16 – Travelling Exhibition of Prints
On 24th of April 2016 in St Peter’s Art Museum and Event Venue, Cork, I had the pleasure of attending the 16 Art exhibition, curated by Jessie Malone in association with Cork and Limerick Printmakers, Belfast Print Workshop and Black Church Print Studio. Each artist was invited to make one image, in response to the theme of the 1916 Easter Rising, to an edition of twenty, on paper measuring sixteen inches square.
Jessie Malone curated this project in association with the Cork Printmakers to exhibit the visual responses of the Easter Rising from the collective talents of our printmaking artists throughout Ireland; showcasing a unique record of contemporary printmaking techniques and artistic comment to the public in the form of a boxset.
A boxset is common practice in the printmaking community. For this specific project, the 16 artists were asked to make one image to an edition of 20; each artist then receives a box set of all 16 prints and the remaining four box sets were given to each print workshop involved.
Limerick Printmakers: Des MacMahon, Suzannah O’ Reilly, Kate O’ Shea, Fiona Quill
Belfast Print Workshop: Leo Boyd, Helen Lavery, Josephine McCormack, Eamon McCrory
Cork Printmakers: Jessie Malone, Jim Sheehy, Sylvia Taylor, The Project Twins
Black Church Print Studio: Janine Davidson, Shane O’ Driscoll, Pauline O’ Farrell, Dorothy Smith
The participating artists exhibits;
- The Project Twins: Pillar
- Des MacMahon: On Both Sides
- Josephine McCormick: Poblacht na hEireann
- Helen Lavery: Memento
- Leo Boyd: Those Who Cannot Remember The Past Are Condemned To Invent It.
- Eamonn McCrory: A Walk Across Belfast, 2016
- Janine Davidson: The Ulster Problem
- Suzannah O’Reilly: An Fhis Glas
- Sylvia Taylor: Sadhbh Breathes Fire
- Jim Sheehy: In Memory
- Jessie Malone: Croi Na Crogach
- Dorothy Smith: Sign the Petition, Moore St., Dublin, 23rd February 2016
- Pauline O’ Farrell: Ready
- Shane O’Driscoll: MC100
- Fiona Quill: Meiteamorfois
- Kate O’Shea: I’m Just Like You
This boxset represents diverse contemporary printmaking techniques used today.
The screenprints by The Project Twins and Shane O’Driscoll are bold striking images alive with symbolism; both artists come from a graphic design background which is evident from their work.
Shane O’Driscoll chose to make a print of the famous Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins as it is his 2nd Cousin. He placed Michael Collins in front of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, an important document that represents a significant moment in the foundation of Irish independence. His use of bright colours give the print a contemporary feel, the neon orange, white & green representing the tricolor and the gold ink to incorporate the crest of the Irish Free State.
The Project Twins, the design duo, use of minimal forms, humour and visual wit in their work. A figure which also appears as a monumental pillar, draped in green, is depicted in a state of both rise and fall.The symbol of a pillar suggest multiple meanings, from the physical columns of the GPO to the representation of an important member of society, a basic fact or fundamental principle.
Fiona Quill and Suzannah O’Reilly used multiple processes to create their works. Suzannah’s print An Fhis Glas was created by combining photo etching, monoprint and screenprinting. Similarly, Fiona’s print Meitamorfóis was produced using monoprint & screenprinting. Meitamorfóis examines the ideology around the 7 female leaders of 1916. Fiona Quill gives an in-depth description of Meitamorfóis below:
“For the print Meiteamorfóis in response to the 1916 events, I decided to examine the ideology around the 7 female leaders of 1916. Knowing that energy can not be made or destroyed, I depict the 7 notorious female leaders of the Rising as atoms, believing that their energy still exists today and that it existed before them. Such great energy could, perhaps, now be dispersed back into fighting for rights all over the world and maybe the women of the Rising were fuelled by those that fought for their rights and freedom before them. To embody the movement of Cumann na mBan I took the Hare as a symbol. The Hare appears all over Irish folklore. The goddess Eostre’s chosen animal and attendant spirit was the hare. It represented love, fertility and growth and was associated with the Moon, dawn and Easter, death, redemption and resurrection. Eostre changed into a hare at the full Moon. Female warriors like Boudicca, who, it was said, released a hare as a good omen before each battle to divine it’s outcome by the hare’s movements. She took a hare into battle with her to ensure victory and it was said to have screamed like a woman from beneath her cloak. The transmigration of energy from one living being to another symbolises hope in the face of adversity and the power to change and transform.”
16 is a distinctive and fascinating exhibition displaying an interesting perspective of Irish history in the medium of printmaking.
16 has been exhibited in St Peters Church, North Main Street, Cork and in The Belltable, Limerick. 16 will be travelling next to Belfast Room in The Ulster Museum, Botanic Gardens, Belfast, County Antrim BT9 5AB, UK: 2 June – 2 July 2016. Finally it will be exhibited in Ormond Project Space, 6 Ormond Quay Lower, Dublin 30th June and will run until the 7th July. Also, the boxset has recently been invited to be exhibited in Liverpool in October for the Liverpool Irish Festival. I recommend if you are in Belfast or any of the other exhibition centres to definitely check it out!
For further information check out the blog: https://16boxset.wordpress.com/
Written by Matt Corrigan