Some Notes on Connection Points Between the Selected Artworks

by Paula Barrett, curator of ‘Finding Form’, Assistant Arts Officer for Kildare County Council

The artworks chosen for this exhibition span 50 years of the Kildare municipal collection, a body that is in the process of becoming and so, is difficult to define. The artworks in a collection like this will be interpreted in different ways depending on time and context. Here, the selected works echo this feeling of flux, of finding form, and idea of the momentary becoming monumental.

In Niamh O’Malley’s Big Wheel, a real-time video projection is aligned with a large oil painting. The projection is looped and silent; it fades to white every 5min 15sec to reveal the painting.  In this dichotomy, O’Malley draws attention to the fabricated nature of the viewing experience, the artwork is a slick representation that collapses on close viewing into a simple construction.  Next to the Big Wheel John Behan’s Flight of Doves works in a similar manner. From a distance the viewer is presented with the stilled configuration of birds in flight, while on closer inspection the rough texture of the bronze bodies is evidence of their construction in clay indicating the presence of the maker’s hand.  Like many of the works in this selection, the form finding is generously revealed.

Shane Hynan’s Aftermath of Bog Fire, shows a scorched ground and rising smoke.  Particulate matter, carbon from the burnt bog, rises up through the air.  Nearby, birds drawn in charcoal swirl through the air in Seán Cotter’s Winter Flight.  Shane Hynan’s rising smoke also links to the airborn clouds of coloured pigment in Emma Stroude’s The Red Flag. This pigment is shaped by the wind in a way that is echoed by the shape of the seaweed finding its form, supported by water, in Isabel Nolan’s Festina Lente. In John Minihan’s photograph of a marketplace in Athy in 1965, the shoes randomly scattered on the ground and the action of the women leaning over to pick them up is given value through composition, printing and framing.  In each artwork, the seemingly random choreography of shoppers, birds, seaweed and matter is captured and recorded through various mediums and made static. The risen loaf of bread has been solidified in stone by Derek A. Fitzsimons.  In this exhibition, there is a push and pull between permanence and impermanence.  

Architectural structures are implied in Rebeccas Peart’s Hindu Temple Chair and Buddha Lines, the sharp marks etched into copper and printed sit comfortably alongside Isabel Nolan’s graphic cut paper piece which prompts us to think about how silence can fill the space of a room.  Gillian Lawler’s painting creates another imagined architectural space, in which a sharp-edged structure finds its place.  The strong graphic quality of this image balances with the impressive construction of Niamh O’Malley’s Big Wheel across the room, while in contrast James Nolan’s Reflections at Yeomanstown focuses on capturing the transitory phenomenon of light and colour reflected on moving water. This painting hangs alongside two works by Dominic Turner that also show an effect of light, both in their subject and in their creation.  Version one and version two are slightly different exposures of the same negative.  Again, these are works that reveal the processes of their making, their finding form.

see Finding Form