As Ireland gets set to mark the first bank holiday commemorating a woman, a special Brigit 2023 programme at Living Canvas offers food for thought from the perspective of ten leading women artists, viewed through the lens of a series of extraordinary artworks.
Kicking off on Wednesday Februray 1st, Stories of Valour and Home is a week long exhibition challenging traditional definitions of what strength might mean, while exploring themes of shelter, safety, and support, alongside the equally powerful idea of knowing what is worth defending.
Feast your eyes on incredible work by artists Joy Gerrard, Anita Groener, Myfanwy Frost Jones and Carol Freeman (see details below). The exhibition also features extracts from The Poetry Project, which was originally commissioned as part of the Culture Programme of Ireland’s EU Presidency in 2013.
The project paired contemporary Irish poetry with videos by contemporary Irish artists, with six of these works now forming part of the Brigit 2023 Programme on Living Canvas. As a result, Dubliners are in for a treat with stunning visual works from artists Grace Weir, Cléa van der Grijn, Susan Tiger, Anne Ffrench, Poppy Hunt and Kate Gordon, created in response to poetry by Enda Wyley, Vona Groarke, Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, Derek Mahon, Iggy McGovern and Theo Dorgan.
Anita Groener: Nest
Anita Groener is a visual artist who makes drawings, site-specific immersive installations, films, and animations that she shows internationally. Approaching the world and time as networks of events, the artist asks what it is to be human today. During the last several years she has been concentrating on urgent stories and patterns of migration, their archetypal and psychological resonances. Material metaphors, symbolic representation and the aesthetic in her work speak to the fragility of present-day life and society.
Nest is visually simple and symbolically complex: Anita was born and educated in the Netherlands but has lived and worked in Ireland for many years. The nest of the title fell from a tree in her mother’s garden in the Netherlands. She brought it back to Ireland, not knowing how it might be transformed. Ten years later, and two years after her mother had died, she returned to it as it contained both personal and universal resonances.
Two hands, calmly and systematically, over a period of thirty minutes, take apart the nest, twig by twig until there is nothing left but dust. Home is deeply connected to ideas of history. No matter how integrated a refugee, migrant or immigrant might become, they may never share in that. Editor: Andrew Carson
Running time: 28 minutes, 23 seconds
A major new exhibition by Anita, To The Edge of Your World will open at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris on April 6, and then tour to the Netherlands and New York.
Joy Gerrard: shot crowd
Joy Gerrard lives and works in Belfast. She graduated with a BA from NCAD, Dublin and an MA and MPhil from the Royal College of Art, London. She is known for work that investigates different systems of relations between crowds, architecture, and the built environment. Using Japanese ink on paper and canvas Gerrard makes detailed ink works which re-create recent political protests from around the world. Recently she has focused on UK-based Brexit demonstrations and the Trump resistance in the USA.
The film ‘shot crowd’ was produced as a small maquette in 2007 and remade in 2017. Here, Joy sets the historical specificity of her protest images against an abstract depiction of space and human movement. The title refers both to the photographic image being ’shot’, as a verb, and to the material used in the film: actual shot collected from shotgun casings. The perpetual flow of individual objects, apparently random and chaotic, is constrained and directed within a built environment. The crowd and the city are abstracted; they are ‘every crowd’, always in motion, always seeking to fill the space – and then by necessity to empty it.
Running time: 4 minutes, 48 seconds
Joy’s exhibition Image as Protest with Paula Rego is on show at Cristea Roberts Gallery, London until March 4.
Myfanwy Frost-Jones: Invasive Species
A recent graduate from The Crawford College of Art, Myfanwy Frost-Jones is an artist and oyster farmer, a gardener and goat-keeper from the West of Ireland. Passionate about environmental sustainability, biodiversity and local food networks she sustains a growing eco-social art practice using photography, text, sculpture and video in the wild landscape of the Beara Peninsula to explore personal histories of invasion, famine and colonisation, interrogating the human/nature relationship of industry within the countryside whilst observing the constant changes inherent in a working landscape.
Invasive Species is a three-channel video installation examining the complicated relationships between land, labour, landscape and ecology in a rural space. Threading together the conflicting histories of colonialism and post-colonialism with present day issues of ecological invasion and climate change; the current crises of biodiversity loss and coastal erosion weave meditatively through the layers of image making. Topographic drone photography merges the past and present when viewed with the rich source material of old Ordinance Survey maps.
Text and images connect our many pasts with the present, giving insight into the realities and expectations of land and sustainability in the Irish rural environment. The music was made in a collaboration between Sam Lowes, Theo Lowes, Cara Rawson and Myfanwy Frost-Jones.
Running time: 8 minutes
Carol Freeman: The Bird and the Whale
Carol Freeman is an award-winning director and art director best known for her IFTA-nominated and Cannes Young Director Award winning paint-on-glass short, The Bird and the Whale. The founder and Director of Dublin based stop-motion studio, Paper Panther, The Bird and the Whale is a story about a young whale struggling to find his voice. After straying too far from his family to explore a shipwreck, he discovers its sole survivor, a caged songbird. Together they struggle to survive lost at sea.
Created using a near obsolete technique called paint-on-glass animation, each frame is hand-painted with slow drying oil paint and shot with a top-down camera in a light controlled room. After a frame is shot, the paint is wiped away and the next frame is repainted almost entirely from scratch. Each new frame created, destroys the last. The full 7 minutes of animation is made up of over 4300, 24 x 34 inch paintings and took a team of 5 artists over 14 months to paint.
Running time: 7 minutes
The Poetry Project
Originally commissioned as part of the Culture Programme of Ireland’s EU Presidency in 2013, The Poetry Project paired contemporary Irish poetry with videos by contemporary Irish artists. The Project was viewed over the course of the Presidency by people in more than one hundred countries. Six of these are presented as part of for the Brigit 2023 Programme on Living Canvas.
Artists: Grace Weir, Cléa van der Grijn, Susan Tiger, Anne Ffrench, Poppy Hunt and Kate Gordon.
Poetry: Enda Wyley, Vona Groarke, Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, Derek Mahon, Iggy McGovern and Theo Dorgan.
The largest outdoor screen solely dedicated to art in Europe, and only the second of its kind in the world, Living Canvas is a cultural initiative by IPUT, which establishes new ways of exhibiting artworks in large scale in an accessible, free and democratic way at Wilton Park. Established in November 2021, Living Canvas has become a destination in Dublin for cutting edge and community digital culture on the banks of the Grand Canal.
Wednesday February 1st to Monday February 6th, 2023
Feature Image: Poetry Project Clea van der Grijn stills