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.

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

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.

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

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.
 

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

By Draíocht. Tags: Artist Interview, Visual Arts, Desmond Kenny, Michael McLoughlin,

Des Kenny Reviews Group Show, Curated by Aoife Dunne

July 26, 2017

28 July 2017 - Our Arty Blogger is back! Des Kenny Reviews our First Floor Gallery Exhibition, Curated by Aoife Dunne, as part of Draíocht@Night ...

Aoife Dunne has drawn together a number of contemporary artists in the First Floor Gallery and curates a show which seeks to broaden the cultural narrative of concepts similar to her own practice. They are connected by a mutual interest in Manga comics, video games, fashion magazines and how our new virtual generation connects or disconnects with society.


Sadbh O’Brien
utilises collage as a creative tool to manipulate found imagery from fashion magazines and the internet, exploring topics on sexuality, feminism and the legacy of gender imbalance. Collage was used by Braque and Picasso to create visual puns in their engagement with cubism. It was further expanded to include political ideas and unlocking the dream worlds of the Dadaist and surrealists movements. Sadbh O’Brien follows in the footsteps of Hannah Hoch, Eileen Agar and Nancy Spero in employing collage as a medium to herald feminine politics and History. In Torn Colgate Smile With Apples,  a disjointed photographic lipstick smile rests between folded arms that touch coyly a pair of apples. Advertisers use the female body in all its guises to sell products like toothpaste that can guarantee a perfect smile, instil confidence and promoting the bewitching promise of romance. On another level the artist may be referencing Eve in the garden of paradise and gleefully celebrates her part in the fall of man. 

A laughing mouth with protruding tongue placed in the centre of a pleated skirt, greets the viewer daringly in Cunning Kowtow. Arms cocked in a sparring pose act as legs while on top of this strange body a leg protrudes ready to confront conformity. This sense of defiance is continued in Lollipop as a female figure lifts her skirt alluringly as a two fingered rebellious salute bulges starkly upon her shoulders. The sculpture Pseudo Science catches the viewer by surprise as they move away from the flat imagery of collage into the inanimate sculptural reality of three dimensions. The pieces of sheer plastic hang loosely like flayed skin on a silver clothes rail. The roughly sewn edges describe a human form and the head droops alarmingly like Munch’s famous painting of the scream. This work deliberates on the desperate craving to preserve youth and beauty through the illusion of plastic surgery.



Martina Menegon
’s video investigates the physical and psychological motivation that exists in trying to monitor and project a visual persona that is accepted by the self and society. The video screen reveals a young woman behind a veil staring anxiously at her limpid reflection. The face begins to distort beneath the veil while tremulous hands outside the guarded veil try to prevent the disfiguration. It becomes a redundant enterprise as other transformations take place away from the restraining hands, as her face shimmers beyond constraint into further contortions. The hopeless striving of the hands attempting to prevent the locomated distortion of the young woman’s veiled face declare an insurmountable expectation to create the perfect air brushed image that fashionable society will approve.



Ciaran Gallen
introduces the viewer to the iconic character filled world of Manga comics. Fantastical figures are caught in the maelstrom of an uncontrollable destiny. In a large painting called ‘Uzumaki Size’ a demon mask is surrounded by laughing and snarling creatures that appear to watch over oncoming doom with cartoonish relish and indifference. Blues, purples, green and orange swirl, clash and collide, increasing the tension across the painted surface as the mysterious melodrama unfolds.

In another work two large faces with enlarged blood shot eyes glare purposefully, trying to hypnotize the onlooker and introduce them into their horrifying pitiless underworld. Another painting reveals a decapitated figure surrounded by creatures who watch over the scene with unceremonious glee. The frantic mark-making across the paint surface mirrors the delirious situations contained in each painting. Using combinations of acrylics, ink, pastels, oil sticks and oil paint, the artist heightens the fervour across the painted ground and invokes the creative urgency of their production.



Kate O’Loughlin makes digital art for a virtual world. Data collected from the internet becomes the artist’s materials creating a visual context to explore and unearth subterranean pathways concealed from contemporary society. The prints contain a wide variety of recognisable symbols retaining alternative histories that the immediate visual experience fails to communicate. In both prints the brand logo Kappa appears denoting a certain branded lifestyle but Kappa, as a word, is also used on Twitch TV as a method of sarcasm and anti-globalisation rhetoric. A Greek urn and statue may hint at the Greek economic crises. The sandals in each print may refer to the incident in the Iraq war when President Bush had to dodge a sandal thrown at him by an Iraqi journalist at a press conference. Throwing sandals becomes a metaphor of defiance against the destructive acts of global super powers. The sandal may also pertain to the refugee crisis visited upon Greek shores. The artists titles of Slides do not advance any insights to the prints meaning, but leaves it open to the audience to disentangle the multitude of interpretations for themselves.





Evan Bech creates videos in rich psychedelic colours where purple Mohican figures distort and blend miraculously into a yellow background. These transformations appear logical as there are no limits or constraints imposed in this enchanted realm. Music reinforces the aimless unwinding storyline in the videos, capturing the viewer’s imagination with sight and sound. White bananas and exploding dynamite seem common place in a striped labyrinth that meanders purposively into an unending cartoon twilight zone. The videos have a hypnotic effect leaving the audience spellbound and when the video ends the retina feels momentarily caught on the iridescent wings of fantasy.


Group Show
FRI 7 JULY - SAT 26 AUGUST 2017 
First Floor Gallery, Draiocht 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.

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

By Draíocht. Tags: Artist Interview, Visual Arts, Aoife Dunne, Desmond Kenny,

Des Kenny Reviews LIMITLESS by Aoife Dunne

July 21, 2017

21 July 2017 - Our Arty Blogger is back! Des Kenny Reviews LIMITLESS by Aoife Dunne ...


In the breathless environment of computer graphics Aoife Dunne explores the suffocating restrictions unconsciously imposed by society on the youthful female psyche. The artist projects her own physicality with the aid of indistinguishable models upon the framework of a computer game to examine the blurred boundaries that exist between external and internal forces that promulgate gender imbalance.

Her short film is presented on a large screen surrounded by colourful objects in the gallery which correspond to the colouristic forms in the digital realm; virtual and actual reality echo one another. Sonic music and neon lights in the gallery help incorporate the viewers senses with the rhythmic pulse of the screens output. The artist employs various gaming technologies to create a virtual landscape allowing her characters space to perform and create a dialogue with the viewer.



In the introductory clip, a door opens revealing an urgent streamlined virtual platform where an inexhaustible voiceover demands the contestants to take their places, make this scene count while maintaining a great attitude. Only a positive mentality will achieve dazzling success to move on to the next level. A chorus line of blossoming girls all dressed alike with blue hair, clown like make up and pouting lips call out in fused unity for inclusion in the next measured phase of the contest. No doubt this scene reflects upon the thousands of young hopefuls queuing up outside stage doors waiting for selection on various television talent shows. Eventually two promising players are chosen to continue in the next pulsating instalment of the competition.





The intoxicating tone of the narrators become more demanding; imploring success is only attained with a good posture and be aware people are watching your every move while your mirror informs you what other people see. The performers reflect the needs of the unseen game show host; lose their individuality hoping to attain shimmering success. Warnings are flashed upon the screen that no exit is available once the contestant has entered; having signed up there is no escape from this virtual vortex.

The girls masquerade in uniformed garments, lifting pink barbells, perfecting postures with tight rope balancing poles and trying to pout alluringly. Against a flashing backdrop of swirling stripes and convulsing forms a male voice talks about the manufacturing of perfect dolls and how it is important that moving facial devices do not undermine the cuteness of the face. Stereotypical reinforcement of female performers within the theatrical game hints no doubt at societies need for a clichéd distinction between genders.

The video game ends with the contestant failing to meet the required standard and must try again. Beneath the surface of beautiful colours, oscillating forms and hypnotic music in this video, a narrative of subtle suppression that shapes the gender imbalance we accept in our daily lives.



On the opening night the artist added to the spectacle by engaging a troupe of young dancers to reel and weave through the pulsing crowd. Dressed in garments fashioned by the artist, wearing black masks and shrouded in silence they danced expressionless. Appearing like automatons controlled by an unseen choreographer, they restlessly weaved a whispered spell over the transported audience.





 

Limitless - Aoife Dunne
FRI 7 JULY - SAT 26 AUGUST 2017 
Ground Floor Gallery, Draiocht Blanchardstown

Read more about Aoife's show ... here ...
Watch LIMITLESS ... 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.

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

By Draíocht. Tags: Artist Interview, Visual Arts, Aoife Dunne, Desmond Kenny,

 1 2 3 >  Last ›