There’s a feast of contemporary art exhibitions to enjoy this month, many of which celebrate talented Irish female artists …
Scene of the Myth, Sarah Pierce
This expansive solo exhibition spans 20 years of Sarah Pierce’s work since her move from the US to Dublin. Guest curated by Rike Frank and the European Kunsthalle, the exhibition consists of performances, videos, large-scale installations, and archives. “Scene of the Myth”, the title of the exhibition, stems from one of Pierce’s essays in which she explores social infrastructures, such as academies and museums. The scene of the myth is not an actual location; it is an occasion where knowledge, both inherited and invented, come to play. An exhibition is one such occasion. This exhibition includes artworks that reflect Pierce’s interest in community bonds, whether it is the community of dementia in No Title (2017), the community of diaspora in Pathos of Distance (2015), or the community of translation in The Question Would Be The Answer To The Question, Are You Happy? (2009-12). The exhibition runs until September 3; www.imma.ie.
Gather, Niamh O’Malley
This is a chance to see “Gather” which represented Ireland at La Biennale di Venezia 2022 in an extended form which includes new sculptures and moving images. Some of the new works in the exhibition at Temple Bar Gallery + Studio, Dublin 1, include artificial, natural and imagined light sources – from a luminous and reflective advertising panel to a moving image of the white sun. A new series of wooden forms, “resembling typographic parentheses”, hold the contents of the room, and the room itself, within their brackets. O’Malley’s exhibition also incorporates an events programme including a talk between O’Malley and Ireland’s previous representative at La Biennale 2019, artist Eva Rothschild; as well as tours and workshops led by other artists. “Gather” runs concurrently with Sarah O’Malley’s exhibition at Model, Sligo and a major event at the Linenhall, Castlebar, Co Mayo. The exhibition is on until April 30; www.templebargallery.com.
Eye, Anne Collier
Lismore Castle Arts, Co Waterford has two new exhibitions opening this month including that of New York-based artist Anne Collier. Curated by Susan Bright, “Eye” brings together early and recent work by Collier which considers our social and cultural relationships with images and with the medium of photography. Central to Collier’s ongoing project is a consideration of the emotional and psychological attachments we develop with images, and how these (auto) biographical narratives relate to photography’s relationship with memory, melancholia and loss. Collier’s exhibition is on at Lismore Castle, while at St Carthage Hall, visitors will find “To Walk in the Image” exhibition which responds to ideas of spirituality – all the more symbolic as the Hall is a former chapel. www.lismorecastlearts.ie.
Is It Still Raining? Sophia Campbell
Belfast-based artist, Sophia Campbell debuts a solo exhibition at Oliver Sears Gallery, Dublin 2, which explores the relationship between water, flowers and people and how these elements often represent memorialisation, immersion and restoration. During the last three years, Campbell has observed the contrasting meaning of water in an age of climate change, mass migration and excess. Similarly, flowers, which feature in her ambiguous and seductive paintings, are emblematic of joy, love and loss. Her florals are drawn from bunches that are often chained to lampposts next to fatal car accidents, a memorial found all over the world. The exhibition is on until April 5; www.oliversearsgallery.com.
Safe Harbour, Nickie Hayden in collaboration with Robert Russell
Opening on April 13 with guest speaker and artist Alan Keane, this exhibition at Olivier Cornet Gallery, Dublin 1, is the culmination of four years of collaborative work by Nickie Hayden on the theme of sanctuary. Her paintings explore the idea of guidance, which she sees as “a benevolent and altruistic act offering clarity and illumination. Sometimes people are our beacons, and their guidance is enough to bring us safely to port.” Nickie asked her partner Robert Russell to collaborate with her and his sculptures explore the motivation to make signals, beacons, or sentinels. The exhibition runs until May 7 and is available to see from Tuesdays to Sundays at the gallery; www.oliviercornetgallery.com.
One Hand Clapping, Katarzyna Gajewska
There’s still time to see this exhibition at Hang Tough Contemporary Gallery, Dublin 2, which runs until April 9. The title “One Hand Clapping” borrows its title from the 1961 book by Anthony Burgess and is derived from a k?an – a paradoxical word, phrase, or story used in Zen Buddhism to bring about illumination. The k?an asks: “We know the sound of two hands clapping. But what is the sound of one hand clapping?” Akin to a riddle, a k?an tires the mind as it attempts to solve it. Gajewska’s paintings are constantly dissolving into riddles and her exhibition incorporates themes such as life, death, trauma, memories via layers of acrylic, oil, enamel and spray paint, and often include collaged objects; www.hangtoughcontemporary.ie.
Greater Than >, Louth Craftmark
This group exhibition “Greater Than >”, by the renowned visual arts collective will be on display in The Basement Gallery, An Táin Arts Centre, Dundalk, until Saturday April 15. The exhibition features 29 members from the extensive Louth Craftmark Designers Network, and includes a range of artistic disciplines on show such as ceramics, glass, jewellery, painting, print, mixed media, textiles, and sculpture. The title “Greater Than >” was open to interpretation by each of the artists exhibiting and themes that have been explored include inequality, gender, and former school days; www.louthcraftmark.com.
Fire, Prix Pictet
This exhibition at the Photo Museum of Ireland, Dublin 2, showcases photographic works shortlisted for the prestigious Prix Pictet, the global award dedicated to promoting discussion and debate on issues of sustainability and the environment. The works nominated for the prize all respond to the theme of fire, and span documentary, portraiture, landscape, collage and studies of light and process. The exhibition features established names such as Sally Mann, who documented the vast wildfires and thick smoke that consumed the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia during her visit in 2008, and Rinko Kawauchi, who photographed firework displays in Tokyo every summer from 1997-2001. They are joined by emerging names in photography, including David Uzochukwu, whose portraiture series “In The Wake” is set within an unknown landscape on fire, and Fabrice Monteiro, whose series “The Prophecy” addresses global pollution through staged photographs of figures in costumes made of trash and natural materials (as above). The exhibition continues until April 29; www.photomuseumireland.ie.
Abstraction, Jane Rainey, Lola Donoghue, Megan Burns and Beatriz Elorza
An exhibition featuring four Irish abstract artists is taking place at Gormleys, Dublin 2, from April 6-23. Drawn together by their interest in non-representational art and a preference for working in oils, the artworks show the diverse nature of this genre and how colour, shape, space and composition can be used to express ideas and emotions. Belfast-based Jane Rainey has gained a strong following with her ethereal, abstract landscapes. Based in Galway, Lola Donoghue is a visual artist best known for her large, abstract oil paintings. Loosely-drawn linear elements and saturated splashes of vivid colour, primarily occupy the edges of the compositions. Belfast-based Megan Burns’ work comprises colourful matt paintings on irregular cut boards consisting of geometric shapes that suggest architectural space. Beatriz Elorza, who began to study art in 2006 after working as an architect, explores the beauty of nature – with her work described as emotional abstract expressionism. Always using four colours or fewer, Elorza originals employ a wide range of media, including inks, pigment powders and golden acrylics; www.gormleys.ie.
Incognito 2023, in aid of Jack and Jill
Incognito 2023, Ireland’s biggest online art sale, will take place on April 26. What’s so special about Incognito is that the buyer has no idea who the artist is until the sale closes, when the artist’s name is revealed. There are over 1,000 artists participating and the price for each postcard-sized artwork, €65, supports Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation. This year Helen Steele, Shane O’Driscoll, Una Sealy, Mo Kelly, Peter Curling, Ruthie Ashenhurst, Abigail O’Brien, Mick O’Dea, Maser and many more are among those participating. Do register for early bids online; www.incognito.ie.