Water - More or Less

Water - More or Less
Marie Hanlon

8 January to 12 February 2022

You can view the Gallery Information by clicking here.

Journalist Ellie O'Byrne interviewed artist Marie Hanlon for Tripe + Drisheen during the install of the exhibition at Uillinn, read the interview here: https://tripeanddrisheen.substack.com/p/water-water-everywhere

Susan Campbell reviews Water - More or Less for the Visual Artists News Sheet here. 

Water - More or Less is a solo exhibition by Marie Hanlon comprising six installation works each addressing an aspect of water stress: flooding, drought, desalination, industrial contamination, seasonal shortages and the unappealing realities of water treatment. Initiated by The LAB Gallery, Dublin, the exhibition opened to the public at Uillinn on Saturday 8 January.

To mark the opening of the exhibition artist Marie Hanlon and artist and writer Sara Baume informally discussed the exhibition. Video of this talk at the end of the page.

With world population predicted to reach 9.7 billion by mid-century, demands on water may surpass available supply. Earth’s water is finite, unevenly distributed and unequally shared; radioactive contamination from fracking is reducing water reserves; climate change is bringing extremes of flooding and drought; and nature’s water cycle is under pressure – yet we remain unperturbed about water.

Water Table presents seven water tanks with levels in each ranging from full at one end, to empty at the other. The piece addresses fluctuations in rainfall experienced across the globe. An accompanying soundwork by composer Rhona Clarke generates aural images; heavy rainfall reduces to a trickle, followed by evocations of dry, parched and waterless places.

Cut Off is an installation of taps with knotted plexiglass flows. This work alludes to the precarious condition of domestic water supply in Ireland. We are now experiencing longer summer droughts; our infrastructure is outdated and our population is increasing so our domestic water supply is increasingly under pressure.

When Water Becomes Explosive draws attention to processes of fossil fuel extraction where water at high pressure is used to explode rock deep in the earth. The artwork’s nine-squared structure is appropriated from an American ball game called ‘9 Square in the Air’. Vertical and horizontal tubes reference extractive drilling and the artwork highlights the dominance of the oil industry, especially in America. Oil is prized while water is rendered toxic; but might the value of these substances reverse over time?

Other works in the exhibition deal with flooding and water treatment, with recycled wastewater a future possibility in Ireland. Drinking the Ocean comprises a video piece on desalination accompanied by a small artwork in the form of a silver bullet with a capsule of desalinated water from the Irish Sea, When More is Less juxtaposes a video on flooding with a sculptural work, taken together they convey the destructive yet perverse beauty of floods.


Rachel Andrews of RTE Lyric FM interviews Marie Hanlon.

Marie Hanlon is an Irish artist working in sculpture, installation, video and drawing. She holds an MA Art in the Contemporary World (School of Visual Culture NCAD, Dublin) and a BA in English and Art History from University College, Dublin. In recent years she has produced several collaborative projects with Irish composers, notably with Rhona Clarke. Her work has been exhibited and screened widely in Ireland and internationally. In 2015 Marie was elected to Aosdána, the affiliation of creative artists in Ireland. 

She says “my work explores perception in relation to the familiar, it takes that which is commonplace or no longer engaging and attempts to reinvest it as a place of attention. Small interventions or modes of presentation exploit the range of possibility within the works and their materials. The idea is to slow down the act of looking, to elicit engagement by adjusting the familiar. Through intrigue, play and the unexpected, I wish to re-engage attentiveness, especially around materials and things which we believe we already know.”

This exhibition was initiated by The LAB Gallery, Dublin through its curator Sheena Barrett and is accompanied by a publication produced by The LAB Gallery and is available at Uillinn Reception for €15.

Supported by the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon, Creative Ireland, Local Authority Waters Programme and Fingal County Council.


Top: Marie Hanlon, Cut Off. (installation detail), 2021
Lower: When more is less, 2021


WCAC acknowledges the financial support of Arts Council Ireland and Cork County Council in making these exhibitions possible.

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