Des Kenny Reviews Katie O’Neill - Eternal Light

December 11, 2013

Eternal Light
A solo exhibition by Katie O'Neill - Amharc Fhine Gall IX - Curated by Noelle Collins
FRI 06 DEC 2013 - SAT 01 FEB 2014
FIRST FLOOR GALLERY




Amharc Fhine Gall showcases the work of recent visual art graduates who reside in County Fingal, granting them their first solo show. The arts department in County Fingal have raised the profile of this event in the contemporary art sphere by engaging and working with the curator Noelle Collins. The curator embarked on the unenviable task in choosing from a shortlist of artists, before deciding who to select for the exhibition. Meeting and talking to artists in their studio while enjoyable is fraught with tension when career making decisions are involved. Sensitivity with young artists on these occasions is paramount and granting insights where further opportunities with other art institutions for their work can mitigate the feeling of exclusion, if unselected.  Out of this selection process Katie O Neill was chosen to have a solo exhibition in Draíocht. The curator and artist become involved in a mutual discourse on how to unearth the rich possibilities in presenting the artists work in the gallery space. The investment of time and understanding creates an affinity between both parties and this can establish a beneficial relationship long after the show has concluded.


Curator Noelle Collins & Artist Katie O'Neill


Katie O Neill’s photographic perception on the surface appears innocuous as her images emerge serene in calm suffused light. Yet there is an underlying fearful narrative in these scenes, disrupting their tranquil exterior finish. In “Wake Up“ a grey concrete wall is inscribed with black writing admonishing us to wake up and beneath this in gaudy pink, is the proclamation,”we are damned”. We are confronted with a message that warns us of foreboding events but too late the prophecy went unheeded and all perished. The artist becomes an oracle searching for signs and portents of disaster that go unnoticed, trying to interpret their potential significance.



In the photograph “Power Lines” a golden light shimmers ominously on a grass verge in a breathless landscape. The aftermath of a visitation, foretelling a calamity beyond understanding. This layering of unease permeates throughout the show. At times reading like stills from a horror film, introducing the viewer to an indescribable dread waiting to unfold.



The artist maintains the suspense by not revealing the origins or the rationale behind the white vapours impeding access to the image in “Smoke”. In the absence of concrete facts the imagination fills the whiteout imagery with smothering fears that impinge reason. Works that appear as a casual snapshot retain an aura of the unknown. “Silentscape” reveals a landscape of grey sky pressing down on brooding trees and static green grass where sound abandons nature and paranoia gains a foothold.

In the centre of the gallery space two tables hold three glass cases each containing six Polaroid photographs. This form of photography does not lend itself to manipulation by photo-shopping on a computer. Its immediate response to the artist’s desires opens a path to more personal explorations. In one container a photo of plastic bag with the caption of the Beatles song “Help” lies against the bare branches of a bush. Photographs of a bleached white building, a waste ground harbouring empty alcohol bottles lay beside an image of the blurred head of a young woman. Shedding light on the dark sub stratum of a private history draws attention to the vulnerability of individuals seeking a purpose when all is meaningless. In another glass case two photos of the same person face each other and stare with searing eyes into the void of the self, surrounded by photos of walls, high rise buildings and graffiti denoting an “open city”. The personality dissolves into the white noise of the city and spinning thoughts cannot overcome exterior impediments on the journey towards self discovery .Nevertheless the artist stumbles forward, lost, infatuated by existence with flared nerve endings exposed to fate, for art’s sake.

Fingal’s Art Department can take pride in helping create this exhibition but the borders of county Fingal will not contain the raw and challenging talent of Katie O Neill.


Eternal Light
A solo exhibition by Katie O'Neill - Amharc Fhine Gall IX - Curated by Noelle Collins
FRI 06 DEC 2013 - SAT 01 FEB 2014
FIRST FLOOR GALLERY

Desmond Kenny is an artist based in Hartstown, Dublin 15. He is a self taught painter, since he began making art in 1986 he has since exhibited widely in Ireland and abroad, solo shows include Draíocht in 2001, The Lab in 2006 and Pallas Contemporary Projects in 2008. His work is included in many collections including the Office of Public Works, SIPTU, and Fingal County Council. Kenny's practice also incorporates print making and he has been a member of Graphic Studio Dublin since 2004.

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By Draíocht. Tags: Artist Interview, Visual Arts, Katie O'Neill,

Open Studio with Kathy Herbert

December 6, 2013

Drop in to visit our Artist in Residence Kathy Herbert as she opens her doors to our Artists Studio on Wednesday 11 December 2013 from 5.30pm-7.30pm. Kathy has been with us since July this year.


Kathy Herbert at Mary Burke's Preview Night 'Memory Traces'
 


"I have been here in Draiocht since the beginning of July. During that time, I have been working outside, finding Nature in the Car Parks around the Town Centre. For the first few weeks I was watching insects and birds, and the number of bees enjoying the flowers among the hedges. I drew the insects and made imaginary ones from florists’ wire.

The trees began to assert themselves as Autumn came along - one of the most beautiful in many years. The weather was mild and bright, but the colours were dramatic! I found myself focusing on the leaves. I drew them and painted them and some of these images can be seen in the window of Draiocht.


I walked around photographing leaves, them giving some of them numbers in Leaf Survey. I then drew leaves in chalk in the car parks and photographed them. That work is called Leaf Graffiti. I wonder if they are still there? Any rain would wash them away. I have recorded all this work and drawn the routes I took onto a map.


I also made some studio work - a three-panelled piece showing leaves going from green to brown and falling: I have made leaf-kites which are waiting for a breath of wind to fly! I have also been working on a piece called Word Tree which was exhibited in Satellite Project Space last October. The sketches for this work can be seen here also."

All Welcome!
 

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By Draíocht. Tags: Visual Arts, Kathy Herbert,

Des Kenny Reviews Mary Burke - Memory Traces

November 27, 2013

22 November 2013

Mary Burke - Memory Traces
23 November 2013 – 01 February 2014
GROUND FLOOR GALLERY
Read more … here 



Memories reassemble realities glaring facts to accommodate obsessive feelings associated with places we inhabit. These feelings may not help form a greater holistic perspective but tend to fragment our recollections into parts that collectively do not add up. Mary Burke’s show in Draíocht examines the fragmentation of reality by memory. Paintings are divided into sections; each segment depicts a different aspect of both interior and exterior dwellings. They create a jigsaw pattern which a viewer assembles to fit an emotional template accumulated in the blind storehouses of the mind. This thought process connects the viewer and artist as they jointly share the same passionate space.




The first three paintings encountered in the gallery depict a suburban home. Where we have dwelt in formative years has a profound effect on our psychological makeup. No doubt in later life the artist has discovered that disjointed memories collaged together creates intense emotions that realistic facts lack.



In “Descend”, the painting is cropped in four images, revealing a staircase, an open door, a section of stained glass and another view of an open door. There is a melancholic sense of loss as home ties are disconnected, a rupture that confines the interior scene to the shaping past whilst the ecstatic promise of the future calls beyond the beckoning open door. The doorway is a threshold that must be passed, leaving behind the safe haven of home towards an uncertain fate fashioned by personal destiny.

In “ Flashback” we are shown different interior details of the same home and the title hints at its meaning. A memory may resurface unexpectedly, recalled by a scent, a sound or memorabilia and its sudden re-emergence can unbalance the controlled trajectory of our life. We search for significance to the dramatic outpouring of imagery released from our mind and on finding none we feel unhinged.

The painting titled “Recall” examines the exterior of the house as if access is denied because the family home is under new ownership. A lawful barrier excludes entry to that welcoming touchstone of fading memories we call home.

School days are resurrected in “Alma Matter 1 & 2 “. Long corridors are angled abruptly to staircases travelling to depths and heights in a claustrophobic maze which turns upon itself, devouring wisdom. Teenage rebellion is held in check by rules and polished floors. Reflective sunlight on blank walls silently reminds that liberty waits patiently outside.



“Labyrinth” is a title of one painting and it is the most abstract work in the show. Difficult to interpret because splintered into so many parts, it’s decoding is problematic. Checkerboard images revealing parts of walls, windows and floors offer no clues to the anonymous building or the connection to the artist. Modern buildings seem to discourage personal attachments.



The painting called “Equilibrium” depicts a modern dwelling adjacent to an image of a suburban home while the lower sections show a modern interior beside a cultivated garden anchored by two large boulders. A building that one can occupy which evokes harmony secluded from turbulent reality is a basic desire. A place were reflective past and golden future orbit around the momentary present is called home. As the artist has revealed the buildings she has inhabited from parental home, through schools and places of work she has come full circle, found a dwelling she calls her own and the foundation of this abode is the imagination where all artists reside.


Mary Burke - Memory Traces
23 November 2013 – 01 February 2014
GROUND FLOOR GALLERY
Read more … here 


Desmond Kenny is an artist based in Hartstown, Dublin 15. He is a self taught painter, since he began making art in 1986 he has since exhibited widely in Ireland and abroad, solo shows include Draíocht in 2001, The Lab in 2006 and Pallas Contemporary Projects in 2008. His work is included in many collections including the Office of Public Works, SIPTU, and Fingal County Council. Kenny's practice also incorporates print making and he has been a member of Graphic Studio Dublin since 2004.

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By Draíocht. Tags: Artist Interview, Visual Arts, Desmond Kenny, Mary Burke,

Des Kenny talks to Kathy Herbert, Artist in Residence at Draíocht

November 19, 2013

18 November 2013

Kathy Herbert is the current Artist in Residence and has use of the Draíocht’s Artist Studio for six months. Kathy’s practice entails mapping, cataloguing and documenting her encounters with the natural environment in the immediate vicinity of Draíocht. Festooned around the studio walls are large and small drawings, all jostling for attention. Two tables are integrated to form a large work top, strewn with painting materials and pieces of cut paper, awaiting the artist’s creative intervention. Against a pillar, inert rocks and a feather repose, reluctant to reveal their secret. Thin wire sculpture of animated insects, populate the far side of the pillar, clumped together, craving freedom. On a table secluded in a corner lies a dormant laptop and open notebooks denote where sparkling scribbled conversations have found a home. The centre of the large studio is uncluttered, allowing measured access to all the projects on the studios periphery. Objects that occupy the edge of an artist’s vision blur and form unintended structures which can enliven an artist’s imagination. The mysterious pulse of the creative act is energised by the studios orientation and every artist’s format is different.



In a series of drawings, insects and birds are captured in an intense calligraphic urgency of mark making. Movement through space is granted superiority over descriptive form. Spectral crows tangle the croaking air with serrated wings, a bulbous bee hovers hesitantly and clustered long legged insects gyrate in an aerial dance. While making these drawings, the artist would engage with people out shopping and record in notebooks what was said to her. People will ask”what are you doing”, “is it finished yet” and “do you make money”. This discourse finds its way into her work. Drawings of denuded trees, accept these words in place of displaced leaves, language replacing the rustling sound of nature. We laugh together at the phrase “do you make money”. We share in the belief that art and its practice cannot find true value in comparison with monetary evaluation. Truth and beauty are the standards artists use to define their work and these commodities are not noted on the stock exchange. They are found in the priceless heritage of dreams which bind a people.



Our shared laughter eases the tension as the artist displays and talks about her practice. It’s difficult to expose works, unfinished to the critical eye. A misguided remark may destroy the embryonic development of a work of art. Our mutual passion for art overcomes the tense atmosphere that exists between artist and critic. This permits a deeper review of her project charting natural occurrences surrounding Draíocht. She photographs fallen leaves and numbers their position with chalk.


At times only a stain marks its fall, a ghostly semblance of natures passing. She bears witness to the forgotten lament of fallen leaves resurging essence lost on unforgiving tarmac. Recording these small natural events amidst the ravenous consuming bustle of a shopping centre may appear ludicrous to some, yet the artist insists these revelatory experiences of nature, open up that silent centre in our humanity where calm and peace abide.


The pursuit of consumerism inhibits quiet reflection. There is a map of the shopping centre were the artist traces her movements on daily forays into the natural environs around Draíocht. As a sculptor, she’s interested in how urban space controls our lives and confines our reaction to nature. In a previous project of drawings, she displayed GPS co-ordinates of trees and using this information, the street location of each tree was established. The artist becomes a pathfinder, leading the way over old ground, showing how to see it anew.

The artist has displayed drawings of swirling leaves in the studio windows for the observance of passing shoppers. As I pass, pausing to wonder uncertainly if leaves have dreams, I’m assured natures streaming consciousness has found a champion in the dreaming hands of Kathy Herbert.





Desmond Kenny is an artist based in Hartstown, Dublin 15. He is a self taught painter, since he began making art in 1986 he has since exhibited widely in Ireland and abroad, solo shows include Draíocht in 2001, The Lab in 2006 and Pallas Contemporary Projects in 2008. His work is included in many collections including the Office of Public Works, SIPTU, and Fingal County Council. Kenny's practice also incorporates print making and he has been a member of Graphic Studio Dublin since 2004.

 

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By Draíocht. Tags: Artist Interview, Visual Arts, Desmond Kenny, Kathy Herbert,

In Conversation ... Ben Barnes, Director of The Memory of Water

October 16, 2013

Ben Barnes, Director of The Memory of Water, in conversation with Niamh Honer, Marketing Manager of Civic Theatre, Tallaght, ahead of its performance in Civic Theatre earlier in October.
Interview taken from Theatre Royal Productions ... here ... 


The Memory of Water, by Shelagh Stephenson
Comes to Draíocht on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 November 8pm
Tickets: €18/€14 conc
Book by phone tel: 01-885 2622 or Book Online Here

NH: Can you tell us a bit about the play?

BB: Well its set in the North of England and is about three sisters who come together for their Mother’s funeral. It’s the classic situation where heightened emotions lead to scorching confrontations. It’s that rare thing- a play replete with hilarious comedy which manages at the same time to be thoroughly affecting and profound about things like the fallibility of memory. It has the most beautiful description of what its like to have Alzheimer’s disease and it’s a seriously good and well crafted play. It’s no wonder it won all the awards it did.

NH: How have rehearsals been going so far?

BB: This is a revival of our 2012 production so strictly speaking we are re-rehearsing the play. However, the role of Teresa, which was originally played by Tina Kellegher, is now played by Julia Lane. She is the only member of the cast who is actually from in and around where the play is set so that’s a great asset to the revival. And, of course, a new actor coming in to a key role makes us all re-examine the decisions we took when we first staged the play and that turns it into an exercise in re-invention rather than one of re-construction.

NH: How have you approached the sensitive subject of Alzheimer’s?

BB: Sensitivity I hope. The subject is mostly dealt with in the latter stages of the play when the eldest daughter has a conversation with her dead mother. The other sisters avoid the subject and because they are guilty about not visiting her as often as they might they minimise the extent of their mothers’ disorientation.

 

NH: What made you choose to direct this play?

BB: Well I scheduled the play for production a decade ago when I was Artistic Director at the Abbey and it was a rip roaring success there. I was very pleased it resonated with so many women particularly and I was a bit conflicted about the fact that I did not get a chance to stage it myself. Mark Lambert -who appeared in the original production and was friendly with Shelagh Stephenson the writer - did a brilliant job directing it on that occasion. I subsequently commissioned a play from Shelagh called Enlightenment which I did direct but I always wanted a go at directing The Memory of Water. However, you have to wait until the right actors come along and I knew that in Emily Nagle, Jenni Ledwell and Tina Kellegher (and now Julia Lane) that I had really accomplished actresses who could deliver in spades. Which they did and are doing again. It’s a joyful thing to behold actors at the top of their game taking something like this by the scruff of the neck. It’s a great mystery to me how Emily Nagle is not more appreciated than she is. Hers is a sensationally good performance among many fine performances. It’s a truism but directors can only be as good as the actors they are working with and I’m indebted to my six in this beautiful play.

NH: What has been the most challenging part of putting on the play?

BB: Pitching the English comedy which can be very black, droll and dead pan and very unlike Irish comedy. Fortunately I love Joe Orton who was a master of this type of humour and it may surprise you to hear me say that my life long love affair with the plays of Harold Pinter have been helpful in this regard also. It’s a great misconception about writers like Beckett and Pinter, perceived as difficult or enigmatic, who have, in fact, a wicked sense of humour.

NH: What should audiences expect from the play?

BB: An absolutely first rate night at the theatre with a play which is at turns funny and moving and full of insights memorably expressed. At the beginning of Act 2 the mother, Vi remarks that her children seem ungrateful and are focussed on all the things that were wrong about their childhood and what they didn’t have. Vi enumerates some of these things and then says “I remember the time of your childhood and it seems to me that you don’t remember it because you weren’t there-” A line and an observation like that is worth the price of admission on its own. Don’t you think?

The Memory of Water, by Shelagh Stephenson
Comes to Draíocht on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 November 8pm
Tickets: €18/€14 conc
Book by phone tel: 01-885 2622 or Book Online Here

Read more ... Here

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By Draíocht. Tags: Theatre,

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