kDamo’s Review of the NCAD Graduate Show a.k.a. People who I liked and took their postcards
I already told you about my involvement with Fiona Daly’s exhibition last week and quite a wonderful and well-received installation it is too. Well worth a visit. But if you are going to visit the mammoth NCAD show between now and Sunday, here’s cúpla suggestions on some people to try to catch. This is only meant as a rough guide and I won’t go in-depth as it would take until next year’s show to go through my opinions on it all. Also, I’ll try to stick in a couple of links to the artist’s sites but, again, it would be murder trying to track down all these loveable scamps on the interweb.
I’ll start with Gillian Joyce whose ceramic sculpture of Amy Winehouse is above. It’s worth stopping into the Ceramics area on your way in just to see her brilliant, sculpted caricature series entitled 7 Deadly Sins, which includes everyone from Barack Obama, Michael Jackson, Russell Brand and Brian Cowen to the other members of her graduating class (arranged outside the Social Welfare office). There’s more photos on her site, but they don’t do her slick exhibition set-up justice. Across from the ceramics area in the Resin Room, there’s a great installation by Peter Sweetman. His interest in TV game show sets and history informs this unnerving space. The other Sculpture students have also done very well this year, with the majority of them in the Sculpture studio on the Ground Floor of the Granary Building. Fionnuala Hanahoe‘s mirrored jigsaw pieces are just one part of an excellent collection of videos and sculptures in the main space. The work by Vukasin Nedeljkovic (formerly known as Bryan Duffy) is an interesting investigation into identity, immigration and international cultures. Amanda Durkan’s work is a witty take on our position within the structures of everyday life, focusing on logos, image and instructions. The presentation and attention to detail in her show is also hugely impressive. In the back room of the area, Liz Seaver’s sound installation can only be described as powerful. It’s an incredibly emotional, dark space in which she really pushes her audience’s commitment. Upstairs in the Kiln Room in Print, Roisin Beirne takes over the Sculpture oblast with a great piece. I’d highly recommend that you catch her impressive, swinging performances at 11am and 3:30pm. Elsewhere in Print it certainly is a traditional year but their undoubted skill is clearly evident. Duffy Mooney Sheppard’s work appears extremely simple but are nonetheless very effective representations of human emotion rendered in an elegantly basic manner. And damn if I don’t love a good pun, Sinéad Fahey’s show is a wealth of belly laughs (apologies if I’ve got the wrong name there, she didn’t have any postcards and I didn’t have a pen). Up to the top floor in Painting and it’s a typically mixed bunch of styles as we’ve come to expect. Niall Dooley’s drawings are similar to the pun-based ones in Print, but he chooses to visually describe the ludicrously backwards ways of mankind through his own imagined world of poorly directed masses performing simple tasks in hilariously roundabout ways. Claire Murphy’s collection of pensive videos are perfect for those looking to unearth little treaures around the space and Paul Maguire’s installation really comes to life when the artist and his team interact with the viewers. Sarah Tynan’s drawings are examples of great skill and vision with just a little smidgen of good humour that makes the whole show more than worthwhile. I’m rarely one to get too excited about the more traditional painters – who actually paint – but some work by Ronan Bergin, Brioni Connolly and Blaine O’Donnell is worth tilting your head at.
If you’re crossing over Red Square to the Design Building, do stop into the newly-painted-black portacabin where Neil Rudden, also of Ceramics, has set up an unusual array of little war monsters that looks like a meticulously arranged scene from a miniature Lord of the Rings. In the Design Building, I haven’t really seen the ground floor which includes more Ceramics, Glass & Metals as well as the latest inventions from the genii in Industrial Design. On the second floor, there’s a reasonably good bunch of art teachers fresh off the Education department’s production line. Jane Murphy’s ceramic work is one of my personal highlights. Simple but extremely well crafted triangular pieces of polished clay slot together to make beautiful pyramids. I’d be happy with that, but she’s also printed images, presumably from her childhood, onto many of the triangular pieces. I don’t say this often, but they’re very reasonably priced! Her hanging pieces are also an impressive feat of design. In the same room as Jane is two students I quite liked but don’t have their names. One did the whitewashed paintings with the skeleton bones drawn on them and the other worked with little fabric forms coming out of shattered light bulbs. Outside in the main corridor, you can’t miss the great work from Stephen Lawlor. Yet more brilliant ceramic work this year in the shape of Lawlor’s funky little colourful shapes like a galaxy of psychedelic little planets bursting open. The top floor houses the Fashion and Textiles work and is also extremely warm if the sun comes out. So to save you time, I’ll tell you that my own expert opinion on fashion dictates that you should dedicate your time to Aoife Gallagher’s stylish rubber outfit and Clare Geraghty’s colourful rain-proof get-ups. In Textiles, apart from the installation by Fiona Daly that I’ve already covered, I’d highly recommend Wendy Stephens’ ode to old-world architecture, complete with miniature streetscapes and tiny lit-up towns viewed through peep-holes. In the corner you’ll find some brilliant printed ceramics and upholstered chairs by Trish Hegarty as well as her brilliant couch, affectionately known as ‘Truckstop’.
Yes, almost forgot the Media kids. Some of them are on the top floor of the new building, Harry Clarke House and some are in the Noel Sheridan Room atop the Granary Building. In the shiny new rooms, king of all that goes “click!” Al Higgins has a show of really nice black and white photos taken on expired film, if you’re into that kind of thing and there’s some nice work by Philip White including his Borrowed Lightbox project. Over in the Noel Sheridan room, the rest of their class includes a CD-ROM game played entirely in Irish, which you can buy for €10. That’s right, deich euro! Tobiasz Lawniczak’s interactive, two-part installation is interesting but needs a bit more of an edge to it in my opinion. Cormac Browne’s stand-up comedy video is worth watching if only for the bemused hen-night crowd at the table in the front. If you’re quite tired by now, you can pop in to Alice Rekab’s soothing installation which reminded me of that show I saw in the A Foundation in Liverpool in 2007 where several of my friends fell asleep. I mean that in a good way. If however, you’re sick of all this arty bollocks by now, you might like to pop in to Niamh Ferris‘s “Black Cube” and consider the role of the artist as a money-grubbing criminal. If you like holograms and a healthy dose of cynicism (and I know I do!), this is the show for you. Also remember to bring a €1 coin with you.
So that’s about it. The show in the NCAD Gallery by Molly Mishkas and Logan McLain is worth checking out too. Prizes if you can find me in it! I haven’t been down to the Digital Hub where the MA and MFA shows are taking place, but I’ll aim to drop in before Sunday if you promise to drop into the Thomas Street campus and buy stuff from all the people I’ve just mentioned. Deal? Deal.