Des Kenny Reviews Carrier of Memories by Ella Bertilsson and Ulla Juske

July 9, 2018

9 July 2018

Carrier of Memories is an installation work created by Ella Bertilsson and Ulla Juske and is situated on the First Floor Gallery in Draíocht.

The large rectangular construction resembles storage crates utilised by shipping companies to transport household furniture from one country to another. The transported objects are the depositaries of memories from the past and will have fetish significance to help restore a sense of sanctuary in a new country. The wooden structure also resembles the prefabricated houses built currently to help solve the housing crises that are experienced by people in Ireland. The structure unveils layers of complex interpretation without imposing a singular viewpoint upon the gallery visitor. Two anonymous doors at opposite ends of the fabrication become points of arrival and departure for an interior space where time seems suspended, caught on a frozen threshold between memory and dreaming. The cocoon-like atmosphere is aided by the muffling of exterior sound with hanging grey blankets on the walls. The interior is uncluttered by furniture or heirlooms allowing the chamber to populate the visitors' imagination with discarded memories of their life experience of previous homes. Two speakers shroud the interior with a cacophony of sound that needs careful attention to interpret yet remains opaque affecting a mysterious atmosphere. Sounds of cars are interspersed with faint knocking on a door as if a visitor tried to gain attention with the householder but failed and drove away. The suppressed singing of the song” Tea for two, you for me” rises above chaotic clanging but stops suddenly when incessant knocking beats on a door. The door remains unanswered and the unknown caller slips away quietly into a trail of echoing indifference.


Myopic spy holes are inserted into the walls of the space, inviting the curious to view without detection the interior of the dwelling. Normally these eye ports are found on doors so the householder can quietly check out the caller waiting to gain entrance but the role is reversed and the visitor becomes a voyeur, hungrily gazing at the sinless lives of the occupants.



Outside a large video monitor is fixed to the wall and the artists Ella and Ulla act out roles of various homeowners, revealing aspects of private lives and tales of recalcitrant ghosts. Wearing a grey wig and old clothes Ella conveys a story of an old woman recalling a time when her third husband, humorously nicknamed Dynamite, was redecorating their new home. A previous owner had hung himself and appeared to the woman, requesting the house should remain undecorated. This aching appeal was ignored and the troubled spirit vanished once the decorations were completed. His shadowy afterlife was interwoven into the old fabric of the house and once removed he disappeared into the gloom of the forgotten. In another story, Ulla recalls as a child how a whole chicken disappeared mysteriously from the kitchen. Her mother believed her two young children had consumed the whole chicken but it was only later when the snows had melted and the bones of the chicken were discovered in the garden, that the mother surmised a cat had taken the chicken. The children were disbelieved and a bond of trust was broken for a time between parent and children. In another tale, Ulla recalls a young girl reminiscing about a dream where a large crane was about to destroy her house. She awoke suddenly, discovering she was sleepwalking and standing before an open window. The unconscious mind was trying to warn her of the danger as the open window would engulf and hurl her to a fatal destiny.



Home offers shelter primarily but also acts as a bridge between the psychical and the psychological realms where new memories are born and old ones haunt us.

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

Carrier of Memories by Ella Bertilsson and Ulla Juske
Draíocht’s inaugural INCUBATE commission, curated by Sharon Murphy
First Floor Gallery​
FRI 22 JUN - SAT 13 OCT 2018​
Read more ... here ... 

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Desmond Kenny is an artist based in Hartstown, Dublin 15. He is a self-taught painter and 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 printmaking 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, Ella Bertilsson, Ulla Juske,

ITB’s Ashling Smith Wins Draíocht’s Inaugural Creative Digital Media Graduate Award 2018

June 15, 2018

We are delighted to announce Draíocht’s Inaugural Creative Digital Media Graduate Award Winner, in association with the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB), is Ashling Smith with her piece VISION.

The Creative Digital Media Graduate Award 2018 was open to this year’s graduating students from the Creative Digital Media degree programme at ITB and was selected by Fiach MacConghail , CEO Digital Hub Development Agency, on behalf of Draíocht following a short-listing process.

In taking his decision Fiach MacConghail described the field as strong and competitive with rich and varied work and he found the decision a difficult one. He considered the quality of the work, the ideas and interests of the students and how Draíocht's resources could best support the graduate in the development of their emerging practice.
He said of the recipient: "I am selecting this graduate - Ashling Smith - because of the sculptural and painterly quality of the work, it’s immersive multi media form which integrates sound, image and text. It is ultimately a considered work blending creativity and art. The artistic intention of the piece  highlights the vulnerability and joy of making art." Fiach MacConghail

On announcing the award Emer McGowan, Draíocht’s Executive Director said:
"Draíocht is delighted to be working with the Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown to provide this exciting opportunity for a Graduate Student. Our Strategy 2018 – 2022 ‘Inspiring A Passion for the Arts’ highlights our commitment to building partnerships and to supporting the work of emerging practitioners.This new award demonstrates Draíocht’s commitment to these priorities." Emer McGowan

Hugh McCabe, Course Coordinator, Creative Digital Media, Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB) said:
"Working with Draíocht on this award is a fantastic means of further developing the sorts of synergies between art, design and technology that are at the heart of the Creative Digital Media programme at ITB. We are delighted that the opportunity to collaborate with Draíocht is being offered to one of our students and look forward to seeing the results." Hugh McCabe


Draíocht’s Marketing Department caught up with Ashling to find out more about her and her work!


Artist: Ashling Smith
ANDRES POVEDA PHOTOGRAPHY


Q: Tell us a little about yourself, your background, where you’re from and where you live?
I am originally from Dublin. I moved down to Wexford when I was 10 and come from a family of 5 siblings, 2 brothers and 3 sisters. I am the second oldest and the oldest girl. School was always difficult for me, but I did love art class. I could work on stuff for hours in art and felt comfortable in what I was doing. Irish Dancing was something that I did from the age of 4, I loved dancing and eventually put the shoes away when I was 15 or 16 as I wanted to concentrate on my Art Portfolio. I attended an art portfolio course in Killester College and eventually went on to Stillorgan College and that’s where I first learned digital media. I got a quick grasp on web and graphic design and decided that this is what I wanted to do. I ended up in Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB) studying Creative Digital Media, where I studied a wide range of things such as Film Making, Photography, Web Design and Graphic Design. While in college to get better at Web design and branding I worked with clients for free to build up a portfolio and recognition. After a while I decided to set myself up as a freelancer and eventually got a few jobs while studying in college. All these skills that have become an important asset in my personal and professional work. I have just recently graduated from ITB this May with a First-Class Honours.
 


Artist Ashling Smith & Emer McGowan, Director Draíocht
ANDRES POVEDA PHOTOGRAPHY​


Q: When you were small, what did you want to be when you grew up? Were there any clues in your childhood that you would follow an artistic path later?
I loved to be creative from a young age and storytelling was always something I enjoyed. I think I tended to have an overactive imagination as a child, so to write that all down or draw pictures of characters was always a great kick for me. I remember my nanny buying myself and siblings rolls of paper to colour on, I could sit there for hours and colour away, I was always given paints, paper, crayons and colouring pencils for birthdays and Christmas, so I think that prompted me to colour. and be artistic.


Hugh McCabe, Course Coordinator, Creative Digital Media ITB,
​Artist Ashling Smith & Emer McGowan, Director Draíocht.
ANDRES POVEDA PHOTOGRAPHY


Q: How long have you been an artist and why choose an arty profession over a more conventional career, like being an accountant, or working in an office for instance?
I started off in a course in Killester, after I left school to create an art portfolio to go into animation. I also took life drawing classes to get a better at drawing the human form. I was 17 at the time and quite shy in expressing my art as I haven’t yet developed the confidence and hid most of my work prior. I did not get great encouragement from tutors in my Art Portfolio course and I began to give up. Following that I did not get into the animation course that year, but I decided to try again and ended up in Stillorgan College, I still had the idea to pursue animation and began my portfolio again. This time the course was digital based and a new world to me. I quickly got into the Web Design and Graphic Design, but still wanted animation. I had loads of professionals in the industry telling me that I had great design skills that were much stronger than my skills for animation. When presenting my animation portfolio for interviews I was told I had great experimental work and design skills and should pursue them more. After the second time not getting into an animation course, I decided that I should go about design and luckily that’s how I got into ITB studying Creative Digital Media. I now have a degree in Creative Digital Media. All these little life lessons through those years were able to set me up to work in a professional manner. My final year project set me up to use my skills of my artist background and digital media background and combine them to create something I didn’t think I would be ever able to do, and I’m so grateful for the lecturers in ITB and encouragement from them to make that possible. It's always great to be surrounded by positivity. I always thought I would end up doing something that involved being creative, it’s the only way I function.

Q: Perhaps you also have a conventional day job to supplement your income as an artist?
My day job is still creative, I design Websites for clients and design their brand, as well as look into their online presence such as social media accounts. It great when I have a client who trusts me to lead their brand and reach out to their audience. Other times there would be approval from the client before publishing, but everyone is different in how this process works. Its is nice to have a day job that is also creative.



Ashling Smith, VISON

Q: When did you create your first piece and what was your subject matter?
My first digital piece that I created was my first website from a Web Design course I took. Pretty sure its still out there online somewhere I used a free hosting and domain space. It was a portfolio website to show my work. I laugh looking back at it because I used an awful font that designers would shame me for (think it was comic sans if I remember), and too many colours. But I like to look back at work I did from years ago and see how far I have come today in my skills.
 

Q: Do you have a distinctive style? 
I don’t like to think of myself as having a distinctive style, as I see my personal work that I do as experimental. Comments made about my work is that its very colourful, which I never took note of until it was said to me. I do like to be colourful with my work as I love colours. I find them so expressive and they can tell so much in a story. In terms of my work with graphic design and web, my style would be more clean and simple, I don’t like overcrowding the space and like to keep focus on the main content that needs to be seen.

Q: Have you ever tried other art forms like photography, sculpting, making music for instance?
Photography is something that I love experimenting with, especially when it comes to long exposure shots. I would go out into the city and take long exposure shots of the city lights. I also find any type of lights around the house and move them around the camera to capture the lights, I find this so interesting to do.


Ashling Smith, Dancing Lights 2017 (Long exposure photography)

Q: What is the thing you most enjoy about your work?
The experimenting is something I enjoy, I don’t know what the end result is going to be when I start projects like this and it suits me so well to work that way.

Q: How do you keep motivated if you’re having a bad day?
If I am having a bad day and getting frustrated, I would typically just walk away for an hour or two and take myself away from the space I am working in. I find that if you are outside the space you're working in, you can relax more and see what is causing the bad day. When I feel ready I will go back and continue my work. I try not to pressure myself, because if I’m not feeling the motivation I will not get anything done.
 

Q: How do you feel about the business side of being an artist, promoting yourself and getting exposure? 
This is something I am currently working on I have just finished college, so this side is all so new to me, but I am hoping over the next few months I will improve on this. I do however have an Instagram that I set up and recently a Facebook page.

Q: Could you tell us a little more about your residency in Draíocht’s Artist Studio? How valuable is this time for you and are you working towards anything in particular?
I am delighted to have been awarded with Draíocht’s Inaugral Creative Digital Media Graduate Award for my Final Year Project Vision. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with Draíocht and have my exhibition displayed at PLATFORM 2019. I will be having a 6 weeks residency with Draíocht and my exhibition, with 2 other artists, will be on for 12 weeks. I am really excited for this opportunity and have a year to decide on what I like. Ideas that I have will be a similar theme to my installation piece Vision. I will use the 6 weeks in Draíocht to build the Installation and set it up and before that will prepare content I feel work best for me. Now I am scoping out ideas and can’t say for sure what I will have for next year, but I am excited to explore that.

Q: Do you have any advice you could give to other young artists just starting out? 
I am just starting out myself and still figuring it all out. But what I would say to any creative out there is to always be yourself in your work and never compare yourself - the whole point of being creative is expressing your own work.


WATCH ASHLING'S WINNING PIECE, VISION:
Vision is an audio-visual Installation representing artists and celebrating creativity, through visuals and sound-based media. The project is achieved through projection mapping and a five-piece structure. It is based on the voices of anonymous creatives with different backgrounds sharing their stories on what creativity means to them.

Live version:       https://vimeo.com/274941472
The Making of Vision:     https://vimeo.com/269284586



 

Draíocht’s Creative Digital Media Graduate Award offers the winning graduate:
- A six week residency in Draíocht Studio (Summer 2019) and a sum of €300 expenses
- The opportunity to exhibit new work as part of PLATFORM 2019 (Summer 2019)
- Mentored, supportive environment. 
Further information: marketing@draiocht.ie
 

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By Draíocht. Tags: Artist Interview, Visual Arts, Visual Arts Opportunities, Ashling Smith, Hugh McCabe, Sharon Murphy,

Strollers Touring Network Production Award 2019

June 8, 2018


SUPPORTING ARTISTS - DEVELOPING AUDIENCES

The Strollers Touring Network (STN) comprises of ten Theatre/Arts Centre venues located across Ireland. In order to support artists and our audiences STN has introduced a PRODUCTION AWARD which encourages companies, producers etc. to make work with the cooperation and collaboration of the ten venue partners. A total award of up to €10,000 will be offered to assist with the financing of one production. The awarded work will then tour to each of the venue partners in 2019. The proposed work may be in any art form.
Deadline for applications for Production Award 2019 is 5pm, Friday 06 July 2018.​


PREVIOUS AWARD WINNERS
The Strollers Touring Network Production Awards over the last nine years (2010-2018) total just over €160,000 in investment and touring guarantees to touring production companies and artists.


Previous Award Winners include:

2010     Garter Lane and Lane Productions - for All Ireland Tour of ‘Brighton’ by Jim Nolan.

2011     Julie Feeney - for a collaborative project working with regional choirs and new choral commission.

2012     Theatre Lovett -  ‘The House That Jack Filled’  - A new commission for a touring production

2013     Fishamble: The New Play Company ‘Little Thing, Big Thing’ a new play by Donal O’Kelly.

2014/2015 – Moonfish Theatre Company: ‘Star of the Sea’.

2016     Monkeyshine Theatre - ‘Voyage’

2017     Duke Special – ‘Hallow’ – music performance based on works by poet Michael Longley

2018     Fishamble: The New Play Company – for Pat Kinevane’s ‘Before’


HOW TO APPLY FOR THE PRODUCTION AWARD
Companies/Producers who wish to be considered for the PRODUCTION AWARD 2019 should complete an application form available from strollersnetwork@gmail.com


Information required includes:
Information on the production: including cast lists, project personnel, producer and director, synopsis, style of presentation, content etc. (scripts can be included if you wish)
A detailed marketing plan
A detailed audience development plan 
A company or Artist Biog/History
Any current or previous reviews
Any YouTube, Vimeo or online video links of current or previous work. (Maximum 3 links)
Additional touring terms – a guarantee, split or fee per performance - can be offered by each of the ten venue partners to the winning production. This should be identified by the applicant.

Notes:
The Network will prioritise applications that can demonstrate the following criteria:
* Work of Quality 
* Work that has a detailed marketing plan to develop sales in tandem with each venue. 
* Work that has a detailed audience development plan for our audiences 
* Work from companies and practitioners with a reputation for excellence 
* Audience Driven Work (work that will appeal to our audiences) 


COMPLETED APPLICATIONS TO BE SENT BY EMAIL ONLY TO: strollersnetwork@gmail.com  
Deadline for applications for Production Award 2019 is 5pm, Friday 06 July 2018.
Successful candidates will be notified by Friday 3rd of August in order to allow time for any other funding applications.


WHAT IS THE STROLLERS TOURING NETWORK (STN)?
The Strollers Touring Network (STN) comprises of ten Theatre/Arts Centre venues located across Ireland. It is currently the largest touring network in the country.

The network has five key functions:
To establish a touring network of performance venues across Ireland
To support/co-produce work for touring (across all artforms)
To receive touring works from artists and production companies (across all artforms)
To sustain, develop and nurture our audiences for the arts practice
To develop relationships with artists and production companies that we work with.


The 10 venue members and their respective capacities, dimensions & websites are:

 

Siamsa Tire, Tralee (350)  W10.5m D11.2m H10.3m
http://www.siamsatire.com

Hawkswell, Sligo (340)  W13.2m D8.25m  H6m
http://www.hawkswell.com

Watergate, Kilkenny (328)  W9.12m D7.88m  H12.5m
http://www.watergatetheatre.com ;

Solstice, Navan (320)  W12m   D12m   H12m
http://www.solsticeartscentre.com

GB Shaw Theatre Carlow (294)  W13.1m D9m  H7-10m
http://www.gbshawtheatre.ie

Draiocht, Blanchardstown (286)  W13.41m  D11.58m  H13.5m
https://www.draiocht.ie

The Source Arts Centre Thurles (250)   W10m  D8m  H6-8m
http://www.thesourceartscentre.ie

Belltable, Limerick (220)   W7.7m  D9m  H6m
https://www.limetreetheatre.ie

Riverbank, Newbridge (180)   W7.3m  D5m  H4.8m
http://www.riverbank.ie

Linenhall Arts Centre Castlebar (144)   W9m   D6.75m  H7.9m
http://www.thelinenhall.com

NB
Please ensure that your prospective production can fit into each of the venue spaces.

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By Draíocht. Tags: Strollers Touring Network,

Des Kenny Reviews Heartscapes - Drawings by Sharon Kelly

May 18, 2018

10 May 2018

Drawing is a universal terminology used by all when language fails to register meaning. It is readily understandable when a foreign tongue gets lost in translation and barriers to dialogue need a recognised resolution. The first elemental scribbles a child makes connect the subjective primal imagination with objective reality and this first intimate connection with creativity is the foundation on which artists build their career.

Sharon Kelly’s artistic career is centred on drawing and her expressive graphic works are exhibited in the Draíocht’s Ground Floor Gallery. The works are less descriptive interpretations of reality but are driven by subliminal impassioned forces that can transform how the objective world is confronted. The loss of her father challenged the artist to examine his passing by drawing his working clothes and implements.  His pick and hammer are shrouded in the dominion of darkness slipping away from memories foothold in the present and fade into the forgetting realm of the past. His coat barely discernible in the gray shadow of a faceless landscape, possessed by his absence, is about to shrivel and disappear from the artists grieving gaze. A large drawing of her father’s failing fist plunges diagonally downward towards a welcoming earth where calloused hands are softened and redeemed by nature.



The jagged tear in the fabric of existence caused by the loss of a loved one is further examined in COT and the video LIFE DRAWING. The stark drawing of a Childs hospital cot stands out sharply against the white ground of the paper where illness stifles youthful promise as the looming metal bars imprison without release to full health. The cot is empty but abides patiently for the next patient to benignly harness in hopeless confinement. The animated video of the cot introduces the viewer to an infant whose presence shimmers briefly with life but ebbs and disappears, leaving a hollowed emptiness which even art cannot fill. Yet the artist has no recourse but to return to art, which heals the wound of loves loss and come to terms with the wrenching whims of merciless fate.



The artist becomes her own model in a series of self-portraits, unearthing glimpses of an internal realm generally held at bay from scrutiny in daily life. The surface layers of protection projected in public are stripped away and laid bare for all to see. In ‘Doubt’, a thinly fashioned line denoting a head is covered by a jaggedly torn piece of paper unveiling a darker persona hidden in the shadows, waiting to emerge. In another work the artist is locked in place by two clouds silently squeezing hazed eyes, searching for reprieve from untouchable depression. Flaring red lipstick is applied to smiling lips in another drawing and the vacuum of despair is filled with affirmative laughter.



Placed geometrically in a grid pattern on the largest wall in the Ground Floor Gallery are fifty six works, each offering gestural vignettes that collectively create a tapestry of revelatory insights into the human psyche. A head is filled with a forest of trees unable to escape the tangling branches. Dark forms in splatters of ink form a head waiting to devour a running figure. Each page absorbs marks and splatters of the artist hand onto the white surface like a sponge soaking up accidental spillage on a table top. Raw emotions and clinging memories spill and swirl across these drawings, searching for meaning and illumination that help endure the ordeals and woes of life through a cathartic art form.


 

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

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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: Artist Interview, Visual Arts, Desmond Kenny, Sharon Kelly,

Draíocht’s Inaugural Creative Digital Media Graduate Award 2018

May 10, 2018

We are delighted to announce Draíocht’s Inaugural Creative Digital Media Graduate Award 2018 in association with the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB).

The Creative Digital Media Graduate Award 2018 is open to this year’s graduating students from the Creative Digital Media Degree Programme at ITB and will be selected by Fiach MacConghail (CEO, Digital Hub Development Agency) on behalf of Draíocht following a short-listing process.

The Award is offered as part of Draíocht’s INCUBATE project which is an on-going series of studio residencies based in Draíocht’s Artist’s Studio and includes the opportunity to exhibit work in Draíocht’s Ground Floor Gallery as part of the annual PLATFORM exhibition. PLATFORM & INCUBATE are open to emerging, early career artists and creatives who wish to have time and space to research and test new ideas in a dedicated studio environment and/or develop and present new work in a gallery context.

On announcing the award Emer McGowan, Draíocht’s Executive Director said:
‘Draíocht is delighted to be working with the Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown to provide this exciting opportunity for a Graduate Student. Our Strategy 2018–2022 ‘Inspiring A Passion for the Arts’, highlights our commitment to building partnerships and to supporting the work of emerging practitioners. This new award demonstrates Draíocht’s commitment to these priorities.’

Hugh McCabe, Course Coordinator, Creative Digital Media, Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB) said:
‘Working with Draíocht on this award is a fantastic means of further developing the sorts of synergies between art, design and technology that are at the heart of the Creative Digital Media programme at ITB. We are delighted that the opportunity to collaborate with Draíocht is being offered to one of our students and look forward to seeing the results.’

Draíocht’s Creative Digital Media Graduate Award 2018 offers the winning graduate:
- A six week residency in Draíocht Studio (Summer 2019) and a sum of €300 expenses.
- The opportunity to exhibit new work as part of PLATFORM 2019 (Summer 2019).
- Mentored, supportive environment.

If you wish to be considered for Draíocht’s Inaugural Creative Digital Media Graduate Award 2018 please send the following information to Sharon Murphy (Visual Arts Advisor, Draíocht) by Tuesday May 15th 2018, by 1pm; by email: sdrmurphy@gmail.com

A current CV (2 pages maximum); A covering letter detailing your interest in and intention to apply for the including:
- a creative practitioner statement including a description of your degree project (500 word max)
- a description of how this award and Draíocht’s context and resources would benefit your practice and development as a creative practitioner (500 words words max)
- Set of up to 10 images of your work.



 

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By Draíocht. Tags: Visual Arts, Visual Arts Opportunities,

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