to Jan 10

Bea McMahon: Present

In Bea McMahon’s first solo show at Green On Red Gallery, titled Present, she explores philosophical and scientific texts on how we inhabit the present. Her practice, which involves drawings, video and sculpture, illustrates her preoccupation with the division between fiction and reality.

Einstein believed that there was no absolute simultaneity; he stated that the distinction between past, present and future were illusionary. Bea explores such ideas through a visual narrative. In her current exhibition she invokes Dante’s epic poem The Divine Comedy and Nikolai Federov’s Philosophy of the Common Task.

She presents nine drawings, which provide a visual lexicon for Dante’s journey with Virgil and Beatrice through hell, purgatory and paradise. The underlying theme of this poem being the moral and ethical corruption of church and society brought about by wealth. This correlates with Federov’s socialist concern with justice for all. A philosopher of the late nineteenth century his writings on the Philosophy of the Common Task disseminated his belief in the creation of technological, social and political conditions whereby people could be re-animated, re-connecting the past with the future, in a manner comparable to the Christian promise of resurrection.

In this video work she engages with the notion of a journey through space whereby Ferderov is re-animated into the ‘present’. Historical figures become agents in the pursuit of aligning matter and spirit while alluding to the continuing scientific quest to find the actual construction of mass.

The sculptures within the exhibition reference the visualisation of ‘light cones’, which are a graphic device used to represent all the possible paths in space that light can take in the past, present and future.

Bea McMahon (b.Ireland 1972) received a Masters in Visual Arts Practice from Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art and Design in 2007. Prior to that, she completed a primary degree in pure mathematics at Trinity College Dublin (1994) and a Masters degree in mathematical physics at University College Dublin (1997).
She was awarded a Visual Artist Bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland in 2005, 2006 and 2008. In 2007 she was awarded the Curated Visual Artist Award from the Arts Council of Ireland. She is included in the collection of the Arts Council of Ireland.

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to Nov 22

Fergus Feehily: Strange Mountain (Makeshift)

When we asked Fergus Feehily to make something for our pages in the book that will form part of the NADA Art Fair Miami in December this year, he chose to make a shadow as a work – recorded in a photograph, something that at once was being made and disappearing. There is an offhand exactitude in this action that we can recognize in his work more generally, a specificity, where things are just so. Regarding this sense of specificity, the artist has pointed to the Labyrinthine work of the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges and his story Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, in which Borges describes the language of the imaginary region Tlön: “The noun is formed by an accumulation of adjectives. They do not say ‘moon’, but rather ‘round airy-light on dark’ or ‘pale-orange-of-the-sky’ or any other such combination. … The literature of this hemisphere… abounds in ideal objects, which are convoked and dissolved in a moment, according to poetic needs. At times they are determined by mere simultaneity.”

The found, made, collected, manipulated, glued, pressed and pinned all play a role in the ever-growing vocabulary that makes up Feehilys recent practice. His modestly sized works throw up surprises at every juncture, with pieces shifting into all sorts of previously unimagined directions. One such direction is the making of an ongoing series of artists’ books — Feehily refers to them as pamphlets — they include the recently published Cloud Management and Book No 4a.

Feehily’s paintings offer a consciously visual and at the same time haptic experience that resists categorization, one that he has expressed a certain reticence to over-explain.Yet we can recognise through the work certain concerns both new and returned to, air and mass, lightness and gravity, a sense of aspiration and the friction between the intuitive and the ordered, with all their inherent paradoxes. Feehily’s work, not unlike the story by Borges (or any story by Borges) loops back to the same concerns time and time again, yet through this recurring examination expands to allow ever more of the world into the work.

This show presents a new roughness (used advisedly) in Feehily’s practice, that these strange works are made by hand is not hidden, rather it seems to be relished by the artist. Feehily’s casual precision is explored by Declan Long in his text for the accompanying catalogue to Makeshifts and Endpapers, the artist’s recent Kunstverein show in Germany: “He self-consciously combines painterly diligence, intelligence and sophistication with an astute insouciance, the result of which is a compellingly scrupulous imperfection: formal rigour meeting playful, chaotic looseness; intensive, elegant abstraction merging with cryptic, ingeniously disruptive elements of representation.”

Recent solo exhibitions include the aforementioned Makeshifts and Endpapers, Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen, 2008, Small Inventories, Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco, A Darker Definition, Galerie Christian Lethert, Cologne, Late Eighty-Six, The Return at the Goethe Institut, Dublin, all 2007. Group exhibitions include Here’s Why Pattern’s, Misako & Rosen, Tokyo, Zu Gemeinschaften, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, 2008, The Show’s So Nice, Monya Rowe, New York and (I’m Always Touched) By Your Presence, Dear: New Acquisitions, Irish Museum of Modern Art both 2007.

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to Oct 25

Nigel Rolfe: Dust Breeding

Dust Breeding, 2008

Dust Breeding, 2008

While humanity was once according to Homer an object of contemplation for the Gods, it has now become a contemplation of itself. Its own alienation has reached such a degree that humanity’s own destruction become a first rate aesthetic sensation – Walter Benjamin

Green On Red Gallery presents Dust Breeding, a solo exhibition by Nigel Rolfe. The exhibition is emblematic of his previous work as he continues to investigate - through performance, video and photography - the construction of reality and the nature of truth. He employs video not only as a tool of documentation but also to investigate and test his own physical and psychological limits, using his body as a site for challenging his limitations. His artistic evolution may be understood as a desire to accommodate a modern-day fascination with the ‘society of the spectacle’.

The central piece of the exhibition is a singular projection entitled Dust Breeding. The piece, enacted in private, records the performer being enveloped by white dust. The film is slowed down to highlight this dramatic impasse which is simultaneously poetic and repugnant to the spectator. The spectacle immobilizes the viewer as he or she bares witness to the event. The analysis of this act references a variety of sources including the history of theatre, performance, video and theoretical discourse. In Theatre of Cruelty, Antonin Artaud spoke of cruelty, not in the sense of a violent act, but of the cruelty it takes for actors to strip away completely their masks and show an audience a truth that they do not wish to see - an exposure to vulnerability. The transformation of the performer from passivity to the point of struggle is a poignant metaphor for human limitations. The title of the piece further refers to a collaboration between Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp, for which Man Ray photographed a culmination of dust over the period of a year on the sculpture Bare Naked Lady. The dust documents the passage of time and recalls our mortality.

The staging of the photographic triptych entitled The Fall captures that moment before a fall. The artist is suspended in that moment. The dust begins to rise and to surround Rolfe before impact. In a text entitled Dust Breeding, Jean Baudrillard states that “our reality has become experimental. Without destiny, modern man is left with an endless experimentation of himself.” The artist’s practice is indicative of this pursuit. Rolfe is interested in the relationship between art and life; between performance and photography; and the difference between the art object and documentation of an action. His performances and actions are well documented and presented as finished films or photographic works. While conceptual in practice, they are nonetheless visually sophisticated.

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to Sep 13

Group Exhibition: Journey to the End of the Night

Alice Maher

Alice Maher

Journey to the End of the Night
Takehito Koganezawa, Alice Maher, Michael Muller, Niamh O'Malley and Clare Rojas

Journey to the End of the Night focuses on the drawings of five artists. Takehito Koganezawa, Alice Maher, Michael Müller, Niamh O’Malley, Clare E. Rojas. The title is taken from the first novel of Louis-Ferdinand Céline written in 1932. This exhibition creates a narrative thread where the viewer is transported to alternate worlds although far removed from the author’s dark, nihilistic meanderings. The artists through their work create fictional spaces and characters that transgress the real and mundane and deal with man’s relation to nature both mythologically and philosophically. The over-riding connection between these works is the capacity to imagine.

Takehito Koganezawa’s drawings invoke a surrealist mood - and though surrealist, the artist maintains a light, humorous edge throughout. His drawings intentionally transform our visual surroundings through his animistic approach to his subjects.

Alice Maher’s series of drawings The Trials of a Driad explore a forgotten mythology and culture. Driads are a type of wood nymph in Greek mythology, viewed as female spirits of nature. The drawings of these fantastical characters align themselves with contemporary game figures connecting stories and popular culture through time.

Michael Müller’s works are based around linguistics and philosophical explorations of the nature of being and existence. His drawing Jetzt, Teil IV (Now part IV) depicts a cloudscape that alludes to infinity… what is beyond.

Niamh O’Malley’s Blind Spot series reflect her continuing exploration with illusion and the division between the real and the unreal. The landscape drawings are both familiar and fantastical with the inclusion of ellipses of colour that lead the viewer’s eye.

Clare E. Roja’s small, knowingly naïve works straddle both a primitive nostalgia and our current culture as characters appear and reappear in different fantasies: women and men, and women and animals connect in both quiet and charged moments.

"There is an universal tendency among mankind to conceive all beings like themselves, and to transfer to every object those qualities with which they are familiarly acquainted, and of which they are intimately conscious." David Hume

Niamh O'Malley

Niamh O'Malley

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to Aug 2

Group Exhibition: Sonic Youth

David Blandy,  'The White and Black Minstrel Show', 2007

David Blandy, 'The White and Black Minstrel Show', 2007

Sonic Youth
Johanna Billing, David Blandy, Yvonne Buchheim, Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, William Hunt, Ben Kinsley, Kate Murphy

Green On Red Gallery presents Sonic Youth an exhibition of seven international video artists whose work offers an extensive and in-depth exploration of the various possibilities of the crossover between popular culture and video art. The pieces navigate a variety of sources including the history of film, iconography and a wide range of references to popular culture. The works play with global codes and canonized images that are integral to the collective memory. Documentary itemization, self-questioning and cultural sampling are videographic practices which the artists use to react to the construction of the everyday. An interest and participation in popular culture especially music represents an important component of their oeuvre.

Ben Kinsley’s GESICHTSMUSIK is a musical self-portrait. All the sounds were produced with his voice and body, and through meticulous editing and layering, an audio-visual composition was created.

Yvonne Buchheim, Herder’s Legacy presents amateur singers from 5 different countries (Germany, France, Ireland, UK and USA) in front of a white background eliminating all visual indication of the place of recording. This audio-visual creation inspired by Herder’s song collection from 1773 becomes an open field of research into the visibility of cultural identity within songs.

David Blandy uses video, performance and comics to address how identity is constructed. Blandy’s piece The White and Black Minstrel Show, using the character of the White and Black Minstrel (an inverted Black and White Minstrel) to do “live” lip-syncing to songs like I’m Black and I’m Proud and Is it because I’m black?. This clownish figure, with a “whited-up” face, has come to embody Blandy's cultural confusion in this post-colonial world.

Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard's film project File under Sacred Music takes as its starting point an infamous video that documents a live performance by The Cramps for the patients at Napa Mental Institute, California, on 13th June 1978. Forsyth and Pollard began by re-enacting that legendary performance in order to film and remake the rarely seen video document. They consulted closely with a number of mental health arts organisations, before inviting members from Core Arts, Sound Minds and Mad Pride to attend the performance and filming, which was staged on a specially constructed set in the Institute of Contemporary Arts Theatre in London on 3rd March 2003.

Johanna Billing’s Magical World is a collaboration made with a group of children from a cultural centre outside Zagreb, Croatia. The direct subject is the children’s rehearsal of a song originally written by the black American singer Sidney Barnes in 1968. 'The song called Magical World, speaks of personal transformation with both pride and melancholy, conflicting emotions that coexist here, as often in life. This reference to transformation gives a clue to a possible metaphoric reading of the work, filmed as it is in a relatively young country that is trying to conform to European Union demands while establishing its own fragile national identity’. (Charles Esche)

Kate Murphy’s narrative style in her documentary pieces Britney Love highlights an 11 year olds aspiration for her future as a celebrity. In her second piece, she revisits her at the age of 18 where she talks about her motivations and aims.

William Hunt’s Even As You See Me Now employs video as a means of not only documenting but investigating and testing his own physical and psychological limits as he performs.

Preview: Thursday 26 June, 6-8 pm

For more information about the artists, please go to links page.

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to Jun 21

Group Exhibition: Ephemera

Simon Starling

Simon Starling

Ephemera is the title of the current exhibition at Green On Red Gallery curated by the Director Jerome O Drisceoil. The exhibition focuses on work whose claim on space, materials, even objecthood itself is slight and modest in the extreme. These works dare the viewer to accept their validity and viability as artworks. In the original brief for the exhibition, in fact, the curator specifically sought work :
"that is anti-heroic or anti-monumental in nature; work that deflates expectations. It prefers, instead, a process or materials that are drawn from the everyday and that, in themselves might ordinarily be considered worthless or inconsequential. In their modesty or new use they can present a critique of established systems or conventions forcing a renegotiation of the terms of artistic, economic or social exchange."

Coming close to a prank, Jonathan Monk issues an instruction to the Gallery as the artwork or is the artwork the labour of father and son builders who actually construct the work in the gallery ? Gabriel Kuri’s assemblages use unrelated objects that perform a fine, minimal balancing act. Heavy slabs of stone pinch empty cans and till receipts with their crushing weight echoing a state of economic affairs/squeeze elsewhere. Attention is drawn to simple daily occurrences and mundane shopping transactions that point to the trail of ( financial ) information that accompanies almost everything we do. Kuri is currently exhibiting in the Berlin Biennale. Ian Kiaer uses painting/imagery in a tentative, incomplete way combined with objects and small architectural models usually placed on the floor or small table that remain, at best, fragmentary but intentionally open-ended. A similar poetry attaches to the use and reuse of materials and objects in the work of Simon Starling, now perhaps best know for his Turner-prize winning Boat-Shed-Boat.

New work for the exhibition includes Breughel Project : Yellow/Ledoux Monument by Ian Kiaer ( Alison Jacques Gallery, London ), Upside Down Horizontal Line and Ejercicio 2005-2006 II by Gabriel Kuri ( Kurimanzutto Gallery, Mexico ), Father and Son Dry Stone Wall by Jonathan Monk ( Lisson Gallery, London and Yvon Lambert Gallery, Paris). Simon Starling’s Home-made Three-Legged Stool is courtesy of Modern Institute Gallery, Glasgow.

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to May 24

John Graham: Opening Sequence...

“Spectatorship is not a passivity that must be turned into activity. It is our normal situation” (Jacques Ranciere)

Green on Red Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by John Graham. This will be the artist’s first solo exhibition in Dublin and with the Green on Red Gallery since 2003.

Recent video projects by John Graham have considered how reality is constructed and mediated through moving images. These works, both site-specific and narrative-based, are informed by an interest in film and how its formal devices become implicated in everyday life.

Opening Sequence… meditates on the dynamics of the exhibition process in its creation and its viewing. John Graham sets the scene of his exhibition through a doubling or mirroring effect, projecting footage that he previously filmed within the gallery space – a reflection of the gallery back on itself.

A double projection and two narrated monitor sequences create a continuous visual and verbal dialogue. Narrators anticipate and interpret the viewer’s response. Graham’s investigation of the nature and function of the gallery space resists imposing a definitive version of events in favor of the unique experience of each viewer.

John Graham was born in Dublin in 1962. He graduated from the National College of Art and Design in 1993. In the same year he joined the print workshop, Graphic Studio Dublin, and began to make and exhibit prints and drawings. In 1997 he had his first solo exhibition in Japan at the Yanagisawa Gallery in Urawa, Saitama. He has continued to exhibit regularly in Japan.

He returned to NCAD to study for a masters in Fine Art Print in 2004. A developing interest in film and digital technology led to a switch to Fine Art Media and he completed his masters in 2006. His current work, primarily in video, engages with ideas of everyday experience and how it merges with cultural forms and rituals.

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to Apr 19

Group Exhibition: Frontier

Niamh McCann, Gavin Murphy & Marcos Rosales

"Our time demands the anti-masterpiece. Things that are cobbled together, pushed and prodded into a state of suspended animation feel right. Stubby, brutish forms that know something of the world in which they are made tell the contemporary story."

"Not about Mel Gibson" Richard Flood in Unmonumental:The Object in the 21st Century (p12)

Green On Red Gallery is proud to announce the first in a series of group exhibitions in 2008 that examine aspects of contemporary art practice in Ireland and further afield. Niamh McCann ( Irl.), Gavin Murphy ( Irl. ) and Marcos Rosales ( USA ) make up the first exhibition called Frontier. All three young artists show work using a mixture of drawing, text and sculptural installation in a variety of materials ranging from synthetic fabric to recycled tin, fluorescent light and cast resin. All three exhibit work in the Green On Red Gallery for the first time.

What is striking in the practice of these three artists is the cross-referential nature of all their work. Individual works do not point to a single subject or concept but seem to draw from multiple sources and times to arrive at what is more a point of departure rather than an endpoint or conclusion. This is as true of Niamh McCann’s sculptural work as it is of her mixed media on paper. In Splice ( 1 ), the promotional image for the exhibition, the original, low-grade, found newspaper has been re-cycled and reconstituted. Parts of the original 'text' – including imagery – survive the alteration but become part of a more ambiguous, complex repository of ideas and narratives. The use of acrylic paint is transparently thin allowing the various layers or systems/signs to infiltrate/negotiate each other. As the title suggests, different messages, different time periods, different forms of communication are spliced together/interwoven creating space for reflection. One dominant narrative/system doesn’t exist. The context is the key to the text.

A similar inter-textuality exists in the work of Gavin Murphy. Murphy uses bodies of ( past ) knowledge to direct the mind to consider monumental subjects. Mortality, the nature of existence, the incomprehensibility of the passing of time are at the centre of his art. Typical of his work are sculptural assemblages or 'Light/Heavy Monuments' like the one made from recycled coffee bags in Frontier. Word signs and a light bulb hover like a makeshift lightbox above the silver and gold pyramid. The artist does not distinguish between the suggestive power of the forms/signs he generates and the use of single, floating words to operate as a platform for further philosophical investigation.

These occupations, come from a very personal fear, yet Murphy translates these fears into the universal, turning to an enlightenment understanding of the objective observer as a metaphor for the isolation of the soul who wishes to step out of time.

The work of Marcos Rosales ( born Waco, Texas ) comes from a very personal origin tied in with his adoption as a child. Identity as a quest is something, however, that all of us negotiate whether it’s on a philosophical or emotional level or just going through passport control. His stream-of-consciousness writings, entitled The Demons of Diversity, link in with his almost almost automatic ink drawings connect to his free-form, kinky, black macramé suspended sculptures. Cryptic message and double-entendre abound in an unsettling and intense prod at the viewer.

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to Mar 22

Dennis McNulty: framework/rupture

Pavement, entrance, stairs, corridor, main gallery space - Green On Red's layout implies a narrative. One space leads to another. The journey upwards from street to gallery takes a little time.

In Dennis McNulty's first solo show at Green On Red, entitled framework/rupture, this movement from street to gallery provides the starting point for an exploration of the relationship between constructed space and the experience of time. A number of interventions and works (sound, sculpture, animation and photographic images) overlap, creating a cinematic space haunted by the presence of Sam Stephenson's Central Bank building.

The show will be accompanied by AFTERTHOUGHTS, a day of talks and discussion on March 1st, which will include a screening of The Big Bank, an industrial film commissioned by John Sisk & Son Ltd., that records the building of the Central Bank on Dame Street, Dublin, from 1972 to 1979. Speakers include Francois Chastanet, Owen Drumm, Ros Kavanagh, Riklef Rambow and Ellen Rowley. Admission is free but places must be booked in advance ( or + 353 1 6713414).

There will also be a screening of Seaview - Feature Documentary on Thursday, February 21st at 6.30pm Directed by Nicky Gogan and Paul Rowley
Produced by Maya Derrington, Nicky Gogan and Paul Rowley with music/sound treatments by Dennis McNulty
This long anticipated film about asylum seekers living in a former Butlin’s holiday camp at Mosney, Ireland, brings us intimate stories of trauma, hope, and fear of deportation. A unique view into a closed world - we meet the people who are waiting in the asylum process for years on end.
McNulty's soundtrack for Seaview weaves together sounds recorded onsite and music worldized in the ballroom and swimming pool at Mosney, into a soundscape that reflects the stasis experienced by the centre's residents.
Seaview has been selected for screening at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.

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