Gemma Tipton

  • picks September 07, 2020

    John Burke

    Who wouldn’t love a sculpture called Medieval Gin Party? A diminutive form in patinated iron, it dates from 1977 and exhibits the balanced brilliance that is a hallmark of John Burke’s work. Three weighty shapes incline lightly toward one another on an asymmetrical base. This piece and Allihies at Dawn, 1997, stand out as the most personal in an exhibition otherwise devoted mainly to maquettes for monumental outdoor projects.

    Burke, who died in 2006, was one of Ireland’s leading exponents of modernist public sculpture, and this show should open the way to a reconsideration of his work. As a

  • picks June 24, 2019

    Anita Groener

    A circular forest of twigs juts out from the wall. Look closer: Tiny silhouetted people march across the small branches. Intricate, beautiful, perilous, Anita Groener’s Prolonged by a Hundred Shadows, 2018, draws you into its darkness. The figures reappear in Untitled, 2017, and again in an installation of twenty birches, The Past Is a Foreign Country, 2018. The trees, suspended from the ceiling, display parts of their truncated roots. Their branches make a maze in which the miniature travelers are forever trapped.

    These installations are echoed in delicate ink drawings with circles of small

  • picks May 06, 2019

    Hannah Fitz

    In earlier works, Hannah Fitz rendered domestic objects both eternal and strange. Sculptures like Candelabra and Table, both 2017, show smoke—from a burned-out candle in the former, wafting forever skyward, and from a cigarette in an ashtray in the latter, doing the same. Now, for her first solo show, titled “OK,” the human form has taken center stage, though Fitz hasn’t sacrificed any of the strangeness.

    Fashioned from steel, card, fiberglass, and resin, a cluster of eight figures appear to be at play. While loosely based on the artist’s own body, these models have none of the aggrandizing

  • picks April 17, 2019

    Michael Dean

    “FECKSAKE” stammers across the hazard tape wrapping the gatepost of St Carthage Hall; tatters of the yellow material flap from the gate itself. The minced oath is a localized version of its angrier Anglo brother, “FUCKSAKE,” which appears inside. It’s a colloquial softening of implicit rage; in Ireland, they can tell you to “feck off” without causing offense. This balance between gentle persuasion (or exasperation) and cold fury is the axis on which Michael Dean’s site-specific installation turns.

    A lone sculpture made from twisted rebar and cloaked in the pages of splayed paperbacks, Laughing

  • interviews April 03, 2018

    Alice Maher

    The Irish artist Alice Maher’s work is, by turns, a powerful call to action and a persuasive invitation for reflection. Her solo exhibition “Vox Materia” at Source Arts Centre in Tipperary, Ireland, which she discusses below, is on view through May 5, 2018. Here, she also talks about her work in the next EVA International, which will run from April 14 through July 8, 2018. Additionally, Maher’s new film, The Sixth Skin (2018), made in collaboration with artist Aideen Barry, will premiere at the Cork Film Festival this fall.

    YOU MIGHT THINK WOMEN come out pretty negatively in myths and history,

  • picks June 16, 2017

    Maria Farrar

    There’s a school of painting that is easy to like: representational, with an edge of abstraction in the gestures, and frequently colorful with a touch of the fey. Yet this type of painting is very hard to do well—to make something both pretty and powerful. Great examples are Karen Kilimnik, Lisa Yuskavage, Mairead O’hEocha, and now, recent art-school graduate Maria Farrar.

    Farrar was born in the Philippines, raised in Japan, and trained as an artist at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at Oxford and London’s Slade School of Fine Art. This history is embedded in her images—hints of different

  • picks February 07, 2017

    Daphne Wright

    There is a satisfying frisson—aesthetic, emotional—that rests between the beautiful and the repellent. From a distance, Daphne Wright’s Stallion, 2009, is a glorious thoroughbred, rolling on the ground with abandon. Come closer and see that the beast, cast from a freshly slaughtered horse in resin and marble dust, has been partially eviscerated. A jolt of infinitesimal recoil follows before fascination takes over.

    This midcareer retrospective, organized with Bristol’s Arnolfini art center, takes in the various strands of Wright’s practice: filmmaking, sculpture, drawing, and sound. While all her

  • picks December 15, 2016

    Barbara Knezevic

    Three tall Perspex plinths are filled to varying heights with dark earth, from which grow robust green fronds of Monstera deliciosa, also known as the hurricane plant. They are like columns, punctuating sites of action or defining the edges of a film set. With them are a number of low, gray daises, and clusters of other objects, their import ambiguous.

    With Exquisite tempo sector, 2016, Barbara Knezevic has created an environment in which nature and culture sit in delicate balance, although which is which isn’t always clear. A large photograph shows hands stretching a piece of dyed green leather,

  • picks November 15, 2016

    Kathy Prendergast

    Kathy Prendergast has long made a practice of maps. From her 1983 series of watercolors “Body Maps,” which conflated cartography with the female body, to her delicate “City Drawings,” 1992, which won her the Premio Duemila at the 1995 Venice Biennale, she has proven her observation that “all maps are subjective,” with fresh explorations that address naming, control, personal memory, borders, and exclusion.

    For Atlas, 2016, Prendergast has laid out one hundred copies of the AA Road Atlas of Europe, each open to a different page, on as many trestle tables. By painstakingly blacking out all but the

  • picks August 17, 2016

    Alan Phelan

    As Ireland marks the centennial of the 1916 Easter Rising—the failed revolution that, nevertheless, defined the independent Republic—arts programming throughout the state is exploring that event’s various legacies. One of the most thought-provoking and intelligent exhibitions to come out of this is from Alan Phelan. In a small installation and separate thirty-minute video, the artist imagines an alternate future for one of the revolution’s antiheroes, Roger Casement, who was knighted for his work on human-rights abuses in the Congo Free State and Peru, yet imprisoned for bringing German weaponry

  • picks August 08, 2016

    “A Weed is a Plant Out of Place”

    The curator of this group exhibition, Allegra Pesenti, is a specialist in drawing. This is readily apparent with the seventeen artists she’s selected, who offer up a range of works in varying degrees of subtlety and delicacy. Michael Landy’s series of weed etchings, “Nourishment,” 2002, hanging in a line across an entire wall, are the exhibition’s linchpin. Landy’s renderings of these plants are a testament to the perseverance of the seemingly fragile, highlighting unexpected beauty in the most inhospitable of spots. Adrian Paci’s video The Guardians, 2015, echoes Landy’s sentiments with its

  • picks July 14, 2016

    Brian Duggan

    In the midst of the carnage of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that devastated eastern Japan in 2011, the Ryou-Un Maru fishing boat was swept out to sea: one more casualty of a catastrophic event in which almost 18,500 people died or went missing. Here it becomes the focus of artist Brian Duggan, who’s made a habit of exploring risk, hazard, and failure.

    Duggan has constructed a dramatic scale model of the Ryou-Un Maru (all works 2016) out of metal, wood, carpet, and reclaimed and recycled materials, among other media. The ship, languishing at an angle and faintly illuminated by a string of