In this ongoing series, avid exhibition goer Sveta Antonova gives us her thoughts on what’s happening right now, documented with selfies. This week, Sveta visited more exhibitions than ever in Dublin.
Empireland | Mark O’Kelly | Project Arts Centre
The last day of March Project Arts Centre opened their new show ‘Empireland’ – displaying one monumental, newly commissioned painting by Mark O’Kelly. The 280cm x 900 cm painting, positioned across the black ground floor space of Project Arts is very impressive. On the opening night, Mark gave a talk about his piece – mostly talking about the idea behind, the symbolism within and the political involvement around it. This painting is about Ireland’s history as a state with all those images, icons, symbols and figures. Mark’s paintings are extremely conceptual, political, representative and historical at the same time – an overload of history which has to be depicted by the viewer.
Seeing the painting on display here, Mark talked about the Irish road system and general infrastructure, connections to Europe, in detail about the Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris and the German ‘Deutsche Bank’ company. Furthermore he investigated different kinds of movements and symbols in painting like the circle and the white swoosh you can see on the left hand side. This, at the same time, is an image borrowed from a pharmaceutical company. I could write you an essay about all the little details, symbols and histories in this painting, but you should go have a look by yourself.
Apart from being impressive just because of its size and sheer endless bits and symbols within, Mark O’Kelly’s painting style reminded me of German contemporary realists, for example Sigmar Polke – nice style, but not particularly my favourite. I think it is the maze and depiction of this immense collage what makes it so memorable.
The show is open 1st April until 28th May, Monday- Saturday from 11 am.
The Passion According to Carol Rama | Carol Rama | IMMA
Carol Rama is a fierce woman – an admirably obsessive artist and person. Her retrospective at IMMA’s East Wing displays about 200 of her paintings, drawings and sculptures.
Carol is known for her erotic sketches, drawings and water colours, many of which are in this show. I am not interested in those at all – sure, they were breaking taboos at that time and therefore considered something wild and special. In my opinion, in the context of today’s art and life, I can’t really be fascinated by a random line drawing of a masturbating girl.
What I discovered to be the interesting part of Carol’s practice are the bicycle tube painting in the last part of the main hallway. They resemble abstract modernism, a bit of Rothko and a bit of Sean Scully… bike tires, cut and glued to a canvas. You can see all those little marks, where a hole has been fixed and when. All the patches create another pattern on the pattern of the rubber painting, they become organic. Worth a look, if you are bored by sex and erotica in art, just walk through the show to the last wall and have a look at the tires.
The exhibition continues until the 1st of August, open Tuesday – Friday: 11.30am – 5.30pm, Saturday: 10.00am – 5.30pm, Sunday: 12noon – 5.30pm and closed on Monday.
Blueprint for a Storm | Russel Mills | NCAD Gallery
As part of OFFSET, the NCAD Gallery is currently showing a solo exhibition of Russel Mills’ work – videos, paintings, designs and visuals for books, CDs and DVDs. Russel became famous for his album cover designs for Brian Eno, Nine Inch Nails, David Sylvian, Michael Nyman and Peter Gabriel.
Wait. He’s the guy who made the Nine Inch Nails album cover designs? Nine Inch Nails?!
It’s hard to look at this show in an objective way when Nine Inch Nails is involved: my big teenage rebellion time music, years back when I was that little annoying punk who thought that she could change the world just by being so different… Everybody has those memories, right? Nevertheless, the Nine Inch Nails designs are great, but there is more to see in this show.
Seeing Russel’s different artworks from painting to video I spotted a particular style of mark making and loading things with information in a very strange way – mainly dark and harsh. Sometimes perhaps a bit too obvious – but it’s the guy who made the Nine Inch Nails designs!
The show is on display until the 29th April, open Monday until Friday 1.00 – 5.00 pm.
Hardly Audible | Maggie Madden | Mother’s Tankstation
Mother’s Tankstation put up a new show – a brilliant one, as expected! Recently I looked into the topic of expanded painting, what it is, and can be, beyond painting. Coming to this exhibition, all the theory I’ve read seemed to be visualised. Maggie Madden’s solo show ‘Hardly Audible’ consists of three parts of the artist’s body of work. You can see a hanging sculpture of pretty unusual collection of material. A series of large-scale installations made out of plastic bags. These bags were collected by Maggie all over the world, wherever her travels took her. At last, a series of hardly visible but utterly fragile objects can be found on the walls. I don’t know what to call them as a format of display, but ‘object’ seems to be the most suitable. One of these objects caught my attention in particular, it is upside down! The nails are not supporting the object that is hung on the wall, the object supports the nails, a beautiful paradox.
Altogether, a beautiful show in a perfect space, I really recommend to go and see this one – whether you love painting, or when you’re not sure if you like painting.
‘Hardly Audible’ is open 13th April until 21nd May, Thursdays to Saturdays 12.00 noon to 6.00pm – don’t be shy and ring the bell on the door.
Animation Art Show | Group Show | The Arch
The Arch is currently showing a mix of different artworks, all related to animation. Film stills, drawings, sketches, paintings, prints and figurines from stop-motion films – no animation, but everything that is needed to make one. The annual Animation Art Show collects a variety of works by professionals from all over the animation and moving-image industry to be auctioned for Irish children charities. It is a quirky and fun show, I found some favourites: ‘Tea with Batman’ by Una Woods, ‘Take Away’ by Fran Johnston and that lovely big monster in the first space that I would have loved to hug!
The artworks are on display at the Arch until the 17th of April, including an auction on the last exhibition day from 2 – 6pm. Money raised in the auction will go to charity.
At the Car Wash | Group Show | Littlesalt Studios
Littlesalt Studios, located in Phibsborough, opened their doors to the public on the 31st of March for the first time. The building used to be a car wash – as the title of the show ‘At the Car Wash’ indicates. Since September, three floors have been converted into studios for Dublin based artists and former NCAD graduates. Whilst still in the process of fixing and redecorating the place, they decided to have their first public show in the not so white-cubey but decent three gallery rooms on the ground floor.
You could tell that the artists participating were quiet young and sometimes still in a phase of expressive experimentation, nevertheless the show had a good level of standard and some surprising work in it. My favourite piece in the show was Stephen Lau’s disturbing arrangement for tea with a framed, smiling sausage. The pots and cups had hairy warts and toothbrushes in fleshy colours who turned out to be fingers at the other end.
The exhibition was open 31st March until 2nd April, I am sure there will be another one coming soon – just follow them on Facebook!
De Profundis | Patrick Hennessy | IMMA
Patrick Hennessy is well known for his post-war realist paintings combined with a touch of surrealism, a classical modern artist icon. IMMA is currently showing a range of his paintings from early life to the 80s in the Main Gallery. You can see Patrick’s unique style in many of the paintings, isolated handsome men in front of a beautiful landscape, male nudes, self-portraits. They have something that profoundly reminds me of the 80s – a bit of glitter, soft edges and no intense direct light, well that’s how I imagine the 80s must have been! There is no doubt that Hennessy’s practice, style and influence was big at that time and is still important today concerning conversations about realistic painting and homosexuality.
However, I think it was not a good idea showing Hennessy straight after the ‘What we call Love’ show together with Carol Rama. I saw enough genitals and depictions of sexuality after the ‘Love’ show – which was without any doubt a great show! But coming back to IMMA I have to look at naked men in Turkish baths and various more or less detailed drawings of masturbating women (in the Carol Rama show) again and again. Why? Over the last months, many exhibitions at IMMA were screaming ‘SEX’ directly into my face, where I already had seen enough after the first one. I was slightly provoked and bored at the same time. Nonetheless, it was good painting.
On until the 24th of July, open Tuesday – Friday: 11.30am – 5.30pm, Saturday: 10.00am – 5.30pm, Sunday: 12noon – 5.30pm and closed on Monday.