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 ... 
-----

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, 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.


--------

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, Youth Arts, Desmond Kenny, Orla Kelly,

Des Kenny Reviews Margo Banks - My Mother’s Home

June 2, 2014

8 May 2014 - Our Arty Blogger is back! Des Kenny gives a personal response to our current exhibition by Margo Banks ...

Margo Banks - My Mother's Home
Friday 02 May - Saturday 05 July 2014 
GROUND FLOOR GALLERY
Read more … here 


Margo Banks, Amy Conroy HotForTheatre, Emer McGowan Draiocht.

The family home and land, long abandoned, engulfed by nature, acts as a touchstone for the artist to reengage with her past and the bonds that chronicle the relationship between mother and daughter. Pulled by the gravitational force of memory, towards the shadow land of the past, the artist mines the rich folklore of her mother’s community and her intimate affinity with nature. The artist depicts her mother as a young child engaged in mysterious conversation with a Hare. The language of ancestors long forgotten is uttered in a fog of black and white mark making. The furious traces of charcoal and frenzied white strokes of paint try to reveal the wisdom passing from Hare to wondering child but the past hides its clotted secrets jealously and its guardian grants enlightenment only to the chosen.


Margo Banks, 'Hares at Rest'

The Hare is granted a unique position In Celtic folklore dispensing, love, fertility and growth to believers. Celts believed the female goddess Eostre returned to earth as a Hare during the full moon and was associated with death, redemption and resurrection. In 'Hares at Rest', four keepers of the cult of Eostre emerge from their mark making consumed by the profound laws of Mother Nature, preparing to enact her rule on emerald fields.


Margo Banks, 'The Animal That Dwells In The Corn'

'The Animal That Dwells In The Corn' stands erect gauging the cruel horizon for approaching menace, surrounded by the stalking words of man. The hare in 'Sweet Verde' spreads great ears like wings of an elemental spirit and under an orange breathing sun, dissolves in the mists of a primal dawn. Yet these marvellous creatures are not immune from humilities of captivity.


Margo Banks, 'Pet Hare' & 'Jack Hare'

In 'Pet Hare' the animal depicted in sickly yellow and tortured greens bows in servitude, disconnected from the lore of its brethren and becomes an empty vassal. While in 'Jack Hare' the creature stands proudly erect, free, a guardian of ancient history dancing beneath sun and moon, shaping the land in wordless song.



Margo Banks, 'Lone Crow'

Crows also populate the artist’s vision with their wing beating tales under bristling silver skies. In two large drawings carrion crows jostle and argue, swallow the silence with black shuddering wings, disdainly croaking about tales of battlefields and great feasting on mans bones. The crow knows mans folly and flesh will feed and satiate hunger for generations of the crow family. The spectre of 'Lone Crow', stares from pitch black eyes shimmering in dark prophecy, for he knows the date of mans last day. In another drawing a mischievous crow balances on the head of a child, croaking about beginnings, thresholds and trials that arrive with aimless certainty and proclaims the trembling future is not a fearful country. The crow bestows fragments of innate wisdom imparted from black talons and needle beak for trusting ears to comprehend. In another drawing a magpie communes with a young girl on the threshold of womanhood. He tells tales of the great goddess found in all nature and she is now part of this fecund cycle of life.

The dark sodden Bog of Teeromoyle reveals itself through a swirl of fervent mark making. Sombre sky and dark earth meld together on an indistinguishable horizon. Shadows do not harbour influence on this land; only grey skies find a home in bog pools that suck light downwards to nourish primeval forests, where nothing and darkness reign.

In a glass vitrine stand five sculptures of hares, attentively sculpted in wax and cast in bronze. Each hare has an individual character and entity, disembodied guardians of ancient lore, purposeful earth sprits protecting the land. Through these works the artist has become the Keeper of her mother’s history, not allowing the remorseless dust of time past gain purchase on her memory.



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, Margo Banks,

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.


 

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

By Draíocht. Tags: Artist Interview, Visual Arts, Desmond Kenny, Jim Cathcart,

Des Kenny Reviews Mary Burke - Memory Traces

November 27, 2013

22 November 2013

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



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




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



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

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

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

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



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



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


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


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

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

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

‹ First  < 4 5 6 7 8 >  Last ›