Thursday, June 25, 2009

Its a long flight from Louisiana to Galway

"Grass, reeds and Circus freaks" D. Carpenter, A, Revill, A. Regan

So what do you get when you mix equal parts Louisiana Master students and a local Irish art collective? Probably a lot of drinking. But as far as an exhibition goes? Well, you can probably expect a good one, and that is just what you get. The Galway Arts Centre is showing a large group collaborative show of artists from Galway and Louisiana. Titled 003D and curated by Gina Ruane. Unfortunately its a very quick show and ends this weekend. Here is a brief snippet about the show from the GAC.

The two groups were initially brought together by Expanded Draught member Allison Regan who moved to Louisiana in August 08 to start a three year Masters degree in sculpture. The idea for the collaboration was triggered after the collective were forced to figure out a new way of working with the founder member who was now based overseas. Although it is a collaboration of two groups the artists have chosen to work in pairs. Taking the concept of people and ideas being placed and displaced in and out of contexts and environments, each collaborative pairing has applied this as the starting point from which to develop their interpretations.

I am glad I swung by yesterday as I didn't know it was up for such a short period of time. The exhibit is a feast. You are confronted right away by a wall of masks created by David Carpenter, Alwyn Revill and Allison Regan. Its interesting the effect masks have. Phantasmal otherworldly notions creep into the dialogue that one has when standing in front of this tribalistic trophy wall. I am not sure of their "practicality" as mentioned in the artists write up but they do evoke a slight sense of wonder with a hint of intimidation. Masks tell stories, but they also hide and impose. These mask have an end of the world feel to them. Are they from tribes that have risen from the cast off of a failed society or are they tools of the trade from some strange traveling carnival ? What ever they are, they succeed in pulling the viewer down new paths, new narratives.

On the opposite wall we are asked to take a more intimate look at Breege Hynes and Tyler Mackie's collaboration. I liked the idea behind this work. Creating small works and exchanging them only to be erased, covered up or reworked by the other artist. A mix of faith and curiosity is needed for these types of joint ventures. I enjoyed some of the pieces but not all and I'm not sure how the work as a whole holds up. It was a tough spot opposite the visually commanding display of the masks. But the way they mounted the small works was engaging I almost missed hidden pieces mounted to the ceilings of the alcoves. The middle room was the location for an eye catching sculptural display, a strange combination of found material. The write up by the artists explains that they started with a series of themes and collected materials from around Galway in response. I couldn't read the relation of the final piece with the themes but didn't care really. I was drawn into the works structure and physical impact, the relation it had to the room. I wish I had a better shot of the piece. As I am writing this I have just realised that there was a second component to this work, I suspect. A small framed image on the opposite wall. I have to admit that I did not associate the two parts as one. I didn't see the connection or relation. I have to ask if this was a situation due to the layout of the room or a short-coming of the work itself.

The back room found two projects. Kit French and Dave Callan's playful colour paper creations and Lindsey Maestri and Joanne Dolan's "25 Random Facts" collaboration. I found a bit of a disconnect with the combination of reproduced actual items (tape player and cassette tape) with random forms. It was a bit confusing but didn't really detract from the whimsical nature of the work.

Over all a strong show that really should have been up for longer.

Detail from "Drawing partners: Draw, Erase & Draw again" T. Mackie, B. Hynes

Coln O'Brien and Cody Arnall

Detail from "25 Random Facts" L. Maestri, J. Dolan

"SWNT: Sync, Wink, Nod and Tongue" D. Callan, K. French

"SWNT: Sync, Wink, Nod and Tongue" D. Callan, K. French