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Glen Dimplex Artists Award Shortlist Announced

The names of six artists shortlisted for the £15,000 Glen Dimplex Artists Award 1998, organised in association with the Irish Museum of Modern Art, were announced today (Monday 16 February) by the jury panel. They are sculptor Siobhán Hapaska, installation artist Hans Peter Kuhn, multi-media artists MacDermott and MacGough, sculptor Janet Mullarney and sound and installation artist Philip Napier. The organisers and sponsors also announced a new non-monetary award for an artist who has made “a sustained contribution to the visual arts in Ireland”, which will be made for the first time this year.

Siobhán Hapaska’s sculptures defy easy catagorisation, deliberately avoiding a recognisable signature, style or preferred material. They are characterised rather by an interplay of disparate forces – technology and nature, the mechanical and the human, the past and the future. Her perfectly finished works have a rootless, timeless quality. Hapaska has described her sculptures as “lost”, objects which don’t know where they have come from or where they are going, with titles – To, Here, Stray – which imply movement between places and times. Hapaska is nominated for the Award for solo exhibitions at the Entwistle Gallery, London; the Oriel Gallery, Cardiff, and the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, and for her participation in the Plastik exhibition in Stuttgart and in Documenta X. Born in Belfast in 1963, she now lives and works in London.

Hans Peter Kuhn is an installation artist working mainly with light and sound. His works connect architecture, light and objects with aural events emphasising their different and separate tempi – the light steady and unchanging, the sound fast and moving. By influencing his audiences’ perception of time he seeks to “create an opportunity for them to relax for a while and simply hear and see”. Kuhn has created both indoor and outdoor installations including two spectacular large-scale works in Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, and The Pier in New York, both in 1996. He is nominated for Blue, a light and sound installation at the former Klondyke gasworks in Belfast, commissioned by the Ormeau Baths Gallery for Belfast Festival at Queens. Born in Kiel, Germany, in 1952, he now lives and works in Berlin.

American artists David MacDermott and Peter MacGough have created a practice based on a fusion of art and life. Their preoccupation with the historical past informs not only the subjects of their paintings and photographs, but also the clothes they wear, the houses in which they live and the dates they inscribe on their art. They have travelled back as far as the French Revolution for one canvas but, in general, prefer to re-incarnate the late 19th or early 20th centuries. There they have explored art and culture, both high and low, ranging from religion and sexual morality to the new industrial age and popular entertainment. MacDermott and MacGough were nominated for their solo exhibition The Conspiracy Paintings at Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin, and at the Provincial Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, and for another solo show at Galerie Francois Paviot, Paris. David MacDermott was born in Hollywood, California, in 1952 and Peter MacGough in Syracuse, New York, in 1958. They now live and work in Dublin.

Janet Mullarney’s sculptural forms are based on human figures and animals, with each work possessing a strong psychological significance. Inspired by Romanesque and Renaissance art, she uses animal figures as alter egos, with ravens, dogs and cows symbolising emotions which would otherwise be denied expression. The theme of sacrifice and denial, or negation of the self for another, informs much of her work. Mullarney is also interested in exploring the inhibitions and rules which prevent people from achieving their full potential. In 1997 Mullarney spent three months on the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s Artists’ Work Programme, during which time she concentrated largely on her paintings. Her recent output has involved the use of paintings and graphic works shown in conjunction with single sculptural pieces. She is currently working on new plans for the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, with architects, designers and a team of other artists. She is nominated for her exhibitions at the Model Art Centre in Sligo 1997 and Limerick City Gallery in 1996. Born in Dublin in 1952, she now divides her time between Ireland and Italy.

Philip Napier’s work has, in the last number of years, concentrated on the use of language and sound and has been shown widely both internationally and within Ireland. His 1995 installation at Pier 4A, Heathrow Airport – a point between Britain and Ireland – used a flawed, hesitant overvoice to explore language as a gateway to a differentiated experience and history. His most recent work, Gauge, shown at the Orchard Gallery, Derry, was conceived against a backdrop of sustained calls for an apology from the British Government for the events of Bloody Sunday in 1972. In this an apology is broadcast over a public address system and measured by a needle on a weighing scales. Phase II of Gauge was realised in a derelict house in the Bogside, overlooking Glenfada Park where most of the shootings took place. He was nominated for Gauge, and for an exhibition at the Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast. Philip Napier was born in Belfast in 1965 where he continues to live and work.

More than 100 nominations were received this year, 25% from non-Irish artists. Commenting on the selection process jury member Thomas Sokolowski, Director of the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, said: “Having served on numerous art competition juries over the years, I have come to anticipate such events with some hesitation. The 1998 Glen Dimplex Award jury process was a revelation. The overall sophistication of the artists represented was truly remarkable. I was bouyed up by an entire range of artists whose work was unfamiliar to me, but with which I hope to have much more engagement in the future. I greatly look forward to seeing the exhibition on the gallery walls at the Museum.”

The Glen Dimplex Artists Award, sponsored by the Irish-based company Glen Dimplex, in association with the Irish Museum of Modern Art, is designed to mark a significant level of achievement or development in the work and practice of exhibiting artists. The award, now in its fifth year, is open to Irish artists who have exhibited in Ireland or elsewhere from 1 October 1996 to 31 October 1997 and to non-Irish artists who have exhibited in Ireland in the same period. The five shortlisted artists will now be invited to show work in an exhibition at the Museum, which opens to the public on 9 April 1998. All five will be paid a fee of £1,000 at this stage. The £15,000 award will be presented to the winning artist at a dinner following the final jury meeting in June. For the first time this year an additional non-monetary award for a sustained contribution by an artist to the visual arts in Ireland will also be made. The winner of this new award will be chosen by the International jury.

The jury panel for the 1998 awards is :
Declan McGonagle, Director, Irish Museum of Modern Art, (Chair)
Thomas Sokolowski, Director, Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, USA
Dominique Trucot, Director, Le Confort Moderne, Poitiers, France
Paul M O’Reilly, Curator/Director, Limerick City Gallery of Art
Dr Margaret Downes, Chairman, BUPA Ireland; Director, Bank of Ireland
Dr Paula Murphy, Lecturer, History of Art Department, UCD; Board Member, Irish Museum of Modern Art
Brenda McParland, Senior Curator, Irish Museum of Modern Art