Thursday, December 24, 2009

Armin Rohr

Ohne Titel („Alex & Anita“), 2009

Ohne Titel („Sandi”), 1997

Ohne Titel („Hans-Georg”), 2009

Really like Armin Rohr's work. You can check out more here + here.
Anyway, hope the season treats everyone well, see you all in the new year.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Michael Johansson + some cold water swimmers

Michael Johansson, Green Piece, 2009

Michael Johansson, TOYS'R'US-Dinghy, 2006

Came across the wonderful work of Michael Johansson you can see more of his work here.

Also, in the spirit of recent posts by Art Fag City and James Wagner I thought I would post whats on view in Galway, that is worth checking out. Mind you Galway is a bit small so the list is short.
Actually there is really only one show worth popping into over the holidays. The Galway Arts Centre with Anita Murphy's exhibit Bathers: 365. A quiet celebration of some cold water swimmers. Brave souls that frequent the waters off of Blackrock in Galway. I will put some images up soon. The show is on till the 16th of January.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Vancouver Olympics + Freedom of Expression not getting along

So it appears that the People's Charter of Rights and Freedoms is all fine and dandy just not during the Vancouver Olympics. Vancouver city ordered the removal of a small mural by artist Jesse Corcoran from the front window of The Crying Room Projects Gallery. You can read the complete story here


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Tulca and Germaine Koh. Galway to Berlin.

Wrote a piece on this years Tulca festival for the Shower of Kunst site you can read it here. So I am in Canada for a quick visit. Unplanned but enjoying it non-the less. I had an opportunity to visit the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery and their feature exhibit Building Berlin, guest curated by Germaine Koh. A brave exhibition by KWAG and a little challenge for the citizens of Berlin* should always be welcome. The show is complex in both concept (urbanity) and media and as a result asks a lot of the visitor, but the return is worth the investment. Daniela Brahm's installation along with Norwegian artist Lars Ramberg's Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof were the visually commanding stand-out works for me. Overall the show is most certainly worth the trip out to Kitchener-Waterloo, it runs till January 23, 2010. As an added bonus you can download the catalogue from KWAG's site.
*Kitchener's original name was Berlin. It was changed during world war one.

Daniela Brahm, Proclamation Wall & Proclamation Posters, 2006-2009.
Image courtesy the artists and the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery.
Photo: Robert McNair.

Installation shot of Building Berlin (Taken from Ramberg's website)
Works from l to r are Daniela Brahm Proclamation Wall & Proclamation posters,
Lars Ramberg,
Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof, Pia Fuchs, The Pan-National Flag,
Daniele Seiple Tear Down This Fence

Installation image of Building Berlin. Works from L to R:
Karin Sander, German
National Womaen's Soccer Team 1:7,7, 2005.
Rui Calcada Bastos,
Love Map, 2003 and Events - Life in a Bush of Ghosts,
2008. Images courtesy the artists and the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery.
Photo Robert McNair.

Lar's Ramberg Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof (Taken from Ramberg's website)

While in Toronto I did the long march down Queen st. and stopped by as many galleries as I could. I was only there for the afternoon so there were a lot I didn't get to see. A few shows that stood out were Kevin Yates minatures, at Susan Hobbs. Some great paintings by Krisjanis Kaktins-Gorsline at Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects. You can see more work by this wonderful painter here, and the controversial Jock Sturges, with his Colour prints show at the Stephen Bulger Gallery.

Kevin Yeates, exhibition shot.

Kevin Yeats, Pearl Street 2008

Krisjanis Kaktins-Gorsline, The Name and the Gape


Sunday, November 15, 2009

AA Bronson receives Order of Canada

Picked up from VOCA
General Idea co-founder AA Bronson receives Order of Canada.

AA Bronson and Governor General Michaƫlle Jean.
photo John W MacDonald

Well done.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

A visit with Michael Geraghty and a long overdue reply to Artist Lee Welch

Just came across an image of this fantastic piece by An Te Liu from a project in Toronto. The Leona Drive project was a very temporary group project that took place this past October.

An Te Liu Title Deed 2009 / photo A. Sulikowsk

I received an email from Artist Lee Welch in response to my review of his show at the Galway Arts Centre the other day. You can read my review here, and here is Mr Welch's letter.

Hi Simon, I hope all is well. Just wanted to drop a few lines in regards to At the still point of the turning world. I am not sure what you felt like you were missing? Hitchcock is fairly main stream, no? You might have seen some of his movies. He dealt with suspense and psychological thrillers. This would be the first clue as to where things are going from there. Perec maybe you might not have read or heard about him. If not you should pick up one of his books really great stuff. Jorge Louis Borges will at this stage I feel like I am repeating myself here. All exhibitions have press releases, some artists have books about them. The fact the the more you know about any subject the better your understanding of it will become. So if we take Physics for example we may look at examples of it on a daily basis but if you do not know what to look for then you might not see it? To have a better understanding of Physics you read, study and experience it. I believe this applies to most subjects. You as the viewer expect certain things from an artwork and me as an artist expect certain things from my viewer. I think this is a fair exchange. It is like a conversation. So if I am speaking and my interlocutor is not participating then this is not an engaging conversation. Right? -- Best wishes, ––––––––––––––– Lee Welch

I was happy to hear from Mr. Welch even if he was a little disappointed in what I wrote. I still stand by what I wrote though. I believe that Mr Welch expects a lot from his viewers but what does the viewer get for this high expectation? As one of my colleagues put it, there just wasn't that a-ha moment. And for those who haven't read, studied and experienced contemporary and/or conceptual art, what can they expect? Those viewers who walk into the gallery off the street, the general population, not the students, artists or writers on art, but just regular people. I suspect Mr Welch doesn't care all that much for what the un-read masses get or don't get from his work. Don't get me wrong though, I do not want artists to dumb down or compromise their work for the sake of mass inclusion. Maybe that's unfair to ask of artists, to be all accessible. I am the first to admit a distaste for art that doesn't challenge or engage. So then, what am I asking? Obviously each show impacts the viewer relative to the context one views it in. In the end, I found Mr. Welch's show too vague, lacking substance and failed to provide that "ok, yeh I get it" moment.

On a completely unrelated topic, I had wonderful opportunity to explore Ireland a little more with the recent visit of my wife's parents. We looked for the location of an old family bit of land where a house had stood. The trip was something of an adventure. We ventured out to Killucan which is just west of Dublin. We were looking for a place called Lowtown house. Mind you this house no longer exist it was torn down during the 50's. So we proceeded to ask people around the area. One person lead to another. Until we were directed to the Brothers Geraghty. (Michael Geraghty is pictured below) I am mentioning it only because of the impact it has had on me. Sitting in Mr. Geraghty's home listening to him recount minute historical details of the area and the people made me keenly area of how little I know about my own back story. Some one needs to make a film about this guy.

Michael Geraghty, Historian and story teller/ photo S. Fleming

Thanks Shannon.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A few words on Reverse Pedagogy

I had the opportunity to talk briefly (by cell/mobile... I only mention this as I am terrible at taking notes while one is speaking and the notes I jotted down while Paul was answering my questions are atrocious) with Paul Butler last week about the Reverse Pedagogy (3rd installment) residency up at Model Satellite, in Sligo. Paul was also previous to Sligo just up in Derry at Context Gallery hosting his International Collage Party. Paul has teamed up with Ireland's Mark Garry to head this project, but Paul stated that--

"our job is to pick the people, create the environment and then we step aside and we participate equally along side everybody else."

How did this project come about?

"It started in the Banff art centre responding to the term Reverse Pedagogy. I wanted to create an environment were the students were the teachers. In traditional art schools the students end up in studios by them selves. I wanted a more sort of holistic approach to art-making where everything was done together. Artists working together, bringing each individual talent to the group."

What will Canadians bring to the Irish table?

"Through diversity comes opportunity. It's not necessarily Canadians bringing anything specifically Canadian but artists from different art backgrounds coming together. Possibly in discussion it could be argued two cultures responding to their surroundings, comparing respective art models."

Are there any restrictions?

"No not really, except maybe time"

There was more to this interview but as I mentioned earlier my note taking was not the most comprehensive. Model Arts on the other hand probably keeps great notes and does publish a blog on events at the Castle street space and Niland Gallery and you can check out a youtube interview posted there.

Mark Garry, Being Here Image via


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Went to London for some curry, Koons and Peyton

So Nina and I went off to London for the weekend to visit friends. First time in London and it was an excellent visit. Stopped by the Tate not to see the Futurism or Per Kirkeby exhibit ( I didn't want to pay, although I would have liked to see the Kirkeby show) so we took a gander at the collection displays. Highlights were Gerhard Richter's large abstracts and Joseph Bueys large sculptural works. These two pieces were impressive to say the least. Not sure if they worked so well together in the same room though.

Joseph Bueys, The Pack. 1969 (photo: Tate Modern)

Joseph Beuys installing "The Pack" in the Moderna
Museet, Stockholm, 1971. (photo: Lothar Wolleh)

Joseph Bueys, Lightning with Stag in its Glare.
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

(photo: Erika Barahona-Ede )

Next stop was the Serpentine Gallery. Actually it wasn't the next stop, I'm jumping around here. Anyway we stopped into the Serpentine to catch Jeff Koons show. A master of the spectacle and the show didn't fail. A discussion between friends and I arose after I mentioned that Koons generally didn't paint his own paintings and those that did never received recognition for their contribution. ( aka hired help or more professionally titled, assistants) A common enough practice in many fields other than art but when it comes to artists, credibility seems to come into question. It seems the integrity of the artist who doesnt toil away at his or her own work is lessened when assistants are added. Artists work with ideas and concepts, application and rendering although obviously important are secondary. Regardless, an interesting discussion about accountability. I will have to talk to my team of assistants and see what they think. The Guardian has an interesting article about this very topic here.

Jeff Koons + nameless assistants, photo: Steve Pyke

So to end off we also had the opportunity to see Elizabeth Peyton's show at Whitechapel. Peyton is a good painter just not a great painter and I wonder if it were not for whom she painted and knew, would she be as famous? I have to say that I would be more interested in seeing a show by Canadian artist Constance Maconaghie and her washy and oft times gritty rendering than Peyton's paintings of privilege any day.

C. Maconaghie, Kitchen story 2'x3' Water colour on paper


Saturday, September 05, 2009

Some upcoming Canadian painting shows of interest /or shows I wish I could go and see!

Wil Murray, Baby Ghost From The 1900s Says Beat It With Your Chain, 2009

If you live in the Montreal area, Wil Murray's show at Gallerie PUSH goes up Sept 10th.

Kim Dorland, Lookout 2009

Kim Dorland is showing at Skew in Calgary. OPening Thursday 10th and running till Oct 10th.

Graham Gillmore, Custody and Access Study (Results #2), 2005

And over in Vancouver is Graham Gillmore's Refusalon show at the Monte Clarke Gallery. Sept 10 to Oct 3rd.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Short update and a Knee-Jerk

So apparently I missed the whole month of August regarding updates here. Shameful if I don't say so myself. I had every intention to write on a number of events, art shows and other random-ness, but the motivation to actually place finger to key failed to appear.

So, anyway, the Galway Arts Festival came and went. When Nina and I moved here last year we had just missed it. So with that I was looking forward to checking it out this time around. I was a little bit disappointed. I think it was generally agreed that the exhibit they put on was rather poor. With the exception of John Brady's very fine large sculptural piece with accompanying paintings and Hockney's prints, it was a wash.
The Galway Arts Centre had an interesting video showcase by Lars Laumann. Sorry I dont have a great link for you but the Galway Arts Centre has a good write up for their exhibition. Again that was a while ago so I wont really go into it, a couple really stand out pieces.

I was fortunate to see the Knee-jerk collective's (they told me they have a website in the works, I'll post a link when its up) show at the thatched cottage, a wonderful little well preserved cottage here in Galway. I ended up bringing some friends by the exhibit as I thought both the venue and the artistic response by the collective was spot on. (Some pics. I will get names and titles up shortly)

I am looking forward to their next project. Ok just had a look around and their next event / exhibit starts this Thursday at Leixlip Library, titled A Novel Landscape.
In their words: 'A Novel Landscape' is a site-specific exhibition in Leixlip Library, Co. Kildare. yep thats all I have on it.
Anyway, I am off to London next weekend! See how many galleries I can fit in without driving those with me mad. Send me suggestions of must see galleries and exhibits.


Saturday, June 27, 2009


Can anybody recommend an inexpensive place to stay in Berlin?


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


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Of Fathers and Mothers

Just a quick note. I came across this blog Secret Forts. It is a wonderful,  image based blog. What caught my eye though was the photographs collected of artists at work or in their studio. There is something almost mythical about these images. A certain romantic nostalgia found in the old pictures of our art-world mothers and fathers.  I find these images fascinating, for me they tug at the imagination. Anyway, I am not going to re-post them here (well maybe 1 or 2). But you should go and check out the blog your self. 




Friday, June 12, 2009

A Sportsbar and the Search for Utopia

The Dutch invasion!

Opening night of the Frank Koolen SPORTSBAR exhibit.

126 is currently showing Dutch artist Frank Koolen, guest curated by Maaike Gouwenberg an independent curator also based in the Netherlands. The show is titled SPORTSBAR, a tongue-in-cheek take on sports culture. Primarily that noblest of establishments the sportsbar. Nothing is missed in this installation. From the big screen TV to the almost mandatory parade of garish team jerseys. The show features various mock ups of tables and patrons, trophies to even video pieces of curious sporting events televised on a couple small wall mounted monitors. The show is playful and timely, with the Volvo Ocean Race having just passed through Galway. With the title of the show prominently displayed on the front window of the gallery it has lured unsuspecting passers by into the space thinking it was an actual sportsbar. Once in, smiles start to break on faces and whispers of "what is this" can be heard. The show runs till the 27th of June.

Trophy Penants

Patrons at Koolen's Sportbar

Installation view

Maaike (Curator) & Frank (artist) holding the no smile pose. This was a participatory aspect of the opening night of the show. Polaroids of opening night attendees were taken and then posted on a wall in the gallery. Participants were also told not to smile.

At the Nun's Island Theatre the Galway Arts Centre is presenting "In Search of Utopia" a group exhibition of video artists. Now I have to admit I don't give video enough time. Ironically as I say that I am currently working on showing 2 of Kelly Richardson's video works here at this years Film Fleadh in Galway (at 126). So yes, I confess to not giving video enough time but not to a failing of appreciation. The Nun's Island show is a good example. I admit to a very quick visual evaluation of video work, which by its often time-based requirements of the viewer is exactly the worst possible initial assessment of any video piece. The first piece I stop at is Cao Fei's piece titled "Whose Utopia" (I tried to link to his page but it seems not to be working at the moment) Apparently this work is a part of a larger body of work titled "Utopia Factory"
Initially I wasn't drawn in. It felt like I was watching a promo video for a random factory. Production lines, conveyor belts, employees at work etc. I can hear the readers groans already. To make matters worse after 5 minutes maybe 10 I chose to go and view the other works in the show. I had lost interest. I did come back though. The point of my return was for me more engaging and I cursed myself for leaving. Yes I am my own worst enemy. I left the piece in the end thinking though, about the inclusion of music in video works. I couldn't help but think where is the line between an everyday music video found on television and this work that had a song added to it. Why cant you have music in Video art? Why would you want music? I was surprised by how much the mood of the video changed with its inclusion. This may have also been a little biased, as the viewer was now being directly engaged by the people in the video, where as before the employees were filmed working. I think the inclusion of music in video works is confusing. One starts to read into the lyrics, the tempo or beat, the correlation of song to video etc. There is a change of focus from video to song. Adding a song to a video is almost a cop-out and easy led by the hand-this is what I want to say crutch. But then again I am not a video artist, I dont have the referential background. Maybe some one could argue the case for music/song in art based video. (Note: I am not talking about added sound/s in the video just music)
The piece that I was drawn to was by Ailbhe Ni Bhriain . A stunningly beautiful and melancholy work. I am keen to track down more of her work now that I have seen this one. The video is subtle in its motions and visually rich in earthy tones. Anchored in the foreground by what appears to be a fallen sheep or just the wool itself? A stream like current plays slowly across (or maybe below is the better word) the scenes surface. The piece holds you. I did take a couple photos of the work but they didn't turn out at all or at least not enough to do it justice. Its the nature of the video itself that foiled my camera (or maybe I need a new and better one).



Its funny how much artists need refueling. Well I do. I think I have a shallow creative well that needs topping up a lot. I feel like I spend a lot of my time running around with a bucket looking for the water to keep the well full. I always have extended projects, various constructions that I am playing with. Ideas that need feeling out and that I can work on over a longer period of time, leave for a bit then come back to. but its the stuff on canvas and paper and what-not that I burn out on (quite frequently it seems) or over work or too easily get frustrated with. I get to the all too familiar point where I want to trash the whole lot and start over. To compound this problem, I am a rather slow painter and if I kept tossing my unfinished work into the bin I would be left with very little.
So, I find myself occasionally needing to see the work of other artists. This is two fold, firstly and obviously it is the love of art in general. The desire to see the results of the creative process of other artists. To keep abreast of what is going on in your field. Secondly as an artist one needs to immerse one self in the product and results of this practice we have found ourselves in. This immersing, works to inspire and motivate (read: refuel), to help me push through my own pieces. As primarily a painter this entails looking at the work of other painters. Unfortunately Galway is a bit thin on galleries, let alone galleries that show primarily painters. Obviously one can troll the web but we all know looking at art on a computer screen is a poor compromise and almost akin to a visual crime. Something like a black & white reproduction of a colourful painting in a book (well maybe not that bad). So maybe a trip up to Dublin is needed.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Galway Arts Centre and Christ the Redeemer

A pretty busy couple of weeks for the Galway Art scene. We wrapped up the Fergus Byrne's show titled Dog Skipping Pegasus. I like Byrne's work that he had for this show for both the end product and the method of creation. The final product is visually strong and heavy. All the skipping pieces being weighted from the top by either a black or red/ochre rich pigment. The bottom half of each piece the viewer finds a testament to the action of creating the work. (the artist skips on these pieces. The skipping rope picks up the pigment from one end and transfers it to the end where he is jumping) The show also included a video piece and some smaller works as well a performance on the opening night (which I regretfully missed). I was undecided on the video though. On the one hand I found it a good addition to the show as it gave some insight to the process as well as having an almost mesmerising effect with its rhythmic visual and audio components. The only issue I found with the video was a relational disconnect in the textual aspect of the video.

Skip IV, mixed media on paper,
176 x 98 cm, 2009.

Image taken from the Visual Arts Centre website

On Thursday the 28th Galway had a number of openings. I made it to two of them, the first being the Galway Arts Centre's exhibit The World Shrinks For Those Who Own It. Featuring
Frankfurt based artist Oliver Heinzenberger and Galway's own Jim Ricks.
I will insert the Art Centre's own write up here for the show

The exhibition explores the differences in peoples’ movement; for some travel
is a luxury and recreational, where for others it marks a dangerous and often
illegal crossing of borders in search of a better life elsewhere.

The space is broken up into three rooms so I'll walk you through each. As you enter the first space you come upon a sculptural floor piece. A row of cactus that has done a great job of collecting shopping bags. Meant to be a loose recreation of a common cacti yard-wall found through out the middle east as well as many equatorial locals. I really liked this work on so many levels. It had a wonderful duality to it. On the one hand I thought it was a playful piece, vibrant and interactive with colourful loose bags blowing around the floor with the help of a centrally located fan on the floor. On the other, it acted as a signifier for mass consumerism, western deculturization, and disposable utility. An excellent piece.
On the far wall we have a PLO-like throw-up of a Kalashnikov rifle and red star. Images like these always have a commanding visual impact, and this is no exception.

Picture of the artist Jim Ricks.

The cactus wall. (not the actual title, just a descriptive) Jim Ricks

In the mid room is Oliver Heinzenberger with pieces on either side of the room. The one that stood out for me was a small shelf with 4 photos on it. The photos showed people/tourists standing atop an outdoor staircase with arms out-stretched. The staircase is situated well above the coast line which can be made out in the distance. Anybody familiar with Rio De Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer statue picks up on whats going on here. The strength of these little photos is their ability to convey regional information and narrative through allegory. The spectacle that is tourism and ritual pilgrimage found at this location, the recording of the same event over and over again. That's a lot to convey and the photos relay it in a very clever way.
We move onto the back room. The room has been blackened (painted) and has a number of pieces in it. The strongest piece for me being the post card stand with only one card to select. A replica of a Berlin Wall postcard, soldiers in a jeep driving by a rather indistinct section of wall (by the Potsdamer Platz which is near the Brandenburg gate) and outpost tower in the background.

Post Card Stand: Jim Ricks

Oliver Heinzenberger

Over all I thought the exhibit was really engaging and well worth dropping by the centre to check out. Spend some time with the show, you need to let it convey its stories both weighty and whimsical.

Up next: A Sportsbar and the Search for Utopia


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Frank Koolen & the Volvo Ocean Race

Just a quick Gallery update. 126 is showing work by Dutch artist Frank Koolen

from May 28th to June 27th. Curated by Maaike Gouwenberg (also Dutch) in time for the Volvo Ocean Race's Galway stop over. The exhibit is titled SPORTSBAR.  I like the way this blurb sums up his practice, taken from here 
My work can be described as an ongoing search for the ideal combination between the beauty of discovery and the happiness of recognition. A moment in which the everyday and the magical seem to collide, creating unexpected logic.
So if you're in town for the race or otherwise drop by.

I was just chatting with a friend about the cosmetic application Galway is putting on for the race due to the temporary international focus that we will gain. Planters, road repairs, new paint, and parking enforcement. I mention parking enforcement because those that know me know about the pet peeve that footpath (sidewalk) parkers are to me
this was taken from the Galway City Council site:
illegally parked vehicles would include, but is not limited to illegal parking in such areas as disabled parking bays, bus bays, clearways, single yellow lines, double yellow lines, median strips, pedestrian crossings, parking on footpaths and adjacent to junctions. In these cases, while the issuing of a parking offence ticket is still appropriate and will occur, clamping will also be applied as the deterrent with tow-away to be applied where there is obstruction. There is no “grace period” for this category of offence
Let me tell you I had a great big smile on my face after reading that. Mind you, I am not so naive as to think that all this pomp and circumstance will remain after the race has moved on, but it will be nice while it is here. Anyway the opening for the Koolen show is on Thursday the 28th at 8pm with the after party down the street at Bar No. 8  A great little lounge(y) bar that's not a pub.


Confounding Art shows and new work

Well we are into the middle of May over here in Ireland. What does that mean? Well not much really. I had to start the post with something. Had a chance to see the show over at the Galway Arts Centre. They have Lee Welch on two floors. The exhibit is called At the still point of the turning world. Here is a bit from the write up on it.
At the still point of the turning world. offers a constellation of points of reference, provocation and stimulation. Nonetheless, the show is modest in its form, comprising of a small array of carefully selected elements, which have been placed with thoughtful deliberation throughout the gallery space. Materials derived from contemporary phenomena and historic events make up much of this exhibition, including vintage magazine advertisements, rare editions of books and bootleg records. As the title suggests, At the still point of the turning world. offers a quiet and still space for reflection.
It goes on quite a bit. You can read more here. As I was walking through the exhibit I felt I wasn't getting something. The show is very sparse. Books, record sleeves, a magazine ad and so on. If the viewer takes the time to read the write up there is a reference to counterfeit cultural artifacts (relating to certain items in the exhibit),ok fine, but if you don't read the write up how on earth would you pick up on that? How does a person who walks in off the street engage with this show? I felt it was too vague and almost plays to an inclusive art club ego. Who is this for? Not the general public I would argue, or maybe I am not giving the gp enough credit. I admit I was lost trying to access, engage or relate with this exhibit. Any thoughts? I will say that the wall piece was quite good though. Found on the first floor, it plays with one's natural curiosity, but ends up confounding the viewer. Taking up almost all of a small room to the back of the first floor the wall pulls the viewer around to the back where you realise that there is no way to the other side. So you go back to the entrance thinking you missed it back there. Its at this point that you realize there is no access to the other side, no door no entry. Curses! I caught myself smiling at the manipulation. Here are a few rather poor cell/mobile pics of the show.

In the second Floor main room, this had a record player as well as a few pieces on the wall. The record sleeve in this image was a Beatles’ bootleg copy of Indian Rope Trick.

Playing from the record player was Apocalypse Now. Listening to Martin Sheen's spoken diary entries, as he was riding the patrol boat down the river made me want to go out and rent that flick again. I found myself wishing there was a chair or bench so I could sit and listen for longer.

Counterfeit Books
‘pirated’ editions of D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover published in the late 1920’s

So this show is on till the 23rd of May. If you get a chance check it out. Glean your own opinion let me know what you thought.
Here are a couple images of my recent work. The paintings are in progress and a small 3d piece. Its meant to lie on its side. Washed up on shore I suppose, derelict.

Havent titled this little guy yet.