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 DIC TAT by Marie Hanlon & Rhona Clarke

July 21, 2014

21 July 2014 - Our Arty Blogger is back! Des Kenny gives a personal response to our current exhibition DIC TAT, a joint exhibition of drawings by Marie Hanlon and sound works by Rhona Clarke.

DIC TAT
Friday 18 July - Saturday 06 September 2014 
GROUND FLOOR GALLERY
Read more … here 



Sarah O'Neill, Assistant Arts Officer, Fingal County Council with
Composer Rhona Clarke & Artist Marie Hanlon at the Opening Night.


Music and the visual arts have a long history of collaboration and have found common ground in the cross fertilisation of their creative practice. Stravinsky and Picasso worked together with Diaghilev’s ballet company, while composer John cage and visual artist Robert Rauschenburg collaborated with dancer Merce Cunningham; Yoko Ono’s performance art had a profound impact on British minimalist composers.

Visual artist Marie Hanlon and composer Rhona Clarke have maintained this historical bond between two disciplines and cooperated jointly to create the exhibition DIC TAT in the Ground Gloor Gallery of Draiocht. The common denominator in this show is the functional use of the metronome by artist and composer, permitting its pulsating rhythm to influence the structure and boundaries of the works created. Prime examples of this methodology are drawings by Marie Hanlon governed by the recurrent beat of the metronome.  


This process is described on two computer screens placed together. On one screen a metronome is filmed as the regimented pendulum swings back and forth on slow and fast cycles. The other screen depicts a drawing fashioned by the regular tempo of the metronome. The speed of the rhythmic pendulum dictates the drawings composition, on higher beat cycles the artist had only time to place dots of charcoal on the page whilst the lower beat pattern  permitted the artist longer intervals of time to determine direction of line, its length or curvature. Seven drawings of equal size created by this procedure crave space on a small wall with a flurry of intense mark making. The marks have a pulsing urgency, choreographed by the sequential ticking of the metronome and swirl over susceptible pages like a dancer moving across a naked stage. The commanding marks of formal abstraction have a synonymous connection with musical notation.




Rhona Clarke’s music is listened through earphones placed on plinths throughout the gallery space. In the first piece STILETTO, the metronome’s grinding pulse guides the sounds of tongue clicks, knocking and cello. This framework subsides as improvisation aids the release of an emotional subtext. The ear anointed by sound cannot help release images that gather behind the eye, enveloping the listener with a surprised impassioned response to the loud knocking at the end of the piece. The imagination introduces a narrative element, evoking a caller knocking loudly on a closed door while those within remain silent refusing to answer. The cloistered formalism that encloses music to an arrangement of sounds without meaning does not gain a foothold in Rhona Clarke’s score. Canon begins with a plunging momentum, scurrying forward with rolling notes from the piano on a fleeing journey to a distant reckoning.  Repeating note patterns almost dissolve into ambivalence as the pianist’s fingers try to maintain control over a runaway pulsing pattern of a speeding metronome. The piece ends on a spellbound single note, like a relieved full stop ending a rampaging sentence.  A number of sharp atonal resonant notes begin the piece called Forethought as the piano searches for internal forms that appear to correspond to the composers desire to allow music grow within its own existent logic. There is a short fused harmonic melody that disintegrates, allowing room and space for further possibilities to occur, as if the discovered answer is put aside to pose more questions. In Takeover a rapid echoing bell-like sounds vibrates ominously while a mellow guitar cadence acts as a counterbalance leaving the piece poised perilously in a weightless shroud of harmonic balance.



Twenty drawings by Marie Hanlon are dispersed imaginatively on a wall like notes on a musical score. The drawings resemble a visual reaction to music while not alluding to any specific musical composition. These drawings are not premeditated but allow music influence and guide the forlorn artists hand across the inquisitive but stubborn empty page. The artists pencil operates like a tremulous recording needle cutting a soundtrack onto a record.


A shared philosophical and open ended attitude to process in creating a work of art, allows the visual artist and composer coexist and collaborate while maintaining separate identities. Art unbound, shares the spoils of the imagination with the open hearted and these two artists shoulder this reciprocal vision collectively.

 

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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, Marie Hanlon, Rhona Clarke,

Des Kenny Chats to Kathy Herbert & Dorothy Smith

July 14, 2014


Des Kenny, Dorothy Smith & Kathy Herbert

Kathy Herbert and Dorothy Smith participated in a five day drawing collaboration in Draiocht’s Ground Floor Gallery from 8-12 July 2014. Both artists have worked together on various drawing projects in the past. Meeting at an arts festival they discovered a shared interest in drawing and a common belief that the medium had great potential to move beyond their studio practice into the public domain. Drawing traditionally was considered an educational medium, training artists to become sculptures or painters. This notion perhaps historically changed in 1953 when a young unknown artist Rauschenberg erased a Willem de Koonen drawing, with his permission. This act of erasure released drawing from the shackles of tradition and made it relevant and responsive to the immediate concerns of contemporary culture. Artists began to realise drawing could forge a new experimental era of innovative art outside conservative structures.

A 25 feet x 5 feet sheet of paper is stretched across a wall of the downstairs gallery in Draiocht, fixed momentarily in stillness, waiting to absorb the artist’s concepts.




Each artist would separately walk around the Draiocht environs and return with sketches and photos and begin to incorporate these images onto the large sheet. Initially these images were disconnected and spread disjointly across the drawing surface. Editorial decisions in the beginning were limited, keeping the drawing process expansive and fluid; ensuring possibilities are not corralled by controlled selective interventions. At this stage a well pruned tree not fully delineated captures space on the left hand side of the drawing, while an elevated drawing of apartments furtively holds centre ground. Right of centre a lone dandelion precariously rooted in a cracked pavement, mirrors natures defiance against commercial control. An intercom looming larger than life size, shapes silently the right corner.





Various groups including teenagers and adults joined the artists on their walks. They created drawings, utilising materials and methodology employed by Kathy and Dorothy. This engagement with the public was an active element of the drawing project, extending artistic practice beyond shuttered studio walls.


The large drawing sheet began to fill with new imagery as the days unfolded towards the projects conclusion. Each artist’s drawings began to taper fugitively into each other, marrying their conscious streaming of disparate parts into a self contained unit. The drawing became a theatre of negotiation as drawing space diminished, unlocking artistic self imposed restrictions; reflecting urban life’s impediments, encountered and bypassed, during their daily walks of research. Poetic metaphor and bruising reality coalesced awkwardly on the glinting white membrane of receptive paper. Sketches of fences pointed like spears, skewering drawing space for one artist, as a traffic stop sign tried to marshal leeway for the other. The drawing appeared to be a living organism; making demands upon its creators too suspend personnel goals for the greater good. In this sunburst of creative understanding, a collaborative work of art surfaces, unsullied by individual ambition.


A well attended talk concluded the artists five day collaborative exercise in drawing at Draiocht. Both artists detailed their artistic history and how they will cooperate on future projects. They explained that the process in making a large scale drawing was as important as the finished product.


Contemporary art culture has blurred the boundaries between process and product, granting both equal aesthetic values. The discussion was vibrant and absorbing as the audience discussed how art created with the simplest means of pencil and paper, expanded visual awareness. Through the gateway of history, artists like Kathy and Dorothy are inheritors of Rauschenberg’s legacy, filling the void of his erased De Koonen drawing with a conceptual system that is open ended and inclusive.

MORE ... Enjoy a 360 Video of the finished work ... HERE ... 
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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, Dorothy Smith, Kathy Herbert,

Des Kenny talks to Orla Kelly Artist in Residence at Draiocht

July 1, 2014

Orla Kelly has completed six months of a yearlong residency in Draíocht’s Artist’s Studio. While making her own distinctive art, Orla is also involved in educating young children through the visual arts and is the founder of ‘Early Childhood Creativity’. She has participated with Draíocht in organising creative crèches for young infants and initiating projects based on its current visual art exhibitions with local primary schools. On entering the studio this process of her practice shapes corners with colours of vibrant youthful activity, cone shaped objects become rockets, pom-poms transform into flower heads and a tea pot acquires a humorous face. Orla believes the introduction of artistic creativity to very young children, helps develop creative thinking, social skills and a sense of self esteem. Art is not just a procedure to entertain children but is an important educational tool. With assistance from Fingal County Council Arts Office, Orla will become Artist in Residence in a local primary school from September 2014. Setting up a studio near the classrooms, she will share her artistic knowledge with the teachers and students. Despite all the demands these projects place on her time, Orla still ensures her own artistic output is sustained. Evidence of this pursuit lines the walls, floor and desks of the studio.


Tiny Tots Tuesdays in Draiocht's Workshop  Room


Orla Kelly with fellow artist Andrew Carson


Orla Kelly - The Creative Creche Project - Draiocht

Works in various states of completion, call for attention, demanding definition from the artist. Each work of art maintains a different timescale as it struggles unhurried towards consummation. Orla has worked on one piece for two years and she allows the trembling seconds, minutes and days pass until the work of art, no longer require her presence and become a self contained reality. When this moment arrives the artist lets go and the work can leave the private domain of the studio and enter the public arena. On an end wall, three unstretched overlapping canvasses challenge each other for recognition. The predominant work is mainly grey with vibrant blues rising to the surface. Orla is inspired by aerial views of landscapes, where the land becomes compressed and more abstract.  Traceries of rivers resemble veins and arteries weaving across the breathing earth. In another canvas, a square charcoal grid covers the canvas surface, enclosing an irregular patch of pulsating yellow and midnight black which attempt to escape the rigid mesh like structure.

An interesting technique using wax, melted on paper or canvas and covered with black gesso is the source of striking imagery. One work generated with these materials on paper has a print like quality similar to an etching. A cell like oval form that lay hidden, submerged beneath the blackened wax is excavated and released by the artists hands. In areas the scouring is so vigorous that indentations cover the paper lending the surface a fractured but tactile characteristic. Innovative images are also fabricated using darkened wax on glass.  The wax is removed from the glass with needles or heat, the glass plate is than placed over photographic paper and exposed to light. The photographic paper is fixed and an image gradually emerges. The resultant image has a faded spectral aspect, lending them a claustrophobic but mysterious atmosphere.

On another wall six small canvases hold your interest as the lurching paint, skims across their surface groping blindly for enigmatic forms. In a larger work wild blues, skate around a dissolving white form as an intimate yellow allows the eye to linger momentarily above turbulent greens. Works like these are a struggling launch into the unknown. The artist must always surrender to the chaos of creativity without knowing the final outcome and making art becomes a leap of faith. Orla Kelly makes this impulsive leap of faith, each day she enters the studio.


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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, Youth Arts, Desmond Kenny, Orla Kelly,

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