An exhibition from the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s own Collection, selected by the writer and former chief critic of The Irish Times Brian Fallon, opens at Siopa na BhFíodóirí, Dingle, Co Kerry on Monday 2 May 2005 as part of the Féile na Bealtaine Festival. Against the Tide – I gcoinne na Taoide – A personal view comprises paintings, prints and sculpture through which the artists concerned had a message to communicate to a wider public. Featured in this exhibition are works by Irish and international artists such as Jean Arp, Basil Blackshaw, Patrick Caulfield, Barrie Cooke and Brian Maguire amongst others. The Museum has a long-standing relationship with Féile na Bealtaine lending works from the Collection through the National Programme for the last six years.
Basil Blackshaw is one of the foremost Northern Irish painters of his generation. While his post-Expressionist treatment of the Northern Irish landscape has characterized his work throughout his career, the work on show in this exhibition, Anna on a Sofa, is not typical of Blackshaw’s work. It is more minimalist in composition and the canvas has been less exploited in terms of colour and composition than is characteristic of Blackshaw’s style. However, the artist’s tendency to balance his paintings with horizontal and vertical markings is a strong feature in this work where the vertical figure of Anna is balanced against the horizontal lines of the sofa.
Brian Maguire deals with ideas of alienation and isolation within society and in personal relationships. His work has been at the cutting edge of contemporary Irish art in spite of the fact that he continued to use the medium of painting at a time when many artists were turning to other media. As artist-in-residence in State prisons, Maguire sees himself as much an outsider as the inmates with whom he works. His Expressionistic painting brings the hidden corners of the individual’s experience to our attention with a raw energy and psychological power. The artist states: “All my pictures come from a need to accept reality as I find it. But they are pictures. I spend a lot of time trying to make them coherent in a formal sense, to make them beautiful – beautiful to me, maybe not to others”. New York City (Mother Heater) effectively shows the artist’s ability to demonstrate the distances that separate us in an urban landscape.
Electric Elk by the English-born artist Barrie Cooke represents the artist’s concern with nature, fertility, growth and decay. For Cooke the elk is a powerful symbol of pre-civilised consciousness. The elk emerges majestically from the gloomy bogland with its enormous antlers treated like massive antennae transmitting, as it were, a message from the past. The elk, yielded up by the bog, demonstrates the process of perpetual interchange that occurs in life which Cooke believes forces us into a confrontation with what is real.
Commenting on the exhibition Brian Fallon, curator of the exhibition, said: “This exhibition, which I was asked to select, has no central theme, nor does it aim to provide anything in particular, aesthetically or polemically. I have simply chosen, from the Collection of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, a number of works which seem to communicate something genuine to the viewer and in which the artists concerned had something of their own to say.”
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.
On Tuesday 3 May at 11.00am Brian Fallon will give a gallery talk in the exhibition.
On Tuesday 3 May at 11.30am Catherine Marshall will discuss the exhibition.
A catalogue, with a text by Brian Fallon, accompanies the exhibition.
Against the Tide – I gcoinne na Taoide – A personal view continues until 8 May 2005.
Admission is free.
For further info and colour and black and white images please contact Patrice Molloy at Tel: +353 1 612 9900, Fax: +353 1 612 9999, Email: [email protected]
19 April 2005
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