Curated by Sean Walsh | Centro de Artes Visuais, Coimbra | 14/23 November 2012
‘…watching the river flow…’ is an exhibition of work by a number of Irish artists working in photography and video.
Curated by Sean Walsh, Director of Ballina Arts Centre, the exhibition captures the essence of Ireland in the 21st century. The economic collapse which followed the boom years of the Celtic Tiger, has had profound social and cultural efects on a country which was just coming to terms with its newfound prosperity.
Ireland has always been a country whose artists have played a major part in writing and recording the history of the country. During the last century, much of that history comprised poverty, repression and hardship. By the turn of the millennium, the country had caught up with much of the developed world, and was experiencing unprecedented prosperity. With the collapse of the construction industry and the property boom, the country’s economic robustness wilted, leaving astronomical debts which the country will be repaying generations to come. However, amidst all this, life goes on.
And once again, Ireland’s artists are there to chronicle the ‘river’ of life. They observe from their ‘outsider’ perspectives. This exhibition features some of Ireland’s most exciting, young artists. Working in photography and video, they are perhaps best equipped of all to capture the true essence of the changing Ireland. Through their work, we see people, places, landscapes, buildings, objects… some with an abstract ‘edge’, others face-on. The common thread running through all of the work, however, is that it is real. And it is now. ‘…watching the river flow…’ features work by: Niall Kerrigan (photography); Aideen Barry (video); Alan James Burns (video); Ian Wieczorek (video); Amanda Rice (video); Paul Hallahan (video); and Ruby Wallis (photography).
Niall Kerrigan - Derelict
Niall Kerrigan is an award winning graphic designer originally from Dublin, now based in Killala, County Mayo. Since moving to Mayo, he has documented the area he lives and works in through the medium of photography which includes his first major body of work; Derelict: Silent & Still an exhibition inspired by the architecture of abandonment. During urban renewal, many houses are left derelict, shored-up by timbers, waiting for the land-price to be right. These half-houses, bisected through internal walls, are the decay left behind as human’s move on. They have been stripped of all but the barest evidence that they were once inhabited by humans: a broken plate, a discarded shoe, they exude a sense of abandonment and loss. They have been left as - quite literally, a waste of space. I found each of them rotting in silence and endeavoured to give them a voice using only framing and natural light.
Aideen Barry - Possession
Aideen Barry’s animated film Possession satirises our tendency to live beyond our means in pursuit of happiness. Aideen Barry (born 1979) is a visual artist based in Ireland. Barry was born in Cork and is known for her performative actions, film, sculpture, drawing, and installation work. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally in a number of Museums, Publicly funded centres of Contemporary Art, Private Galleries, and Art Fairs across the world. Barry is the western regional representative for Visual Artists Ireland and has acted as an advocate for numerous boards and charitable organisations since 2002. Aideen Barry has lectured in Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology BA FA programme from 2008–2010 and is currently assistant Lecturer in Limerick School of Art: Sculpture and Combined Media (Limerick Institute of Technology). She lives and works in the west of Ireland. Barry has exhibited widely in Ireland and around the world.
Alan James Burns - untitled
Alan James Burns is a video, installation, performance artist based in Dublin. He received a BA in Fine Art, from Dublin Institute of Technology, 2008. Solo exhibitions include Till the Cows Come Home, Cavan County Museum, 2011 and To Walk in a State of Finality than in one of Impermance, Exchange Gallery, 2010. Forthcoming exhibitions include Claremorris Open, Claremorris, Co Mayo and Gracelands, Co. Leitrim, 2011.
Ian Wieczorek- Business as Usual
Ian Wieczorek’s art practice is based primarily in painting and drawing, and more recently curation. Since 2003 has exhibited widely in group/selected shows in Ireland (including Undertow (curated by Alice Maher and Aideen Barry) 2011/12; CCA:RDS Collective Contemporary Art 2010 (curated by Helen Carey); COE/Claremorris Open Exhibition 2009; and IONTAS 2005), N. Ireland, Germany (Kornhäuschen, Ascha#enburg, and turn-berlin gallery, Berlin) and China (411 Galleries, Hangzhou, China Central Academy of Fine Art Gallery, Beijing and Eastlink Gallery, Shanghai). Business As Usual is a short video exploring notions of persistence and transience, filmed in a derelict seaside hotel in West Kerry. The piece presents four internal views of the hotel, seemingly static yet reflecting the changing atmospherics overseeing the gradual demise of the wrecked structure, a building that, even through the wind, dripping water and invading birds of its current existence, still echoes with the resonances of its heyday.
Amanda Rice – fire sequence
Amanda Rice is a visual artist working in a variety of media. I alternate between print based media, installation and lens based experimentations as a means of articulating my ideas regarding the search for idealism within ambiguous or banal environments. My work touches upon issues such as urbanization and progression, although my work can be seen as political it’s quite often playful or humorous. My current work takes the view point of that of the migrant, the idea of travel and flux as a means to build ones’ own ideal or shape ones’ identity. Time spent in transit has led me to consider the social stagnation which can develop when faced within consistent and repeating environments.
Paul Hallahan - holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul
“Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul is a video work” by Paul Hallahn, an Irish artist based in Kildare. His work is largely based in the medium of video and involves looking at the relationship between man and his surroundings. Between 2009 and 2012 he founded and ran Soma Contemporary art space in Waterford city.
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Ruby Wallis – Other Madonnas
Ruby Wallis is a practice-based PhD researcher with National College of Art & Design, Dublin (NCAD) and GradCAM. She completed her M.A. in Documentary Photography in 2007 at The University of Newport, Wales and a Degree in Painting at GMIT, 2004. Wallis has been exhibiting internationally since 2003. She was Community Artist- with CREATE, Practice. ie and the Galway Arts Centre since 2002. She has been short-listed for the Gallery of Photography’s Artist Award in 2006 and 2009 and was part of their touring show ‘An Insiders View’, Photography, exhibited in Dublin, Arles, Paris and Berlin in 2008. The works in the this exhibition are from Other Madonnas, body of work documenting alternative and tangential communities, on this occasion with a series of photographs of single mothers with their daughters.