Project Arts Centre presents

Exhibitions

PERMACULTURE

Dates: 13 Feb - 22 Mar

Tickets: €15

STEPHEN BRANDES, SLAVEC KWI, ALAN PHELAN, KARL BURKE, CAROLINE MCCARTHY GARRETT PHELAN, ROBERT CARR, RONAN MCCREA EVA ROTHSCHILD, GRAHAM ELLARD WILLIAM MCKEOWN, BERNARD SMITH, MARK GARRY, METROPOLITAN, ANDREW VICKERY, STEPHEN GUNNING, COMPLEX, CORBAN WALKER, DARAGH HOGAN & CRIS NEUMANN, WALKER & WALKER, ISOBEL NOLAN, MAURICE O’CONNELL, GRACE WEIR, STEPHEN JOHNSTON, PAUL O’NEILL, FINOLA JONES, MARK ORANGE.

This exhibition took as its model the horticultural system called Permaculture where diverse species co-exist in close proximity. Permaculture is a system designed to maximize use of resources within a limited environment. This is achieved by individual units performing multiple functions, overlapping but remaining distinct. Here Permaculture worked as a model, in which artworks connect physically and psychically in a space dense with activity, forming points where meanings converge and dissipate.

This exhibition took as its model the horticultural system called Permaculture where diverse species co-exist in close proximity. Permaculture is a system designed to maximize use of resources within a limited environment. This is achieved by individual units performing multiple functions, overlapping but remaining distinct. Here Permaculture worked as a model, in which artworks connect physically and psychically in a space dense with activity, forming points where meanings converge and dissipate.

Taken as a metaphor for Dublin at a specific moment, the exhibition represented a cross-section of the city and examined how many distinct art practices co exist. Permaculture also addressed the manner in which the cultural scene spreads beyond the city’s limits. It included artists who live in the city, work here intermittently, have relocated, or have at some point passed through. It proposed the city as a heterogeneous landscape with different layers of activity and overlapping milieu.

A semi – circular wall defined a central area in the gallery providing a backdrop for video works. It also acted as a support for Bernard Smyth’s nine-metre long photograph of the night sky, which is posted onto its exterior. Suspended from the walls, floor and ceiling to form a canopy in the upper area of the gallery was a linear work by Cristophe Neumann which was constructed from recycled plastic bags woven into fine threads. This canopy is measured the same height as the artist, six feet four inches and intersects with a grid of eight wires designed by Corban Walker. Corban Walker’s piece ran across the space of the gallery at his own height of four-foot. Inside and outside the semi – circle, a number of Karl Burke’s wooden sculptures follow the dimensions of a cube repeated in multiple variations. The sculptures conjoin at points with squares of Perspex to provide functioning tabletops and were used as plinths to support small scale works such as Eva Rothschild’s crystal balls, Robert Carr’s delicate honeycomb paper mushroom, Caroline McCarthy’s flowerpot/foodpacket hybrid and Andrew Vickery’s intricate stage set.

In one corner of the gallery there was a small pile of marble toes by Walker & Walker. Also at floor level and forming a network of criss-crossing lines, electrical cables connect hand held fans “parasites” with heads that were adapted by Slavek Kwi to create a sound work by resonating against various artworks in the show. Graham Ellard and Stephen Johnstone follow the linear onto paper in a series of coloured pencil drawings that plot the direction of rays of light which were projected within an architectural space.

Ronan McCrea recreated an earlier work made from the names of birds and lighthouses which have collided in the Dublin bay area and wraps it around the gallery walls. Also sketched onto the wall at various points were fragments of drawings by Stephen Brandes and punctured through the wall to reveal the sky is a painting by William McKeown.

Mark Garry’s piece for Permaculture reflected both his activities as a curator and as an artist. He wrote the word ‘Sodium’ on the gallery wall from over 50 tiny individual works on paper – thus enlarging the number of artists in the show by two thirds. A document from the Metropolitan Complex, also coming from an artist/curator position, contained the transcription of a conversation between arts practitioners working in Dublin. Convened by Sarah Pierce, these practitioners discussed the city’s arts infrastructure.

Two works which connected to the thematic of the city, one in laconic, the other in euphoric terms, are by Gerard Byrne and Mark Orange (though in this case the city is New York). Byrne’s work, which is positioned on a poster site on the exterior of the building, saw the artist standing in downtown Manhattan with a billboard reading ‘The End of Architecture is Nigh‘ strapped to his body. Orange’s obtuse video piece ‘The Morning After‘ described a brief moment of intense pleasure revealed in the course of a city day.

Other works referred directly to Dublin’s geography include Grace Weir’s ‘The Sleeper’. Weir’s piece, which was shot in Clontarf, documented a surreal moment experienced by a viewer waking from sleep. Alan Phelan’s ‘Journey to the Centre of Blanchardstown Roundabout‘ saw a weird collapsing of nature, culture and art history. Urban nature was described in Paul O’ Neill’s empty park benches and ice cream vans, Garrett Phelan’s microfiche image of environmental protester’s tree house shows nature under threat and constructed nature in Mark McLoughlin’s footage of mountains and forest, with its soundtrack and discordant elements.

Reflecting a new culture of banal entertainment and urban passive aggression, Finola Jones took an edit from Big Brother 3. This edit is of Sandy walking endless laps of the Big Brother pool. Laterally connected to this work was Stephen Gunning’s video showing looped backwards and forwards footage of runners on a circular track and Maurice O’ Connell’s laser printed pile of five thousand O’s.

The collaboration between Darragh Hogan & Isobel Nolan described a more eccentric and open-ended activity for urban couples. Having constructed a delicate workbench from white deal, they have used it to create a blue globe from polyurethane. Mining the ecology of the gallery and connecting to the shows theme of multiple links and uses is a series of actions by Aoife Collins. Collins sanded away the white painted top layer of the gallery wall to reveal the rainbow stripes of an earlier artwork by Carlos Amorales and then mixed the residue into a paint from which she made works on paper describing the other exhibits in the show.

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