is, he re-uses past works, revisiting and reframing them from future vantage points. In Boxing Re-Match, (1972-2015), a film of the older artist (energetic in yel low, silky shorts) is projected onto footage of his younger self (wearing orange shorts). Despite his obvious age, he trounces this upstart youth in two minutes. Signature Piece (2018), a 3D print in limestone, is a miniature, double self-por trait. One figure shows off a tattoo – his own signature on his inner forearm – to his identical double. Their age gap here is only minutes apart. The tattoo is real, as evidenced by the photograph of Atherton’s arm on a nearby wall. In Two Minds – Pup pet/Person Version (1978-2013-2018) is a work re-framed twice. It shows the younger artist, projected on one wall, questioning a film of his older self, projected onto the facing wall. The viewer, caught between the two, swings from one to the other as if pulled by strings. Later they, the artists young and old, are replaced by puppet ver sions.Atherton’s use of himself in his work was not a conscious plan in the beginning; he used himself because it was the cheapest option. The evolution of Atherton’s revisita tions was not planned either but grew from his exploration of what was, in the 1970s, a new media. The initial recording for In Two Minds was made for use in a performance on the same day but as time passed, pair ing the recording with progressively older selves changed the work, expanding it to include enquiries not just on the artist and the self, but on aging and grief. The eponymous work, The Return (19722017), is situated in a small dark space at the heart of the show. On one wall, the art ist as a young man, holding a board behind him, slowly turns to reveal, standing on the other side, his then girlfriend – later his wife – Vicki, who died in 2005. On the facing wall, the artist, 45 years older, again turns slowly, the board behind him reveal ing Vicki’s face. It takes a moment to realise it is a screenshot from the older work that he is holding, there, on the other side. There is playfulness here too – a wit that underpins every work. The absurdity of fighting, talking to oneself, erasing an old work, showing off a tattoo to a tiny doppel ganger – this is all lightly underlined by the artist’s constancy. And in the ‘Digital Gal lery’, upstairs, an hour-long reel of works, there are gems including The Observers Book of Birds – a three-minute flicking through of an old bird book that, by dint of the camera’s attention, is curiously touching. In Tennis Ball, the artist catches and returns a tennis ball to his much younger self. Iron Horses (1987), a 20-minute film of a train journey between Wolverhampton and Bir mingham, is here too. The conversation between the artist and friend opposite, and the carriage window, frames the passing landscape in which, at intervals of a mile, 12 black, cut-out iron horses are posed. The horses are apparently still there. This formalism underlying works like Iron Horses is more obvious in his sculptural work, Signature Piece (2018) and Double Joy (1986 & 2021) and in his framed drawing and photographs downstairs. These works also contribute to the exhibition’s strong coherence so clearly centred around the time-based concept. Atherton’s honesty and lack of posturing forms a large part of the work’s weight too, all of which serves to counter the drawbacks of the space which seems cramped and lacking any intuitive flow. A proper survey of the work, includ ing the ‘Digital Gallery’ upstairs, will take visitors the bones of two hours – well worth it for those ready to spend the time.

Clare Scott is an artist, writer and researcher based in the south-east.

Kevin Atherton, Kevin Atherton in Palermo with the Young and Old Puppets of Himself in 2018 traditional Sicilian pup pets made by Salvatore Bumbello; photograph by Anthony Hobbs, courtesy the artist and Butler Gallery.

Visual Artists' News Sheet | September – October 2022

Kevin Atherton, Boxing Re-Match, 1972-2015, Film/Performance; image courtesy the artist and Butler Gallery.

Portrait of Pat MacAllister; photograph by Mark Granier, courtesy the artist and Mer maid Arts Centre.

1Notes:susancampbellartwork.comAsmentionedintheartist’s exhibition statement (see patmacal is also given to a featured work, Peering Out (2021), mixed media on card.

Pat MacAllister, ‘Peering Out’, installation view, Mermaid Arts Centre, July 2022; photograph by Gillian Buckley, courtesy the artist and Mermaid Arts Centre.

CritiqueVisual Artists' News Sheet | September – October 2022 Patrick MacAllister, ‘Peering Out’ Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray 1 July – 13 August 2022

3 Quote from Seamus Heaney’s poem, Postscript, first published in his collection, The Spirit Level: Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1996).

Susan Campbell is a visual arts writer, art historian, and artist.

THE EXHIBITION OF 31 oil and mixed-media paintings in Patrick MacAllister’s show ‘Peering Out’ orches trates a range of tonal contrasts and rippling variations in scale that draw the visitor in for closer exploration. Projecting a strong material presence within the gallery space, the presented works conjure an immersive art experience that affirms the capacity of paint to surprise. The order of display departs from the accompany ing list, enlivening the viewing process. The chronology of making is also jumbled; recent paintings are inter spersed with others dating back as far as 2017. This scatters evidence of the transition MacAllister is mak ing from figurative themes into abstraction.1 A similar restless unpredictability is found among the paintings. Intriguingly, the edges of many – already conventionally framed – are further bolstered in paint, so that the action within plays out in constrained spac es. This may be a reference point for the exhibition title,2 and, intentionally or not, encapsulates the recent impacts on movement with COVID-19. The first encounter is with The Leavetaking (2017), a small work in oil on paper with a light surface texture that evokes a hot, sunlit scene. Fluid red-earth tones, playing off umber and crimson, drizzle into rivulets to suggest a dissipating heat haze in which figures shim mer and shift between possible forms. Although the paint is thinly worked, depth is achieved through lay ering; the fiery hues are applied over a chalk-coloured ground, which in turn obscures dark undertones. The interplay between strata lends mood and substance, while on top are deposited crusty nodes of cadmium orange.Impasto mark-making, dry or juicy, is a recurring yet versatile element of MacAllister’s visual language. Across the works, it punctuates and emphasises neg ative spaces – sometimes landing as ‘big soft buffet ings’3 – and, in later examples, probes abstract relations. Adding animation, contrast and complement, it often catches ambient light, appearing, as the viewer moves around, to change colour. Improvising with a range of implements, the artist also gouges and scores in places, excavating surfaces and countering the force of their more audacious protrusions. In Bird on a Wire (2018), chunky daubs of white paint, with distinct ridges, stand proud from the sur face. Although lending a sculptural dimension they have little anatomical import, coming across, instead, as an exercise in pure painting. The work is a maelstrom of activity in which the eponymous bird appears to land face down, its splayed legs trapped in ominous barbed wire. This movement in Bird on a Wire 2 can be read in either direction, with similar ambiguity found in Dog 2 (2018): right-left scanning reveals a canine subject, left-right manifests a charging bull, head down, kicking up the Moredirt.strongly figurative paintings suggest an inter est in socio-political history. Group Portrait (2018), constructed from a patchwork of large square marks, has a mid-twentieth-century feel, and a hint of the backlit luminosity found in the oeuvre of Jack B Yeats. Dominated by angular figures arranged in tiers between teetering buildings, the composition, for mality and chaotic elements suggest some landmark event. The historical referencing in Lockout 2 (2018) is more explicit. Drawing on monochrome photographs of police baton charges in O’Connell Street in 1913, its austere, simply rendered figures stand out stark ly against a ‘woven’ white background, with hints of umber the warmest element in a cool palette. While sweeping tram tracks are deployed here to dissolve the general rigidity, dynamism and intimations of detail abound in the loosely rendered The Battle of Cable Street (2017) and in the inky, yet luminous Foot fall (2019). MacAllister’s range extends also to taut linear markings in Building Site Memories (2020), Sky scrape and Scaffolder’s Load (2021), suggestive of way to landscape in the atmospheric Inland Sea (2018) and Headland 1 (2019), while the move towards abstraction yields cosmic, spiritual and mythological references. Flanking the entrance to the second gallery are the delectable Light and Weight, Suture and Boneyard, all from 2019, while among the small works within is the jewel-encrusted, Daoism-in spired Watchful, like Men crossing a Stream (2021). From the same year, Painting Collage and Memory Wall (per haps using elements of past paintings) appear to show progression in the use of collage. Among others, these chart new avenues of exploration for an inventive artist with more to give.

ProjectsArtist-Initiated2022PallasProjects/Studios Gallery hours 12–6pm, Thursday–Saturday Openings Thursdays 6–8pm Pallas Projects/Studios 115–117 The Coombe Dublin 8, Ireland D08 A970 Our 2022 MichelleArtKatecontinuesprogrammewith:FaheyNomadsDoyle and Cóilín O’Connell Rocío Romero Grau Frank theFundedpallasprojects.orgWasserbyArtsCouncil 01/09 17/09 22/09 08/10 13/10 29/10 13/10 29/10 03/11 19/11 BRASS Matt Town Friday 23rd September - Sunday 23rd October 3 Bethesda Place, Dublin, D01 EY29 HORSEThe Cork County Council invites proposals for 2 public art projects in the area impacted by the N22 development. Information & www.yourcouncil.ieapplication: or email Deadline:arts@corkcoco.ie23October2022 N22 Baile Bhuirne to Macroom development Call For Proposals Comhairle Contae Chorcaí Cork County Council OPENING RECEPTION FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 9TH, 6-8PM SEPTEMBER 9TH TO NOVEMBER 5TH 2022 A SOLO SHOW BY ARTIST MICHELLE MALONE CURATED BY SHEENA BARRETT THE LAB GALLERY Gallery opening times: Monday to Saturday 10am to 6pm Admission Free The LAB Gallery Dublin City Arts Office, Foley Street, Dublin D01 N5H6 Tel: (01) 222 5455 O, TO HAVE LITTLE HOUSE

THE FIRST VOYAGE in early 2020 was to stage a DIY exhibition in Dublin, ‘Transhumance: The Nomadic Artist: Part of this Land’. A need was identified to form a network of migrant artists in Ireland. Art Nomads has become a dynamic mix of individuals from diverse cultural and artistic backgrounds. Zoom has been a gift, enabling us to meet across time and space; between Cork, Dublin, Tehran, Dundalk, Westport, Skibbereen, Skerries, Singapore, Kinsale and London. We worked with academics, activists, and community leaders and wrote scripts, held skill-sharing workshops and chatty meetings with mentors Annie Jael Kwan and Jesse Jones. Reading Exit West (Hamish Hamilton, 2017) by Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid, we were fascinated by his magical literary portal for the movement of peoples. In February we went with filmmaker Helio León to the Burren in County Clare. The weekend residency was transformative, not only in capturing great footage but also as collective bonding and for many, the first real exposure to the raw, uncomfortable nature of the Irish landscape. We had travelled alone in winter across the land and came together to share a fire. This year through Singapore/London-based curator Annie Jael Kwan we made contact with the Nhà Sàn Collective from Hanoi and embarked on a mid-sum mer expedition to documenta 15 in Kassel, Germany, to share the venue at the Lolita night club. Unfortunately, several members were unable to make the trip due to lack of visas, travel documents, or financial support. Six of us left on 1 July, got through the labyrinthine queues in Dublin Airport and made the long, scenic and hap hazard journey through central Germany. We lost one person in Koblenz – wrong train, same platform – then the rest of us took the wrong end of a train that split, heading towards southern Germany. Hilariously we were reunited on the last night train to Kassel – such is not understanding instructions. At the WH22 venue the next morning, we were wel comed with a cup of fragrant tea by Linh Thao Dinh in the beautiful leafy green space of Tuan Mami’s ‘Viet namese Immigrating Garden’. Cultivated earlier in the year using seeds brought from Vietnam, local people from the German/Vietnamese community were tend ing the plants, including people from the Vietnamese restaurant next door. Food was key in how Nhà Sàn were operating their ‘Queer House’ and its egalitarian ethos; artists shared sleeping, eating and living space during the summer months. Art Nomads was one of many artists groups in this wide ecosystem of docu menta 15, sharing resources, expenses from the collec tive pot, and artist lanyards to access the venues with our new Vietnamese names. We worked with Linh to host a gathering in and around the house. We showed glimpses of our Irish film journey in a bedroom cleared of floor mattresses, con cocted a new recipe of seaweed, potatoes and sausages, invited everyone to a map deconstruction exercise, and offered small shots of alcohol bought in Dublin Air port. Our event ‘Rock, Paper, Fire’ emerged out of the hot little kitchen alongside Pho soup-making and the drying of bed sheets.

One great asset in Art Nomads is the range of lan guages spoken. Non-native but competent German speaker Tomasz was invaluable and more was learnt about the complexities of the train system through Roxana and Farsi speakers we met. The most vital con nection however was between Insaf and the Turkish/ Kurdish communities in Germany. These three million people have twentieth-century roots as ‘Gastarbeit ers’, meaning foreign or migrant workers. Insaf found Turkish speaking bus drivers, taxi drivers, train station employees and a local ‘kahvalti’ or traditional Turkish breakfast buffet, which sustained us through days of art explorations.Withallits mind maps, scheduled sharing, hangout spaces and political issues, documenta 15 was a rich, diverse, and complicated affair. Stacked behind the museum were some fragments of the dismantled protest artwork, People’s Justice (2002) by Indone sian collective, Taring Padi, who had been accused of antisemitism. One critic complained of Ruangrupa’s lack of ability to mediate and translate complexity in curating the exhibition. At one point a few of us were seized upon by a German self-styled blogger, who saw our artist badges and wanted to talk about censorship and whether the work was anti-Jewish or anti-Israeli. As a whole, we took away a feeling of being involved in something big – the Global South rather than the North and its hegemonic histories. We listened, looked and watched stories, histories and archives of struggles and creative journeys, many of which remain invisi ble to the West. For Art Nomads members – who are mostly from non-European roots, encompassing com plex transnational journeys – the experience was posi tive and inspiring.



Laragh Pittman is a Dublin-based socially engaged artist. She is a member of Art Nomads along with: Muhammad Achour, Antonio D’Sou za, Hina Khan, Tomasz Madajczak, Roxana Manouchehri, Joe Odiboh, Rajinder Singh, Amna Walayat and Insaf Yalçinkaya. projects for Autumn include:

Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 2022 27Festival / Biennial

• ‘Karvanserai’ Artist-Initiated Projects at Pallas –22 September to 8 October.

We were invited by Keke from the Scutoid Co-op in Taiwan and a member of Gudskul, to visit behind the Fridericianum museum, where he and his artist friends worked shifts washing dishes. A quick tour of the artist living quarters in the museum revealed a sort of ‘occupy’ statement, coded in the vivid colours of the fifteenth edition’s promotional material.

• ‘Many Voices: Art Nomads’ Pallas on Culture Night, 23 September.

• ‘Diasporic Thinking’ webinar with keynote speaker Annie Jael Kwan on 29 September.

Taring Padi, dismantled elements of People’s Justice behind the Fridericianum Museum at the Gudskul kitchen in Kassel, July 2022; photograph by Laragh Pitmann, courtesy Art Nomads. Antonio D’Souza (Art Nomads) and audience participants at the performance of Rock/Paper/Fire 2 July at Nhà Sàn’s Queer House, July 2022, WH22 venue in Kassel; photograph by Tomasz Madajczak, courtesy Art Nomads.

• ‘Samak The Ayyai: A Transcultural Tale’ curated by Roxana Manouchehri, IMMA, 16 September.

Another highlight was meeting Agus Nur Amal from Aceh in Sumatra PMTOH, the creator of a con temporary blend of storytelling. His work was inno vative, political, and colourful, while at the same time holding a pure joy. We met in the folk story archive of the Grimmwelt Museum. He was familiar with Irish fairy stories and was interested to learn about our blended storytelling project back in Ireland.

Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 202228 Festival / Biennial

THE COLLOQUIALISM ‘QUIET as it’s kept’ suggests a state of secrecy and collusion. It implicates others in a shared pact, an agreement to stay silent when in the presence of the uninitiated. As a cura torial proposition, and a phrase alluding to various works by artist David Hammons, writer Toni Morrison, and jazz drummer Max Roach, it allows for a certain ambiguity, encapsulating a diverse range of practices while inferring that, even if not immediately apparent, there’s an underlying logic at play. In adopting this idi om, the 2022 Whitney Biennial (6 April – 5 September) thus seeks to foreground sensitivity and seriousness, even if, in the process, it veers unnervingly close towards vague generalities and the familiar comforts of abstraction.

No wonder then that this biennial takes a cautious view, largely sidestepping overt attempts at polemics and provocation. With the works mainly occupying two levels of the Whitney Museum of American Art, alternately spread across an open, light-filled space, and cloistered within a labyrinth of darkened enclaves, the design of the exhibition is the most contentious issue here.


In certain respects, this is to be expected; the biennial has, after all, weathered controversy in its last two iterations. Several artists withdrew their work from the 2019 edition in opposition to Whitney board member Warren B. Kanders, whose company Safariland produced tear gas canisters used on the Mexico-USA border; while in 2017, the white painter Dana Schutz’s Open Casket (2016), depicting the brutalised body of African-American teen ager, Emmett Till, raised protests calling for the work’s removal.

In the airy atrium of the fifth-floor galleries, disparate works are jammed together, diminishing any sense of intimacy, and cluttering one’s peripheral vision. Eric Wesley’s comically oversized plastic sculpture of a drinking bird, North American Buff Tit (2022), teeters Eric Wesley, North American Buff Tit, 2022, plastic, glass, stainless steel, and dichloromethane (213.4 × 66 × 66 cm), collection of the artist, installation view, Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It’s Kept, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York: photograph by Guang Xu, courtesy the artist and Bortolami, New York.

Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 2022 29Festival / Biennial next to Andrew Roberts’s eight-screen CGI portraits of zombified employees reciting poetry, their shirts emblazoned with the logos of Walmart, Netflix and Amazon. Modular structures are positioned throughout the space, serving as supports for Ellen Gallagher’s densely layered collages of oil, pigment and palladium leaf, with embossed wave-like patterns, snaking conduits, and repeated silhouetted profiles of totemic figures floating across the surface, and for Dyani White Hawk’s Wopila / Lineage (2021) – a vast composition of shimmering loomed strips of glass beads and multi-coloured triangles, converging against parallel backdrops of black and white, which deftly employs traditional Lakota techniques of beadwork and embroidery. An arrangement of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s seminal works, presented through photography, text, and film, are sequestered within a tent-like enclosure. There is a fittingly sepulchral quality to the installation (Cha was murdered in 1981 at the age of 31), and the documentation of performances such as A BLE W AIL (1975), in which the white-robed artist moves through a curtained, candlelit, and mirrored environment, evoke the displacement that Cha felt as a Korean immigrant to America.Thereare glimpses here of what the curators intended, of abstraction as a political tactic, as a means of insinuating underrepresented histories. However, the overwhelming glut of objects and obstacles hinders any consideration of their inherent qualities. The upper floor, by comparison, recalls nothing so much as a series of black box screening rooms. Such a dramatic juxtaposition of spaces feels starkly at odds with the nuanced, unforced approach described by curators David Breslin and Adrienne Edwards, in which assertions are supplanted by ‘hunches’ and national boundaries give way to external, outside viewpoints (the biennial pointedly includes artists from outside the United States). This layout, however, does allow for more measured encounters with specific works, such as Coco Fusco’s disquieting Your Eyes Will Be an Empty Word (2021), in which the artist navigates the waters around Hart Island by rowboat. The site contains the mass graves of New York’s anonymous dead, buried by prison labour since 1869, and comprising victims of Covid, AIDS, tuberculosis, and other epidemics: “A mountain of unclaimed souls, perhaps a million, perhaps more, or perhaps less. No one actually knows.” Fusco tosses flowers overboard, honouring these unnamed individuals, as she ceaselessly drifts along the coast; a neat reversal of quarantine’s historical roots in keeping potentially infected ships at anchor for 40 days. This lateral perspective is also found in Trinh T. Minh-Ha’s What About China? (2021), a filmed portrayal of rural life and the jarring transition to urbanism captured through instances of traditional village architecture. An indoor fire, burning from beneath the floorboards of a spartan home, heats an overhanging iron pot. Wooden beams intersect with crossbars. A bridge is “built with no nails and no rivets.” Chicken coops sit next to piles of firewood. A male voiceover describes the scene – “the drum tower, a cultural symbol and an indispensable space of public gathering” – as if pitching the official party line, while female commentators offer more personal, philosophical and introspective outlooks: “One can grasp the flux and reflux of time by observing forms. One can detect the true and the false by looking at beings in their concrete manifestations.” The cumulative effect reveals how change transpires in its smallest, most prosaic, details. Beneath the formal rhetoric, these developments trigger a cavalcade of miniature – yet individually seismic – ruptures. The transformations recorded here, despite never setting foot in America, may have greater ramifications for the United States and its global presence than any number of national concerns. Approached obliquely, from the side, the film takes on an issue that, addressed directly, might only elicit well-worn agreement or headstrong opposition. Instead, it comes in by stealth, without warning, and leaves the viewer unmistakably altered. Chris Clarke is a critic and senior curator at the Glucksman, Cork.

Top: Trinh T. Minh-ha, still from What about China?, 2021, HD video, colour, sound, 135 min; photograph © and courtesy the artist and Moongift Films. Middle: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, still from Permutations 1976, 16mm film, black and white, silent, 10 min, University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive; gift of the Theresa Hak Kyung Cha Archive.

Bottom: Ellen Gallagher, Ecstatic Draught of Fishes, 2022, oil, pigment, palladium leaf, and paper on canvas, 248 × 300 cm, collection of the artist, installation view, Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It’s Kept, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; photograph by Ron Amstutz, courtesy the artist, Gagosian, New York; and Hauser & Wirth, New York.

I find myself in the pitch-black darkness, engulfed in the sights and sounds of Live Evil (2022), a total installation that includes a range of recent and new works by African American artist, Arthur Jafa. This installation was not actually part of the Rencontres d’Ar les programmes but coincided with the festival, having been creat Arthur Jafa, Big Wheel II, 2018, Ex-Slave Gordon 1863, 2017, Untitled in ‘Live Evil’, La Mécanique Générale, Parc des Ateliers; photograph by Andrea Rossetti, courtesy the artist and LUMA Arles.

Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 202230 Festival / Biennial

I AM WALKING along a seemingly endless stretch of dusty road on the outskirts of Arles, an ancient Roman capital of Provence, France, and home to the 52nd edition of Rencontres d’Arles – an annual festival for photography and lens-based art that attracts thousands of visitors every year, which is recognised as one of the most respected platforms for contemporary photographic art (ren The midday heat is rising above the asphalt, merciless to the soles of my shoes, my body and my soul, melting all three components into a medley of dust and sweat. In the first instance, it seems entirely mad to have chosen this small provincial town in the South of France as the site where the latest trends in contemporary photography and lens-based art are presented to the public. Whose capricious desire drove this choice of location – and even more strangely – why does it charm me so completely and immediately, encouraging me to continue my pil grimage undeterred? Spanning the city’s historic building heritage, exhibition venues range from the ruined Roman amphitheatre and gracefully elegant but mostly unused medieval churches to the cut ting-edge contemporary art foundations and museums, alongside dilapidated industrial sheds and semi-abandoned nineteenth-cen tury factory sites.

Reclaiming the Contrast


“Photography, photographers and artists who use the medium are there to remind us of what we want to neither hear, nor see.” – Christoph Wiesner, Director of the Rencontres d’Arles.

Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 2022 31Festival / Biennial ed by Jafa specifically for the two vast exhibition spaces at LUMA Arles, located in the post-industrial halls of La Mécanique Générale and La Grande Halle (luma. org).The painful contrast that the viewer experiences, when moving from the blistering heat and piercing light of the outdoors to the vast cavernous space of La Grande Halle, is clearly a desired effect that Jafa wants us to feel with every fibre of our sensory bodies, engaging simultaneously our hearing, vision, smell and touch. The perfectly staged multimedia installation is an Anthropocenic reflection on the human condition, presented through the reimagined visual and sound sequences that portray blackness in many powerful iterations. For me, the strongest effect was achieved in AGHDRA (2021), an entirely digital work that consti tutes a unique thesis: the unfathomable loss and inef fable pain at the end of civilization as we know it. The work is presented as an 85-minute-long giant projec tion of a constantly moving seascape of black rocks, forming waves that intensify and recede against the menacing deep-red light of sunset. Obvious parallels come to mind, whilst experiencing Jafa’s Gesamtkunstwerk, relating to photographic pro cesses, which hinge on the juxtaposition of the oppos ing, co-dependent forces of light and dark, black and white. Jafa masterfully brings us to the experience of blackness as a testimony to the centuries-long colonial extraction and cultural exploitation of black popula tions. This is presented both as a powerful symbol of the end of nature, portrayed as blackened, burnt, charred inhospitable rocks, in contrast to historic notions of fertile, abundant, always giving Earth – the planet as we still know it, but that has been put into grave danger due to climate catastrophe caused by humankind.

Varvara Keidan Shavrova is a visual artist, curator, educator and researcher. She is currently a PhD Candidate at the Royal College of Art. Born in the USSR, she lives and works between London, Dublin, and Berlin. Shavrova will present her research at the IMMA international research conference, ‘100 Years of Self Determination’ (10-12 November).

Located at Parc des Atelier, now part of the LUMA Foundation’s multitude of exhibition spaces, ‘A Fem inist Avant-Garde: Photographs and Performances of the 1970s from the Verbund Collection, Vienna’, offered a very different view on photography as doc umentation, presenting archival material that records performance as protest ( Perfectly bal anced in its presentation and meticulously curated in terms of content, this international touring exhibition represents the lens-based oeuvres of important figures of feminist art. It covers the period between 1968-1980, when feminist protests and performance joined forces in the battle for women’s rights, fearlessly challenging male authority by displaying outright heroism in the face of centuries-long sexism and oppression. The collection includes over 200 works by 71 female artists, with the iteration at Rencontres d’Arles featur ing works by iconic feminist activists, photographers, and performance artists such as ORLAN, Lynda Ben glis, Karin Mack, VALIE EXPORT, Cindy Sherman, Ana Mendieta, Howardena Pindell, and Francesca Woodman, to name but a few. My attention was cap tivated by many remarkable works by incredibly brave female artists, many of whom are my contemporar ies, living and working around the world today. This includes Scottish artist, Elaine Shemilt, who lived and worked in Northern Ireland during The Troubles, where she staged and documented her multimedia artworks. Today, Shemilt has a diverse and impressively agile career as an academic (she is a professor of printmaking at the University of Dundee), a printmaker, photogra pher, and climate activist ( A series of six black and white photographs by Shemilt (dating from around 1976) show the artist standing against a brick wall, naked, and bound. Her head, wrists and feet are marked on the wall to denote the outline of her body, recalling the chalk outlines drawn by the police at crime scenes. In some of the photographs, Shem ilt is holding a sheet of glass, looking through it, as if through a shield that may be used in defence. Recordings of live performances, many series of photographs, and multiple video works by female art ists represented in the Verbund collection are remark ably versatile in terms of their approaches, yet are also coherently united in their determination to reflect on an ongoing oppression that manifests itself in the sub jugation of women in general, and female artists in particular, into fetishised roles of domestic goddesses, childbearing vessels, endless fodder for the male gaze and capitalist consumption. Pointing at endemic, struc tural, and domestic violence against women, the artists in the exhibition frequently portray themselves as mut ed, gagged, restrained, bound, vulnerable, and naked. They are often placed in prison-like environments and claustrophobic spaces, dominated by solid structures and enclosed with brick walls. This exhibition had particularly strong resonances for me, as the work in the Verbund collection is cov ering the period from 1968, the year I was born. This was also the year when the American war in Vietnam reached its apogee; and when Soviet troops invaded and occupied Czechoslovakia, thus signifying a strate gic shift of power within the Cold War context. The works represented in the collection continue up to and including 1980, a year which saw the Soviet Army’s invasion of Afghanistan, and the peak of the con flict escalation between America and the Communist Block. These historic events resonate with the violent armed conflicts that we witness unfolding in front of our eyes today, alongside environmental disasters, food shortages, and the continuous rise of far-right ideolo gies, which are reintroducing reproductive crime, in an attempt to claw back the fundamental and most basic human rights of women over their bodies. I first came across the Rencontres d’Arles Photog raphy Festival in 2010, in a location thousands of miles away from the South of France, at Caochangdi Photo Spring, Arles in Beijing. This sister festival was initiat ed through curatorial collaborations between Bérénice Angremy of Thinking Hands, and RongRong and inri – a Sino-Japanese photographic duo that founded the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, designed by Ai Weiwei, and located near the 798 Art District in the north of Beijing. Two years later, I visited the actu al Rencontres d’Arles for the first time, and in 2013 returned to the Three Shadows Photography Arts Centre to take part in ‘The New Irish Landscape’, the first exhibition of contemporary Irish photography in Beijing, curated by Tanya Kiang (exhibitions curator of Photo Museum Ireland) which included photographic works by Anthony Haughey, David Farrell and Patrick Hogan.Originally launched in 1970, under the title of ‘Rencontres Photographiques’ by photographer Luc ien Clergue, curator Jean-Maurice Rouquette, and writer Michel Tournier, Rencontres d’Arles is a citywide, local festival of global importance. Recognised and frequented by both photography professionals and amateurs alike, the annual festival aims to represent the latest trends and currents that flow within photogra phy and lens-based art, whilst presenting cutting-edge contemporary photographic art within the context of its “Initiallyhistory. the festival largely focused on Magnum photo documentary, and not critical fine art practice”, notes Kiang, who over the past 30 years has conducted many portfolio reviews and nominated young photo graphic artists for the annual Rencontres d’Arles Dis covery Award. She adds that the focus of the festival and its programming has significantly shifted over the past 50 years, steadily moving away from a typi cal French festival – in which photography was often seen as an excuse to present exploitative, misogynistic and sexist images of women, taken by men – to address themes and preoccupations that are visible within the broader global discourse in contemporary art. In that sense, this year’s edition is phenomenally post-feminist in its themes, deliverables and messages. And unlike other key events in the global art calen dar – for example, the Venice Biennale, Art Basel or Frieze art fairs, with their global branding and com mercial imperatives – Rencontres d’Arles is a refresh ingly original, stand-alone event that offers a novel format, somewhere between a film festival and a local town fair. Over the past 50 years, artists featured in the festival included Robert Doisneau, William Eggleston, Frank Horvat, Mary Ellen Mark, Frank Capa and Robert Mapplethorpe. As photography was becoming more closely associated with contemporary art, exhibi tions of iconic artists including David Hockney, Rob ert Rauschenberg, Sophie Calle, and Taryn Simon have been staged at Arles, with guest curators invited to the festival from 2004, including Martin Parr, Raymond Depardon, and Nan Goldin, among others.

Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Glass on Body Imprints) 1972; image courtesy of The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collec tion, LLC / Galerie Lelong / VERBUND COLLECTION, Vienna.

Francesca Woodman, Face, Providence, Rhode Island, 1975-1976; image courtesy of The Woodman Family Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS) / Bildrecht / VERBUND COLLECTION, Vienna.


“As the sunset burns over the hills in almost unbearable beauty, as the sea turns silver, and the first stars hang above the dark slopes of Croaghaun, you sigh... then you sigh again.” — H.V. Morton, In Search of Ireland (Methuen, 1931)

Storytelling – oral, written and visual – has throughout history provided a means to create a common identity, and it is in this con text that we are testing the possibility of creating a new narrative identity for Ireland. This work was presented as part of the Askea ton Contemporary Arts Welcome to the Neighbourhood residen cy programme in June, and at Cairde Sligo Arts Festival in July. A specific focus of our research is the ways in which ideas of the rural west occupy the popular imagination, and how this con struction can be used to interrogate the intersecting subjects of colonialism, tourism, art history, capitalist expansion, environmen tal destruction, and protest. Following these lines of enquiry, as well as Svetlana Boym’s assertion that “progress is not just temporal but also spatial”,1 we move through centuries of Irish history, and across the Atlantic to the United States and back again. We are hoping to tell and retell a story of Ireland that will acknowledge Ruth Clinton and Niamh Moriarty, In a Contrary Place 2022, film still; image courtesy of the artists.

IN A CONTRARY Place (2022) is our new short film and accompa nying storytelling performance that explores the impact of colo nisation and American culture on Irish national identity. Through this work, we are pursuing an ongoing interest in the construction of official and folk records, and how these can contribute to a col lective sense of possibility or paralysis. Following the old folk sto ries that warn against trespassing on fairy paths, often occurring in ‘contrary’ places in the Irish landscape, this work comprises a series of cautionary tales set against the dominant myths that we are led to believe about ourselves and our homeland.

Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 202232 Project Profile


Throughout this research process, we have looked backwards – contrary to the arrow of progress – in search of moments of lost potential in our history that could evolve Ireland’s narrative identity today. One such moment came during the Land War in the late-nine teenth and early-twentieth centuries, when the cause of tenant farmers was identified as being central to the Irish national interest. Through public speeches, songs and grassroots activism, an Irish national identity was constructed in opposition to landlords and Brit ish imperialists.10 This lies in stark contrast to today’s ‘Brand Ireland’ – a land of a thousand welcomes to tax-avoidant tech giants and their energy-hungry data centres. Mark Fisher argued that direct action alone will not be sufficient to halt capitalist expansion; we “need to act indirectly, by generating new narratives, figures and conceptual frames.”11 Perhaps it’s time for a new mythology. Ruth Clinton and Niamh Moriarty are collaborative artists based in the Northwest of Ireland who use performance, video, sound installation and storytelling, informed by site-responsive research, in order to open up spaces of renewed reflection.

Ruth Clinton and Niamh Moriarty, In a Contrary Place, 2022, film still; image courtesy of the artists.

1Notes:ruthandniamh.infoSvetlanaBoym,‘The Future of Nostalgia’, 2001, in The Svetlana Boym Reader (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018) p225 2 Mary Cosgrove, ‘Paul Henry and Achill Island’, 1995 [achill247. 3com]Stephanie Rains, The Irish American in Popular Culture 1945-2000, (Irish Academic Press, 2007) p111 4 Padraic Fogarty, ‘The Slow Death of Irish Nature’, 2018 [cassan]JoepLeerssen, Remembrance and Imagination: Patterns in the His torical and Literary Representation of Ireland in the Nineteenth Century, (Cork University Press 1996) p140 6 ibid, p143 7 Stephanie Rains, ibid, p140 8 Noel Ignatiev, ‘How the Irish became White’, 1995, p3 9 ibid, p212 10 Tomás Mac Sheoin, ‘What happened to the peasants? Material for a history of an alternative tradition of resistance in Ireland’, 2017 11[]MarkFisher,‘Abandon Hope, summer is coming’, 2015 [k-punk. org]

“We don’t need hope; what we need is confidence and the capacity to act.” – Mark Fisher

Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 2022 33Project Profile our struggles, admit our complicities, and build our capacity for solidarity. “People cling with pathetic heroism to their holdings with a dumb ferocity of affection. Existence [for many of them] would simply be impossible were it not for the money com ing in from [relatives in] America” – Paul Henry Telling powerful stories nonverbally, images have long been used as propaganda for the building and expansion of nation states. Landscape painting was a key component in eighteenth and nineteenth-century British imperial ideology. During this time, unsettled nature (and nations) would be enclosed, not only by the administration of the Empire, but also inside the confines of a picture. These often-innocuous images were used to whitewash colonial projects and to adver tise foreign settlements to prospective emigrants, as well as to promote tourist campaigns. In the US, these aesthetics (as adopted by the western genre) broadly acknowledge the struggle for the hard-won freedoms of the ‘new world’, but often depict none of the associ ated terror inflicted on indigenous communities. Closer to home, Paul Henry’s romantic painting, In Connemara (1925) was used by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company to promote rail holi days in Ireland, and to the present day, remains fixed in the collective consciousness as an iconic and authen tic vision of the west of Ireland. Henry intentionally constructed these premodern idylls, chastising Achill women who arrived to model for him wearing mod ern stockings and high heels instead of barefoot and dressed in their grandmothers’ shawls.2 This kind of romanticised, depopulated, and primitive representa tion of Ireland was subsequently adopted by the mod ern state’s own tourist industry, sitting uneasily along side our colonial past. As Stephanie Rains writes: “The depiction of Ireland as a pre-modern idyll for visitors (and, by implication, for the Irish too) is one of the most consistently recurring themes of the nation’s tourist imagery. This process has its roots within colo nial imaginings of Ireland in which the land and its peo ple were co-opted into the Romantic vision of unspoilt landscapes and equally unspoilt inhabitants...”3 “Now charlatans wear dead men’s shoes, aye and rattle dead men’s bones / ‘Ere the dust has settled on their tombs, they’ve sold the very stones” – Liam Weldon, Dark Horse on the Wind, There1976isa troubling inconsistency between the pro motion of our landscape, culture, and heritage by offi cial tourism campaigns while the government simulta neously acts against those interests. Examples of this include granting prospecting licenses in environmen tally sensitive areas, constructing roads through nation al monument sites, or giving the Disney corporation unfettered access to the incredibly delicate Skellig Islands, to name a few instances. Contradictions in our State abound: we uphold our neutrality yet permit US warplanes to refuel at Shannon Airport; we proclaim ourselves ‘Ireland of the Welcomes’, yet hold asylum seekers in draconian, for-profit Direct Provision cen tres; all while our state forestry corporation, Coillte, sells large swathes of public woodlands at a time when the State has pledged to increase forest coverage to meet its climate targets.

Why is this hypocrisy so deeply embedded in our national consciousness, imagining on the one hand magical, unspoilt lands of wild beauty and creating, on the other, a corporate tax haven whose ecosystems have suffered a profound “transformation of identity [and] a loss of defining features”?4 There has long been a cognitive dissonance in the way Ireland conceives of its own identity, which, Joep Leerssen suggests, can be seen as “a measure of the dis continuity and fragmentation of Irish historical devel opment (itself caused by its oppression at the hands of the neighbouring isle)’.5 One interesting instance of this dissonance was the Round Towers debate of the nineteenth century, in which erroneous versions of Round Tower history were used to bolster myths of a ‘primordial Gaeldom’, with the towers becoming part of nationalist iconography alongside shamrocks, wolf hounds, red-haired women and harps. This kind of cul tural nationalism was specifically “fed to the American Irish market” of the day, with facsimile Round Towers even being used in initiation ceremonies of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.6 “Hey, is that real? She couldn’t be.” – Sean Thornton, The Quiet Man, 1952 It is impossible to separate Ireland’s current narra tive identity from that of the United States, given our complete immersion in Western mass media. Indeed, Ireland’s construction of ‘global Irishness’ – namely the figure of the plucky, roguish underdog – is appropriat ed from Irish American culture, rather than the other way round.7 In promoting this kind of essential Gaelic character, we run the risk of propagating dangerously ethnonationalist and exclusionary narratives that nos talgically long for ‘simpler times’, with all their patriar chalMeanwhile,familiarity.American pop cultural narratives often simplify the struggles faced by Irish people at the turn of the century, in order to create their own foundational myth. Epic land-rush capers such as the 1992 flop, Far and Away, show displaced but spirited emigrants, brav ing the Atlantic to gain prosperity with nothing but hard work and perseverance. This fantasy of the Amer ican Dream has endured as the country’s origin story, relying on a European emigrant perspective that would become the basis for white nationalism in America, an ideology enthusiastically embraced by many Irish immigrants.8 In the late 1800s, Irish American work ers moved westwards across the United States, laying the Transcontinental Railway line. They organised into regional gangs, following a shared history of agrarian struggle back home, and fought each other for jobs, purposely displacing many African Americans and minority workers. Noel Ignatiev writes that “there have been (and continue to be) moments when an anticapi talist course is a real possibility and that the adherence of some workers to an alliance with capital on the basis of shared ‘whiteness’ has been and is the greatest obsta cle to the realization of these possibilities.”9

Marie-Louise Blaney: What are the pro cesses that you use in your practice?

Love and Odd Posters

Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 202234 Project Profile

Ciara Phillips: I like to work in large scale, using a combination of woodcut and relief. I interfere with the plate by layering, cut ting, blocking and applying pressure. There is a lot of experimentation in the actual making and the object quality of the work is surprising. It’s a very hands-on process and often I need help with the larger works, with inking and lifting the print. I think like a painter, in that I only print once and then build up images. The works are made from multiple ‘ghosts’ or translucent plates. I like to create problems for myself, in that I make and then ask myself: What do I do next? What do I need? It poses an intellec tual challenge for me.

MLB: Can you talk about some of your decisions regarding the installation? For example, the colours and lines you paint ed on the gallery walls looked quite carto graphic. Is there a mapping process going on?

CP: Some titles came out of ‘Workshop’ in an indirect way and others are random, everyday thoughts. I am not precious about titles; they are part of life and tell fragments of stories. I collect them and like the imme diacy of them, their wildness and the feel ing of them being out of control, without narrative.

CP: It’s really important to develop trust and joyfulness. These sessions are impro vised and are not thematically driven, although themes do arise and evolve as the collaboration develops. The printed out comes are less important than the process. It’s really important to have a public work ing space, where the processes of consider ation and discussion can evolve.

1Notes:themodel.ieJanSteward and Corita Kent, Learning by Heart: Teachings to Free the Creative Spirit (Bantam Books, 1992).

CP: The installation process is immersive, and I like to take ownership of the space as I invite the audience into a ‘whole’ world. There is a kind of system that works in the show, and the works expand within it. The use of colour on the gallery walls and the lines I make direct and connect the works, whilst also leaving space for the artworks to sing, as there are lyrical questions inherent in the individual pieces.

MLB: Are titles an important part of your work?

Ciara Phillips is an Irish and Canadian artist born in Ottawa, Canada in 1976. She works mostly in printmaking, and her approach is both expansive and experimental. Marie-Louise Blaney is Education Curator at The Model. ‘Love and Odd Posters’ was commissioned by The Model, curated by Director, Emer McGarry, and funded through the Arts Council Visual Art Project Award.

MLB: How do you develop relationships with communities through your social ly-engaged practice?

‘Workshop’ has previously taken place in galleries in the UK, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Canada, and Australia. During a month-long iteration of ‘Workshop’ in the gallery space at The Model – its first showing in Ireland – Phillips worked with a group of local artists and an urban com munity in Sligo. The artist has been devel oping and delivering ‘Workshop’ for over 12 years, and it is likely that her workshop in Sligo will be the final one. A series of large colourful posters – including one dis playing the phrase “Spill Out Your Love” –was installed in ‘Workshop’ at The Model, bringing an atmosphere of playfulness that characterised the rest of the show. I interviewed Phillips at The Model’s Artist Breakfast Club talk series, as she gave an informal tour of her exhibition. Below is a summary of our conversation.

Photograph by Daniel Persson, courtesy of the artist. Middle: Ciara Phillips at Trykkeriet in Bergen; image courtesy of Trykkeriet Bergen. Bottom: Ciara Phillips, Ghost resting on soft blocks 2020, Woodcut and screenprint on paper, 245 x 200cm; all photographs by Daniel Persson, courtesy of the artist and The Model.

Photograph by Daniel Persson, courtesy of the artist. Top right: Ciara Phillips, Private meeting, 2020, Woodcut and screenprint on paper, 120 x 200cm.

Top left: Ciara Phillips, Colour got it right the first time 2020, Woodcut and screenprint on paper, 120 x 200cm.

MARIE-LOUISE BLANEY SPEAKS TO CIARA PHILLIPS ABOUT HER RECENT SOLO EXHIBITION AT THE MODEL. “Creativity belongs to the artist in each of us. To create means to relate. The root meaning of the word ‘art’ is ‘to fit together’ and we all do this every day” – American artist and educa tor, Corita Kent (1918-86)1 CIARA PHILLIPS, WHO has been inspired and influenced by Corita Kent’s work, believes that art is a democratic practice that can be made by anyone. It is this belief that anchors her collaborative practice, which is a core strand of her work. For Phillips, collaboration resists categorisa tion, as her art-making moves beyond the printed surface, bringing printmaking into a space where unexpected possibilities are explored and realised, both for the artist and the communities she works with. Her exhibition at The Model, ‘Love and Odd Posters’ (1 April – 19 June), was testament to this process, presenting large-scale print ed works that were created for her exhibi tion at Trykkeriet in Bergen, Norway. Her socially-engaged art project, ‘Workshop’ – for which she was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2014 – offers an immersive experience for both viewers and communi ties that the artist engages with.

CRISTÍN LEACH’S MEMOIR Negative Space is a short and sharp account of the shock that can occur when a comfortably domestic life is revealed as the proverbial house-of-cards. Discovering her husband’s infidelity, mother and art critic Leach experienced an identity crisis as the securities that shaped her life came undone with her marriage. She explores this crisis general ly, and theoretically, as a dynamic between the visible and invisible; and, more particularly, as a disjuncture between appearances and the messy world of emotions – or feelings and sensation. Departing from an anecdote about the pressures of meeting a journalistic rule to not write in the first person – and thus disavow felt experience – the book unfolds with analogies that explore the tensions and fragilities of limits, thresholds, and edges. Examples include thinking through sculptor Carl Andre’s inter est in how the space around an object can shape its form and meanings (hence the title, Negative Space); the author’s travel to the top of a mountain to seek an isolated place to scream; and the recognition of how a sense of failure is relative to the depth of expectations. The tone of the book shifts between the aggressive, lyr ical, and poignant – a map of the vexed and contradic tory ways we manage crisis. Negative Space is not a triumph-over-adversity nar rative where all settles after a storm has passed but rather grapples with a profound aim: how to under stand that the certainties we typically cling to in life are, well, anything but certain. As a writer and wife, words and marriage provided central significance to Leach’s life but once one becomes very unstable, cer tainty is revealed as not a given but conditional and therefore any of its forms can be understood as holding the capacity to potentially falter. Further to the open ing anecdote about the difficulty of dispelling subjec tivity when writing art criticism, Leach talks about her professional failures as a creative writer, as if, as career options, criticism and ‘creativity’ need to be understood in opposition. In the only impersonal passages of the book, she writes of an Irish cultural attitude to mar riage that no matter the relationship between the two people it should remain private, a marriage’s secrets kept sacrosanct. This, harshly noted, is “because of the insatiable, ingrained misogyny the Irish state was founded on” – ‘critical’ and ‘creative’ writing are tenu ous and arbitrary and the sexism of traditional ideals of marriage won’t necessarily survive the social revolutions of divorce laws and recognition of same-sex partner ship rights. The essential thrust of Negative Space is in the fact that Leach does not lose ‘faith’ in writing or marriage, regardless of how her certainties about these were shook, but instead reckons with all the surround ing forces that shaped what these entities can be, or what she believed them to be – and how, now, they can be imagined differently. As sketched, the examples run a range from her career and personal life, between accounts of what is left unsaid in published writing, an increased interest in the abstract qualities of music and sound, and speculative musings on the continuing influence of the author’s ancestry. The book concludes with the hopeful insight that one can “keep re-making the future, each time it is left behind.” For all the range of experiences that Leach draws on and the different existential questions that unfold, Negative Space is unified by a preoccupation with phys icality; images of bodies and sensations run through out. Many of the reviews and other public responses to the book, to date, have congratulated its sheer visceral impact, succinctly described as “searingly intimate” on the jacket blurb. But Negative Space should be more importantly valued for what it says about what art crit icism conventionally is and could be, rather than taken as a confessional, feminine, ‘memoir’ of a particular life, which happens to be that of an art critic.

Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 2022 35Art Publishing Negative Space Cristín MerrionLeachPress, 2022, 160 pp.

In Hold it Against Me: Difficulty and Emotion in Con temporary Art (Duke University Press, 2013), Ameri can scholar Jennifer Doyle noted, like Leach, that art criticism as a general professional practice remains wary of the subjective and/or emotive. This is unlike literary criticism, where discussion and analysis of the possibility of diverse responses to text is established. And art criticism remains circumscribed in spite of the fact that, like literary criticism, strict normative judgement has long since been considered passé. But if a range of responses are potentially allowable, why is what Doyle broadly terms ‘the sentimental’ typically disavowed? From critics Clement Greenberg to Claire Bishop, sentimentality has been associated with vicar iousness, ‘fake’ emotions and liberal goodwill, and thus allegedly displaces more complex understandings. But, like Doyle, Leach poses the question of how any critic can truly stand outside an emotional economy, honestly denouncing feelings and sensations as ‘bad’. Unlike much art writing, Negative Space under stands that this is the critical matter of relationships to Portrait of Cristín Leach; photograph by Conor Horgan, courtesy the author and Merrion Press. an artwork and not an intrinsic quality in art itself – or, at least, this is what Leach’s book provocatively and productively grapples with. The proximity required between a critic and artwork need not be a matter of coolly representing the ideas or feelings of one or the other, but allowing for an emotionally messy encounter that in crossing given limits and thresholds, and falling off edges, challenges us to re-think what we believe we already know about the experience of art.

Brian Curtin is an Irish-born art critic based in Bangkok, where he lectures in the Department of Communication Design of Chulalongkorn University. He is the author of Essential Desires: Contemporary Art in Thailand (London: Reaktion Books, 2021) and has essays in forthcoming volumes on Asian Queer Studies with Routledge and Bloomsbury.

Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 202236 Art Publishing

Otik’s soil ritual costume, titled The Seed Guardian, and John Douglas Piper’s ‘Black Shuck’ series, a set of masks made from found agricultural objects, exploring the legend of an East Anglian devil dog. (All of these works recall the mask and atmosphere of 1974 pastoral horror, Penda’s Fen). At the time of reading, I was also re-reading Lol ly Willowes (The Viking Press, 1926 ) by Sylvia Townsend Warner, a novel about a woman who gives up a comfortable urban life to move to the country side to become a witch. “Her mind was groping after something that eluded her experience, a something that was shadowy and menacing, and yet in some way congenial; a something that lurked in waste places.” She is drawn by the very landscape and evocations that appear on these pages: swamps, haunted forests, ruins. In ‘The Way’, Osman writes, “England is a maze with no entrance and no exit” and there are many incursions into the land via art here – pilgrim’s paths, standing stones and austere river bends. Spectral doublings occur throughout (ghost photography, the Cottingley Fairies series) with many well-placed parallels: Tacita Dean’s Crowhurst (2006), depicting a gnarled ancient tree, sits opposite an early calotype negative, An Oak Tree in Winter (1842-3) by William Henry Fox Talbot. Like any perceptive anthology, there are welcome introductions to new artists: the esoteric brilliance of Dan Hillier’s prints; the macabre and comic of Sut upa Biswas’s Housewives with Steak-knives (1984-5), channelling the many-armed Hindu goddess Durga; the horror vacui of Cathy Ward’s Corn Maiden (2015). There is power in individual images, but the cumula tive impact is where the book really succeeds, offering an insightful visual map into a strange and fascinating world. Sinéad Gleeson is a writer and editor.

Front cover, England on Fire, artwork Dan Hillier, Fount, 2021, screen print; image courtesy the artist, publisher, and authors.

IN HIS 1972 book Ways of Seeing (Viking Books), John Berger outlined many theories about how we perceive art. In his view, “seeing comes before words” – that is, we interpret what we see before we transform it into language. “The reciprocal nature of vision is more fun damental than that of spoken dialogue”, wrote Berger, believing that images are more precise and richer than literature. Stephen Ellcock cleaves closely to this in assembling the broad miscellany of images in England on Fire: A Visual Journey Through Albion’s Psychic Land scape. With the occasional exception, he allows the images to remain outside of language and speak for themselves. Each has its own narrative arc, steeped in history and Describingculture.thisbook as a miscellany might imply a lack of order – a grab bag of sorts – but Ellcock has spent years collecting images, and his expert curation here is clear. He eschews chronology or linear con cerns, arranging the book according to thematic chap ters, and what follows is a fantastical wander through English art, customs and rituals. This is not an Albion of sepia-tinted jingoism, but one closer to Max Porter’s experimental novel, Lanny (Faber, 2019 ) (echoed in Pinkie Maclure’s stained glass lightbox, a playful diora ma in blue and green of the legendary Green Man). England on Fire opens with the chapter ‘Out of Darkness’, implying birth and beginnings, allowing Ellcock a prelude of what’s to come; to set out the pos sibilities of British art and what it entails. This brings with it an expectation of what qualifies as ‘canon’, including many classic British pastoral scenes of hills and coasts. However, Ellcock is keen to acknowledge other representations of English life; its pastoral idylls and darker corners, and the people who populate it. Here is a kaleidoscopic detour via witchcraft and land scapes, street protest, and anti-colonialism. While the book urges readers to draw their own interpretations, there is a subtle structural preface to each section by writer Mat Osman, of the band Suede. To his credit, Osman avoids explicitly describing each piece, and instead takes an ekphrastic approach. Using a recurring character, the Tyburn boy – part rakish nomad, part tour guide – he guides us across “soft miles of fields, which are cave-mouthed and tree-haired”. The landscape is “England’s palette of blue, green, brown… daubed everywhere – in eyes and skies, in fur and feath ers”. This ushers in some of the most iconic and recog nisable British landscape painters – Turner, Constable, Gainsborough – juxtaposed with more contemporary vistas of the land, including stills from Derek Jarman’s Journey to Avebury (1973) and works by George Shaw, whose favoured paint is Humbrol enamel, more com monly used on Airfix model planes. Collections and miscellanies are subjective; they reveal to readers the preoccupations of a curator or edi tor, and Ellcock makes space for many peripheral artists and movements, possibly to inspire further investiga tion. Take Madge Gill, a self-taught outsider artist who, after the birth of a stillborn daughter in 1920, believed herself possessed by a spirit guide called Myrninerest. Untitled (1947) is an abstract of angular patterns, and one of many pieces Gill claimed was made while in a trance-like state, steered by Myrninerest. With a collection like this, each reader will gravitate to specific themes – the folkloric and supernatural ele ments are particularly fascinating, and well-represented throughout. Familiar objects become unheimlich; masks and costumes take on an otherworldly quality, like the unnerving scarecrow in Max Reeves’ New Barnet (2021), George Long’s photos of 1920’s mummers, Holland

England on Fire: A Visual Journey Through Albion’s Psychic Landscape Stephen Ellcock and Mat Osman Watkins, 2022, 256 pp.

GS: With respect to the war in Ukraine, it is too soon to know completely, but there is a feeling that Russia is trying to resurrect its pre-revolutionary existence, the sprawling Tsarist empire, by using Stalinist tac tics (twentieth-first-century ultra-nationalism under the guise of twentieth-century anti-Nazism). There are many artists protesting the war as much as that is possible on both the Ukrainian and Russian sides. In Russia, it has become very onerous to take a position against the war. A lot of artists have left Russia because the regime has been getting more oppressive in the last couple of years, if not the last decade. In Ukraine, other, remaining artists are involved in the war effort, either fighting in a few cases, or trying to put their artistic skill sets toward the defence of the country’s territorial integrity.Themurder of George Floyd led to the sweeping movement to take down monuments, which was abso lutely remarkable. You could even say that that was kind of pushback against the un-present – an attempt to interject politics back into a historical framework that had suddenly become so clearly, obviously wrong. In most cases, those monuments had been there for a long, long time. And then all of a sudden it was clear: they have to go. I use the term ‘monument-icide’ to describe this kind of overthrowing, even decapitating, of the sense of history.

Miguel Amado and Georgia Perkins: Could you dis cuss the rationale underpinning your new book, The Art of Activism and the Activism of Art?

GS: Dark matter is a metaphor that I developed to describe the forces that help drive or reproduce culture. I’m specifically talking about the art world, and the dark matter in question is not necessarily recognised by, or completely invisible to, those in charge of producing the visible ‘stuff’ – the curators, administrators, muse ums, magazines, and so on. Dark matter maintains the artistic infrastructure but is not necessarily even rec ognised. It is suppressed. The phantom archive is the surplus of dark matter that hovers around any possible enunciation of art, especially around issues of activist art, which appears to some to be completely unprecedented, and to others as already having a trajectory. Boris Groys says that it’s a new phenomenon and goes on to explain why, but I believe that, at the same time, it is also a phenomenon with a history. And that’s the phantom archive, right? Not necessarily a narrative, but something that makes it possible to enunciate art in this moment.

Today, it has become almost impossible to produce art that doesn’t make some type of social claim. A case that I found compelling is a group of artists in Kyiv, Ukraine, who were using their sculptural knowledge to produce anti-tank weapons, which also look like min imalist sculpture.

GS: Guernica is always a great example, because when we talk about art and politics, it is often one of the very first images that pops into one’s head. Activist art and political art – there’s a very strong connection between the two, right? Political art puts forward the intention of oppositionality or emotional response to horrif ic events, as in the case of Guernica. Whereas activist art actually tries to intervene in the social structure, whether at the level of politics or elsewhere, to make

GS: Into direct action, into some kind of constituted, embodied protest. An idea from Martha Rosler is that the artist is haunted by the need to have some agency. Is not that what drove the avant-garde to some extent? To move beyond just making art and consider the possibil ity that art could actually have a political dimension?

MA and GP: Are you essentially identifying a shift from representation into direct action – something Claire Bishop termed the ‘social turn’?

Gregory Sholette: I want to talk about activists – peo ple who would not call themselves artists – taking up visual, sonic, choreographic, and other techniques of art to speak up. I’m also interested in people who do have the bona fide careers of artists infusing protest culture with art. I’m not suggesting that activists suddenly dis covered art any more than artists suddenly discovered a protest component to culture. It’s much more interwo ven. So, the book tries to come up with ways to engage with the genealogy and present state of those things, and their entangled nature.

some kind of statement that motivates people to bring about change, or maybe the work itself even seeks to bring about change.

Protest at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 10 September 2018, demanding the resignation of Warren B. Kanders, the vice chairperson of the board, over his ownership of Safariland, a major manufacturer of law enforcement equipment, specifically tear gas used by US border agents against immigrants at the US-Mexico border; photograph © and courtesy Gregory Sholette.

MA and GP: You cite Pablo Picasso’s Guernica (1937) as a work that engages with politics, but is not nec essarily a piece of activist art. Could you explain this important distinction?

MA and GP: How does this tie in with your broad er thinking, for instance notions of ‘dark matter’ and ‘phantom archive’?

MA and GP: What about some of the scenes that you look at, such as the Russia-Ukraine war, or the events that emerged in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd?

Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 2022 37Art Publishing The Activism of Art MIGUEL AMADO AND GEORGIA PERKINS INTERVIEW GREGORY SHOLETTE

Miguel Amado is a curator and critic, and director of SIRIUS in Cobh, County Cork. Georgia Perkins is a researcher and curatorial fellow at SIRIUS. Gregory Sholette is a New York-based artist, writer, educator and activist, whose book The Art of Activism and the Activism of Art is published by Lund Humphries. He undertook a residency at SIRIUS this summer.

MA and GP: We are interested in notions of the ‘cure’ and the ‘un-present’, which you introduce now… GS: The book starts with the situation we are in because it is an interesting hinge. I still believe in the vision – from Marx, Hegel, and so on – that capitalism carried out a kind of totalisation. That dust, the spec tacle (to cite Guy Debord), gradually tries to consume everything. In the present day, we have this much more fragmented sense of what a revolutionary subject is. Jacques Rancière, for example, no longer believes in the revolutionary subject in general, but only in these points of invisibility that might occur, which may be in constant flux. I won’t even use the expression ‘revolu tionary subject’ because I think that already marks it as part of that context from the nineteenth century. You have opposition here, opposition there, constant edges where things might happen. But perhaps the only way to break the spectacle is not to challenge it in a few battles here and there, but to completely overturn it. The book ends by proposing the ‘un-present’ to describe the post-Brexit world, the post-2016 US elec tion world. I am trying to articulate the feeling that we woke up one day and things looked kind of as they did before, and yet they were not the same in a very pro found way. I intend something along those lines – the uncanny, when something absolutely familiar becomes completely strange.


I think this is remarkable, having grown up in the late 1970s and 1980s, when political art, at least in New York, was considered kind of obscene. People like Tim Rollins, my group Political Art Documentation and Distribution, and Lucy Lippard; all these people were trying to create politicised art. I look at how that plays out, particularly in New York maybe more than other places, only because I am not sure how much someone like Clement Greenberg hovered over the art in other places. There is a tension between the formalism com ing out of the 1950s and 1960s and this need to (re) activate art in a political sense.

IN SPRING I undertook a two-month residency at EstNord-Est – a purpose-built arts centre located in a densely forested area on the edge of the Saint Law rence River, near a town called Saint-Jean-Port-Joli in the Chaudière-Appalaches region of Quebec, Canada. The residency supports local and international commu nities of artists and authors, and a group of practicing artists, authors and creative professionals makes up the selection panel and staff at the centre. Camille Richard, Camille Devaux, and Richard Noury extend practical and pragmatic training as well as technical and logis tical support. Renowned international artist, teacher, storyteller, researcher, and navigator Pierre Bourgault, who co-founded Est-Nord-Est in 1992, also contin ues to facilitate the development of the programme through mentoring. The space was designed towards creative endeavour by Québec architecture firm, Bour geois / Lechasseur; it is an experience in and of itself, to inhabit the space, and to trust every form has a function within its intelligent and reflexive logic. In my proposal for this residency, I asked for space and time to research alternative forms of writing that can respond to and contextualise creative practices. I’m eager to explore the potential in art adjacent fiction. I feel that playful analogy and inhabiting a fictional realm with an applied art practice allows for greater inclusiv ity in the communication of visual art through writing. It can also foster more succinct and subtle expression of ideas. Intuition and empathy are often overlooked as legitimate tools in honing our critical faculty and as an art writer, I partake in cultural output, in order to stay close to the experience of making art. In my opinion, this allows for better connection and understanding between artist, writer, and audience.


Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 202238 Residency

Lucie Rocher creates sculptural and photographic assemblages that interact with and respond to the sur rounding architecture. These meticulously considered works invite collaboration from the viewer, as circling into different vantage points generates a multitude of vignettes. There is a sense of satisfying visual and tex tural resolve. Situated within the art historical context of formal sculpture, they nonetheless incorporate play ful deviations, while considering pictorial and mate rial uncertainty and disorientation, but with a level of finesse that carries us through perceived structural asymmetry towards trust in their inherent equilibrium. By way of introducing his project, Nicolas Desver ronnières refers to an extract from the book Mount Analogue by René Daumal (Vincent Stuart Ltd., 1959). The quest for epiphany that underscores this book finds visual expression in an elegant and subtle work, with movable parts carved from three amalgamated layers of wood to form a mountain range. Mount Analogue does not offer a resolved solution; the book itself was never completed and ends abruptly mid-sentence with a comma. This lack of a conclusion or explanation com ments on collective aspirations to truth and knowledge, highlighting the importance of the pursuit rather than the end result. In the spirit of this credo, Desverron nières’s sculptures often emulate the topography of an imagined terrain to consider how collective conscious ness might find analogous expression in the landscape.

a votive quality. Mayers collects and works with mud and clay from environmentally sensitive areas and thus emphasises the correlations between vulnerable habi tats and dwindling cultures.


In many cultures there is a myth of a lost world, one from which humans may have been banished and have since strived to rediscover or rebuild this connection. Sometimes in these pictorial and narrative descrip tions, creatures roam through dense forests and emerge from the lush grassy verges of swamps. Jonathan May ers creates worlds within worlds where the languages, folklore, music, and traditions of Louisiana Creole are celebrated and strengthened in both the making of the work and the activism that reconnects people with an almost forgotten past. They are magical paintings with

The group merged quite quickly, and we wondered about the selection process because there were so many similarities and sympathetic concerns. The relief was also there; it was a celebration of being around people again, sharing ideas and experiences after solitary or socially limited lockdowns. With curiosity and open ness, these conversations played out in the shared space of the living area, flowing back into individual practices during dedicated studio time. This rhythm was compli mented perhaps by the fact that alongside a seriously robust work ethic, everyone was up for cooking, danc ing, karaoke, mirth, and conviviality. The support from both the residency team and through connecting with each other’s work was formative. Artistic preoccupa tions and aspirations were articulated and understood, great work was made, and future plans were laid.

At Est-Nord-Est I was the author-in-residence with four visual artists: Lucie Rocher (Canada), Nico las Desverronnières (France), Jonathan Mayers (Unit ed States) and Laure Bourgault (Canada). There were commonalities, less in processes and more-so in out look, with each of the artists building very different practices that enjoyed many shared affinities.

Ingrid Lyons lives and works in Dublin. She writes about contemporary art and culture and is currently developing a number of works of fiction and art adjacent writing.

Laure Bourgault conducts meticulous research in myriad fields to explore collective memory through forgotten or overlooked histories that have left marks in the landscape, where nationalist rhetoric can be observed through land use and in the occupation of territory. Reckoning with the past, sifting through the archive, tracing old river paths, and peeling back the palimpsest of human interventions, she looks at the incessant drive of the colonial mindset to dominate the land and to displace its people. With investigative precision, she merges fragmentary narratives from a multitude of primary and secondary sources to create a cohesive commentary on embedded colonialism that persists and becomes manifest in the landscape.

Nicolas Desverronnières, Firestone Peak, 2022, studio view; photograph by ENE / Jean-Sébastien Veilleux photographe, courtesy the artist and Est-Nord-Est.


12.02.2023 Uillinn / West Cork Arts Centre: 18.02.2023 – 25.03.2023 Image: From a x-rayfigureofreconstructionspeculativeunderlying–macroRembrandt, Pencil on Paper, 2016

Visual Artists’ News Sheet | September – October 2022

FayBrian The Most Recent Forever Highlanes Gallery: 8.10.2022 – 12.11.2022 Limerick City Gallery of Art: 1.12.2022

23 OCTOBER) IS AN exhibition by Manar al Shouha and I, which looks at the concept of citizenship. I am a descendant of Adam Loftus (c. 1533–1605) who built Rathfarnham Castle in 1583, while Manar is a Syrian artist, who moved to Dublin in December 2021. I spent my early life in England, with frequent visits to Ireland. I am a British and Irish citizen and moved to Northern Ireland in 1975, where I married a man of partly Scots planter descent. I gained a degree in Fine Art from the University of Ulster in 2011. Manar completed a degree in Fine Art in 2016 and taught from 2017 to 2021 in Arab International University. She has exhibited in Syria and Beirut. Manar and I will both present paintings reflecting on our varying sense of home. I portray servants and children who histor ically lived and worked in Rathfarnham Castle, but who would have had very mixed feelings about it. A seventeenth-century girl is traded in marriage to the Loftus heir by an agreement in her fifth year. An Indi an boy, reputedly gifted with two ostrich es to the Loftus family in the eighteenth century, appears with the birds in a recon struction of one of the castle’s aviaries. An eighteenth-century housemaid stands with mop and bucket in the Dining Hall. She comes from the village through a tunnel to keep her invisible from Loftus family members, and would have known of their seizing of land, owned by Irish chieftains. Manar depicts women and children whose sense of home has been eroded by conflict in Syria, but also the reassuring figure of her mother, an important presence in her life andInart.relation to the concept of nationality, I will exhibit large pastel works on cardboard recording deaths in the Northern Ireland conflict that affected me deeply and that were due to conflicting ideas of nationhood. They refer visually to the commitment of bodies to bogs in prehistoric Ireland and more recent years. Alongside these, I will show images inspired by the complex family histories of my husband and I, emphasising the frequent crossing of perceived political boundaries, and the need to respect validity of different national aspirations and cultur al traditions. These works will be located in the Castle’s Pistol Loop Room, used in its defence in the seventeenth-century wars that lie behind so many of the political divi sions in Ireland today. Manar and I will exhibit a range of art works highlighting the difficulties suffered by those caught up in conflict and forced migration. I use a variety of media and styles to show the hazards of crossing borders, the need to be able to do that, and the ways in which governments and big business keep us under surveillance and exacerbate cli mate change – a key driver of migration. I challenge this in works using financial reports as supports, and in my own World bank publicity, promoting the natural world as our real bank. Manar shows highly atmo spheric large-scale oil and acrylic paintings of vulnerable Syrians. A man lies huddled and fearful, guarding his secret. Groups of people gather in prayer or are witnessed by her in buses, anxiously looking over their shoulders. For Manar they seem like ghosts, unable to express their anger and driven out of present time into the past or the future. My final group of artworks celebrates my strong belief that we find true strength in recognising co-citizenship with non-hu man elements of the universe, ranging from stardust to microscopic organisms. Birds and marine species, with their ability to home, migrate and shape-shift are a recur rent theme for me, as in a painting of swal lows flying into my studio. But I will also exhibit works indicating the importance in our lives of spaces between, which raise questions and possibilities about where we truly belong. Throughout the exhibition we, as artists, seek to reclaim images of those rendered partially or wholly invisible for differentManar’sreasons.participation in the exhibition has been supported by an Arts Council grant, secured by the Centre for Creative Practices, a studio provided by Common Ground, and support from the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland. A free cata logue will be available at the exhibition. Belinda Loftus is an artist living and working in Co Down in Northern Ire land.

Belinda Loftus, Invisible, Visible Housemaid, 2022, Gouache on paper, photograph by Simon Mills, courtesy artist and Ratharnham Castle. Belinda Loftus, Shower of Black Gold, 2015, Oils on page of Financial Times; photograph by Simon Mills, courtesy artist and Rathfarnham Castle –


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