Des Kenny Reviews PLATFORM 18

March 16, 2018

The opening night for the exhibition PLATFORM 18 at Draíocht was a well attended event with artists and their supporters jostling for space amidst the cornered  artworks. It took a number of calls from Emer Mc Gowan, Director of Draíocht to gather the audience attention and announce that three performance works were about to commence.


Dancers: Cian Coady and Mia DiChiaro / Photographer: Misha Beglin

The first piece in the programme demanded the audience to free a rectangular space marked with tape on the gallery floor. Two young dancers, Cian Coady and Mia DiChiaro, occupied the taped area and guided by the slow pulsating beat of a metronome, their initial static bodies dissolved into blurring movement, conveying the emotion of youthful relationships through dance, in 'Distrupting the Flow'. The young boy placed his insistent hand on her shoulder but she dislodged his misguided approach disdainfully and swirls away out of reach. Undaunted and trying to make a connection once again, the male dancer mirrored the female dancer’s movements across the floor. Failing in his attempts at romantic courtship, he increases the frequency of the metronome and his angular gestures unbalance the passionate tension between the dancers. Stopping the metronome and resetting it to a slower pace, the female dancer weaves control and she gradually allows the young man to place his love melted hand on her shoulder while her sinuous neck caressed his hollowed breast.


Artist: Mark Buckeridge / Photographer: Misha Beglin

Mark Buckeridge uniquely combines the disciplines of painting and song to explore the transient nature of secular existence. On the opening night he created a musical performance with the aid of a small electronic piano and digitally recorded background rhythm. His voice complimented the urgent pulsing cords of the electronic piano and the unrelenting tempo of the digital base line. The lyrics colour the tonal phrases of the piano with prickling passion as the artists voice emphasises the tenor of the song. The phrase “All I want to do is cry” is repeated with various changes of anxious cord modulations creating a note of melancholy to the performance. A sense of resolve is discovered when romantic despair allows a song be born from the artists pen. His anxiety is tempered by the songwriter’s craft that permits him to sing triumphantly the words “Hand crafted with love and joy”. His two paintings in the show use a variety of materials that present an unrepressed desire to allow calligraphic marks find the surface of the canvas intuitively, unhindered by cogitative processes. In ‘Riff’, a swirling mark of silver spray is surrounded by a black paint that does not suffocate the image but allows it breath like an opening guitar riff of a song. ‘Autograph’ is an all-white canvas bestowed with gyrating black marks with a hastily pasted transparent plastic sheet superimposed on the canvas. The unbridled mark making are secured in the composition by the engaging trompe l'oeil intervention of the clear plastic material.

Robbie Blake, Elizabeth Hilliard and Julie Shanley, three members of Tonnta vocal ensemble, presented a performance of a work called ”A Signalling”. Each wore a blindfold and earplugs isolating themselves from each other and the audience. Disengaged from the senses they began to sing songs which had a personal relevance to their lives. The performance fragmented into a loose arrangement of songs and the arbitrary interchange dismisses a shared narrative. The emotional attachment the singers instilled in their song, remained inaccessible to the other performers. It was only when the singers began to vocalise accapella and words had no relevance to the recital, that they became a unified force. Language builds walls but music opens doors and the singers suddenly began to communicate with the audience and themselves. They were no longer three separate elements exploring individual concerns but an inclusive unit, emotionally connected by music. When the three minute performance ended there was a spellbound silence like the hushed quiet of fallen snow, before the attentive audience applauded. Music needs silence to give it structure and the audience participated to this end because the music ensnared their willing attention.

Emma Brennan installs three small video monitors on the floor depicting the artist attempts to move an amorphous mass of sticky dough across the gallery. The doughy substance corresponds to the artist’s body weight and no doubt relates to societies obsessive desire to ceaselessly record our weight daily. If we are above our correct body mass index, as denoted by weight, the unconscious impact of how we internally visualise the way we are perceived externally, can lead to personnel revulsion and psychological disorders. The physical demands in moving this loquacious mass leaves the artist breathless as she endeavours to propel it across the gallery space. The action moves slowly from screen to screen as meaningless progress of the uncrumpling task is inscrutably recorded. The artist receives no break unlike the mythical character Sisyphus who gained respite after he propelled the punishing stone to the summit of his mountain and watched it roll unaided to its origin. There are no receding slopes to help ease this absurd undertaking or a finish line to end the fruitless journey. The performer tragically becomes imprisoned in an unending labyrinth of absurdity while attempting to portray meaning in a meaningless world. The end product is a work of art which is inherently gripped by its own insular logic.


Artist: Eve O Callaghan / Photographer: Misha Beglin

Eve O Callaghan’s two large elegant paintings convey, through the formal language of minimal abstraction, a restrained emotional atmosphere that challenges the viewer to find understanding in art by paint alone. In ‘Word’, the woven paint surface both reflects and absorbs light, oscillating the vibrancy of the hues across the receptive fabric. A large section of the canvas is covered in scrumbled blue, painted sparingly over black under-painting, which bleeds out to the insistent edge of a yellow border. The muted magnetic blue soaks up the gallery light, forming a subterranean realm beneath the exterior skin of paint. A glistening green stripe, that tops the painting, pushes forward perceptively and acts as a counterweight in opposition to the receding gesture of the blue. The push pull retinal after-image caused by the paint gives an illusory sensation of movement.
In ‘Copy’, a large area of untreated canvas acts as a secondary colour to the painted sections of orange and black. The orange expanse of colour is warm and effervescent, while the black is cool and reductive. The orange and black do not touch but are separated by a thin line of unaffected raw canvas. The black’s natural dominance over other colours is undermined by the removal of thin strips and the abbreviated rectangle form lacks completion. Truncated and unbalanced, the black is held in check by the light affirming orange. The phlegmatic visual language deployed by the artist cannot contain the vibrancy of these paintings.

Ella Bertilsson and Ulla Juske collaborate to make art and their exhibit is based on a residency they had in Draíocht’s Artist Studio. They placed a large pile of A4 sheets of paper, filled with short informative sentences, on a plinth, encouraging members of the public to remove them as they wish. The paper stack is constantly replenished like a shelf in a supermarket that must never appear empty. The relentless demand to renew the stockpile introduces an element of consumerism to the artwork reflecting on societies all-consuming appetite for material things. The  title of the work ‘Back And Forth There And Back’, reveals short pieces of random data that are concerned with the science of cosmology, intermingled with aimless indiscriminate observations on daily life around the of area Dublin 15. Yet the work reads like a long poem that has an inherent logic and rhythm that even its apparent chaotic formulation cannot unwind.

The Gum Collective are an eclectic group of artists who specialise in printmaking, yet maintain a broad based practice dipping with ease  into various visual art disciplines.
Ciaran Gallen presents a digital video of a super hero character floating above a city in a riot of synthetic colour hypnotically mesmerizing the viewer. Head phones are supplied and vibrating sonic rhythms blend seamlessly with the imagery on the video screen. The punchy vibrancy of the screen theatrics are held in check by the haptic intervention of black plastic mesh, which hovers like a web between viewer and screen. This added sculptural presentation creates a visual dilemma for the audience, when looking at the screen action the mesh dissolves before the eye; while staring at the mesh the video monitor becomes obscured and out of focus. The foreground and background oscillate constantly creating a retinal aftershock for the viewer, which although disturbing has a striking effect.

Stephen Lau and Aaron Smyth offer a unique framework for their art pieces. Four large planks of wood are fastened from the gallery balcony and reach the floor of the main gallery. Stephan hangs a humorously shaped sculpture from a chain with glass baubles dangling above four super hero figurines. There is a playful characteristic to the installation, as strange bulging forms protrude from the sculpture that hangs like a mother-ship above the plastic figures. The return by artists to childhood themes offers a transgressive posture against the current trends in contemporary art. Reaching back to childhood where creativity began, allows the artist find forms, unclouded by art history which have a uniquely individual and formal presence.  The artist understands this and   makes juvenile artefacts that use humour and wit to undermine the solemnity of conventional art practice.

Aaron Smyth encloses his double sided drawings behind glass between wooden planks suspended from the upper balcony. A finally executed drawing in red chalk of a man and woman are explored in a fractured fashion giving an insight into a deteriorating relationship.  Shared recollections of their affair splinter across the surface of the drawing as a gentle hand lifting an arm dissolves into sharp edges and unfurling bed sheets. Relationships fall apart but knotted memories cling on inside to create a forlorn replica of the irretrievable. Another drawing is positioned on the reverse side of the hanging frame. A naked man tethered to emptiness floats in an indefinable space beneath another displaced figure which dissolves in throbbing flumes of mist. Unreconciled the two figures drift apart into the dismembered shadow land of drained desire.


Artists: Alex DeRoeck & Ciara O'Brien / Photographer: Misha Beglin

Alex DeRoeck’s sculpture stands emphatically on an aluminium base where ‘no dogs allowed’ signs are fixed triumphantly to the pedestal. A humorous dog like creature with a cigarette protruding from a muzzle hangs on a leash affixed to the sculpture waiting obediently for its master’s instructions. The sculptural structure is roughly covered in black acrylic filler where a female superhero figure emerges from the shadows. The sculpture recalls comic book imagery of tortured super heroes whose all too human flaws far outweigh their powers. This quixotic effigy recalls these fallen super heroes as they prepare to overcome trials in a random dystopian future.


Artist: Sofya Mikhaylova / Photographer: Misha Beglin

Sofya Mikhaylova’s sculptural work sits delicately on the gallery floor. Enclosed in meshed wire and bordered by red felt are fragile drawings in charcoal of female figures. The illustrations are drawn on cut out pieces of white felt with a red trim of enclosing thread. The feminine forms at times seem hemmed in by the red trimming, restricted in their space and are unable to move freely. The cut felt pieces shrink the figures environment and become a vehicle for imprisonment. It is a sober ephemeral work, exploring the lingering legacy of gender imbalance in contemporary life.

Ciara O’Brien displays large-format digital prints of clouds, placed like playing cards on top of each other and gives an illusion of depth, while paradoxically maintaining the hard-edged primacy of the printed surface. The pixelated clouds surge and float creating illusory movement while displaying stillness. The retinal focus shifts constantly across the prints surface, as the semblance of motion is embedded in the viewer’s imagination. The artist examines how we readily accept visual information that is false and misleading, implying that our brain is hard-wired to betray us.

Aimee Gallagher employs digitalised photos and screen prints to cover a section of the gallery wall with the depiction of a mountain range. The silhouette edge of anonymous mountain peaks stand out sharply defined against the stark white gallery walls. Floating architectural forms protrude from the sky above the mountains like UFO’s, creating a sense of unease as the relationship between mountains and the hovering architecture is ambiguous. The arrested definitions of the work permit multiple interpretations allowing the viewer freedom to decipher its enigma.

Sadbh O’Brian’s Lacuna is made of white plastic material whose bulbous appearance is slotted with holes. Some cavities are filled with collaged imagery from magazines, that glossily portray the female form utilised as a means of product promotion in advertising. Bare legs with a flower beside seductive lips incorporate a quote “We are talking about the body of the beloved, not real estate“, which is attributed to Terry Tempest Williams, an environmental and social campaigner. The artist is reacting against the prevailing trend in advertising to commodify the female body for commercial reasons and isolating it from the artistic desire to represent the female form as a transcendental exploration of beauty.  Beneath the white PVC sculpture is a moulded boxing glove tethered to cloth chains humorously implying there is a fight-back against the misrepresentation of women to sell merchandise. Art is always at the forefront of change in society.

Landing Collective is the name of a project devised by the Dancer Aliina Lindroos and visual artist Moran Been-noon. They investigate through the medium of dance and video, social themes of alienation, displacement and our deeply driven impulse to create a home.  The video called ‘Can You hear The Birds from the Water’, displayed on double screen monitors, captures the shifting ground between water and land, where the initial contact for a new beginning is initiated for fleeing migrants. This fluid hinterland on the edge of flight and freedom precariously lures the protagonist to believe that hope lies just beyond the watery border. The screen shows feet pushing forward through the guarded shallows, searching for dry land as loud sonic booms pommel the air with foreboding. The expansive water seems unending and dry land elusive. Another screen displays black and white imagery of a young woman suspended over coloured imagery, which slip and collide as the protagonist blindly aspires for a new life. The performer is marginalised on the interface of a traumatic past and an uncertain future, unable to move beyond the waters threshold by unseen forces.


Artist: Louis Haugh / Photographer: Misha Beglin

Louis Haugh is a photographer and his large multi-faceted photograph dominates the largest gallery wall in the Ground Floor Gallery. The bleak landscape of a denuded forest arches upwards to a choked grey skyline and the scarred scrubland is all that is left of a forest felled as a crop leaving the terrain ruined and abandoned. The shrouded image is formed, by the grouping in a rectangle, of seventy photographs, inscrutably pinned by nails to the gallery wall. Each photograph curling at the edges tries to remove itself from its restraints like a butterfly attempting to escape the stabbing pin of a lepidopterist. The photograph is ready to crumple and tear and uniquely resembles the blotted landscape it portrays. The photograph and landscape mutually share the same ravished fate.

 

PLATFORM 2018
Early Career Artists, Curators And Collectives
WED 21 FEB - SAT 31 MAR 2018
Ground Floor Gallery, Draíocht Blanchardstown
http://www.draiocht.ie/visual_arts


Participating artists: Ella Bertilsson & Ulla Juske, Robbie Blake, Emma Brennan, Mark Buckeridge, Cian Coady & Jessica Kelly Hannon, Gum Collective (Aaron Smyth, Alex de Roeck, Aimee Gallagher, Ciara O’Brien, Ciaran Gallen, Sadbh O’Brien, Sofya Mikhaylova, Stephen Lau), Sarah Farrell, Lisa Freeman with members of Dublin Youth Dance Company, Louis Haugh, Landing Collective (Aliina Lindroos & Moran Been-noon), Eve O’Callaghan.

Curated by Sharon Murphy.

Draiocht's Galleries are open Monday to Saturday 10am-6pm. Admission is Free.
 

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,

Des Kenny Reviews – Yvonne McGuinness ‘Holding ground where the wood lands’

December 18, 2017

Yvonne McGuiness is the latest recipient of the Amharc Fine Gall award which is coordinated by Fingal Arts Office to promote artists who reside in Fingal. The artist utilises various disciplines in her broad based practice to explore the lives of teenage boys approaching the cusp of manhood. In a corner of Draíocht ground floor gallery a split video projection shimmers life on a blank wall. The two projections present the same integrated storyline but the corner of the gallery wall acts as a border separating the timeline and sequence of similar events while remaining within eye line of the viewer. The sequential shift of the two projections does not fragment or disrupt the thread of the plot but recompose additional layers of interpretation in a quiet unobtrusive manner.

The opening shot captures a hooded crow casting a glazed predatory eye over playing fields as seagulls scramble for worms in the sodden earth. The distinctive call of a peacock flares through the air from adjoining fields. The camera scans the scrubland for this exotic bird when the screen unexpectantly presents the face of a young man. He opens his mouth and emits the plaintiff cry of the peacock. This inexplicable occurrence creates a surreal atmosphere for the all the other actions which take place in the film. Catching the viewer off guard, momentarily disrupting a linear perception to the storyline, liberates the viewers imagination from a predetermined outlook towards the film. The actor appears to shift off script as if driven by an internal force outside his control, hooking the viewer’s attention to remain alert for the unexpected.

We see a group of youths wander aimlessly through a wooded land emitting suppressed screams, announcing their presence to an echoless forest. The primal scream frees the group from innate restraints that would inhibit the internal kindling of transforming spontaneity which may unearth new truths about themselves.  A sapling is dug up and carried with them on their journey while a provocative blue line is painted on a grass verge. Acts that appear irrational and incomprehensible early in the film have a reflective and restorative implication as the narrative unfolds towards the films conclusion. In the black night the youths discover by torchlight the blue line painted earlier in the day and replant the sapling. The elemental desire to belong to the natural world at times requires a ritualistic enactment of connectivity even if it is an unconscious transaction. It is uncertain if these young men are aware of the ceremonial nature of these activities and the primal impulse that influences their actions.

Away from the constraints of suburban life they set up a rudimentary camp, hanging long strips of cloth from branches and gather firewood. They add to graffiti on a wall with the proclamation “Begin Again” no doubt wishing to supplant old conceptions of society with a new understanding of the world they inhabit. Sitting around the campfire as the darkness surrounds them, they try to formulate a wording that explains their current existence and what the future might promise. As they search for words that explore and reposition their desire to find meaning in a life as yet unburdened by responsibility, they inexplicably howl at the darkness. Perhaps this animalistic incantation is a deep rooted need not to wholly surrender to a rational structure found within the confines of language. Nevertheless their use of language holds sway and has a poetic resonance that rises and ebbs with the flittering flames of the camp fire. Words and flames combine to keep the untouchable darkness at bay both within themselves and the outer forces of remorseless reality.

Putting on lifejackets and armed with torches they leave the security of the camp fire and are absorbed by the dark shadows of the night. In time they discover the blue line painted earlier on the grass and replant the sapling that was removed from the nourishing earth. In unison they cry out “Begin Again” and move off towards the twinkling lights of civilisation. This simple decree for the youthful group of men if cramped by life’s woes you can always start afresh.

Around the gallery floor are video screens embedded in logs depicting a boy half hidden behind a tree. The only discernible movement on the screen is the flickering motion of the boy’s eyelid. Gouged into the trees bark is an eye shaped form which substitutes and replaces the function of the eye hidden behind the tree trunk. The youth is part of nature and not beyond its influence. When we forget to recognise the need for initiation rites that bring nature closer to society we create a more impoverished culture. Thick black electric cables meander like pathways through the wooden stumps on the gallery floor. While acting as a conduit for electricity to the video monitors they also lead the eye to the wall caption where bold black letters describe the youthful activity of the young actors in the film.

This is a demanding show for the spectator since it takes time to absorb the unimposing subtleties found embedded in all the shows varied components but it is an opportunity justly rewarded as we get  a deeper understanding of the lives of young men  and their need to create rites of passage as manhood approaches.

 

Yvonne McGuinness – Amharc Fhine Gall 11th Edition 
Wed 22 Nov – Sat 03 Feb 2018 
Ground Floor Gallery, Draíocht Blanchardstown
http://www.draiocht.ie/visual_arts

 

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, Desmond Kenny, Yvonne McGuinness,

Des Kenny Reviews The Weight Of Water – Elaine Hoey

November 13, 2017

5.11.17
Our Arty Blogger is back! Des Kenny Reviews 'The Weight of Water' by Elaine Hoey ...

A four sided metal cage with serrated barbed wire stands starkly silhouetted against the autumnal light flooding into the Ground Floor Gallery space of Draíocht. The light shimmers along the inflexible framework as it marks out the compounded claustrophobic structure. The visitor enters into a restrictive hard edged enclosure through a sharply cut rectangular slot where a swivel stool awaits an occupant as if for interrogation.  The sculptural presence is a formal device in which Elaine Hoey’s work titled “The Weight Of Water” explores the plight of people caught in the current refugee crises across Europe. The visitor is hemmed in and movement restricted within the barricaded cage, no doubt replicating the situation of refugees incarcerated in various camps throughout the world. There is heightened tension when a gallery assistant provocatively questions the visitor if they suffer from vertigo before virtual reality headsets are fitted. Slightly unbalanced by such an inquiry, it is with slight trepidation the virtual world is faced as the headset is fitted. There is an immediate disconnection with the actuality of the outside world as a virtual realm takes over and realigns the senses to a new vivid environment.  Activating the subterranean visual chamber of the mind with an overload of sensory data it takes a while to reorientate your relationship and placement within this virtual construct. The thunderous noise of a helicopter encompasses the ears and its sudden arrival demands that you swivel your head upwards to locate its intrusion on the periphery of your vision.  The great grey mass of a helicopter without insignia hovers above in search mode, scanning the seas for boat people. Its unnerving presence demands vigilance since its intention whether benign or malign is uncertain.

In the gloom of half light figures emerge mingled tightly in a boat. A bearded man holds a dimly lit torch while a young child seeks comfort nestling their head against a parents shoulder. Waves beat without pardon against the sides of the boat as a large gate opens and the hunted boat moves out into the open shaded sea. A narrator explains the unwritten code of survival. To survive they must embrace the shadows and remain unnoticed and from yesterday’s forgotten dreams and desired revolutions a fragile hope of a new future beckons beyond the tortured sea. The route to freedom is found on churning seas and the destination is found using hope as a compass.

A tree suddenly appears shedding leaves as great concrete pillars surround its girth, depriving the tree room to grow. The tree becomes the symbolic representation of hopes engulfed and restrained by hidebound physical force. Abruptly the boat sinks downwards into a maelstrom of fire and explosions as war engulfs the refugees. It is uncertain if those on the boat manage to withstand the onslaught of conflict but gradually the boat rises and comes into view. Two fire beacons light a distant shore, guiding the sea tossed boat to land. The helicopter dramatically careers into view as it pursues the refugees. A desperate white sun bleakly rises above the horizon as the boat finds land. The displaced people have momentarily found peace away from their fractured homeland.

The programmes duration of eight minutes comes to an end but the feelings and experience of a people in flight from war endures long after the broadcast is concluded and remains clouding your mind as you exit the gallery.

 

The Weight Of Water – Elaine Hoey 
Thu 19 Oct – Sat 04 Nov 2017 
Ground Floor Gallery, Draíocht Blanchardstown
http://www.draiocht.ie/visual_arts

 

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: Visual Arts, Desmond Kenny, Elaine Hoey,

Des Kenny Reviews Lost State – Hugh McCabe and Suzanne Walsh

November 10, 2017

5.11.17
Our Arty Blogger is back! Des Kenny Reviews 'Lost State' by Hugh McCabe & Suzanne Walsh ...

Lost State is collaborative exhibition by Hugh McCabe and Suzanne Walsh and is situated in the First Floor Gallery in Draíocht. Their joint endeavour explores how relics of the past become artefacts in a distant future and what we hold as a great advancement in our present culture is seen as a curious case study by archaeologists trying to understand a forlorn lost history. The combination of digital photographs and video imagery by Hugh McCabe with a sound installation by Suzanne Walsh weaves an afflicted narrative that examines a mournful fracture on a technological society which disappeared after an unnamed catastrophe.

A Three tier video screen display unveils a sequence of swaying searchlight probes across a surface that appears from a distance to be an industrial complex. On closer examination the circuitry of a computer mother board becomes evident as the light uncovers the form from the shadows. The beam of revelatory light moves slowly across the surface, penetrating the darkness releasing its secrets from the gloom. The pools of light are unable to withstand the encroaching shapeless twilight as the screen is engulfed by an impenetrable formless dark, as the screen momentarily switches off. The screens become blank in an alternate sequential fashion as if ordained by the dialogue of Suzanne Walsh’s sound installation emanating from a speaker positioned on the gallery ceiling. The light on the monitors appear to follow Suzanne’s voice as it glides across the circuit boards, affixing the random movement of the searchlights with the semblance of a meaningful context. Echoing from the speaker is the pulsating rhythm of the wind as it lifts words like fallen leaves and tosses them around the gallery. Spasmodic phrases have urgency when repeated, demanding the visitor to decipher its implication. The recurrent term “it must have been” from the imploring narrator creates an atmosphere of foreboding since its incantation has no recognisable foundation.

At times the narration eases into descriptive passages, such as “E724 had hair line cracks” and “the marks never open” that appear to address the formal qualities of the materials under observation. Inexplicably a question seeps from the speaker inquiring “is there a threat” without defining the danger. The layers of interpretation within the dialogue, creates an open portal for the visitors imagination to explore.

Black and white digital photographs of computer parts hang starkly upon the walls of the upper gallery space. The clinical white border surrounding the images deepens the grainy intensity of the subject matter as the edges blur and slip into the hooded shadows. Dust particles gather obscuring numbers and letters, presenting a mood of decay and degeneration. They are obsolete components from a previous generation and culture and their fragmented nature prevents restoration. A tempered mood of loss prevails as the remnant parts are recast as relics of a nostalgic history that remains irretrievable.  All the while the disembodied voice of the narrator follows the viewer around the gallery alluding to societies past fate that remains trapped and locked in the hardware. She implores sadly “only remember what can be taken” but is unable to breach the silence from the inane computer parts.

The two diverse artistic disciplines of Suzanne Walsh and Hugh McCabe, combine to create a visionary account of a future beyond our digital age, that mourns its tragic demise. The seeds of this future history are taking root in the cracks of today’s environment.

 

Lost State – Hugh McCabe and Suzanne Walsh
Thu 19 Oct – Sat 04 Nov 2017 
First Floor Gallery, Draíocht Blanchardstown
http://www.draiocht.ie/visual_arts

 

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: Visual Arts, Desmond Kenny, Hugh McCabe, Suzanne Walsh,

Des Kenny talks to Michael McLoughlin Artist in Residence at Draiocht

October 8, 2017

Our Arty Blogger is back! Des Kenny chats to Michael McLoughlin, Artist in Residence 2017 ...
  

Michael McLoughlin is the current Artist In Residence in Draiocht and will work in the Artist Studio on projects for a show in 2018. I paid a visit to the studio on a fine September morning as the odd fallen leaf, Autumn’s calling card, rustled across Draiocht’s entrance.  

I have known Michael for many years. We were fellow members of Pallas Studios, sharing studio space in old factories with twenty artists. At that time he had the smallest studio among Pallas members and due to lack of storage he would hang his sculptures from the girders of the roof. He managed to squeeze into his cramped space a fully equipped recording studio. Outside our studio on Foley Street was a stone crushing machine, pulverising rubble from condemned buildings. Michael recorded the crushing sound of the bricks going through the machine. He expanded one second of the recording into one minute’s duration. He replayed this for me and I was astounded to hear what appeared to be music not dissimilar to whale song. I was reminded of a verse in the Bible, which declared 'even the stones began to sing as Christ passed on his journey'.  Music is rooted untapped in all things and a poetic line in the Bible suddenly had relevance in the scientific reality of contemporary life.



Today sound predominates his practice and is utilised to explore visceral links that bind people to a place and how a community evolves within its environs. Littered around the studio lie the tools of his vocation, loops of electric cable, microphones, and amplifiers, speakers of various sizes, synthesizers and recording equipment. All are used to record, magnify or soften the acoustic language captured by the echo chamber of the ear. Softly playing in the background as we talked is a piece he made for the atrium of the Sutherland School of Law, UCD. He suspended large speakers with steel cable from the cascading space of the foyer ceiling. Visitors were greeted with the murmuring song of swifts emanating from speakers above their heads. These birds fly through Syria, Greece, Africa and the artist infers a connection with the current migratory crises of people in these regions.
In a show at Limerick City Gallery the artist hung various speakers from the ceiling with specially manufactured electric cable. A company fabricated two miles of electrical wire to the artist specifications. The electric cable, while acting as a conduit for electricity and load bearing attachment for the floating speakers, also conjured an aerial line drawing in the vaulted air of the gallery. In his view, not using readily available cheaper electric cable but having it manufactured instead to his design, enhanced the installation. Attention to detail has a financial cost that an artist accepts to allow their works achieve complete visual impact. Perhaps it can be over emphasized, the significance of seeing his sculptures stored in the rafters of Pallas Studios, that the artist recognised the possibility to rehabilitate the vacant  gallery roof space to hang his art. The chance requirements of necessity can become an influential keystone in an artist’s development.



It was a question I did not put to the artist. He did refer to the Kimmage project which changed his approach to making art all those years ago while still a member of Pallas Studios. It was called 'Ideal Homes' and he worked with the community, recording their words as they described their ideal home. The problem back then, as it is today for the artist, is to find solutions that prevent a community’s voice becoming distilled or manipulated to create a work of art.

His present undertaking involves working with the diverse community living in Mulhuddart and creating a project which Draiocht will showcase in 2018. Examining the effects the media and local government policy construe to formulate an image which does not reflect their personal experience. Scattered on a wall are sundry accounts from newspapers and policy documents which contextualise a narrative at variance with the communal life of Mulhuddart. Old and new maps of Mulhuddart trace the growth from a number of great houses to an urban sprawl where the historical names of the great houses now refer to housing estates. This wall of information will act as aid to anchor his thoughts to help create a work of art which will become a portrait of Mulhuddart.




Read more about Michael's work in Draiocht 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, Michael McLoughlin,

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