Mark Swords | The living and the dead
Temple Bar Gallery, 2017

Before visiting The living and the dead, I heard it discussed by two artists, both of whom paint. They talked about the show with the kind of passion-of-reaction reserved for cultural output which stumps the barometer of our personal taste—an excellent sign that something significant was going on. Neither was quite sure where they stood between the poles of love and hate and if the latter, whether this antagonism was, in fact, the blossoming of a deeper appreciation. There were no other shows in the city at that time which could have provoked such a guttural reaction. Here was an exhibition of rejection, willing and calculated. Rejection of craft, of design, of compositional ideals and—to some degree—of some romantic concept of good taste, however shy and retiring that is these days…

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Anne Hendrick | HOKUM
eight, Dublin, 2012/13

When thinking about the themes addressed in Hokum, as well as those of previous shows by Anne Hendrick, the below symbol occurred to me. A mound and a sphere. The artist’s current body of work is bordered by a trinity of topics: landscape, funeral rites and verisimilitude. At the centre of this, ever present, is the moon. Further, with gold being another important conceit in Hokum, I was interested to discover that this symbol inverted is a sign to denote mined gold. Here, we will include the fool’s variety struck on in Hokum. Throughout her practice since college, Hendrick has riffed on the circle / globe in various connotations: as building blocks and frames, micro and macroscopic…

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Lucy Andrews, Alan Butler, Niall de Buitléar, Joseph Coveney, David Eager Maher, Aoibheann Greenan & John O’Connell
13 Nth Great George’s St, Dublin, 2012

Seven Impertinent Notes on Tentamen
or are probably wondering why we have
gathered you together in this crumbling house..


There are perfectly good reasons in the minds of children for sticking metallic objects in mysterious tri-part apertures in skirting boards. Similarly, mixing experimental cocktails with every available liquid beauty product in the house holds an undeniable logic, with the hope of mysterious, magical results being at stake, despite the peril of being sent to your room…

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Magnhild Opdøl | Plastic Art {three-person show}
Rua Red, Tallagh, Dublin, 2012

Magnhild Opdøl, Trophy Number One, pencil on paper

…several deer heads, which appear to be arrested in a zombiesque half-state between death and oblivion. Faintly visible, under each one, are places and years carved into the wood – Atna 1906, Hemsjøen 1899, Åstvollen 1908 – names you recognise from your map. Terrains of fungal growth create undulations on the craniums which subtly mimic the landscape they have been taken from and will sepulchrally gaze out over, like memento mori, for lifetimes to come…

Click here for PDF of full text, w/ images

Exhibition catalogue available from Rua Red.


Pilvi Takala | The Trainee
eva International
Limerick City Gallery of Art, 19 May – 12 August 2012

Pilvi Takala, from Working at Deloitte for a month, slideshow presentation

It is difficult to immunise oneself against expectation. My viewing of the Finnish artist Pilvi Takala’s The Trainee was much anticipated – her ideas preceding her like an overly candid movie trailer…

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purchase hardcopy here


Aoibheann Greenan | Tahiti Syndrome
Joinery, April / eva International, May-Aug, 2012

Gauguin Mode, mixed media, 2012; installation shot by Mella Travers

In Mesopotamian myth, the hunting of lions symbolised the circularity of the life cycle through death and resurrection; in ancient Egyptian lore, the constellation-filled night sky was a lion, who swallowed the sun every evening, and so it is perhaps fitting – for an exhibition that draws greatly on science-fiction and pulp philosophy as muses – that as we bounce, it asks of us that darlin’ question, ‘what is the stars?’

Click here for full essay, w/ images, as PDF (print res)


Fiona Marron | First and Last Men
The Joinery, October, 2011
for Paper Visual Art Journal

{Hardcopy Dublin Ed.1}

Last and First Men, rear projected HD video (installation view), 2011; image courtesy the artist

Although I know better, this exhibition has inspired in me a fanciful vision of Fiona Marron, circumnavigating Ireland in a little boat; TV and radio receiver pointed at the land, recording news reports and magazine shows. From these she chooses disparate items to weave together uncomfortable narratives, featuring the gross excesses of unfettered capitalism and greed. Every once in a while, she comes ashore, video camera on a tripod, held, resting on her shoulder. Silently, en plein air, she commits to disc, calm, moving images, which evocatively bear testament to her research…

Click here for full article at the Paper Visual website

Click here to download the full Dublin Edition
as a PDF from the Paper Visual website

purchase hardcopy here.


Ceal Floyer | Things
Project Arts Centre, Mar-Apr 2011
for Paper Visual Art Journal

Things, installation shot by Denis Mortell; courtesy of Project Arts Centre

Things is, at heart, a wilfully unsatisfying show. It teases the viewer with morsels on an otherwise clean plate. The Project gallery is filled with identically sized white plinths, approximately four feet high, each fitted flush to the top with a white speaker grille. Despite the generous array, the room feels empty. At irregular intervals, an internal speakers play a short song clip from one of the plinths, sometimes overlapping. The clips consist of isolated fragments of song; in each tiny excerpt the word ‘thing’ – the ultimate banal noun – is sung. There are about thirty different examples, in various genres, lasting from a fraction of a second to several. Almost all are too short to recognise, which benefits the experience, as this is not a show about being pulled into specifics. It revels in its non-commitment and typically for Floyer the work is as simple, but beautifully constructed as a Stephen Wright one-liner…

Click here for full article at the Paper Visual website


Emer Brady
Institute of Art, Design and Techology, Dún Laoghaire, BA, June 2010
for Circa Magazine

Flotsam, installation shot; courtesy of artist

Disturbingly, due to storms about 10,000 shipping containers fall overboard from the decks of cargo ships every year, many unloading their contents into the sea. This flotsam travels in circuitous routes, or gyres, one of which passes Ireland on the Atlantic coast. Recent IADT graduate Emer Brady’s art is engrossed in such patterns that appear in nature, which she presents in forms scaled down from oceanographic levels from which they derive…

Click here for full article at Circa’s website