Gemma Tipton

  • Damien Flood, Interior Sun, 2013, oil on reversed black-primed canvas, 59 x 49”.
    picks February 11, 2014

    Damien Flood

    In his latest paintings, Damien Flood takes the line for a walk. Gray lines meander through the abstract paintings Wired, Contact, Bust, and Pipe (all works 2013), which effectively connect this series of small works. There is a semblance of a story being told, but at the same time refuses easy explanation. In Wired, a line is hooked through a sequence of triangular shapes of increasing size, which jut into the picture plane from the left as if they had been caught on the line’s hook.

    Contact is more chaotic; a line zigzags over a mist-shrouded cave-like space, giving specious definition to the

  • Mark Durkan, Rombico, 2013, mixed media, dimensions variable.
    picks December 21, 2013

    Mark Durkan

    What might the ruins of the future look like? In the past, some artists, like Komar and Melamid, have imagined them in crumbling concrete and stone, shrouded by trees. (The Russian duo’s “Scenes from the Future” series, 1975–90, shows collapsing museums, including MoMA and the Guggenheim, overtaken by rampant nature.) But Mark Durkan’s vision of the future is more glittering, and more liquid. His installation at Dublin’s LAB is created from spheres, mirrored cubes, jagged zig-zagging constructions of glass and strange machinery; light plays over these, refracting into rainbows, and all is haunted

  • Mark Curran, Bethlehem, Trader, Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX), 2013, digital C-print, dimensions variable.
    picks September 24, 2013

    Mark Curran

    “The Market” is the culmination of Mark Curran’s project that charts the reverberations of stock markets, specifically looking at the aftermath of global economic collapse affecting those who work within the sector. Documentation in the form of interviews and photography are on view among other works. Photographic portraits of stock exchange workers in Dublin, London, and Addis Ababa are paired with videos and installations. Large C-prints starkly titled Matthew, Banker and Anthony Analyst, both 2013, depict somber suited individuals at work. Bethlehem, Trader, 2012, shows a young woman clad

  • Left: Artist Bob and Roberta Smith and Dash McCarthy. Right: Bishop's Robing Room. (Except where noted, all photos: Gemma Tipton)
    diary August 29, 2013

    Citizen Smith

    IT STARTED WELL, with a garden party and the sun smiling down on the grounds of Butler House. Butler House is the Dower House of Kilkenny Castle. In the past, if you were married to whichever Butler happened to be Duke or Earl of Ormonde at the time, you were shunted off here when your husband died. And what a nice place to be shunted to. We walked in past actors from Shakespeare’s Globe, rehearsing The Taming of the Shrew in the former stable yard to the delight of a gaggle of tourists getting a free show.

    On into the gardens, a band played, and Bob and Roberta Smith (aka Patrick Brill) arrived,

  • Ben Long, Horse Scaffolding Sculpture, 2013, steel and aluminum. Installation view.
    picks August 16, 2013

    “Beasts of England, Beasts of Ireland”

    Animals appear throughout art history, from the ancient cave paintings at Lascaux to the formal, the clichéd, and the kitsch. Curator Stephen Brandes has selected eleven artists for his exploration of contemporary renderings of the bestial form. Ben Long’s thirty-foot Horse Scaffolding Sculpture, 2013, an aluminum skeleton of a horse arising magnificently from a plinth, dominates the menagerie of works in this exhibition. But it is where animals themselves provide the material for the works that things get more interesting, as the boundaries between subject and object blur.

    Polly Morgan’s Surgical

  • Nigel Cooke, White Orchid (With Party and Splint), 2013, oil on linen backed with sailcloth, 86 3/5 x 86 3/5”.
    picks July 02, 2013

    Nigel Cooke

    The end-of-days dystopia explored in Nigel Cooke’s “Night Crossing” paintings from 2010 has transmogrified into a post-apocalyptic series of landscapes in which storms splinter creepy trees, fairy-tale faces emerge, and eyeballs and skulls appear; sunbathing figures seem oblivious in settings where only fragments of civilization remain. Cooke is brilliant with paint, and his large canvases combine a variety of techniques, layered in what could be chaos, but which resolve, thanks to his formal and technical skill, into works of satisfying and balanced complexity.

    In Storm with Shattered Tree,

  • Marianne Keating, Famine Screen (detail), 2013, four-panel screen, unbleached cotton, each 68 x 25 1/2".
    picks June 17, 2013

    “Prelude Speaker: Contemporary Castletown”

    The exhibition “Prelude Speaker: Contemporary Castletown” investigates the Palladian mansion that serves as its site through the work of sixteen contemporary artists, including Sarah Browne, Patrick Jolley, Eoin McHugh and Paul Nugent. Ireland has a troubled relationship with its great houses of colonial rule. Some were burned out in the 1920s, while others sank into neglect. Castletown, the largest of these, was built in the eighteenth-century for William Connolly, speaker of the Irish parliament. Now in the care of the state, it fell into disrepair, and was more recently rescued by Desmond

  • Cleary & Connolly, The Iso-Symmetroscope, 2013, mixed media, dimensions variable. Installation view.
    picks June 05, 2013

    Cleary & Connolly

    William Chambers’s Casino at Marino is a tiny puzzle box of a building, full of architectural tricks and illusions. Built in the 1750s, it is the most important neoclassical building in Ireland, and yet Chambers, also architect of London’s Somerset House, never saw it—he never even visited Ireland. Despite this, his genius haunts the site, providing the subject for Anne Cleary and Denis Connolly’s installation The Absent Architect, 2013.

    Formally trained in architecture, Cleary & Connolly explore the spatial dynamics of perception through their practice. Their earlier works include Pourquoi pas

  • Alan Phelan, Information deficit blended-in as a tree, 2006, mixed media, dimensions variable.
    picks May 09, 2013

    “Changing States”

    “I feel vaguely suspicious of borders as brokers of meaning,” writes artist Niamh McCann in the catalogue for “Changing States: Contemporary Irish Art & Francis Bacon’s Studio,” a survey exhibition of twenty contemporary Irish artists that includes notable work by McCann, as well as Alan Phelan, Gerard Byrne, Katie Holten, Garrett Phelan, John Gerrard, Alice Maher, and William McKeown. Alongside these works are images and objects including Irish magazines and books that were culled and brought in from the studio of Francis Bacon. Exhibited on the occasion of Ireland’s Presidency of the Council

  • Tate Britan director Penelope Curtis, “Monuments” curator Mark Sladen, and artist Yorgos Sapountzis. (Photo: Paul McCarthy)
    diary April 25, 2013

    Tea and Sympathy

    WE WERE SEATED around a tea table crowded with cakes, scones, and little sandwiches with the crusts cut off. We had our choice of Indian or Chinese tea, and the view was breathtaking: The Blackwater River wound through lush green fields and a picturesque bridge led toward where we sat, high up in Lismore Castle, Irish home of the Dukes of Devonshire and home too to Lismore Castle Arts, an organization set up by the Duke’s son, Lord William Burlington. Proximity to centuries of self-assurance breeds insecurity in those of us who don’t have that history to draw on (occupational hazard), and we

  • View of “Detouched,” 2013.
    picks March 01, 2013


    There’s some semantic juggling going on with curator Anthony Huberman’s concept for “Detouched.” The word he has chosen for the exhibition’s title, he writes, isn’t a real word, instead existing “somewhere between retouched and detached. It’s also fairly close to untouched, which means that it has a lot to do with touch . . . ” This introduces works by A. K. Burns, Alice Channer, Sunah Choi, Dennis Oppenheim, and Seth Price, which are juxtaposed to explore ideas of physical presence in a world where experiences are now distanced, felt through the taps of our fingertips as we interact over the

  • Lawrence Carroll, Untitled, 2011, oil, wax, canvas on wood, plastic buckets, shoes, leaves, neon, 11'6“ x 9'10 1/2” x 1'.
    picks January 14, 2013

    Lawrence Carroll

    Steadfastly resisting fashionable trends, or even any particular progression, Lawrence Carroll’s exhibited works span almost thirty years. Their cumulative effect is a curious cross between melancholic nihilistic resignation, endorsed by titles such as Guilt and Always Alone, both 1992, and a peppering of hope derived from the small beauties that life still offers. This hope appears in the guise of real and plastic flowers (Untitled Wax Floor Piece, 1999; Untitled, 2003), neon light (Untitled, 2011), and in the calm, restrained, yet insistent presence exuded by the pieces in their entireties.