Declan Long

  • 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.

    CLOSE-UP: NAKED EYE

    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

  • Katrina Palmer, The Time-Travelling Circus: The Recent Return of Pablo Fanque and the Electrolier, 2018, ink-jet print on floor vinyl, Perspex, headphones, sound, sound baffles, printed matter. Installation view. Photo: Kasia Kaminska.

    Katrina Palmer

    There isn’t always much to see in a Katrina Palmer installation, but there can be a lot to take in. Her artworks require attentive listening, patient reading, and a readiness to quickly and imaginatively cast one’s mind to another place and time. Though she studied sculpture at Central Saint Martin’s in London, her principal artistic medium is language: Writing, in a variety of voices, features prominently in her exhibitions, where it takes the form of wall texts, scripted soundtracks, or elliptical stories published in idiosyncratic artist’s books.

    So, for instance, in “The three stories are

  • Eithne Jordan, Dining Hall II, 2016, oil on linen, 19 5/8 x 25 1/2".

    Eithne Jordan

    Since abandoning the energetic, expressionist style that characterized her early work—cultivated while studying in the mid-1980s in Berlin at what was then the Hochschule der Künste—the Irish painter Eithne Jordan has prioritized contemplative stillness and calculated understatement. Over the past twenty or so years, she has worked in a coolly reserved realist mode, generally focusing her inquisitive gaze on workaday city spaces and nondescript industrial hinterlands. Many of her best paintings catch moments of fleeting calm within the routine commotion of urban experience: waiting

  • Duncan Campbell, The Welfare of Tomás Ó Hallissy, 2016, HD video, black and white, sound, 31 minutes.

    Duncan Campbell

    Duncan Campbell’s breakthrough film, the remarkable mini-documentary Bernadette, 2008, is an inventively intimate portrait of a public figure. Focusing on the life of left-wing activist and politician Bernadette Devlin—a magnetic, motivating presence in the Northern Irish civil rights movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s—Campbell constructed an unorthodox, and perversely intrusive, style of filmic biography. Principally assembled from fragments of news footage, Bernadette shows its young protagonist (born in 1947) rallying crowds and railing against authority with astonishing,