Declan Long

  • Lauren Gault, “Galalith” (detail), 2022. Photo: Kasia Kaminska.
    picks June 14, 2022

    Lauren Gault

    Barking ravens, wolf-howling humans, speech-mimicking passerines: Lauren Gault’s “Galalith” comes with a backing track of unreliable animal sounds. The squawks and cries are impersonations and strange combinations: beast- and birdcalls, human and nonhuman voices, variously merged. This fitful creature-chorus is an apt accompaniment to the hybrid forms of Glasgow-based Gault’s mercurial sculptures. From a distance, each of the three main (and untitled) works here seems a wholly different aesthetic species. One, suspended from the ceiling, is a self-contained, figurative presence: a white,

  • Aileen Murphy, mentality-yatter, 2021, vinyl and oil on canvas, 78 3⁄4 × 63".

    Aileen Murphy

    The leaping dog at the center of Aileen Murphy’s mentality-yatter, 2021—like many of this Berlin-based Irish painter’s subjects—is an exuberantly confusing presence. Murphy’s outsize pooch busily commands the more than six-foot-high canvas, while barely registering as a coherent form. Scruffy, smeary strokes of sharp white, salmon pink, honey yellow, and midnight blue congregate loosely as a canine figure, a dog body without fixed physical contours: Scribbled black eyes peer out from an aggregation of energetic gestural marks. More unstable still is the peculiar hurly-burly of the animal’s

  • Anne Tallentire, Area (detail), 2021, laminated MDF, dimensions variable.

    Anne Tallentire

    Bright lines of yellow builders’ string, rolls of primary-colored packing tape, flat-head screws tagged with tiny strips of pastel-toned paper: Anne Tallentire’s sculptural materials can be both rudimentary—practical nonprecious items, often associated with different stages of an architectural process, from preliminary drawing to actual on-site construction—and, in their unorthodox configurations, tidily decorative. Her artworks involve careful measuring, precise mapping, methodical assembly; she reflects on the physical, social, and sensory conditions of built environments, scrutinizing small

  • View of “Lawrence Weiner,” 2021. From left: PUT WITH THE OTHER THINGS, 2020; HELD JUST ABOVE THE CURRENT, 2016; IN LINE WITH SOME-THING ELSE, 2020.

    Lawrence Weiner

    Thirty-seven years ago, a succinct text work by Lawrence Weiner was stenciled onto an external wall of the old Guinness Brewery in Dublin. Two blocks of pale-blue, sans serif lettering—one in English, one in Irish—were applied to the dark, weathered brickwork of an imposing historical edifice. Elliptical couplets declared a nonconforming Conceptual artist’s complex interest in material solidity: STONE UPON STONE / UPON FALLEN STONE. Commissioned for the 1984 edition of the quadrennial Rosc exhibition—the title of the seminal series of international group shows staged in Ireland between 1967 and

  • Yuri Pattison, sun_set pro_vision (detail), 2020–21, OpenGL software, modified Dell PowerEdge R420, GeForce GTX 1650 GPUs, uRADMonitor model A3 atmospheric monitor, HD digital-signage monitors, Dexion slotted angles, aluminum EUR pallets, Dell PowerEdge R420 server chassis, Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World (book), decapped GPU chip, cables, Ethernet switch, padlock. Installation view. Photo: Louis Haugh.

    Yuri Pattison

    A slate-gray sea flecked with scattered embers of evening light. Beyond, shrouding the horizon, the hot-pink haze of a crazy lurid sunset. At this unique passing moment in the trippy real-time drift of Yuri Pattison’s mesmeric digital simulation sun_set pro_vision, 2020–21—an ever-changing ocean scene on five separate screens, vividly rendered with game-engine software—the balance of solemn sea and showy sky seemed just about believable. Despite the gaudy extravagance of the setting sun’s display, the sequence recalled familiar real-life skyscapes and resembled, in its radiant extremity, the

  • View of “Katie Holten,” 2020, Visual Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow, Ireland.
    picks October 02, 2020

    Katie Holten

    Katie Holten’s Irish Tree Alphabet (A-Z), 2020, is based on an agreeable, legible conceit: matching each letter of the ABCs with the silhouette of a specific tree. Read her twenty-six original pictograms and they become a new language, or at least a new way of using it, in which every letter is an evocation of dendrological diversity. A is a lanky Scots pine; B is a scrawny birch, C is a squat hazel; all the way to Z, these neatly-trimmed tree-glyphs are as individual and graphically nuanced as the Latin characters they replace.

    The New York-based, Irish-born Holten has created versions of this

  • Mairead O’hEocha, Two Owls, 2020, oil on board, 24 3⁄4 × 33 1⁄8".

    Mairead O’hEocha

    Mairead O’hEocha’s most recent paintings are strangely vibrant studies of dead creatures—brightly hued depictions of taxidermied beasts and birds at once gorgeous and ghoulish. Her subjects are the stuffed, posed, and lifeless occupants of antique display cabinets in Dublin’s natural-history museum, a Victorian-era institution that is itself, in its impeccably preserved, nineteenth-century style, frozen in time: a museum of a museum. Dubliners call it, with morbid affection, the Dead Zoo.

    Such a setting—a place where natural forms are arrested and arrayed, fixed and framed for leisurely

  • Dorothy Cross, Listen Listen, 2019, marble; left: 6 1⁄4 × 28 3⁄8 × 17 3⁄4“; right: 6 1⁄4 × 27 1⁄8 × 17 3⁄4”.

    Dorothy Cross

    Three solemn sculptures made from carved marble and, in one case, collected stones, made three weighty statements on the fragility of earthly existence. This sternly minimal exhibition by Dorothy Cross—titled, with alliterative delicacy, “I dreamt I dwelt”was a potent distillation of the Irish artist’s long-standing themes and recurring tropes and a powerfully mournful meditation on the dividing lines between human and animal, land and sea, life and death. Cross has been dreaming and dwelling along these boundaries since the 1980s, imagining, through the refined grotesquerie of her multifaceted

  • Derek Jarman, Fuck Me Blind, 1993, oil on canvas, 98 7⁄8 × 70 1⁄2". From the series “Evil Queen,” 1993.


    TOWARD THE END OF HIS LIFE—with little time and energy left—Derek Jarman returned to painting in a spirit of vigorous, vehement urgency. Cinema had long been the celebrated center of Jarman’s art. From the mid-1970s to the early ’90s, he was, arguably, Britain’s most venturesome big-screen poet: a cultivated, risk-taking pioneer of punk and queer film. But painting had also been important to Jarman since he was a student at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, in the ’60s, fitfully recurring as an artistic compulsion in conjunction with the collaborative pressures of filmmaking and the

  • Jessie Homer French, Funeral, 1978, oil on canvas, 24 × 29 7⁄8".

    Jessie Homer French

    Fires burn, fish swim, people die: Again and again, the art of Jessie Homer French returns to elemental facts of earthly existence. Mostly, her bittersweet, anti-pastoral paintings depict—and artfully distort—scenes of everyday life and death, culture and nature, in the landscapes close to her home in the hilly outskirts of La Quinta, California. Born in New York in 1940, Homer French has been a Golden State resident for much of the past four decades. During this time, she has cultivated a delicately cartoonish, self-taught painting style that responds to the bracing proximity of wilderness—the

  • View of “Stephen McKenna,” 2019.

    Stephen McKenna

    A Painter’s Life: Stephen McKenna (1939–2017)” is an illuminating posthumous tribute to an enlightened, enthusiastic internationalist, a restlessly cosmopolitan painter whose art was often characterized by restful, rational, neoclassical composure. Stephen McKenna was born in England—to a Northern Irish father and a Scottish mother—but the family spent considerable time abroad: living, variously, in Norway, Hong Kong, and Austria. After studying painting at London’s Slade School of Fine Art in the 1960s—which led him to experiment, for a while, with abstraction—he moved to Germany, where he

  • Phil Collins, Delete Beach, 2016, HD animation (color, sound, 21 minutes), mixed media. Installation view. Photo: Simon Mills.

    Phil Collins

    Phil Collins is an uncommonly committed world traveler, a global citizen with a gift for making strong, surprising connections wherever he goes. His films offer jubilantly perverse perspectives on life in diverse locations, with people bonding, performing for each other, telling their stories, or indulging in their obsessions. At times, the works’ sly artifice and searing candor could bring the brazen spectacle of reality TV to mind—if the creators of such spectacles actually cared about their short-term stars.Aptly, Collins’s project for the 2006 Turner Prize exhibition, the return of the