Des Kenny talks to Andrew Carson Artist in Residence at Draiocht

July 7, 2015

07 July 2015 - Our Arty Blogger is back! Des Kenny chats to Andrew Carson ...  



Andrew Carson is the current Artist in Residence in Draiocht Blanchardstown, until December 2015.

Large unadorned glass windows reveal the inner sanctum of the Artist’s Studio to the passing public as they meander with restless intent through the clamorous bustle of a commercial shopping centre. The transparent shield of glass protects the studio from prevailing urgency of time speeding forward as shoppers obey the beckoning call of consumerism. Inside the studio time moves slower, snared by the artist’s reluctance to allow creativity become a porous commodity but a place where the imagination unfolds unbound in dream like intervals. Now and then a passerby smitten by curiosity will stop and look at the artist as he works and maybe walk away with an incomprehensible desire to reflect on the hubris of modern life. Andrew displays a video at night to create an audience for his practice when he is absent from the studio. The video contains people walking back and forth on a nameless street overlaid with words of a song. The words of the song surround and occupy the same space as the people in the video, not impeding their passage but allowing the world pass by in a stream of subliminal information.

We talk over the methodical whirr of a machine that is cutting paper to a design created by the artist. The paper is covered with a protective plastic film upon which a dark night sky is displayed. The odd star twinkles in the all consuming infinite darkness. The paper is then folded and a tetrahedron is constructed.  These objects are found hanging from the ceiling in various arrangements or are placed on a pedestal to form a pyramid structure. In one particular format they are suspended from the ceiling silhouetted against a black painted wall granting the illusion that they float unaided in space like a magicians trick. In another arrangement they hang like a mobile Calder-like sculpture which begins to twirl in a confined orbit after a gentle nudge from the artist. He tells me that the work is displayed in an experimental fashion and a final decision waits unuttered. The large studio space permits the artist room to gaze languidly inwards into the rarefied hinterland of the imagination and then glance into the distance of concrete reality and discover if an idea can satisfy both inner and outer realms. This is a luxury for the artist as he explains how he shared a space with a number of other artists and the constant demands to negotiate and accommodate the needs of each person’s artistic ambitions aggravates the calm required to produce art.

Fixed to a supporting pillar is a large sheet of binary notation. The artist explains that it is part of a coded message sent into space on a satellite searching for life in outer space. It is the artist’s intention to make a large version of this message and display it in some fashion in a future exhibition. The off cuts from this process are not discarded but find themselves stuck on the opposite side of the pillar and create a meandering line searching for a purpose.

On a makeshift table a cowled figurine like an unannounced dark prophecy stands starkly profiled against a white wall. Maybe it is a machete for a grand sculpture where a larger version will reveal the reason for its shrouded mystery. Beside the figurine is a bug eyed skull that appears to gaze humorously at life’s unfulfilled expectations. The skull knows our final destination and whether time moves slow or quick we are destined to meet in his breathless kingdom.

Some artists draw the blinds down while working in the Draiocht Studio, demanding privacy and excluding the outside world from interfering with the creative process. Andrew Carson allows the passing world look at him making art, fulfilling the vision of the buildings architect who thought the artist and the local community could engage openly. This discourse the architect believed would have a profound effect, enriching the lives of both parties.


Read more about Andrew ... 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, Andrew Carson, Desmond Kenny,

Des Kenny Reviews Mary Claire Kehoe - Concentrate On Your Breathing

October 2, 2014

26 September 2014 - Our Arty Blogger is back! Des Kenny gives a personal response to our current exhibition by Mary Claire Kehoe, 'Concentrate on Your Breathing'.

Marie Claire Kehoe is a printmaker and her prints are exhibited in the First Floor Gallery in Draiocht. The artist uses monoprints and collograph techniques to produce unadorned but effective abstract imagery of elevated emotional intensity. The works while having a layered psychological aspect to their understanding also can stand alone in a formal sense as explorations in the language of abstraction. While the prints maintain this duality, it’s the emotional mark making driven by inner need that adds intensity to the impersonal barriers surrounding abstraction.



Support System

In Support System three thick vertical black lines are bolstered by base line which appears to act as a foundation stone. But this keystone is ferociously scoured undermining its weight bearing nature and a vertical line receives similar treatment. The comfortable gilded beliefs held so dear begin to crumble under intense scrutiny and from the rubble of a shattered spirit a new but fragile persona may reveal itself.


Top Heavy / Suffocating / Trapped


In Trapped a black triangular form lays dormant captured beneath two strident grey strokes .The fervent urgency of the grey mark making stifles attempts at freedom from fates shackling indifference. While in Overspill the enclosed red escapes the comfort of its square shaped brushstrokes and flows in a free falling splash towards plundering chaos. While impatiently seeking release from pain, there is the possibility of failing to govern responsibly the release of dark harbingers from the psychic depths and this creates new agonies that lack redemptive healing power. This is further encountered in Open the Floodgates where a rampant black paint plunges downwards onto a sharp restrictive parapet. Once the unconscious is liberated, a torrent of soulful energy scatters without restraint around and beyond self imposed defence systems that guard and shadows our visible personality.



Close Your Eyes and Take a Deep Breath

A sense of panic can arise when confronting the dread that lies beneath the subterranean layers of the unconscious mind and breathing techniques are often found helpful to calm ragged nerves. In Close Your Eyes and Take a Deep Breath a roughly brushed black square contains splatters of blue suspended in self- possessed animation, briefly frozen before the next exhaustive engagement with nameless terrors are resumed. This subject matter is portrayed once more in Concentrate on Your Breathing where the central dark form floats momentarily within the white borders of the print but than oozes beyond the printing plates edges , seeping onto the bleached margins of the printed paper. Calm breathing encourages the emotional outpouring to escape the periphery of the minds restraint in a balanced determined rate, moderating rising angst to endurable levels.


Please Mind Me 1

Meagre marks that possess poignant if austere imagery have a dynamism that concentrates the viewers eye with an intensity that are absent in more complex representations. This effective approach is used successfully in Please Mind Me 1, where a simple curved, open ended line holds a single tender yellow dot. The hesitant opening like a harbours mouth, permits the vagaries of life enter the fixed solitude of a tattered inner sanctum and although not immune from fear or hurt will help embrace the evergreen light a new beginning cultivates. The powerful symbolism portrayed with minimalist means offers a complex insight into a fractured minds excruciating descent through the shrouded layers of the inner self that eventually leads to recovery. These works stand solemnly unabated in their searing pursuit of truth and have a cathartic quality that rewards close scrutiny from a receptive viewer.


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 Claire Kehoe,

Des Kenny Reviews Bernie Masterson - Weather

October 2, 2014

26 September 2014 - Our Arty Blogger is back! Des Kenny gives a personal response to our current exhibition by Bernie Masterson, 'Weather'.

Bernie Masterson’s exhibition in Draíocht’s Ground Floor Gallery explores the forever changing weather of the Irish landscape. Its moods and unpredictable character are portrayed in fragmented but lyrical moments. The artist edits from a flurry of constant movement an instant which charges the scene with poetic meaning rather than a factual interpretation.


Storm Surge


Storm Surge the largest work in the show describes massive unforgiving waves cascading towards shore, so large they engulf the sky. The rampaging swell pushed by accelerating winds tear white spume from the waves that flays the air like spikes on a railing. Swirling expressive brushstrokes through wet paint convey the wave’s virulent energy more convincingly than a factual rendition. The destructive force of such waves destroyed harbours and engulfed farmland on the west coast in the recent past.



Squall Line

On the adjacent wall Squall Line reveals an inclement dark mass of sky pushing on the shuddering green land that occupies the bottom third of the painting. The oppressive bulk of the oncoming tempest flattens the bewildered horizon to an indeterminate dissolving presence. The rough furrowed green earth locked in silence absorbs the storms wounding energy. In Low Cloud the numb brown earth is gradually released from the skies watery grip and breathless, waits for a vagrant sun to dry and rejuvenate the land.

Ash Cloud's dominant blackness seeps downward, saturating white clouds with choking dust from an erupting volcano. Such a cloud suffused with glass like sand, grounded planes throughout Europe. Earthbound we ranted against authorities who inconveniently took away our freedom of the heavens. The power of nature dissipates man’s privileges with indifference and reminds us of our inconsequential smallness. No dust particles assail the rich blueness in the painting Clear Day. Cerulean blue fills the sky and is mirrored in equal measure by a reflective sea. Air and water momentarily fused in a transient marriage of elements. The horizon line disappears and an island floats between heaven and sea in a timeless blue veil.



Flood Fields

A chilly still whiteness fills the picture plane as flooded arable land is depicted, submerged by water in Flood Fields. Patches of green fight for air before drowning, overwhelmed by rising waters caused by torrential rain. These flooded fields may be the effect of climate change but Masterson remains silent on the subject and captures its calamitous consequence with an analytical eye.



Creeping Fog

In Creeping Fog, a white mist races eerily across the land capturing unwary walkers in its enveloping silver shroud and suddenly without warning they become disorientated and lost. Forlorn like a sleepwalker caught in a trance, a traveller must hope the unbound blindness lifts and their pathway is illuminated once again.



Evening Sky

Evening Sky 
denotes a land at last becalmed and free from the turmoil of constant inclement weather. A setting sun swathed in white yellow shimmers in calm repose as silhouetted trees dissolve in a golden haze. The upper atmosphere turns mauve with shades of subdued blue and the frail air is suspended in serene detachment. We need ephemeral moments like these to reinvigorate stillness, sourced at the cradle of our existence. Paintings like this act as a gateway to help enshrine this tranquil state.


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, Bernie Masterson, Desmond Kenny,

Des Kenny Reviews Jim Cathcart

February 28, 2014

17 February 2014 - Our Arty Blogger is back! Des Kenny gives a personal response to our current exhibition by Jim Cathcart ...

Jim Cathcart
Friday 14 February - Saturday 19 April 2014 
GROUND & FIRST FLOOR GALLERIES
‘Them that work the hardest …’ - Ground Floor Gallery
'Selected Works on Paper' - First Floor Gallery
Read more … here 




The desire for an earthly paradise is found in cultural echoes of human mythology, embedded in stories like the Garden of Eden, Tir na nOg and the lost world of Atlantis. These fabled worlds permitted mankind to live free and fulfil all human expectations in a spirit of joy. The inclination to construct a society where humanity overcomes its limitations and lives in peace and harmony is still ingrained in human psych even if these attempts have generally proved disastrous.


Jim Cathcart’s large banner murals hanker for a paradise where the citizen is free to live, in balance with nature and in refined fellowship with each other. In one mural a man is about to place a toy boat in a river; by his right hand side people work the land gathering bountiful crops and to his left is an image of hands working in solidarity on industrial products which free all from a fate of drudgery granting free time to play. He places his toy boat into waters free of turbulence knowing this act of playfulness is his euphoric reward for a belief in an ideal society.

In another mural, the dual natures  of man, light and dark, good and evil no longer do battle for mans soul but these disparate facets combine in accord, to benefit all. In another image a man holds up a page to the light of a full silver moon where perhaps are written the sacred credo of quintessential laws which will hold a faultless society together. He stands assured by mystical moon light, proof reading the new constitution which will govern all and become the salvation of mankind. Yet there lies a flaw in this earthly heaven, a deceit, where for the greater good anything which would undermine society is instinctively silenced.


A mural divided into four sections, seems to depict an industrial accident, a man wears a gas mask for protection, an industrial glove cannot prevent the poison escaping causing damage to the genetic structure of living organisms. In the painting a woman’s mouth is bound and prevented from speaking about the unsafe practices which led to the disaster. Yet overall these works have an optimistic atmosphere portraying an expectation that alternatives to our current political systems are possible but first we must dream of their existence before reality welcomes their arrival.

Six paintings of wandering musicians hang together, rendered in mooted tones that weave a spell of tranquillity. They appear to be enveloped in that cusp of silence before sound announces its presence. In the provenance of their stillness they listen to that internal rhythm which populates the heart and from this primal source, create music.




Arrayed on the walls upstairs in Draiocht’s First Floor Gallery are Jim Cathcart’s graphic works. They include limited edition prints, watercolours and gouache on paper. In three images a large pyramid shaped rock breeches the surface of the sea. At one moment it appears to float above the sea as its base is obscured by mist and in another the summit is covered by storm clouds as a tumultuous seas rage against its indomitable cliffs. It stands immutable as if awaiting the arrival of Noah’s ark. In still lifes that bear striking resemblance to the rock pictures the artist has perched on the top a pebble and a shell. The symmetrical still life seeks to explore the precarious tight rope balancing act of nature’s structures which can descend into chaos with interference from human contact

Various pastel drawings of pebbles, shaped by pounding waves harbour the passing mystery of time. Clocks without dials measuring time from the earth’s beginning pose for the artists finite eyes. Hooded crows and pigeons are scrutinised by the artist. A pigeon in ‘40 miles from Malaga’ holds the air with certainty as it finds a way home with doubtless conviction while a hooded crow stares with laconic intelligence at the viewer. A pastel drawing of a leaf on the verge of decomposition covered in dark blemishes hints at the unthinkable demise of the self for lives like leaves have their season.
 

Jim Cathcart
Friday 14 February - Saturday 19 April 2014 
GROUND & FIRST FLOOR GALLERIES
‘Them that work the hardest …’ - Ground Floor Gallery
'Selected Works on Paper' - First Floor Gallery
Read more … here 

Video Archive ... here ... and 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, Jim Cathcart,

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,

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