Des Kenny Reviews Sally-Anne Kelly - upon becoming aware of our Self

May 18, 2015

18 May 2015 - Our Arty Blogger is back! Des Kenny gives a personal response to our current exhibition by Sally-Anne Kelly ‘upon becoming aware of our Self’ …

Sally-Anne Kelly’s photographs and ceramic sculptures occupy the hushed quiet of the Ground Floor Gallery in Draíocht. The artist employs various mould making techniques to create a likeness of a person which is cast in clay to form ceramic sculptures. The eyes of the cast figures are closed, frozen in a sleep of forgetfulness. The calm of the gallery is stirred by rippling anxiety that maybe these closed retinal sockets might open and plead for your attention and help. Sorrowful eyes that corner your guilt and demand you to share unrequited suffering. The eyes impervious to the outside world remain shut but gaze inwards towards the featureless land of the forsaken.



The artist places these sculptures in shallow tide pools and photographs the somnambulant figures. Every person has different identities we project for the variety of public and personal situations that consume our time. The urgent need to project new identities of ourselves with social media has fragmented our calm private life into the straying reality of the glittering advertising sphere. The shape shifting desire to occupy a raptured dream persona overcomes the reticent self that remain content in the dull cloaked world of everyday existence. The new persona discards the old and they collect like empty mollusc shells on the sea shore. In one photograph a black coloured mask sinks slowly into the sand of a tidal pool. Drifting sand swirls upwards as if the last breath has exhaled in an unfulfilled sigh. This dark solemn face does not belong to the brightly coloured happy faced Selfies that are part of new media’s throbbing attraction. Undesired, the dark mask will sink into the quickening sands of the abandoned. In another photograph a face slowly turns on its side in weary resignation meeting the incoming tide like a derelict caught on clinging rocks, unable to float.



A bright blue face appears misplaced in this land of the lost, a gregarious presence more suitable to the brightly coloured world of the computer screen, than stuck in the mud surrounded by shells. Perhaps a countenance too exuberant, too over-the-top, manic and uncontrollable, while fun for a short time was tossed aside into shimmering pools of the forsaken. Some faces take on the fractured semblance of a fallen warrior, a hardened visor broken unable to withstand the humiliating loss of dignity. Shattered and desolate like somebody who is on the wrong end of cyber bullying and whose silver screen destruction imposes its mark on a fragile personality.



The ceramic sculptures on the ground form a roughly drawn circle stretching outwards from an empty centre. The faces rotate outwards away from an interior that is empty, multiplying beyond the control of a central force. The singular has become a multitude, a convulsive entity ready to respond to any situation in real or cyber space with a different persona. The outer image must conceal inner tensions and present a video streamed edited version of the self. They sleep and awaken when required to act out a role that responds to exterior stimuli. They perform to a script which will attract a fulfilling response and applause from similar entities. Some forms are distorted in an embryonic state similar to creatures in a science fiction film about to invade its human host. Can the void in the nucleus of this sculptural entity be filled once again by a guiding philosophy that keeps our core identity intact? Questions and thoughts linger on after leaving this show, transforming how we perceive and project our self-image in today’s culture.



Des Kenny chats to fellow artist Sally-Anne Kelly.
 

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


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: Reviews & Interviews, Visual Arts, Desmond Kenny, Sally-Anne Kelly,

600 Children Enjoy Lifeboat by Catherine Wheels Theatre Company

March 31, 2015

Leigh Hussey had a wonderful time last week out in schools with Catherine Wheels Theatre Company’s ‘Lifeboat’ which toured Fingal schools as part of Draíocht’s Spréacha Festival, Fingal’s International Arts Programme for Children. We were thrilled to play to almost 600 children in 3 days.



Lifeboat is the extraordinary true story of Bess Walder and Beth Cummings. Set in World War II, it is a story of courage, a story of survival and a story of enduring friendship. On Friday 13 September 1940, a ship, The City of Benares, set sail from Liverpool for Canada. On board were 90 evacuees escaping the relentless bombing and dangers of war torn Britain. Four days into the crossing, the ship was torpedoed and sank. Only eleven of the evacuees survived. Two fifteen year old girls, Bess Walder and Beth Cummings, spent 19 terrifying hours in the water on an upturned lifeboat. They willed each other to survive. Lifeboat tells their story.





On Tuesday we were in St Francis Xavier’s Senior School, Wednesday we travelled to Malahide to St Oliver Plunkett’s and Thursday we finished off in Scoil Oilibheir. A big congratulations to the cast; Lois Makie who played Bess and Amy McGregor who played Beth and Stage manager Sian Mac Gregor who marked the end of a three month tour of ‘Lifeboat’ with us. Thank you to all at Catherine Wheels Theatre Company for all your hard work and bringing Bess and Beth’s incredible story to life.


It was great to spend time with all the classes to hear their thoughts on the show. If you saw the show and would like to share your thoughts please follow the link below to leave a comment.

http://www.catherinewheels.co.uk/productions/lifeboat/feedback/#page-content



 

Read more about Spréacha here ... 
Spréacha is presented by Draíocht in partnership with Fingal County Council.

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By Draíocht. Tags: Reviews & Interviews, Youth Arts,

Audience Review - Little Gem

March 20, 2015

Audience Member Carmel Hogan is back again with another fantastic review, this time for 'Little Gem' ...

 

We saw Little Gem at Draiocht on Friday, 13th March 2015. I know people say Friday 13th is an unlucky day, but for us, this year, it was an especially good one. 

The play is a beautifully crafted piece of writing. It incorporates humour (of the laughing out loud variety!), pathos (tears were shed), insight (Elaine Murphy knows how women think) and the mundanity of life. The three characters on stage in the play are superbly drawn. The off screen characters – stroke-ridden Gem, Ray, the drug addict, Paul – the Deb’s partner and on-off boyfriend, as well as the new Salsa partner/love interest, Neil, and the other transitory characters are all so well drawn that their absence from the stage is not noticed at all. 

Her decision to give the positive attitude to and experience of sex to Kay, the grandmother, was pure genius as so many younger people think sex was invented by their generation. We laughed till we cried at the introduction of Kermit – (I won’t go into any more detail as this aspect of the play really has to be experienced in order to get the full benefit. So find out where Little Gem is playing and book seats now!) Kay’s wisdom and generous spirit were inspirational and the fact that she still loved and cherished her husband was a delight. 

The youngest character, Amber, broke my heart. She thinks she’s so cool and so on top of it all. Whereas from my perspective, she was tragically overindulging in all sorts of ways which would greatly limit her future life. Life happened to her rather than her taking decisions on what she wanted from it. She had it all – she was beautiful, bright if not very intellectual – but unevolved – and despite the limitations, we see that she has a support network that would be the envy of many. So while the actress had terrific comic timing and created an unforgettable image of the young, chaotic life of Amber, she left a sadness in our hearts which lingers. 

Lorraine, her Mam and daughter of Kay, grabbed our hearts with her description of her obsessive irritation at work. We’ve all seen “The Wrecker” in shops, but Lorraine was the one who had to clear up the havoc after her. Her brittleness was so acute that even the superior “Suit” and “Woman from HR” saw through it to her vulnerability. Considering her life experience, Lorraine is a hero to actually get out of bed at all. While the descriptions of “Counselling” made us laugh, it also rang true and, thankfully, Lorraine really tried to follow the recommendations and “do something nice for herself”. This led her through the Salsa night to a whole new positive experience of a man who actually cared about her and despite angst, saw a woman who blossomed like a flower when loved. The “sex scene” made us wince through our laughter as anyone will know who has had a relationship end and has to think about “being with someone new”.

Elaine Murphy’s play is sharp, funny and thought provoking. The casting was so appropriate that the characters of Amber, Lorraine and Kay came to life in front of us. Draiocht is an excellent venue as despite its capacity, everyone is close enough to the stage to see the expressions on the faces and to hear the voices without excessive amplification. 

Once again, Draiocht’s impeccable record of excellent theatre production remains unbroken! 



Would you like to write a review for Draíocht? ... Pop us an email to marketing@draiocht.ie ... we'd be delighted to hear from you.

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By Draíocht. Tags: Reviews & Interviews, Theatre,

Des Kenny Reviews Jenny Fox - Distant Thoughts and Faded Songs

March 11, 2015

09 March 2015 - Our Arty Blogger is back! Des Kenny gives a personal response to our current exhibition by Jenny Fox - Distant Thoughts and Faded Songs.


Place and time search for definition in the myopic whites and hazy blues of Jenny Fox’s paintings in the First Floor Gallery in Draíocht (until 25 April 2015). Form dissipates into a ghostly semblance and the landscapes shimmering presence haunts the canvas surface like half developed photographs.


Jenny Fox,  As I stand alone with memories of home

The title of one painting As I stand alone with memories of home is an act of remembrance without the factual need for the subject matter of home to starkly exist before the artist’s defining eye. It is an inner emotional landscape the artist conjures that makes reference to peripheral reality. A white cold sun dissolves the landscape into a few elementary lines. An arc scythes through the paint hinting perhaps a hill as it kisses the sky above a blue indiscriminate foreground.


Jenny Fox, The melody lingers on


Again this white cold sun appears within The melody lingers on and its pale ethereal bearing cannot impose colour on the land beyond neutral blues and greys. The artist with a flurry of marks, gouged into the wet pigment and plaster endeavours to map raw forms into the fading ember of reminiscence like a phonograph needle following grooves in a record and vibrates the still land with mournful abandon.



Jenny Fox, Those funny little plans

The artist abdicates clarity of form in the pursuit of something more poetically cryptic and allows her engagement with the land become marooned in the materiality of paint. In Those funny little plans a dark grey shape occupies the top third of the painting, evoking a church spire and a town dowsed in the misty distance of pouring rain. Large silver brushstrokes sweep across sky and land, obscuring the frigid horizon, creating a floating world surrounded by rising flood waters. Bleached blues increase the surging watery drama to an image viewed as if through steam smeared glass.

Jenny Fox, Everything was quiet

Everything was quiet
is a large painting composed primarily of silver grey paint with an ashen grey rectangle, registered on the lower third of the canvas. Vertical strokes carved into the paint surface indicate falling snow racing across an immense sky over a barely discernible terrain. Sound finds no echo and the land is enveloped in shuddering silence. The perpetual fluctuation of nature is momentarily stalled in stillness. It’s these transient junctures in time that fleetingly descend upon the land that captures the artist imaginative engagement with picture making.



Jenny Fox, The way it changed

In The way it changed we recognise a distinguishable coast line with the curve of a beach receding towards a faint headland. The white surf and the pale sky blend together, wedding each other’s elements into a singular essence. A large vertical X scoured onto the paint surface attempts to anchor the image before it dissolves into a recurring haze of constant change. Throughout these works the embattled scarred surfaces portray the artist’s vigorous attempt to capture a capricious subject that appears to disperse before it is possessed.

 

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


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: Reviews & Interviews, Visual Arts, Desmond Kenny, Jenny Fox,

Audience Review - The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly

March 7, 2015

Audience Member Carmel Hogan is back again with another fantastic review, this time for 'The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly' by Theatre Lovett.


The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly

A review

On 28th February 2015, I had the pleasure of bringing my daughter and two granddaughters (aged 5 and 7) to The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly.

It was a delightful and highly innovative show. Louis Lovett who perform this one man show, engaged beautifully with the children AND adults in the audience.  He entranced and captivated us all. We were totally with him in his journey as Peggy O’Hegarty. There was even panto-like enthusiasm in the responses to the various questions s/he asked. The serial repetition of sequences – such as breakfast – was perfect as it led the children to predict what would come next and be charmed when they were correct or tickled when they were not.  The story line shows humour, pathos, tragedy and in the end, the overcoming of huge challenges.  Just the kind of narrative to appeal to children.  And we adults loved it too.

The set was clever and the way it was incrementally revealed added to its magic.  How something so innately simple could have such a sophisticated impact is still a wonder to me.  Each piece fitted beautifully into the next and as it changed, we all moved from being with Peggy at home to the van to the deserted city, to the floundering ship with ease.  The use of red lighting for the “bloody” scene was pure genius and highly effective. 

The show is beautifully written by Finegan Kruckemeyer and from start to finish a success. It engaged our two little ladies to the degree that although the elder child was evidently brewing something, she wouldn’t miss a moment.  Once we left the theatre, it was clear she was unwell and she spent the rest of the weekend in bed. However, she hung on valiantly till the very end before she expressed any distress. 

Once again, a big Thank You to Draiocht for presenting this wonderful show and to all those involved for the super production.

 

Would you like to write a review for Draíocht? ... Pop us an email to marketing@draiocht.ie ... we'd be delighted to hear from you.
 

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By Draíocht. Tags: Reviews & Interviews, Theatre,

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