This exhibition, entitled Vision X, aims to bring together previously unseen works by new emerging Irish artists Aileen Murphy, Glenn Fitzgerald, Eleanor McCaughey and Brian Harte among others with more established international artists Thomas Noskowski, Joyce Pensato Norbert and Schwontkowski. The exhibition focuses on work that teeters on the edge of perception, dreamlike, sometimes awkward abstraction and subversive figuration that take the way we see apart and question our place in the world.
Artists included in the exhibition, Chantal Joffe, Anna Bjerger, Aileen murphy, Eleanor McCaughey, Glenn Fitzgerald, Kristina Huxley, Diana Copperwhite, Norbert Schwontkowski, Thomas Noskowski, Robert Armstrong, Dannielle Tegeder, Danny Rolph, Brian Harte, Marcus Cope, Joyce Pensato,
“…Copperwhite’s paintings follow a logic of their own, they are recycled and they grow out of one another by remaining susceptible to the materiality of paint. She often interjects with obstacles that she brings to bare on the paintings in a way that encourages them to define their autonomy. This approach allows for accidents to happen yet these accidents are staged purposefully to allow the paintings to escape from her grasp. In this regard they have a character and vibrancy that evidence the pursuit of an epiphany, whereby the painting surprises the artist as often as the artist exacts change upon the painting. She is a painter who is fully taken up with the act of painting and the materiality of paint.
A latent interest in physics also defines the work, more specifically the speed of light in vacuum as a universal physical constant. The paintings express an interest in light, in colour and in the interlude between what the observer looks at and what is being observed. The speed of light as a concept suggests that by the time you see something, it’s not what you are looking at anymore, as though a buffer zone exists between the physical and the optical. This phenomenon represents a slippage, or a space in between that can’t be accessed and denial of access to such a space prompts the imagination into vistas that are exponentially larger than any possible truth. Perhaps this proposed space does not exist at all. The pursuit of such a place engenders possibilities, and these possibilities diminish through discovery. This example is analogous to all human attempts in grasping at truth.”
Extracted from ‘World is Suddener Than We Fancy It’
– Ingrid Lyons is a writer and artist based in Dublin
16 March–25 October 2012 Askeaton contemporary arts
Askeaton Contemporary Arts commissioned a selection of prominent Irish artists to produce new artworks based around the town’s Hellfire Club legacy.
Upon an island in the middle of Askeaton, the remains of a Hellfire Club can be seen. Set up in the mid 1700s by the Duke of Wharton throughout the UK and Ireland, most Hellfire Clubs were soon outlawed and shut down. However, the Askeaton club, founded in 1740 and the most westerly branch of the organisation, probably stayed in existence until the end of the century and received visitors from near and far. Known as a satirical gentleman’s club, those who met there considered it as a way of shocking the outside world. The supposed president was the Devil, although the members themselves did not apparently worship demons or the Devil, but called themselves devils. Ceremonial feasts took place, all washed down with alcoholic punch. While lurid tales are often recounted in local folklore of other outrageous rituals enacted, very little remaining information or evidence exists of the activities of the Askeaton Hellfire.
Today, the club building is inaccessible to the public, as the OPW currently tries to stabilise the building from continued collapse since its abandonment in the 1800s. Around this site of physical decay, featured artists have considered the Hellfire history, its non-conformist allusions to the society of the 1700s, and its material presence as a crumbling ruin in the middle of a small Irish countryside town. In partnership with ICI Independent Curator’s International New York, a public event with Sean Lynch, Michele Horrigan and Amanda Ralph interrogated relationships of art and heritage, and showcased the project to American audiences.
Diana Copperwhite Magpie
Diana Copperwhite’s sculpture is sited beside the Hellfire ruin. It features polished stainless steel shapes that formally evoke the profiles of James Worsdale’s 1740 group portrait of the Askeaton Hellfire Club. Copperwhite transposes the outlines of each figure of the group, back to the club’s location, as a reflective, shimmering ghost seen from the town’s bridge. Its precise position, in the workyard of the Office of Public Works, is where an active conservation programme continues daily. Here, stones are moved around, lime mortar is mixed and used to reinforce or rebuild walls around the island complex. A sculpture placed at such a site might initially seem like a nuance, but further investigation points to a function similar to the workmen’s presence: both are subtle engagements with the fragmented material histories onsite.