Friday, 25 November 2011

A Nation of Art without a Future? Discussion

What is a nation? And what do we need to be considered part of a nation? This event aims to consider our identity as curators, as Italians, as Europeans in a precarious time, especially because of politics and economics.
We are living in hard times: both Ireland and Italy are suffering due to the global crisis and our governments are forced to cut funds to support culture. Thus the art system is in danger and a lot of people have decided to leave their own country to find other possibilities abroad. The “new emigration”, composed of graduates and highly educated people, art professionals, doctors, engineers, is changing an entire social system, especially in Italy.
Taking inspiration from the financial crisis and funding cuts, the event will focus on the reaction of artists to these issues, their interpretations of the causes and effects, and their strategies to address or overcome them.
Quoting Boris Groys, “artists today are using the same forms and processes around the world, even though they are using them in different cultural and political contexts. The context in which the work is produced is often an intrinsic dimension of the work itself. Works of art do not simply tell us about themselves, for they also allude to the context in which they can immediately be perceived as signs and symbols, and as information that tells the spectator about the particular conditions that exist in the area of the world they come from.”
As a consequence of that, some artists’ approach is to bring today’s economic and political decision-making models into serious question. Some artists’ works are detached from institutions and from the normal places of art, interacting directly with the public space. In our own practice as artists and curators, we sometimes assist with these alternative models of public action.
The project consists in a panel discussion moderated by Alessandra Saviotti and Marianna Liosi, involving one Italian and one Irish curator whose research
and practice is related to these issues. Through the discussion and the comparison between the Italian and Irish context, we are interested in highlighting how artists use creative processes to face both current and possible realities. The talk will be accompanied by some examples of Irish and Italian artists, used as pretexts to analyse in depth two different contexts of action.

about the guest curators

Luigi Fassi is the director of ar/ge kunst Galerie Museum in Bolzano, Italy, where he curated, amongst other, monographic exhibitions of Runo Lagomarsino, Chto Delat?, Mark Boulos, William E. Jones, Eva Kotatkova. A 2008-2009 Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellow of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in New York, he has organized several exhibitions internationally, including “Theoretical Practice”, ISCP, New York (2009); “Archeology of Mind” at the Malmö Konstmuseum, Sweden (2008);  “In Search of the Miraculous” at the Kunsthalle Helsinki, Finland (2007). His writings appears in publications such as Mousse, Artforum, Domus, Site, Flash Art, KLAT and he is a co-author of Clement Greenberg. L’avventura del modernismo, Johan & Levi, 2011 and Time Out of Joint: Recall and Evocation in Recent Art, Yale University Press, 2009.
Mick Wilson is a researcher, educator, artist and writer. He is currently the Dean of the Graduate School of Creative Arts & Media, Dublin, Ireland where he works with artists, designers, curators, musicians, cultural historians/theorists, and policy analysts to investigate aspects of public culture and contemporary cultural practices. He has lectured internationally on art research, public culture, critical education and urbanism. He is a member of the European Arts Research Network (EARN He is the principal investigator for “SHARE (2010-2013)”, a major European research network for the creative arts with participants from 30 different countries jointly led by ELIA and GradCAM.
He was co-curator with Daniel Jewesbury of re : public (2010) an expanded exhibition platform on the nature of public culture and urban politics and he is a co-curator of the food thing (2011-2013) a project investigating contemporary food cultures and politics.

Sample Studios, 2nd Floor, Former Government Buildings, O'Sullivans Quay, Cork
When 26/11/11

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Helen Sharp - Love's Rebellious Joy

Helen Sharp is an artist living and working in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Helen grew up on the tiny Hebridean island of Vatersay in Scotland and left the islands to take up a place in Edinburgh College of Art where she gained a First Class honours in Sculpture and received the Andrew Grant Bequest Scholarship for Highest Academic Achievement. Helen went on to gain a Masters with Distinction in Time Based Art from Dartington College of Arts gaining the highest degree result in her year.

After some time teaching and also exhibiting internationally many times, Helen went on to be director of Catalyst Arts Gallery in Belfast and then to complete a PhD in Art from the University of Ulster. Alongside and equally as important to her academic career, Helen has continued her art practice and recently had a major solo show called the `Hero and Now’, exhibiting film,  photography, print and installation. Helen was one of five shortlisted artists for the Cultural Olympiad in 2009 and also published a book in collaboration with artist Aisling O’ Beirn entitled ‘or So We’ve heard’. This book was the culmination of 2 years work within communities exploring and gathering vernacular information such as recipes, remedies, urban myths and people and places of the various communities visited.

Helen’s community arts work has included sculpture collaborations with artist Duncan Ross, community gardens, environmental sculpture and an upcoming Art on the Wall Project based in the Kilwilkie Estate in Lurgan. Helen has also recently completed a commission from Kerrygold Butter to design and install a bespoke artwork and garden in MileEnd, London.  Helen is currently Chairperson of the Northern Irish branch of  ‘Paintings in Hospitals’, a UK charity engaged in providing high quality art works for Healthcare sites.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Rivane Neuenschwander: A Day Like Any Other

Rivane Neuenschwander, I Wish Your Wish, 2003, Silkscreen on fabric ribbons, Dimensions variable, Detail, Miami Art Museum, Miami, Florida, EUA / USA, Photo by Chocolate Milk, Photography, Courtesy the artist, Fortes Vilaça Gallery, São Paulo; Stephen Friedman Gallery, London; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York. Collection Thyssen-Bornemisza Contemporary Art Foundation, Viena; Juan e [and] Patricia Vergez, Argentina

This major mid-career survey of the work of the internationally admired Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander covers a decade of her work. A Day Like Any Other highlights her unique contribution to the narrative of Brazilian Conceptualism and reveals her wide ranging, interdisciplinary practice that merges painting, photography, film, sculpture, installation, collaborative actions and participatory events. Three installations in the exhibition involve direct visitor participation. The first, I Wish Your Wish, 2003, is based on a tradition at a church in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, where the faithful tie silk ribbons to their wrists and to the gates of the church; and, according to tradition, their wishes are granted when the ribbons wear away and fall off. At IMMA hundreds of similar ribbons are printed with visitors’ wishes from Neuenschwander’s past projects exhibited elsewhere. Visitors are invited to remove a ribbon from the wall and tie it around their wrist. According to Brazilian tradition, the wish is granted when the ribbon wears away and falls off. In exchange, the artist asks you to write your wish on the paper available and insert it in the ribbon hole. The artist collects your wishes and some are added to the work when next the piece is exhibited again.

16th Nov 2011 (Wed) - 29th Jan 2012 (Sun)

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Friday, 18 November 2011

Fire Station Artists’ Studios

Located In the north east inner city Dublin, Fire Station Artists’ Studios was established in 1993 to support professional visual artists. Fire Station provides subsidised residential live/work spaces for visual artists. The studios are let for up to two years and nine months and for shorter periods for international artists. A long term residency at Fire Station allows an artist to focus on their practice and general career development in a supportive and well-resourced environment.

Fire Station provides large scale sculpture workshop facilities and training opportunities for artists through its Skills Programme. This programme has expanded to include digital and film training and continues to host technical training and master classes which incorporate critical reflection. A key policy of Fire Station is to contribute to the debate on collaborative and socially engaged arts practice. This is achieved through working with both local and international artists and curators through a commissioning process that incorporates critique.

In recent years Fire Station has expanded the scope of its facilities to offer Sculpture Workshop and Digital Media Residences. Also, in partnership with Arts & Disability Ireland, Fire Station has developed the Studio Award for an artist with a disability.

Broadstone Studios

Located in Dublin city center, Broadstone Studios is an independent visual artists’ studio workspace that was founded in 1997 by visual artist Jacinta Lynch. The core philosophy of the studio is one of autonomy that supports professional development for contemporary visual artists through the provision of affordable studio workspace within a safe, secure, accessible and creative environment. Support facilities include a black & white darkroom, digital video editing facilities and a large ground floor project and exhibition space. The large open project space enables the studios to provide public access for a predominantly private artists workspace through a series of practice led initiatives, partnerships and collaborations.

Broadstone Studios works in partnership with many artists’ studio organisations, both nationally and internationally to research new models for studio providers, to lobby and advocate on behalf of visual arts workspace’s and to create networks for communication, support and information. In particular, Broadstone works with a team of established studios, both institutional and independent, with a lead management role for ASNI – Artists’ Studio Network Ireland

China Through the Lens of John Thomson 1868-1872

This exhibition is devoted to images of China by Scottish photographer John Thomson (1837-1921). Born in Edinburgh Thomson first travelled to Asia in 1862, where he set up a professional photographic studio.  Fascinated by local cultures, Thomson returned in 1868, settling in Hong Kong.  Over the next four years he made extensive trips to Guangdong, Fujian, Beijing, China’s north-east and down the Yangtze.  This exhibition is drawn from his time in these regions.
In the early days of photography, when negatives were made on glass plates, a cumbersome mass of equipment was required but Thomson was nevertheless able to capture a wide variety of images.  His works present the human aspects of life in China through the extensive record of everyday-street scenes, rarely captured by other photographers of that era.
After returning to Britain, Thomson took an active role informing the public about China, through illustrated lectures and publications.  In 1920, he wrote to Henry Wellcome - pharmacist, philanthropist and collector - wishing to sell his glass negatives.  Thomson died before the transaction was completed, and Wellcome bought the negatives from Thomson’s heirs in 1921.  The images in this exhibition come from the Wellcome Library’s collection in London.
Timed to co-ordinate with Chinese New Year celebrations in 2012, the exhibition will include over 50 stunning images with a wide variety of themes in China including people, architecture, domestic and street scenes.  A selection of traditional Chinese clothing and accessories from the Library’s own collection will also be on display.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Block T

Block T is an organisation that has been operating from a formerly disused tile warehouse located in Smithfield Square, Dublin since July 2010. Block T  provides a platform for visual and performing arts, as well as fostering philosophical, social and technological innovation, locally and internationally through education and exchange. Producing an interdisciplinary and varied programme, Block T hopes to establish engagement that encompasses a diverse and wide ranging audience

Block T's wider mission is to provide a platform for creative thinking from all avenues. It strives to help independent, self-sufficient and productive individuals to bridge the gay between theory and practice in their art or discipline and to give them exposure to a wider audience.

Block T is a 8000 square foot space which encompasses 11 resident artist studios, a gallery space, a workshop room, a performance room, a communal room and a photography darkroom.
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Unknown Knowns - Recent Art Graduates from Fingal / Andrew Carson, Sally-Anne Kelly and Lisa Shaughnessy

The term Unknown Knowns which constitutes the title of this exhibition, is the description used by the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek when he refers to the “unconscious beliefs and prejudices that determine how we perceive reality and intervene in it.” Things we know, but don’t know we know, dictate how we address situations we encounter. Obviously it is impossible to know what the unknown known is because if we did it would become the known known, but the work in this exhibition addresses the theme of unconscious knowledge.

The three artists have explored and represented specific elements of this through their work. Shown through a diverse range of works, from the manipulation of materials that we know on some level are familiar to us, to the investigation into the possibility of another self and how this can determine our lives, to the idea of the second life and the attempt to survive for eternity, all three artists’ work delve into certain aspects of the unknown known.

With his latest work in the on-going series inspired by the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Andrew Carson explores notions of “online realities and virtual immortality”. This series derives from a particular chapter of the book which was written as a guide on how to survive the afterlife. It was written in order to prevent the deceased from “dying a second time”. The work draws parallels between contemporary social media interaction and ancient concepts of the soul; an idea which many people trust is known to them, yet, it is something which remains ephemeral and unknown.

Through her current work Sally-Anne Kelly is “exploring ideas about who we are, who we think we are, who we become, who others think we are, and who we present ourselves as being.” Her new series of photographs ‘The Hunted Self’ examines what we do not or cannot know about the self. She investigates the internal power struggle of the hidden and unknown self or double and how that can be realised as another or separate identity.

Lisa Shaughnessy’s practice is concerned with the physicality of the materials used and alludes to the processes used by the artist. The work presents ideas of construction and deconstruction. There is a blurring between the boundaries of painting and sculpture and what the viewer felt they knew about these materials becomes a little less certain but the fundamental qualities of the materials are still apparent. These known and familiar materials have been manipulated in such a way as to render them initially unknown.

The examination of this unknown known, equated by Žižek to the Freudian unconscious which recognises the importance of the unconscious in comprehending conscious thought and behaviour, creates a platform for this exhibition to reflect on the convictions of our knowledge and to propose that it is not vital for our existence to know that we have all the answers …

Fingal Arts Office is delighted to showcase recent local art college graduates with its annual exhibition opportunity Amharc Fhine Gall. The show seeks to increase the profile of emerging Fingal artists by giving them the chance to show in a professional, contemporary art space. It may be their first major show but with the professional presentation of their work and accompanying catalogue we hope it is the first of many. The opportunity also extends to the emerging curator who will work with the graduate(s) to create a suitable context to show this work to a wider local and contemporary art audience.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Black Church Print Studio

Black Church Print Studio is an artistic collective and one of the leading contemporary fine art print studios in Ireland. It was established in 1982 as a non-profit organisation and is grant-aided by the Arts Council, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Dublin City Council.

The Studio provides fully equipped facilities for all types of fine art printmaking from traditional to innovative techniques, offering facilities in etching, photo-intagilo, screen-printing, lithography, relief and giclee printing. Its main focus is to enable Studio Members to create high quality limited editions and to expand the boundaries of printmaking by embracing new, innovative processes. It has 70 full-time artist members with 24 hour access.

Black Church Print Studio is a friendly and supportive environment with full-time technical and administrative staff and part-time digital support. The Studio has an exhibition, artist in residence and peer critique programme to support the  professional development of its Studio Members.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Allotments by Brigid O'Brien

Signal is proud to present the exhibition of paintings and drawings by artist Brigid O’Brien.  Brigid has exhibited widely in group shows in Dublin, Wicklow and London.  She has worked with other artists and people with disabilities, designing gardens and painting murals in places of long –term care.  As an artist, drawings are her specialty, she has a unique quirky view of life which she portrays in her work.

 Allotments were a feature of the earlier part of the last century. I recall observing the patterns left by them on railway banks around Dublin in the nineteen sixties. Quaint, they looked, old fashioned and definitely part of our past.  Fifty years later, in tall glass buildings, decisions are made that affect all of us. A sense of anxiety is now seemingly part of what we are.

 Outside of the economics, the protests and resignations, a new movement has started. It is an underground revolution. It is happening in your area. It has infiltrated schools, business and the media. It is unstoppable.  In a lot of lives there is now more time and less money. There is an awareness of environmental issues and the need for chemical free food. These are practical reasons for the allotment movement.

Enjoying the colours and patterns made by all the little gardens and the lines made by the rows of plants. Getting sweaty and mucky, using muscles and strength to great satisfaction.  Having all the senses stimulated.  Concentrating the mind on all these things rather than the frightening news that comes at us all the time.  Knowing that underground everything is working exactly as it should be.
This movement has a philosophy whose core values are nurturing, sharing, education and respect for the earth. It is a heartening response to life.

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Signal Arts Centre,
1 Albert Avenue, Bray, Wicklow.

Fables | Peter Burns, Anne Hendrick and Mary Noonan

Fables | Peter Burns, Anne Hendrick and Mary Noonan

Peter Burns creates paintings and sculptures in a variety of materials and has a very tactile approach to his work. Based on his research into literature, art history, myth and allegory, Peter’s paintings are often playful re-workings of romantic themes with allusions to faraway places. The sculptures are often very fragile, an important feature which lends the sculptures a warmth and pathos. Since graduating with a Masters in Fine Art from NCAD (2009), Peter has been involved in numerous solo and group exhibitions, the most recent being a solo exhibition in the Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast and as part of a group show at this years Royal Hibernian Academy Annual Exhibition in Dublin.  Anne Hendrick’s paintings deal with the nature of reality and the truth within the seen image by simulating architectural, psychological and social spaces or situations within a landscape. The work questions ideas surrounding representation and the idea of an embellished truth. Dualist themes are prevalent; ambiguous narratives are slowly revealed. Anne Hendrick graduated with a BA Joint Honours in Fine Art Painting and History of Art from NCAD (2006). In 2011 her work has featured as part of a number of group exhibitions including New Connections at Rua Red, Dublin.  Most of Mary Noonan’s work is watercolour and drawing-based. The pieces chosen for this exhibition are a reflection of her research into Irish folklore and superstition and her own upbringing on a farm in the west of Ireland. The work is informed by a sense of the uncanny, and explores ideas relating to identity, landscape and cultural history. Since graduating with a Masters in Fine Art from NCAD 2009, Mary Noonan’s work has featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions including the 181st Royal Hibernian Academy Annual Exhibition (2011), Dublin and TULCA, Galway Arts Centre (2010).  This group exhibition is curated by Patrick T Murphy, RHA, Dublin.

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Roscommon Arts Centre,
Circular Road, Roscommon. 

Going Solo

Meath County Council Arts Office in Association with Solstice Arts Centre are delighted to announce Sarah Standing, as the 2011 winner of the’ Going Solo Award’. This award is intended to support recent graduates of art living in, or from Co. Meath, and to assist young and emerging artists in the development of their professional careers.

From Navan, Sarah has taken part in a number of group shows in Dublin and Cork. ‘Going Solo’ will be her first major solo exhibition. Of her art practice and forthcoming exhibition she says;

‘This body of work analyses and explores the architecture and concept of the house and home. It manifests from language, theory and signage attained to its form. The intention being to present the relationship we build with and within the architecture of the house. My practice exists of small to medium scale, painted installations. It combines elements of both sculpture and painting’.

It promises to be an exciting exhibition which will appeal to audiences and art lovers of all ages.

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Solstice Arts Centre,
Railway Street, Navan, Meath.

Signs Of Life Exhibition

Where would you find TV3 Ireland am presenter Sinead Desmond, footballer Robbie Keane, novelist Roddy Doyle, cook Rachel Allen, UTV and Sky TV presenter Eamonn Holmes, and musician Andrea Corr in one room? Signs of Life is organised by the Irish Deaf Society (IDS) and is the first ever Irish Sign Language (ISL) celebrity photography exhibition. These photos, snapped by deaf photographer Johnny Corcoran, provide a glimpse of the beauty of ISL through the eyes of 26 celebrities, each signing the letter of the ISL alphabet. The aim of the exhibition is to encourage public awareness and appreciation of one of only two unique lrish languages. ISL is the native language of the Irish Deaf Community and is used everyday by more than 40,000 people.

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Open Studio Day Galway

Saturday 19th November 2011
Engage Art Studios & Artspace Studios, 12:00 -5:00pm
Curators Talk by WHW 6:00pm, Nuns Island Theatre.

Open Studio Day Galway is an opportunity to learn more about Galway’s contemporary artists, by meeting them in their studios to discuss their work and practice between 12:00 – 5:00pm.

Open Studio Day Galway includes a Curators talk by WHW, (What, How and for Whom ) a curatorial collective formed in 1999 and based in Zagreb, Croatia.  WHW are the curators of the Croatian participation at the 54th Venice Biennale 2011, and the 11th Istanbul Biennial in 2009 and have directed the program of Gallery Nova, a non-profit, city owned gallery in Zagreb since 2003.

Engage Art Studios, Cathedral Building , Middle Street.


Engage Art Studios is an artist-run studio space in Galway city centre. Founded in 2004, Engage supports ambitious, young, professional-minded and emerging artists in a professional environment. The studios provide an atmosphere of creativity, production, inspiration and opportunity for working artists in the area. The unique studio space is on the top floors of the old Cathedral Building and is just off Shop Street in the heart of Galway City Centre.

The current artists in Engage Art Studios are: Tadhg O’Cuirín, Shelly McDonnell, Roisin McAuley, Jessica Nickel, Ann Maria Healy, Ruby Wallis, Seamus Keane,Victoria McCormack, Maeve Curtis, Dave Callan, Eimear Jean McCormack, Brid Egan, Cecilia Danell, Victoria Smith, Angela O'Brien, Kate Molloy, Roisin O'Sullivan, Winnie Pun, Tim Acheson, Clare Lymer,   Phone: +353 (0)91 539573
Engage is supported by the Arts Council and the Galway City Council.

Artspace Studios, 7/8 Addley Park, Liosbaun, Tuam Road & Black Box Theatre, Dyke Road Galway.

Snapshot 2011-10-04 00-19-23

Artspace was formed as an artist's collective by a group of Galway-based artists in 1986. The priority was to develop studio space for professional artists and to support group and individual work and exhibitions. More than 100 artists have been part of Artspace Studios over the 25 years. There are currently 19 artists between two locations in Liosban and the Black Box. In February 2011, Artspace studios were part of Supermarket ArtFair in Stockholm Sweden. In August 2011, the studios had a 25th anniversary show with a month-long exhibition and open studio with public events, collaborative workshops and talks in Galway Arts Centre. The events and show were designed to involve the public in the artistic process and to foster debate and interaction with other artistic collectives in Galway.

The currents artists in Artspace Studios are John Brady,Laura Brennan,
Juliette de la Mer,David Finn,Simon Fleming, Kathleen Furey, Isabelle Gaborit, Ben Geoghegan, Dave Holland, Mariann Hughes Browne, Robin Jones
Mark Kelly,Louise Manifold, Paul Maye, Triona Mac Giolla Rí, Anne O’Byrne, Catherine O’Leanacháin, Mara Sola, Lisa Sweeney.

Artspace is supported by the Arts Council and the Galway City Council.  Phone:  +353 91 773046

Martina O'Brien, Expanse 2 @ Waterside Theatre

Dublin based artist Martina O'Brien will present her exhibition Expanse 2 in The Cascade Gallery, Waterside Theatre and Arts Centre from Friday 21st October to the end of November 2011. This exhibition is a follow up from her recent shows in The Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny in conjunction with the Kilkenny Arts Office August/ September 2011 and The Sol Art Gallery, Dublin, early October 2011. This body of work is about the internal and external landscape/seascape and the relationship between both. The work is itself a unique hybrid of painting and emotion. It is made up of layers of paint and mixed media and there is a contradiction between the actual and the inner which is emphasized by the three-dimensions that this layering produces. The internal landscape - beneath the skin and within the psyche, is the artist's inspiration. Light from the outside world refracts through a mosaic of experiences, paints fractals of light and colour, patterns within. Darkness, its counterpoint, has its place within providing weight and substance. Its hues echo the recessive, retrograde and painful - allowing a more nuanced experience. The internal landscape is never simply a reflection of what is seen, never a reproduction of the world as is. Rather, it is how we organise our experiences and sensations, and how we choose to engage in the world as we understand it; it is what defines us. Martina's work takes a form that challenges traditional ideas of what seascapes and landscapes should look like. Martina says of her work - ‘In my work boundaries blur and definition is understated; but the balance is never lost. My studies in photography have led me to the point where I can deliberately manipulate structure to achieve my desired result, by shifting the focus from the external to the internal.'

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Returning by Georgia Hopkins

Georgia Hopkins was born in the U.S., in Savannah, GA., and during her childhood was moved to Ireland, living in Co.Kerry and Co.Louth. After studying in Belfast, Georgia moved to Cork, where she has found her spiritual home, and has lived for nearly 20 years. Georgia is a self-taught artist, and has been exhibiting her work publicly since 1998. She has completed five residencies at the Cill Rialaig Artists Centre, and her work is strongly focused on the power of the natural world. Georgia’s work has been exhibited in Ireland and abroad, and is represented in private collections nationally and internationally.

‘My paintings are all essentially atmospheric, meditative pieces. They tend towards seascapes, landscapes or abstracts, they are small in scale, and are all painted in water-based media, primarily gouache and watercolour.

Mood, light, water and nature are the recurring themes and inspiration points in all of my work, the choice of water-based medium allowing the intensity of colour to co-exist with an ethereal quality of moments caught in time.

The intention is that viewing the works is at once a calming and uplifting experience. All of my paintings are imbued with the powerful nature that inspired them, and to spend a while before them is, hopefully, to be drawn to a place both within and beyond the works themselves.’ 

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Alliance Francaise de Cork,
Enterprise House, 2nd Floor, 36 Mary Street, Cork.
24th Nov 2011 (Thu) - 6th Jan 2012

Mike Disfarmer @ The Douglas Hyde

Mike Disfarmer
Gallery 1 
Mike Disfarmer, born Michael Meyer in 1884, changed his name to distance himself from the community in which he grew up, even going so far as to claim that he’d been blown into the family home by a tornado. For over forty years he was the local photographer in Heber Springs, Arkansas, making inexpensive studio photos to satisfy the needs and whims of his rural neighbours; in doing so he developed a distinctive style and well-honed sensibility which made him one of the masters of American portrait photography.
At first, many of Mike Disfarmer’s photographs seem familiar; they bring to mind well-known images of southern American communities in the Depression years. A closer look reveals their singularity: these are portraits of people who are happy to have their pictures taken and are content to pay for them. They are people who are keen to impress and look their best, because the photos were made to be shared with family, friends, and sweethearts.
There is no artifice or guile in Disfarmer’s images, and they can be unforgiving in their scrupulous gaze. And yet – this explains much of their beauty – they can be full of grace and dignity, just as they are unwavering in their tolerance and acceptance of difference. They are also, at times, curiously sensuous photographs. Surprisingly, because their maker was a loner and outsider, these photographs are about connectedness. They are a form of friendship.
Mike Disfarmer’s photographs are well-known in America but less celebrated in Europe. There are several websites devoted to his work, a puppet theatre inspired by his life and photography, and an album of music by Bill Frisell that is dedicated to him. This is the first time that his photographs have been exhibited in Ireland; the prints in the show are vintage and have been lent by Steven Kasher, New York, whose help and advice are warmly appreciated. 

The Douglas Hyde Gallery
November 25, 2011 – January 25, 2012
Opening November 24, 6 - 7:30pm
Mike Disfarmer
Gallery 1

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Friday, 11 November 2011

Settlement: a photographic installation by Anthony Haughey

  • Settlement: a photographic installation by Anthony Haughey
The Copper House Gallery will launch Settlement, a multi-disciplinary exhibition by Anthony Haughey on Wednesday 26th October 2011 from 6pm-8pm. Writer, journalist and political commentator, Fintan O’Toole, will open the exhibition. Settlement, a photographic installation by Anthony Haughey, charts the fallout from the collapse of Ireland’s ‘property bubble’, a result of the overheated Celtic Tiger economy.

For this exhibition Anthony Haughey has created an installation in Fire’s new Copper House Gallery, which reflects the financial, ecological and domestic impact of Ireland’s economic collapse. His installation will incorporate a collaboration with some of Irelands architects - in collaboration with DIT Department of Architecture and Urban Design, NAMAlab, UCD School of Architecture and Mahoney Architects.

As part of the  Settlement exhibition, The Copper House Gallery will host a public discussion on Tuesday 1st November 2011 6-8pm. How can we move away from the current political stasis and re-imagine a future for ghost estates, commercial developments and public spaces? Curated by Leszek Wolnik, an invited panel will meet to discuss this question with the artist. Speakers include: Paschal Mahoney, Architect, visit ;Frank McDonald, Irish Times Environment Editor ;Dr. Cian O’Callaghan, Cultural Geographer, NUI Maynooth ;Val Connor, Independent Curator & writer will chair the discussion.