Critics’ Picks

View of “A Weed is a Plant Out of Place,” 2016.

View of “A Weed is a Plant Out of Place,” 2016.

Lismore

“A Weed is a Plant Out of Place”

Lismore Castle Arts
Lismore Castle Arts Lismore
April 3–September 30, 2016

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 depiction of children cleaning an Albanian graveyard. In about six minutes, Paci takes us through life and death via creeping vines that slowly defeat the seeming invincibility of stones.

Equally beguiling is Mat Collishaw’s Whispering Weeds, 2011, an animated homage to Albrecht Dürer’s Great Piece of Turf, 1503; and Dorothy Cross’s Foxglove, 2015, a group of eerie bronze bells made from casts of fingertips. Latifa Echakhch’s humorous “Tumbleweeds,” 2012, are scattered around the gallery. They’re found objects rather than crafted works, which you can purchase by mail order. And Luisa Rabbia’s Passage, 2008–14, makes an emphatic point about migration and the need to put down roots. Her zigzag drawing/frieze depicts what appear to be small grasses growing on a veiny blue earth. On closer inspection, however, what’s revealed is an endless procession of humanity—diasporic masses spreading throughout the globe, seeking out new habitats that might support life and different kinds of cultures.