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October 12, 2015 – 4:10 pm |

Second Floor, The Institute, Enniscorthy, Wexford
Open View 16th October 2015 @ 7pm
Runs Until 31st October 2015
Co-Curated by Trudi Van Der Elsen & ACW Alumni John Busher
Sift is a co-curated project initiated by John Busher and …

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Exhibitions happening in Dublin and beyond

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Play It By Ear // Richard Carr // Review by Susan Edwards

October 6, 2015 – 9:09 pm |

Play It By Ear
Richard Carr
Soma Contemporary Gallery
Waterford City
27, August – 19, September, 2015

One could almost be excused in missing a tiny gallery along a street in Waterford City. Unassuming and ironically it is quiet. If a building can be quiet and taking into account this gallery is called Soma Contemporary which exhibits and examines sound art. An art practice commonly associated with the term, “acoustic sculpture”.

Play It By Ear is the first solo exhibition by artist Richard Carr and the culmination of several years of research and work that began with a trip in 2012 to Mt. Kerkis, Greece and Pythagoras’ cave. Tradition holds that Pythagoras became the world’s first acousmatic practitioner when he fled to the cave around 400 BC and began to teach his students from behind a screen to increase their listening abilities.

Sound is experienced through the single sense of hearing. It is an aspect of an object that often gets overlooked in a busy bid to “see” an object with the other senses such as sight, taste, and touch. An object or thing does not have to possess a sound or more technically stated, the sound may not be audibly perceptible, so that the absence of noise is in itself, a sound. The auditory experience might well fit into a category termed slow art. One must slowdown in order to “catch” what is intended to be heard. And often times what we hear does not correlate with what we see.

Carr’s sound installations could produce jarring experiences for the viewer/listener for the above reason, the objects seen did not necessarily link to the sound heard. One particular piece which so beautifully exemplified this was a sleek Ikea type glass shelf hinged to a white wall along with natural elemental noise. While one end presents as a distinctly minimalistic architectural design, the other end is a sound emitting near this design of a deeply primal environmental nature. The overall effect is curiosity into why the two ends have been linked together in the installation. This work could have tottered unpleasantly but instead gives a balanced effect of query.

Walt Whitman in his poem “Song to Myself” wrote:

“Now I will do nothing, but listen
To accrue what I hear into this song,
To let sounds contribute toward it.“

In his writing, Whitman was reflecting of communion amongst individuals, that “what I assume, you shall assume”. He was also reflecting that one must look inward, to do nothing, to listen, and put this documentary evidence of humanity into a collective file for reference in trying to grasp one’s and each other’s response to life’s events and situations. The directive from this poem best achieves an insight of Carr’s solo exhibition.

The four gallery spaces where the installations occupied were a cocooned womb of subdued lighting. It was soothing, it was relaxing and it also supported a sense of heighted sensory awareness. The first piece encountered was “Construct”. A wood and glass phone booth type shelter of four individual seating areas complete with head phones, control buttons and a glass viewing window directly in front of a seat. There were no directions or guidance on how to utilize the arrangement.The first decision was to sit down, then to put on the head phones, then to turn and twist the buttons. Whether one wished to engage others sitting in opposite or adjacent booths was a personal decision and also depended on if others were present and willing to play. The headphones produced a child endless recitation of the Letterland alphabet amid construction sounds of lumber being sawed, dropped and moved with accompanying foot fall. The silver knob manipulated and controlled the illumination and brightness in the different booths with images of one’s self projected across to opposite panes of glass due to a central lens in the centre of this quadrant. What was fascinating about this interactive piece was how long each individual took to learn the process of the booth and more importantly how long or if at all, did they choose to interact with others in their own process of self-discovery. It was an experiment of human nature, of curiosity, of a child’s voice inviting the process of discovery, play and construction. An experiment with countless results as varied as the people who occupied the seats.

Returning Solid, installation view 2015

Turning into a small corner of a hallway was “Returning Solid”. The slim 15 inch glass shelf, positioned twelve inches off the floor was the only thing adorning the wall. Subtle lighting emphasised this transparent material. An amplified type object opposite the shelf produced the sounds of wind and trickling water though these felt as if they were floating in air. On the first exposure to this piece, it was almost possible to imagine a small creek flowing off the glass and into air. Because of its complete lack of symbolic referencing, a mental void occurred. The viewer either dismissed this work walking past it or paused, stepping back a bit in puzzlement to question, to reconcile what the eyes saw and the ears heard. It was simplicity of an extreme and hauntingly beautiful.

Residual Error, installation view 2015

Progressing further into the gallery, in a large space all to its self was a creation which became the triangular ten point symbol on the accompanying exhibition publication. Titled “Residual Error”, it involved ten crumpled balls of paper placed on a transparent slab that lay on the floor. The balls of paper were consciously and specifically placed in a bowling ball formation and begged to be picked up, moved about and repositioned. There was the sound of paper ripping, the ear asking the mind to visualise these paper spheres being formed. Listening to the material being torn apart perhaps encouraged deconstruction. The idea was tempting for a child or an adventurous adult to move these balls of paper about the space or even to another room! This reviewer imagined the gallery caretakers would no longer find a ten point triangular formation in the room by the close of each day, but as in a game of probability, they would appear in different areas and locations for the duration of its presentation.

Play it by Ear, installation view 2015

At the very back of the gallery, marking the end of the installation pieces was the work from which the exhibition claimed its’ name, “Play it by Ear”. Even before the viewer entered the area of the work, it was able to be heard. Like a beacon, the sound lured an individual towards it; unnerving, distressing, unable to be identified as human or animal with an impression of dripping liquid amongst the droning hum. Blackened walls with an octagonal screened shape, centrally positioned, created a shrine like atmosphere in the room. The eight sided form was internally lit but no access was available. At once terrifying, but with the soothing gentle light softened by the screen, a wash of curiosity prevailed to investigate. While the other pieces in this exhibition were playful, this acoustic structure was most decidedly not playful, but the contrast of the expectation and the encounter created its own sense of humour or amusement.

Roger Scruton in an essay on the ontological theory of sound states that sounds are “pure events; secondary objects whose existence, nature, and qualities are all determined by how things appear to the normal observer”. In a very simplistic summation, this links well with Whitman’s more poetic observation that one needs to listen, to collect the song of one’s self, the perception of what one hears to understand how it is perceived, “what I assume, you shall assume”. Richard Carr skilfully challenged how we allow sound to influence what is seen within the context of his art practice and first solo exhibition.

as a Chinese Jar // Roisin Power Hackett

September 28, 2015 – 5:26 pm |

‘as a Chinese jar’, is the first solo exhibition of the visual artist and poet Róísín Power Hackett. Róisín received an MA in Art in the Contemporary World (2013) and a BA in History of …


September 24, 2015 – 1:36 am |

Curated by Paul McAree and featuring Lorraine Neeson, Martin Healy and Niamh O’Malley
Deadeye presents a diverse range …


September 15, 2015 – 9:17 am |

Out There, Thataway – Public Seminar and new playlist
Public Seminar
Saturday 19th September, 12pm – 2pm *NOTE CHANGE TO EARLIER TIME*
Francis Halsall and Declan Long, Paul Ennis, Ayesha Hameed
Join us on Saturday 19th September …


September 9, 2015 – 1:04 pm |

NCAD Gallery is delighted to present, ∞ (Broken Mirrors), a two-person exhibition, featuring the work of Jonathan Mayhew and Lee Welch that explores the concept and representation of the future in a contemporary context. Through …

PLAYLIST: ‘Out There, Thataway’

August 28, 2015 – 3:14 pm |

Selected by Out There, Thataway co-curator, art writer and academic Francis Halsall, this compilation is the second in a series of commissioned playlists coordinated by Dublin based artist Jonathan Mayhew accompanying the exhibition ‘Out There, …


August 19, 2015 – 2:20 pm |

This opportunity comes via MA ACW alumni Claire Feeley, part of the OSLO PILOT team:
OSLO PILOT is looking for dynamic, enthusiastic interns to join their team based in Oslo.
Oslo Pilot is a research-based initiative set …


August 12, 2015 – 10:49 am |

Stephen Brandes, Nathan Coley, Aleana Egan, Fergus Feehily, Kevin Gaffney, Rana Hamadeh, and Merlin James
CCA is pleased to present Out There, Thataway, a group exhibition curated …


August 6, 2015 – 1:08 pm |

Pallas Projects, Dublin from Sept 10th – 21st // Queen Street Studios, Belfast from Oct 1st – Nov 15th
Diagrams is a cross border collaborative project that involves the participation of artists, film makers, architects, new …


July 1, 2015 – 12:44 pm |

Alexander McQueen
Victoria & Albert Museum
London, U.K.
14, March – 2, August, 2015
Review by Susan Edwards
At the entrance was a video screen, an image of an indistinct human face morphing from a skull shape to tribal image …

Jee Young Lee | Stage of Mind

June 3, 2015 – 6:12 pm |

Curated by current ACW MA Candidate Elisa Nocente as part of Belfast Photo Festival.

The Systemic Turn

May 25, 2015 – 5:31 pm |

Sara O’Brien on Cliona Harmey // Dublin Ships

May 20, 2015 – 10:53 pm |

ACW alumni Sara O’Brien recently wrote a piece on Cliona Harmey’s Dublin Ships public art project for Belfast’s Collected. Read it here.
Francis Halsall also contributed a piece of writing, ‘Systems at Sea‘, …

The Beautifully Absurd

May 16, 2015 – 1:01 pm |

Francis Halsall on Newstalk 106-108FM: The ‘History of Art Night School’ looks at Surrealism in art
In the early 1920s a new and bizarre style of art began to appear around the world. Inspired by …


May 12, 2015 – 12:55 pm |

MART Experiments presents ‘An Experiment in Life Drawing’
curated by Lynda Phelan
Open Call for Participants – Deadline: 28 May 2015
Date (s) of Experiment: 13 + 14 June 2015
@ The MART, 190a Rathmines Road Lower, Dublin 6.
Life …


May 5, 2015 – 1:38 pm |


May 5, 2015 – 11:55 am |

ACW course co-ordinator Dr. Francis Halsall presents a seminar on the aesthetics of systems in collaboration with the Barcelona University Facultad des Bellas Artes. Two central issues will be …

Ingrid Lyons: Orange Wrappers

April 27, 2015 – 11:14 pm |

The first in a series of collector’s talks at the Douglas Hyde Gallery.
May 7th / 2015 / 5pm
Intelligent collecting begins with the discovery or deepening awareness of core values through their reflection in objects …

Art | History | Politics: contemporary artists in conversation

April 20, 2015 – 9:27 am |

Mon 20th April, 14.00-17.00 (Harry Carke Lecture Theatre, NCAD)
This discursive event is led by three artists whose practices often relate the contemporary moment in art and culture to earlier moments and other histories. Each engages …

How should we look at a Cubist painting?

April 10, 2015 – 7:38 pm |

Dr Francis Halsall on Newstalk 106-108FM
In the second ‘History of Art Night School‘ Patrick and Dr Francis Halsall look at Cubism, its impact on art, and its role in the modern world.
How did this movement …

Wine Soak No.18: “Only the most adaptable will survive”

April 6, 2015 – 10:32 am |

Our wine correspondent found himself at Dead Zoo, an exhibition in the Art Box Gallery curated by Hilary Murray, featuring the work of Catherine Barragry, Teresa Gillespie and Maria McKinney. The exhibition and the unfolding …