Gemma Tipton

  • Left: Curator Caroline Hancock and artist Amina Menia. Right: RHA director Patrick T. Murphy and Edel Beresford.
    diary January 12, 2013

    Bank Holiday

    I’M TOLD THAT JANUARY 11 is when you can stop saying Happy New Year. It was only the 10th, but already 2013 was feeling a little dusty as we thronged into the Royal Hibernian Academy for the first big art bash of Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union. We’d gotten used to being slightly mortified in European company, vaguely embarrassed about our bank bailout, while we hugged to ourselves the notion that at least we’re better than Greece. But this year we’re feeling good about the European Union, in part because of an extra chunk of funding for cultural projects, in celebration

  • Alice Maher, Mnemosyne, 2002, stainless steel, copper piping, condensing unit, corian, refrigeration gas, 72 x 41 x 34 1/2".
    picks November 09, 2012

    Alice Maher

    In Alice Maher’s new two-screen digital film, Cassandra’s Necklace, 2012, a young woman roams a series of caverns. She seems simultaneously separate from these surroundings, and yet also strangely part of them: Her silver dress highlights the glitter in the rock formations, and in one scene she appears wearing a necklace of glistening animal tongues. In Greek mythology, Cassandra was cursed to speak the truth but never be believed. Commissioned by the Irish Museum of Modern Art for Maher’s midcareer retrospective, the film encapsulates many of the artist’s concerns: the dual nature of beauty (

  • Ed Miliano, 5 October 2011, 2011, oil on paper, 6 3/8 x 9".
    picks October 02, 2012

    “Futures 12”

    “Futures,” the Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts’s annual exhibition of emerging artists, is worth watching, especially because it marks the point at which young artists come to prominence. Previous alumni include John Gerrard, Nevan Lahart, Liam O’Callaghan, Amanda Coogan, and Aideen Barry. This year’s twelfth iteration presents sculpture-cum-assemblages from Lucy Andrews and Caoimhe Kilfeather; paintings by Peter Burns, Ed Miliano, and Stephanie Rowe; and an attention-grabbing installation by Jim Ricks.

    Ricks’s The Poulnabrone Bouncy Dolmen, 2010, is a tongue-in-cheek homage to the Burren area

  • Nick Miller, Steel Yard and Mountain II, 2011, oil on linen, 16 x 20".
    picks September 20, 2012

    Nick Miller

    Since 1997, Nick Miller has brought his studio on the road with him, driving around the wild terrain of northwestern Ireland in an old truck in which he has installed shelves, paint and brush holders, and an easel. In the resulting “Truckscapes” series, 1998–2007, painted from within his truck/studio, the outline of the open rear door of the truck is visible in the paintings. This becomes a framing device, presenting a perspective, refining the focus of Miller’s paintings to a single tree, fence, laneway, valley, or field. Despite following in the traditions of Paul Henry and Jack B.

  • Hans Op de Beeck, Celebration (Buenos Aires), 2011, HD video, color, 5 minutes 5 seconds.
    picks August 29, 2012

    Hans Op de Beeck

    The four videos by Hans Op de Beeck in this exhibition create a powerful sense of artificiality. What’s more, they also demonstrate the range of media—including drawing, painting, photography, model making, and sound—utilized by the prolific Belgian artist. The nearly eleven-minute-long Extensions, 2009, is an animated sequence of black-and-white watercolor drawings, segueing through a series of images exploring artificial “extensions” to the human body. We see tattoos growing over skin; there are also prosthetic limbs, weapons, computers, hotels, and shopping malls. The film opens and closes

  • Maggie Madden, Expansion, 2011–12, fiber-optic cable, glue, foam board, 13 x 8 x 8”.
    picks July 21, 2012

    Maggie Madden

    Featuring mass-produced and discarded materials (rubber strips and laminate samples) as well as organic specimens (such as sea kelp and Sisymbrium orientale, a flowering plant from the mustard family), Maggie Madden’s latest exhibition juxtaposes delicate elements from the natural world with weighty materials from industrial culture.

    This combination demonstrates surprising similarities between the two sources of media. In City to Country, 2012, a cardboard and plywood construction evokes an architect’s model of a skyscraper. The structure sits near a form made from the dried fronds of the mustard

  • View of “day wears,” 2012.
    picks June 15, 2012

    Aleana Egan

    In her 2011 exhibition at London’s Drawing Room, Aleana Egan turned to literary texts, including Jean Rhys’s novel Good Morning, Midnight (1939), as sources of inspiration for her spare and elusive work. In “Local Curiosities,” Egan’s recent collaborative publication with Pádraic E. Moore, she quotes from Virginia Woolf, among others, and it is the Woolf reference that seems most apposite in this exhibition, “day wears.” In The Waves (1931), Woolf asks, “What is the thing that lies beneath the semblance of the thing?”; this is a question at the core of Egan’s current artistic preoccupations.

  • Left: Mary McCarthy and artist Jessie Jones. (Photo: Gemma Tipton) Right: EVA curator Annie Fletcher with Woodrow Kernohan. (Photo: Paul Sherwood)
    diary May 29, 2012

    Future Perfect

    WE TIME-TRAVELED AROUND IRELAND. It was a mass migration of the art world—first south to Cork, then north to Limerick. The Cork gig was the second coming of the Visual Artists Workers Forum, and the topic for discussion was, “Will our future thank our present?” The next day, and a hundred kilometers across the county line, was the opening of the thirty-fifth Limerick EVA, where the theme was “After the Future.” Somewhere along the way we had left tomorrow behind.

    Jesse Jones was just back from a project for REDCAT in Los Angeles, and en route to Seoul for another. She told the assembled Cork

  • View of “Lithosphere,” 2012.
    picks April 23, 2012

    Eileen MacDonagh

    There is a paradoxically ethereal quality to Cathedral, 2011, the centerpiece of Eileen MacDonagh’s exhibition “Lithosphere”: paradoxical, because the installation consists of a forest of massive, twenty-six-foot-tall trees. These stylized silvery-gray trees are nevertheless constructed from lightweight materials: Styrofoam and papier-mâché. Their uppermost branches resemble arms, outstretched to meet the ceiling lights. According to the artist, the title refers specifically to the cathedral-like nature of forests; references to the sacred recur throughout the exhibition. Outside the gallery,

  • Josef Albers, Homage to the Square, 1967, oil on Masonite, 28 x 28".
    picks April 22, 2012

    Josef Albers

    The simplicity of the one thousand–plus works in Josef Albers’s “Homage to the Square” series, 1949–76, is utterly deceptive. Layering colored square upon colored square, though never mixing the colors themselves, Albers proved that color is relative, that it plays on the optic nerve, and that proximity alters perception. These spare, subtly sophisticated works are so incorporated into the visual language of abstraction that it is a wrench to realize how influential and groundbreaking they originally were.

    “The Sacred Modernist” gives a rare opportunity for Irish audiences to see a selection of

  • View of “The Murder of Crows,” 2012.
    picks April 03, 2012

    Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller

    Crows are said to gather around the dead, their black shapes presaging the flight of the soul. The collective noun for a grouping of these birds is “a murder of crows,” the assonant association between the words underlining their connection with death. This is the departure point for Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s 2008 installation named for such a flock, a work that features a room of chairs populated with ninety-eight loudspeakers, through which words, sound, and music are played to create what the artists describe as “a film without images.”

    Unlike a visual image, which reveals itself

  • Margaret Corcoran, Burst of the Waterfall, 2002, charcoal on paper, 31 1/2 x 39 3/8".
    picks March 07, 2012

    Margaret Corcoran

    Revising our perspective on images of art history that have participated in shaping received cultural iconographies, this exhibition presents something of a miniretrospective, featuring Margaret Corcoran’s concerns as a painter over the past three decades, as she dips in and out of mythologies, religious belief, and the changing representations of women in art. Corcoran came to prominence with “An Enquiry,” 2002, a series depicting a young girl progressing through the National Gallery of Ireland’s collection of romantic and sublime paintings. The sublime in this exhibition is addressed in the