Wednesday 26 October 2022

The Tower at Rua Red

I was so excited a few months ago when a friend told me the Jesse Jones exhibition, “The Tower”, at Rua Red gallery in Tallaght was a continuation of her exhibition “Tremble Tremble”, which had been Ireland’s entry to the Venice Biennale in 2017. While I did not get to see that exhibition in Venice, I did see it a few times when it was shown again in Ireland the following year. I wrote about it here and I also wrote about the "in conversation" evening between Jesse Jones and Olwen Fouéré here

As in 2018, I was stunned and amazed by Jones’s monumental multi-disciplinary work involving collaborations in film, dance, sculpture and performance. Wow! As I stayed for the duration of several performances I ended up with two “milagros” (hope/healing/spiritual charms), which I cherish.  

I was thrilled to learn that there will be a third installation in this amazing series of artworks from Jones. I lifted the last two photos from the Rua Red website and publicity (with apologies as I could not find the photo credits) because I wanted to give a sense of the magnitude of “The Tower”, which is a totally indescribable work, and I most certainly did not want to take photographs during this incredible performance event.

Wednesday 19 October 2022

Limerick City Gallery of Art

The end of August seems an eon ago, but I never had a chance to talk about the rest of my visit to Limerick City Gallery of Art, which I had gone to specifically to see the Pulse exhibition, which I blogged about here. Works on paper from the permanent collection were on display on the first floor.

It was a delight to see some work by Evie Hone. I am not sure where LCAG stores their permanent collection, but the exhibitions seem to be different whenever I visit.

I realised I could not take any individual shots of work due to reflections on the glass, but it was really great examining both historic and contemporary work in the collection.

Upstairs more work from the permanent collection was exhibited.

Again, reflective glass did not make for individual photos, but my pictures give a sense of space in the galleries.

Since Tom Ryan's painting on ceramic tiles was not behind additional glass, it was easier to photograph. Plus I like cows and paintings of cows. And ceramics. And cows.

In a smaller gallery upstairs was the temporary photographic exhibition by Croatian artist, Dea Botica, which celebrates island life.

On the exterior walls of this former Carnegie building, were miniature bronze action characters.

Unfortunately this artwork is uncredited and none of the LCAG staff could shed any light on my desire to get the name of the artist who created these works.

Wednesday 12 October 2022

Citizens? at Rathfarnham Castle

A few weeks ago I was at the launch of "Citizens?" at the wonderful Rathfarnham Castle. This two-person exhibition examines and responds to notions of citizenship, home and identity. It is a show of work by Syrian painter Manar Al Shouha, who is an asylum seeker living in Dublin and artist Belinda Loftus, who is a descendant of Adam Loftus the Elizabethan commissioner of the castle, which became his family home.

Al Shouha's gorgeous paintings are exhibited in the large Dining Room. Unfortunately my photos do not give justice to the amazing paintings but only give an idea of scale and how they are exibited in the space.

Thin layers of oil painting and fine draughtsmanship in the charcoal drawing on canvas render the images ghostly and exquisite. I was reminded of the incredible work of early 20th century Austrian painter Egon Schiele, whose drawing skills I previously have tended to consider unmatched.

Loftus's work was exhibited in The Saloon and The Pistol Loop Room. Her work could be considered more experimental, as she worked in a variety of media and styles, ranging from conceptual to faux naif. However, it did not have the impact on me that Al Shouha's work did.

The exhibition continues till October 23 and is well worth visiting.

Wednesday 5 October 2022

Aos Dara Symposium 2022

I went down to Tomnafinnoge Wood, near Tinahely, Co Wicklow, in order to check out the sculptures that formed this year’s contribution to the forest art trail, after the third Aos Dara symposium ended. The four artists who created work on the symposium this year were James Hayes, Niall O'Neill, Dave Kinane and Sarah Kineen. The project was facilitated by the Courthouse Arts Centre, Tinahely. Hayes, O'Neill and Kinane have all participated in the two previous symposia. I wrote about the first Aos Dara Symposium in 2019 in a Circa Online short review here, and I blogged about the second symposium (during lockdown in 2020) in which I participated here, here and here.

It was great to see the work, which you first happen upon from the path, 

and then, curious, you can explore with a closer view. This is a piece carved by James Hayes.

Again, visible from the path the piece by Niall O'Neill invites you to take a closer look.

O'Neill decided to continue working on his very large and intricate tree carving from the first symposium. It must be noted here that the artists could only use fallen material and hand tools for carving.

Although Dave Kinane's piece was originally created in a glade off a walking trail, he moved it across the river into another open glade. It can be seen from the path

but any desire for a closer look is still met by a rushing body of water. However, it is highly visible from the path in a number of places.

It is helpful that each work is signposted on the trail. Sarah Kineen's work appears at first to be a jumble of small sticks as if in preparation for a bonfire.

Closer inspection reveals a lovingly woven container of golden leaves that Kineen had gathered from the forest floor.

May future symposia leave further artworks for the enjoyment of walkers (or runners!) in this gorgeous forest. While I was there I had a chance to see a piece from the first symposium, still holding its own with added moss and mushrooms several years later.