Fourth Space, the inaugural exhibition at Uillinn, West Cork Arts Centre's new building, opened on Saturday 31 January 2015.
31 January – 14 Mar 2015
Fourth Space comprises sculptural and installation work by 9 leading artists based in Ireland: David Beattie, Karl Burke, Rhona Byrne, Maud Cotter, Angela Fulcher, Mark Garry, Caoimhe Kilfeather, Dennis McNulty and Liam O'Callaghan.
The exhibition, curated by Director, Ann Davoren, extends throughout the ground floor and first floor galleries, and draws together works by artists who share an approach to making that is fluid, questioning and open-ended and yet displays a fascination with space and materiality. The artworks both articulate and respond to the galleries and the location and context of the new building. Each artist’s work remains specific to their own concerns and practice, but come together in this exhibition to experiment with, and enquire into, notions of space, place, time, legacy and transformation.
The James O'Driscoll Gallery
1. 13.56 pm - 14 - 05 -14, 2014
C print on rag paper, 470 mm x 695 mm, edition of 3
2. Consequence of Sequence, 2013
Mild steel, Three units each 2438 mm x 1524 mm x 1524 mm
Karl Burke creates schematic architectural environments that probe ideas such as proportion, transparency and delineation. His spare and elegant sculptures often incorporate a single module that is presented in different aspects, as is the case in his piece for Fourth Space. Each of the three elements of Consequence of Sequence uses lengths of 8', 5' and 3' box steel combined in a different configuration. Precisely placed at the threshold of the ground floor gallery, Consequence of Sequence explores elemental qualities of dimensions of space, possibilities about interior space, both actual and metaphorical, and how it is constructed and encountered. 13.56 pm – 14 – 05 – 14, at the entrance to the gallery, is a photograph of a tree outside Karl's home. Taken on the date and time of its title, the photograph is one of many hundreds taken, in an effort to be in the right place at the right time.
3. A shade, 2014
Dyed cast concrete, steel, brass, 270 x 102 x 79 cm
4. Skep (I-V), 2014
B&W silver gelatin print, Ed of 3 + 1AP
Caoimhe Kilfeather makes predominantly sculptural work that integrates a range of intersecting formal, spatial, material and art historical interests. Caoimhe is also drawn to the idea of ‘legacy’ - legacies of forms, materials, systems and methods of production - and of how these things contribute to, and shape our experiences of the world. A shade is made of dyed black cement, cast into a woven mould. She says "the piece is intended to be quite a dominant, brooding form. In many ways this stems from an interest in stoves and their place in a room both spatially and in terms of the habits that they may impose on people living with them. Although the final sculptural form itself is not explicitly stove-like, this is still something that is important to how the work developed".
The object in the series of photographs is a skep; a woven container used to house and transport bees, but now mostly produced as ornaments. The skep rotates 'through' each image - revealing the aperture on its surface to greater or lesser extents. The scale of the object is somewhat unclear - possibly describing a dwelling, but out of context set against a black background, the emphasis is on the surface of the object only. There are distinct formal relationships between the skep photographs and A shade - the sculpture is cast into a woven fabric so the surface of the cast concrete describes the inverse of a weaving, whereas the skeps are themselves woven. Also, questions around scale, solidity, as well as form are present in each work.
5. Here, beside you in this room, 2015
Here, beside you in this room - is a work made up of long narrow strips of wood taped together, moulded and bent to inhabit one of the galleries. This low-tech, roughly hewn minimalist type sculpture is a good example of O'Callaghan's physical pleasure of making, inhabiting space and his “designed by necessity" aesthetic. The piece starts off as one very long length of wood that is far too big for the space that contains it. When bent back and attached to itself to create one giant loop, it fills the outer edges of the footprint of the room it is in. Its job is then to use its qualities to improvisation within the space and do what it needs to do, in order to find its place and settle in a content manner within the room.
Liam O'Callaghan's work has an inherent sense of play and an innate curiosity permeates with a good dollop of formalism and inventiveness. His art expresses a willingness to engage with and reflects human emotions and conditions and the necessity for improvisation in human endeavors. He explores this through what he calls “the poetry of objects” via sculpture, photography, video and sound works that often expose the methods or mechanics of their own construction.
6. Nightflight II and Nightflight I, 2014
Lambda prints mounted on smooth laminate
59.4 x 34 cm and 71.5 x 59.4 cm
Mark Garry’s work stems from a fundamental interest in observing how humans navigate the world and the subjectivity inherent in these navigations. His practice is all about engaging with space. He creates beautifully considered, ephemeral works that are measured and quiet, often requiring meticulous systems of construction, as with his trademark, rainbow-hued thread installations. Nightflight I and Nightflight II are lambda prints showing sections of magnolia trees against a black sky. They are placed high up on the wall, occupying the upper volume of the ground floor gallery. As with much of Mark's work, these photoworks encourage us to look up, an invitation to rise above and be inspired.
7. Colour threshold #2, 2013
Fabric and plastic
Rhona Byrne's work is predominantly site and project specific and engages with the multi-dimensionality of experience and the complex layers of physical, mental and social space. Colour Threshold # 2, remade for the entrance to Gallery II marks the intersection between the two galleries and the transition from one space to another. The entrance to Gallery II is flooded with colour emanating from bands of vibrant yellow and blue hovering above the threshold. This installation invites the viewer to become immersed in, and part of, the installation by wearing capes which are hanging on the wall, and passing through a hanging threshold of colour. The work explores moments of transition and states of presence and connection.
8. Blinkers, 2015
Mixed media installation: car headlamp lens coverings, transport interior fabrics, leatherette, wadding,
polystyrene, spray paint, thread, upholstery glue. Dimensions variable.
The primary focus of Angela Fulcher’s work is the embodied pleasure and fascination with the material and surfaces used. Blinkers is a group of sculptural works that take as their starting point the plastic moulded lens coverings of car headlamps. The forms have been shaped following the design of each headlamp and upholstered with transport interior fabrics (bus, car, camper van). The title refers to automative lighting and also the way in which their illuminative function has been blocked by the application of coloured paints. Angela is interested in how the surfaces relate to each other - hard and smooth (lens covering), soft and fibrous (fabric), soft and smooth (leatherette). Angela says that "the blocking out or disrupting of functionality is a recurring theme, as is the use of particular fabrics". These brightly-coloured, very carefully crafted and tactile forms refer to a fragmented and unstable world of which we are part. On one hand, the sculptures are comforting and reassuring, in that they are somehow resonant of toys, furniture and interiors, on the other, they are faintly repulsive and strange.
9. Running up that Building, 2015
Song lyrics, 16-segment display, electronics, vapour-barrier plasterboard, dropped ceiling framework elements
122cm x 244cm x 6cm approx
The reflective surface Dennis McNulty's Running up that Building catches the viewer as they walk through the space of the gallery, but it is only on turning to retrace their steps that they notice a vintage LED display sandwiched between sheets of foil-backed plasterboard. It slowly spells out the phrase 'tell me we both matter don't we?', and something about its situation implies that the building is posing the question, attempting to enter into a dialogue with the viewer/visitor. Kate Bush's song Running up that Hill, the source of both the work's title and its red flashing text, was released in 1985, the same year that the West Cork Arts Centre was established. In this context, her lyrics, hidden inside sheet materials which form the fabric of most of the structures around us, create a bridge or portal connecting the organisation's origins to this contemporary moment of transformation.
10. Borrowed Energy, 2015
Galvanised buckets, plastic bowl, plastic basin, ceramic pot, cymbal, cotton cloths, various rocks, seawater,
salt. Dimensions variable
David Beattie’s sculptural works explore notions of elementary physics to illustrate the human desire to comprehend and question what surrounds us. His piece for Fourth Space comprises a series of buckets and bowls placed on the ground and filled with local seawater and cloth alongside two vessels heaped with sea-salt. Borrowed Energy acts like a humidifier and dehumidifier, creating a loop or cycle that references the tidal Caol Stream below the gallery. As the seawater is evaporated (and replenished) over the course of the installation and is absorbed by, or wicked through the cloths, the salt crystallises leaving rings on the inside of the buckets, hardening and leaving 'tide-marks' on the cloths and eventually perhaps, forming crystal clusters on the cloths and even the gallery floor. This simple and elemental process gently marks the passing of time and the transformation of material from one physical state to another.
11. ‘The relational space is the thing that’s alive with something from somewhere else’
5m x 6m x 220cms, 2014 - 2015
plastic, cardboard, string, cable ties, aeroboard, steel, paint, rubber, plaster, tape.
For Fourth Space, Maud Cotter has installed an artwork entitled ‘The relational space is the thing that’s alive with something from somewhere else’. She says that the artwork "lifts itself from its own debris. The piece exists in both a grounded and dispersed condition, the process of making remaining part of the spill of the work. It was a challenge to bring this piece to a moment of rest, it remains on the cusp of change. It reminds me of a piece I made in 2000, titled Things of no Fixed Meaning, (2000, IMMA. Residency), which equally strove to avoid fixedness. While Things of no Fixed Meaning gathered the unrealised into a cloud of connection, ‘The relational space is the thing that’s alive with something from somewhere else’ is in presence and action responding to the channel of light passing through the symmetry of fenestration of Uillinn, the new West Cork Arts Centre. The title, a quotation from the American poet Susan Howe, perfectly captures the work for me".
Flying Colours is an exciting initiative from West Cork Arts Centre and West Cork Education Centre bringing the colour, creativity and energy of children's artwork into West Cork Arts Centre's new building from the very beginning. Children from every West Cork Primary School contributed their own individual element to an installation artwork.
The final installation Flying Colours links the ground and first floor galleries. This area is flooded in colour with an array of artwork created by the children of primary schools in the West Cork region.
Arts for Health
Second Floor Link Space
What’s the Arts for Health Partnership all about? (Film, 4.10 mins duration, 2014) is an animation created by Jane Lee with support from David Gannell, which playfully describes how the structure of the inter-agency partnership works, to support a dynamic and meaningful programme with over 400 participants from 11 healthcare settings across West Cork. It is shown with Daisy (Film, 1.39 mins duration, 2015) which was created by Colm Rooney working with Sarah Ruttle to document an eight week collaborative project at Clonakilty Hospital, investigating the lasting moments of music.
Windows and Doorways are two ink on paper drawings (2014) inspired by artist Sharon Dipitys’ own practice. Participants at Skibbereen, Schull and Bantry hospitals were invited to draw and paint what was imagined to be on the other side of windows and doorways; working from memory, imagination and photographs.
The Wren, The Song Thrush and The Robin are three short poems created by participants on the Arts for Health Partnership Programme in Clonakilty Hospital in collaboration with artist Tess Leak. Inspired by Haiku, the poetic form originally from Japan, the poems evolved out of conversations with the participants about their experiences and knowledge of the birds local to their homes and farmlands in West Cork.
Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre wishes to thank all those, whose support and participation made these exhibitions possible, including the participating artists, the children and teachers; the staff and Board of Directors of WCAC; the funders: Arts Council of Ireland and Cork County Council, HSE South and CETB; the West Cork Education Centre and Skibbereen Community Project; Donagh Carey; Jonathan Parson; the students from the BA Visual Art Degree Programme, Sherkin Island and John Mayock.
Some links from the press about our opening:
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