Des Kenny Reviews Margo Banks - My Mother’s Home
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
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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.