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Uisce: An exhibition from the IMMA Collection presented as part of the Iniscealtra Festival of the Arts

An exhibition of works from the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s Collection opens to the public on Saturday 28 May 2005 at St Caimin’s Church of Ireland, Mountshannon, Co Clare, as part of the Iniscealtra Festival of the Arts. Uisce takes its theme from the Festival, which this year focuses on water, and includes works by well-known Irish and international artists, such as Hamish Fulton, Lawrence Weiner, Mary Lohan and Brian Maguire. A selection of individual works from the Collection will also be placed in four venues in Scariff, Co Clare.

The works in the exhibition, selected by the Iniscealtra Festival, represent many diverse interpretations of the central theme in a wide variety of media. 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”. Liffey Suicides effectively shows the artist’s ability to demonstrate the distances that separate us, by choosing to paint his picture from the darkness of the water below the bridge from which the living peer down.

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.

The sea is a central element in Mary Lohan’s landscape paintings, with its constantly changing character reflecting both sky and the surrounding land. Her work represents the restlessness of the seasons, the changing play of light and shade; that constant flux that we experience in front of nature. Yet the work on show, Donegal Bay, does not evoke a sentimental or mythical reading of nature. As the artist states: “ I start from the realisation that it’s impossible to paint a landscape. You just can’t do it, because you experience a place on so many levels and in such a complex way. So you have to paint what you see, which isn’t the same thing. And you hope that something of the feeling of the place will come across”.
In tandem with the exhibition, artist Nicola Henley, a member of IMMA’s Artist Panel, will facilitate workshops with local national school pupils from the East Clare area. The workshops are supported by the Department of Education and Science.

Catherine Marshall, Head of Collection, IMMA, who will be speaking at the launch of the Festival, said “IMMA has been proud to be associated with the Iniscealtra Festival each year since its commencement in 1996.  I am amazed at what a small but dedicated and imaginative team can do with such limited material resources.  The Iniscealtra Festival is a model of excellence in terms of its artistic goals and its outreach activities.”
The National Programme’s involvement with the Iniscealtra Festival of the Arts is one of its most successful collaborations.  The 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 programme facilitates the creation of exhibitions and other projects for display in a range of locations around the country.
Catherine Marshall will give a lecture on the exhibition on Saturday 28 May at 2.30pm.
Uisce continues until 6 June 2005 at St Caimin’s Church, Mountshannon, Co Clare, and at four venues in Scariff, Co Clare – the Medical Centre, the Bank of Ireland, the Credit Union and Loughnane & Co.  The work produced by the national school pupils with Nicola Henley will be exhibited at the Community Centre, Mountshannon, Co Clare, until 6 June.

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

16 May 2005