Words: Rosa Abbott / Image Above: Emma Donaldson, Untitled (thoughts), at Future 13
The RHA’s Futures always comes up trumps and this year is no exception. Quite crudely put, it is an annual edit of six of the most “buzzworthy” names in Irish art, but Futures neatly misses the pitfalls of fetishising the new by selecting only theoretically sound, well-developed work. Neil Carroll’s paintings kick against the boundaries of their media, far extending beyond the canvases on which they’re painted and entering the realm of sculpture; Maggie Madden’s fragile, whispering architectural forms test our incredulity and leaves jaws agape; Eleanor Duffin’s metaphysical quizzing is pulled off with style and aplomb. They’re a good bunch, this lot.
November 14th – December 22nd (Emma Donaldson, Untitled (thoughts), at Future 13 pictured above)
Paul Winstanley, Art School (pictured above)
Paul Winstanley paints silence. In a minute, photorealist style of painting, he documents empty waiting rooms, vacant corridors – the voids of urban existence – with a delicate uniformity. For his latest series, Art School, Winstanley scoured the UK, painstakingly documenting the art schools of England, Scotland and Wales during the summer holidays. Like his previous studies, they are all empty rooms, but unlike waiting rooms (which are somewhat empty even when full), art schools are places of great promise, potential and productivity – places where ideas gestate, artworks are created, careers launch and identities form. But for a few months over the summer, they hang still: devoid of colour and chaos, awaiting a new bout of fresh faces to fill them with action come September. That moment of silence is what Winstanley captures.
November 15th – January 7th
Atsushi Kaga, Happily Skipping Backwards
A long-eared white rabbit might be an unlikely symbol for post-tsunami Japan, but in the hands of Atsushi Kaga, it’s uncannily apt. Kaga’s deceptively simplistic, “faux-naive” paintings could be mistaken, from a distance, for being somewhat twee; closer inspection reveals a more sombre underbelly. But for all its inability to shake off a pervasive and choking melancholia, Kaga’s work is also woven with rich glimmers of humour and humanity, making his surprisingly perceptive work both endearing and intriguing. It’s well worth investing a little extra time in.
November 29th – February 1st