Brigid McLeer: Cosmus
LCGA delighted to present Cosmus by Brigid McLeer, an Irish artist living in London. This exhibition is a unique opportunity to see a large body of her work across a range of media since her last exhibition in Ireland.
The exhibition will also include work from her recent residency at the Burren College of Art, 2023.
Cosmus brings together selected works from across the last fifteen years of the artist’s career in a range of media that include video, installation, performance, photography, drawing, collage and sculpture. Most of the works included were made in response to specific sites or in relation to a particular starting points such as a novel, image or object. This responsive and relational process is central to McLeer’s work and underlines the aesthetic, political and ethical approach of her practice. Bringing the selected works together in this exhibition for Limerick City Gallery of Art (LCGA) is a unique opportunity to chart her continuity of approach through its different catalysing sources, and to experience the development and nuanced effects of the artist’s multi-media language of contingency.
As the intentional misspelling of ‘cosmos’ suggests, the works in the exhibition contemplate and activate a universe not of remote interstellar objects and forces, but rather of proximate and sometimes intimate, colliding subjectivities; of ‘us’. Or at least the potential for ‘us’. The cosmos plays its part but only in the context of what political theorist Hannah Arendt would describe as a worldliness of relations, catalysed through sources such as an 18thC mansion in Ireland, a devastating factory fire in Thailand, a post-apocalyptic dystopian novel, photographs from an assassinated American senator’s funeral train, roosting bright green parakeets in textiles and drawings, a lacework embroidery commemorating the Battle of Britain, and a set of extraordinary paintings made in the last decade of the 19th century, to name a few.
The subjectivities that collide and interact through these works include the dead who survive and call forth in images and memory and the living who participate in activating a present by which life, and worldliness, is continually generated. It sounds grandiose but really, it’s very simple: connection; critique; responsibility; love.
Cosmus is both a collection of works and a series of interconnecting experiences installed throughout the ground floor galleries at LCGA. The newest work, Cosmus, has been made specifically to respond to the South Gallery at LCGA. The neutrality and shape of this eminently ‘white box’ gallery space has become a determining form for perhaps the most dynamic play of interacting elements in the artist’s work to date.
Inspired by the enmeshment of female figures, textiles and furniture in the late 19th century paintings of Edouard Vuillard, Cosmus is a universe of things set in motion with each other, made predominantly from materials stored and left over from the artist’s previous projects. In dialogue with its own memory, and memory of the world in its bits and scraps, it is more than mere recycling; a celebration of the provisional and of carefulness perhaps, and a deep investment in the possibility of renewal.
McLeer was selected for the British Textile Biennial in 2021: britishtextilebiennial.co.uk/programme/brigid-mcleer-collateral