Elliptical Affinities: Irish Women Artists and the Politics of the Body, 1984 to the Present

Friday 7 February – Sunday 22 March 2020
Elliptical Affinities: Irish Women Artists and the Politics of the Body, 1984 to the Present | Friday 7 February  – Sunday 22 March 2020 | Limerick City Gallery

Curated by Dr Fionna Barber and Aoife Ruane • Aideen Barry, Sarah Browne, Amanda Coogan, Dorothy Cross, Pauline Cummins, Rachel Fallon, Patricia Hurl, Jesse Jones, Breda Lynch, Alice Maher, Alanna O’Kelly, Kathy Prendergast, Louise Walsh

Limerick City Gallery of Art is delighted to present Elliptical Affinities: Irish Women Artists and The Politics of the Body, 1984 to the present.

Since the mid 1980s an important tendency in art by Irish women has been to situate itself clearly in relation to the significant changes in the politics of the body in Ireland that began to take place during that decade, culminating in the recent upsurge of both activism and artwork in relation to the Campaign to Repeal the Eighth Amendment.  The revitalisation of feminism during the 1980s in response to the repressive attitudes of church and state also resulted in the emergence of a new generation of Irish women artists whose work was explicitly focused around the politics of the Irish female body.

An exhibition that explicitly focuses on tracking this ongoing conjunction of art and feminism in Ireland is long overdue, and in this sense Elliptical Affinities builds on and acknowledges precedents such as But Still Like Dust I’ll Rise curated by Vivienne Dick at Galway Arts Centre (2018) and the enmeshing of women’s history, temporality, embodiment and affect in Jesse Jones’ Tremble Tremble.

Rather than a straightforward linear chronology Elliptical Affinities proposes something closer to the ‘elliptical traverse’ of Catherine de Zegher’s influential feminist exhibition Inside the Visible, exploring new genealogies of Irish women’s art indexed to the political.

Central to this is the notion of femmage to investigate temporal relationships of affinity and influence across generations of women artists, as in Amanda Coogan’s video documentation of her performance of Snails: after Alice Maher (2010) which was restaged in its entirety for the exhibition  opening at Highlanes Gallery on November 15 2019.

The exhibition will consist of loans from both public and private collections, and artists’ studios, including Pauline Cummins’  Inis t’Óirr, Alice Maher’s The Expulsion, Chant Down Greenham by Alanna O’Kelly, and Mr & Mrs. Holy Joe by Dorothy Cross; works remade especially for the exhibition like Louise Walsh Outlaws/Inlaws (first shown at In a State, Kilmainham Gaol, 1991), and more recent work by Breda Lynch, Sarah Browne and Rachel Fallon amongst others.

A full colour publication accompanies the exhibition with contributions from Gill Perry, Sarah Kelleher, Fionna Barber, and Ailbhe Smyth, and designed by Neil Gordon, 256Media

Screenings of 6SKINS by Alice Maher / Aideen Barry at the Belltable Arts Centre, 69 O’Connell Street, Limerick

2 – 4pm on Monday 10, 17 & 24 February

2 –4pm on Monday 2, 16 & 23 March

Friday 7 February – Sunday 22 March 2020
Limerick City Gallery
Pery Square, Limerick
Telephone: +353 61 310633
Opening hours / start times:
Monday 10:00 - 17:30
Tuesday 10:00 - 17:30
Wednesday 10:00 - 17:30
Thursday 10:00 - 20:30
Friday 10:00 - 17:30
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
Sunday 12:00 - 17:00
Admission / price: Free
The gallery is closed on Bank and Public Holidays.

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