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Cherrypicking: An exhibition from the IMMA Collection at the County Buildings Wicklow

An exhibition of works from the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s Collection opens to the public on Monday 5 September 2005 at County Buildings, Wicklow Town. Cherrypicking is an exhibition of artwork from the IMMA Collection curated by the staff of Wicklow County Council. The exhibition includes well-known Irish and international artists such as Hamish Fulton, Brian Maguire, John Kindness and Alice Maher.

The Wicklow County Arts Office in partnership with IMMA’s National Programme invited staff members of Wicklow County Council to curate an exhibition of work from the IMMA Collection. This process involved a series of discussions and visits to the Museum. The panel of staff from various departments within the council explored the curatorial process and the behind-the-scenes work involved in selecting, presenting and publicising an exhibition.

Hamish Fulton’s art takes the form of walks in the landscape.  In the past 20 years, he has covered more than 20,000 miles on five continents.  The photographs and texts produced as a result of these walks are simply objects, intended to bring his own experience within nature to the viewers of his art. Fulton’s philosophy is “no walk, no art.”  Thus each object is based directly on a specific journey, in this case Seven Days Walking and Seven Nights Camping in a Wood, Scotland. Fulton’s work can be seen as part of the wider Conceptual art movement in the 1960s and 1970s in particular Land Art which in his case embraced performance, photography, text, mapping and digital imagery.

Belfast artist John Kindness began his career as an illustrator before moving on to large- scale painting and sculptural installations. His work is characterised by its sharp-witted satire and derives as much from popular culture and kitsch as it does from conventional fine art. Dog with Altar Piece and A Monkey Parade are satirical representations of the two opposing factions in the "troubles" in Northern Ireland. The orange sash and symbolic imagery of King Billy and his white horse crossing the river Boyne belong here to an order of monkeys who are foolishly following a blindfolded leader in the wrong direction while their Catholic counterparts are led by vicious hounds with studded "dog-collars".

Commenting on the selection of the John Kindness works A Monkey Parade and Dog with Altar Piece Garvan Hickey, employee of Wicklow County Council who selected the work said:‘’ I chose these pieces not for any particular artistic feature or achievement, which I would know nothing about, but because I liked them and they struck me as being particularly vibrant and humorous. The paintings are engaging and the strong use of colour draws one in and shows that emotive issues, which are the potential source of conflict, can be viewed in a humorous way. The paintings show that there is more than one way of looking at and engaging with any one situation.’’

Tipperary-born Alice Maher works within the realms of nature and culture, subversion and transformation, mythology and memory. Working with materials like bees, berries and hair she builds up a strong relationship with their histories and cultural associations in the creation of surreal works that appear like enchanted objects from a medieval folk tale.  Berry Dress presents the delicate shape of the child’s dress, decorated with ripe berries.  On closer inspection, the dress loses its innocence, taking on a more sinister appeal. The pins, which hold the berries in place, are arranged internally and should the dress be worn, these pins would pierce the skin. Coma Berenices, another work by Maher included in the exhibition, refers to a classical story concerning the hair of Berenice, the wife of Ptolemy III of Egypt. In return for the safe return of Ptolemy from war Berenice offered her beautiful tresses to Aphrodite.

The National Programme is designed to create access opportunities to the visual arts in a variety of situations and locations in Ireland. Using the Collection of the Irish Museum of Modern Art and exhibitions generated by the Museum, the National Programme facilitates the creation of exhibitions and other projects for display in a range of locations around the country.  The National Programme establishes the Museum as inclusive, accessible and national, de-centralising the Collection, and making it available to communities in their own localities, on their own terms, in venues with which the audience is comfortable and familiar.

The exhibition will be accompanied by workshops for national and secondary students supported by the Department of Education & Science.

Cherrypicking continues until the 30 September 2005 at County Buildings Wicklow.

Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 10.00am – 5.00 pm.

For further information and images please contact Monica Cullinane or Patrice Molloy at Tel: +353 1 612 9900, Fax: +353 1 612 9999, Email: [email protected]

24 August 2005