Brian Cooney, Catherine Fay, Anna Keane, Liadh Kelleher, Lois Kelleher, Leda Scully and Isabella Utria Mago: Intangible Atmospheres

Tuesday 18 April – Saturday 22 April 2023
Visual by Isabella Utria Mago, 2023 | Brian Cooney, Catherine Fay, Anna Keane, Liadh Kelleher, Lois Kelleher, Leda Scully and Isabella Utria Mago: Intangible Atmospheres | Tuesday 18 April – Saturday 22 April 2023 | Solstice Arts Centre | Image: Visual by Isabella Utria Mago, 2023 – blurry, unevenly pixellated image of a face in fairly strong pastel colours

“(…) in an installation it is the body in its entirety which is asked to participate through its sensations, through vision obviously but also hearing, touch, on occasion smell. As if these artists, in the place of an “object” sought to place us in a space at the limits of the sacred, and asked us not to contemplate images but to communicate with beings. I had the impression that [the artists] were communicating this: that the ultimate aim of art is perhaps what was formerly celebrated under the term of incarnation. I mean by that a wish to make us feel, through the abstractions, the forms, the colours, the volumes, the sensations, a real experience.”
 Kristeva Quoted in O’Sullivan, Art Encounters Deleuze and Guattari (2006), pp. 51

Intangible Atmospheres features works by Brian Cooney, Catherine Fay, Anna Keane, Liadh Kelleher, Lois Kelleher, Leda Scully and Isabella Utria Mago, reflecting upon processes of making in contemporary research practices. The exhibition gives form to mediums such as painting, sculpture, film, video, photography, sound, performance and print. The works are an attempt to embody phenomena as experienced in Worlds continuously in flux. The exhibition originated from the ongoing research projects undertaken as part of the MFA programme, Art in the Contemporary World at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin.

Brian Cooney (Lens-based Media, Sound, Text-based Work, Mixed Media) moved to the west of Ireland 10 years ago. This body of work is a continuation of the exploration of his connection to the place he calls home.

Although living in the west for over 10 years it continues to feel like a place he occupies rather than one he inhabits, one that is familiar yet still unknown. Using walking as a tool of exploration enables greater engagement and allows Brian to simultaneously read and write the landscape, to shape and attend to those spaces around him and interact with as well as “intervene in their continuous becoming by acting in the here and now of their transformation” (Careri, 2002: 32)

Brian Cooney is an emerging visual artist, writer and researcher originally from Dublin now living in Sligo. He works with mixed media including photography utilising, digital, analogue and alternative processes, sound and performance. He returned to study as a mature student and holds a B.A (Hons) Photography awarded by the University for the Creative Arts, London graduating in 2019. He is currently completing the MFA pathway as part of the Art in the Contemporary World program at NCAD, Dublin. His artwork is a critical enquiry into the social, political and cultural aspects of the landscape of rural Ireland as experienced as an everyday phenomena.

Catherine Fay (Film, Mixed Media Installation, Publication) is interested in the in-between. The presence of non-presence. How by unpicking and reassembling a material object that contains an absence can presence be revealed. From its inception the objects’ materials have been chronicling a connection with place, time and matter. This chronicle of existence permeates the atmosphere shedding impressions that may be possible to record and illustrate.

Dissecting and analysing the garment shifts the materiality of things that escape into the world, this re-ordering in space and time presents perspectives of the garment that were previously unseen. By documenting our bumping off of these traces can worlds of connection be uncovered that are not evident in its present form?

Catherine Fay graduated from NCAD in 1992 with a degree in FA Printmaking. She went on to work in theatre and has been a part of the industry ever since. As a costume designer she has worked across the mediums of theatre, opera and dance, making work that has been seen on National and International stages. Selected highlights of her career include, Saved (The Peacock Theatre), Plough and the Stars (The Abbey Theatre), Romeo and Juliet, The Threepenny Opera (The Gate Theatre), Girlsong (United Fall), Näher…nearer, closer,sooner (Liz Roche Company) and more recently IGirl (The Abbey Theatre), Piaf (The Gate Theatre), The Crucible (The National Theatre UK) and the new musical Gold in the Water (Project Arts Centre). The MFA Art in the Contemporary World has allowed Catherine to explore attitudes and customs around her work on a deeper level. Challenging her to create work that brings new focus to what she does.

Anna Keane (Mixed Media Installation – Audio and Video / Archival Material) This project is a continuation of past work that aims to explore the artists own dual Irish-Canadian identity through an attempt to learn a unique dialect from the Maritime provinces of eastern Canada, called Chiac.

Chiac is an idiosyncratic kind of franglais that has no legal or recognised status in Canada but has great cultural and familial importance to many French-Canadians and Acadians. Chiac is an omni-present interlect that’s patois is challenged and considered substandard by other French speakers in Canada, which creates a system of discourse that the artist is exceedingly interested in exploring.

The artist aims to do this by conducting and documenting conversations in Chiac with her own mother, a French-Canadian, Chiac speaker by proxy, for the sake of learning the language and rooting herself in its milieu. Archival material from the artist’s own family records, the Le Blanc’s of Moncton, Nouveau-Brunswick, will support this endeavour by providing visual and personal context that the artist has used to draw from throughout her practice.

Anna Keane is a Canadian-Irish creative living and working in Dublin. Anna has a B.A (Hons) in Fine Art Media from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin and has returned to complete the MFA in Art in the Contemporary World. Her work is primarily mixed-media and lens based, often utilising found footage and the archive. Recently Anna has begun incorporating written pieces into her practice, including essays and creative fiction. Anna’s practice is consumed by the subject of dual-identity, as well as human migration and both the Irish and French Canadian diasporas, and the sensitive nature of her generation’s pursuit for a grounded sense of belonging in our current, restless climate.

Liadh Kelleher (Photography, Video Installation) was born in 1993 and grew up in the town of Macroom, County Cork. When she started school in the late nineties, she was one of the very few non-Catholic pupils in the school at the time. She was not baptised, but she was allowed to attend the Catholic school nonetheless. Although she was not of the religion she took part in all of the religious activities that would happen throughout the school day. She learned all of the prayers, sang all of the songs and had her own copies of the Alive-O activity book.

Things started to become strange for her when she was placed at the back of the church when the school attended confession and mass. She realised that although she was essentially taking part and knew all the words and prayers, she was not a part of this community. She did not practise her prayers at night, she did not go to mass, she did not have a God at home and there was no crucifix or red light atop her front door. The project has been realised from a short lifetime of observing an inaccessible community and searching for an unattainable entity. The work is a question of faith in a way, but also an exploration of fascination with the church, its iconography and the rituals practised within.

Liadh Kelleher is a visual artist working primarily in black and white photography. The main themes that flow throughout her work include identity, religion and the relationships she has with those around her. She studied Photographic Studies in St. John’s Central College, Cork City where she first became interested in analogue and documentary photography practices. In 2014 Liadh went on to study BA(Hons) in Photography in Edinburgh’s Napier University, graduating in 2017. She is currently living and working in Dublin where she is completing a Master of Fine Arts in Art in the Contemporary World in the National College of Art and Design.

Lois Kelleher is a painter and classical singer from Dublin. Lois graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 2021 with a B.A (Hons) in Classical Civilisation  and History of Art & Architecture. Her practice uses the mediums of sound and paint to work as an interplay exploring themes of human connection and relationships with those around us. She focuses keenly on the human face and voice. Lois is currently completing her MFA in Art in the Contemporary World at NCAD and is working part-time as a gallerist in a leading Dublin contemporary gallery.

Isabella Utria Mago Mixed Media Installation (Sculpture, Sound, Video) The identity of a subject is fragmented, uncertain, unfixed, not compatible with a linear way of thinking. So is the body and its significations, that is to say the meaning-making processes rooted in the phenomenological experience of the world.

EPI/DERMIS is a body of work aiming to reflect on the dialectic relationship between the body and identity—the natural and the unnatural, the human and the inhuman, the beautiful and the repulsive—by using skin, both bridge and barrier between an inner and outer world, as a medium to code and decode the body. By participating in processes of differentiation, the elements in play create an entanglement of structures and environments that are constantly evolving.

In the form of a series of physical and phenomenological experiments aiming to explore the aesthetic dimension of experience, the project entails the performance of a body that is degendered and mobile through the re-sculpting of its surface (in other words, the re-skinning of the body).

The work also engages with the transition from material to immaterial—object to screen and screen to object— by conceiving the screen itself as both a “second skin”  (i.e. cyber-sensuality and the digital subject) and a barrier separating the digital and physical world.

Isabella Utria Mago is Colombian multi-disciplinary visual artist and researcher, working across experimental publishing, writing, sculpture, performance, and mixed-media installation. She recently graduated with a First Class Honours Joint Degree in Graphic Design with Critical Cultures from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, where she is completing her MFA Art in the Contemporary World. Isabella’s work focuses on issues related to the body, the human, the fold, identity and materiality, and explores the use of methodologies derived from graphic design in contemporary art-making. Her practice reflects upon the transcriptions between material and immaterial by combining tangible elements such as sculpture, installation or bookmaking, and intangible elements such as 3D modelling, performance, or the use of digital technologies and generative programs.

Image: Visual by Isabella Utria Mago, 2023
Tuesday 18 April – Saturday 22 April 2023
Solstice Arts Centre
Navan, County Meath
Telephone: +353 46 9092300
Opening hours / start times:
Tuesday 11:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 11:00 - 16:00
Thursday 11:00 - 16:00
Friday 11:00 - 16:00
Saturday 11:00 - 16:00
Admission / price: Free

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