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Súil Eile: Selected Works from the IMMA Collection at Ballina Arts Centre, Co Mayo
An exhibition of works from the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s Collection opens to the public on Thursday 7 June 2007 at Ballina Arts Centre, Co Mayo, as part of a collaborative project between Ballina Active Retirement Association, Ballina Arts Centre and IMMA’s National Programme. Súil Eile is curated by the Ballina Active Retirement Group and explores new media works from the Collection. The group visited IMMA to view works in the Museum’s Collection, the exhibitions on show and visit artists on the Artists’ Residency Programme. The result of this process is Súil Eile an exhibition featuring artworks by Michael Craig-Martin, Dorothy Cross, Clare Langan, Caroline McCarthy, Isabel Nolan and Alanna O’Kelly.
In the video work by Caroline McCarthy’s Greetings, 1996, the artist inserts herself abruptly and repeatedly into a typical Irish landscape, familiar to us from tourist brochures and traditional Irish art, in a deliberately awkward and comic way. The reference to picture postcard messages in the title suggests the artist is only visiting the location. McCarthy questions where she belongs in our rapidly changing culture from the once rural to the new urban focused contemporary Ireland.
Alanna O’Kelly’s film work Santuary/Wasteland, 1994, refers to an historical site at Thallabhawn, Co Mayo, which lies at the edge of an estuary between Mweelrea Mountain and the Atlantic ocean. This site was a monastic settlement from the 6th-century and a famine burial ground in the 19th-century. It was known as The Sanctuary to 17th-century map makers and was referred to as The Wastelands by local people in the 19th and 20th-centuries. O’Kelly employs slow moving film close ups and an undercurrent of somber sounds that reflect the hope and despair, loss and recovery of the history of this site.
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