Gemma Tipton

  • Grace Weir, Dark Room (film still), 2015, color HD video, 7 minutes 30 seconds.
    picks January 07, 2016

    Grace Weir

    In Grace Weir’s Footnote: If only something else had happened, 2011, two sets of headphones are anchored to a stone. The audio track is an interview between the artist and cognitive scientist Ruth Byrne. “In constructing our alternatives to reality,” says Byrne, “we are constrained by our understanding of reality.” This problem presents the key to exploring the works representing sixteen years of Weir’s practice.

    The hauntingly mesmerizing Dust defying gravity, 2004, is the four-minute video result of a camera tracking through the rooms at Dunsink Observatory, passing by antique telescopes and

  • E.S.P. TV, Unit 11, 2015, customized ENG van, dimensions variable.
    picks December 29, 2015

    “The Future is Self-Organized”

    Exhibition fliers and newspaper clippings cover the walls of the Limerick City Gallery of Art, as if it has been turned into a fully papered box office—on a grand scale. Looking closer, one discovers that these ephemera span two decades of art projects from Catalyst Arts, Pallas Projects/Studios, 126, Occupy Space, and Black Mariah—all artist-run spaces, celebrated by Pallas to mark its upcoming twentieth anniversary. The sense of cacophonous energy engendered by these materials is heightened by a cluster of monitors on plinths, showing footage of further projects. Visitors find their attention

  • Amanda Coogan, The Fall, 2009/2015, Performance view, Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin, 2015.
    picks September 23, 2015

    Amanda Coogan

    A mesmerizing presence, Amanda Coogan commands her space during her performances: a considerable feat, as twelve dramatic spotlit installations share the gallery. Each is a costume of sorts—the residue of past performances. On opening night, Coogan stood atop a mountain of a dress: painted fabric draped over a scaffold. And throughout the run of the exhibition, Coogan will re-create six additional performances, building to an intensity anticipated via the bank of video screens in the next space that play footage of Coogan’s works, from the witty performance The Birds, 2003, in which flocks of

  • Left: Sorcha Carey, director of Edinburgh Arts Festival, with Janet Archer, chief executive of Creative Scotland. (Photo: Erika Stevenson) Right: Glasgow International director Sarah McCrory with artist Pablo Bronstein. (Except where noted, all photos: Gemma Tipton)
    diary September 01, 2015

    Jupiter Ascending

    NOTE TO SELF: Always travel with snacks. Especially when trying to work your way through four private views a night, plus afterparties. But that’s festivals for you—even the popular Edinburgh Art Festival, which ran through August and which is now in its twelfth year. When “dinner” turns out to be bread rolls, your next day’s agenda of gallery and studio visits can seem a high mountain to climb. They were nice bread rolls—laid out on a table in the gorgeous Georgian surroundings of Edinburgh University’s Playfair Library Hall. The Playfair, one of the finest of its kind in Europe, is, disappointingly,

  • Left: Séamus O Ciosain. Right: Galway International Arts Festival director Paul Fahy and playwright Enda Walsh.
    diary July 31, 2015

    The Galway Way

    WE SAT ON A PINK-FLOWERED COMFORTER atop a single bed, surrounded by a panoply of little-girl kitsch. A disembodied voice told of the room’s former occupant, now disappeared, “inventing tales of Barbie punishing Sylvanian Bunny,” and fearing that “the little world I had created in my bedroom would crack to the beigeness of the rest of the house.” The installation, A Girl’s Bedroom, was Enda Walsh’s follow-up to last year’s Room 303, both of which premiered at the Galway International Arts Festival, and both of which offered proof that reality may be most powerful when invented.

    “I’m making a room

  • Caroline McCarthy, Riot, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 118 x 59".
    picks July 16, 2015

    Caroline McCarthy

    When Theodor Adorno wrote of “art with its definitive protest against the dominance of purpose over human life,” he might have been writing a manifesto for Caroline McCarthy. The London-based Irish artist has made a career of works that play with ideas of utility in a market-dominated art world where value, or rather, price, is part of the purpose.

    In McCarthy’s 2011 exhibition “Arrangements,” her piece Shelf Arrangement no. 1 of 720 variations, 2011, consisted of a stack of inexpensive shelving material supported by bronze brackets with hand-cast screws. Here, she escalates the idea of abstracting

  • View of “Riddle of the Burial Grounds,” 2015. From left: Stéphane Béna Hanly, Length of a Legacy (Robert Oppenheimer), 2015; Lara Almarcegui, Buried House, Dallas, 2013.
    picks July 13, 2015

    “Riddle of the Burial Grounds”

    Measured against geological time, humans haven’t been around for all that long. Judging from the works in this exhibition, the natural world may have met its match in humanity. Throughout the show, sixteen artists comment on the depredations of time, revealing in the process the moments of willful ignorance, brilliance, and extraordinary beauty that characterize our existence on this planet.

    Pieces from Stéphane Béna Hanly’s 2015 series “Length of a Legacy” are featured in each of the center’s spaces. Three illuminated vitrines contain these meticulously sculpted busts, made in unfired clay,

  • Brian O’Doherty, The doors to good and evil and the windows to heaven—Christina’s World, Rope Drawing # 123, 2015, nylon cord, water-based house paint, dimensions variable.
    interviews May 18, 2015

    Brian O’Doherty

    Brian O’Doherty’s three “Inside the White Cube” essays were first published in Artforum in 1976. Only a few years earlier, the artist and writer had begun making his “Rope Drawings,” 1973–, which offered new ways of negotiating the space of a gallery. The latest work from this ongoing series, The doors to good and evil and the windows to heaven—Christina’s World, Rope Drawing #123, 2015, is currently on view in “Fragments,” a group show at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin consisting of works from the museum’s permanent collection, through July 26, 2015.


  • View of “Sonia Shiel,” 2015.
    picks May 12, 2015

    Sonia Shiel

    Sonia Shiel’s oil paintings tantalize with hints of unresolved narrative. Even her titles, which are presented in the gallery handout in the form of a poem, are allusive yet ultimately obscure: honey drips / all quiet / till one day / never rousing (all works 2015). This conceit is rescued from fey coyness by the strength of Shiel’s canvases and the dark elements that haunt her work.

    Like many of the works in this exhibition, birds flee has a theatricality. A recumbent male figure, dressed like a fairy-tale prince in rich indigo with gold palm tree epaulettes, gazes at an octagonal frame or tray

  • Lydia Ourahmane, The Land of the Sun, 2014, perspex, engine oil, lemon tree, tire, 39“ x 79” x 134".
    picks February 24, 2015

    “Constructed Culture Sounds Like Conculture”

    I love a good dose of constructed culture, those slightly out-of-kilter worlds in which speculative fiction thrives. In this exhibition curated by Samuel Leuenberger at a relative newcomer to the Dublin arts scene, there are five artists whose work hints at an expanded reality, creating a satisfyingly immersive environment that has intriguing parallels with everyday experience.

    Adrien Missika’s series of sculptures, “Jardin d’hiver (version synthétique)” (Winter Garden [Synthetic Version]), 2013, dominates the gallery, with three bamboo towers on concrete bases that are hung with planters containing

  • Niamh O'Malley, Nephin, 2014, black-and-white video, 29 minutes.
    picks January 13, 2015

    Niamh O’Malley

    Often unnoticed, it forms the invisible protective barrier between an artwork and the world, the screen behind which a video plays, the lens of a camera: Glass takes center stage in Niamh O’Malley’s most recent body of work. As a metaphor for the challenge of creating an accurate representation of the world and the impossibility of doing so, the medium is richly understated in O’Malley’s meditations, which form one of her most pared-back and persuasive exhibitions to date.

    Hollow (all works 2014) is one of the subtlest. Pencil on paper, it is an abstract accumulation of marks. With these layers

  • View of “John Gerrard: Solar Reserve (Tonopah, Nevada),” 2014.
    picks November 14, 2014

    John Gerrard

    Installed on a massive LED wall at the Lincoln Center’s main plaza, John Gerrard’s Solar Reserve, 2014, could at first sight appear to be footage of the Hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, during which Muslims circle the sacred cube of the Kaaba in their devotions. Initially indefinable objects slowly move around a central tower, echoing the sense of eternal circling central to that ritual. But Gerrard’s computer simulation is of something more secular: a solar thermal power plant in Nevada, its tower the focus of ranks of mirrors that tip to catch the sun.

    Controlled by a team of