Previous Exhibitions

Bennie Reilly

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Small Pieces of Precarious Life

Bennie Reilly

1 Sept – 8 Oct 2017

“He had never comprehended the endless variations of design: Why this lattice ornament? Why these fluted scales, these lumpy nodes? Ignorance was, in the end, and in so many ways, a privilege: to find a shell, to feel it, to understand only on some unspeakable level why it bothered to be so lovely. What a joy he found in that utter mystery” – from The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr

Bennie Reilly presents an exhibition of oil painting and sculptural bricolage. The work employs a broadly museological framework, but rather than the rigid system of categorisation found in contemporary institutions, it is influenced by the exotic, esoteric form of a ‘cabinet of curiosity’, where mystic and scientific properties are at parity. For Reilly, the acts of walking, observing and discovering objects are the habitual preludes to the creation of her sculptural forms, one that depends on inquisitiveness as an inherent facet of creation. Through the cacophony of shapes and tones, the artist guides the detritus into orbits and the noise of the collection begins to harmonise, even if it is at times atonal. The constituent articles—worn, faded, cracked, expired as they are—have an alluring mystery and Reilly describes her attraction to these as a kind-of romance. Their original beauty was reliant on the holistic intention of their creator. When this spell is broken, they are discarded. A collector recognises value where it lies and plucks it from obscurity. But here we also have the alchemical hand of the artist, which first bides and eventually binds; hoarding the multifarious till a rapport is discovered.

The aforementioned sense of precariousness extends across all aspects of Reilly’s practice. Her painting interprets the artefacts and specimens upon which she bases much of her sculpture, such as fossils, minerals and exotic plants. Their existence are the results of chance, by the nature of their physical formation and the fortuity of each being discovered, preserved and displayed. Her subjectivity too is a form of precariousness, pitted as it is against the weight of scientific history.

The title is borrowed from that of Jean Dubuffet's first series of sculptures in the 1950s, Petites statues de la vie precaire (Small statues of precarious life). When displayed in a gallery, Dubuffet's sculptures—made with basic materials such as clay, papier-mache and aluminium foil—could be recognised for that which inspired them: primitive figurines and anthropological artefacts, but removed from this setting their atavistic qualities might be entirely overlooked. Treading a line between whimsy and exemplification, they questioned the presumption of monumentality in the gallery environment. Reilly’s bricolages echo Dubuffet’s, both in their physical precariousness and their conceptual origins. -Davey Moor

Small Pieces of Precarious Life is Reilly’s first solo exhibition since 2013’s Rara Avis at the Royal Hibernian Academy. She has exhibited extensively across Ireland and in Europe. Her research has taken her to museums throughout Europe and the US and to remote residencies in Iceland, Norway and in Ireland.

www.benniereilly.com

1 September - 8 October | Exhibition Reception on Culture Night: Friday 22 September

High Tide

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Hazel Egan

Due to human-generated pollution and the excessive burning of fossil fuels, the delicate balance of everyday life is disrupted as temperatures rise, ice caps melt and sea levels surge.

Egan’s practice draws on the threat of imminent change and the suspense of an uncertain future. Working with the potential and poetic qualities of everyday industrial and quotidian materials, the work in this exhibition highlights relationships and cycles that can be understood on a micro and macro level. Dualities such as light and dark, weight and fragility, tension and balance position the work between imposed control and the precarious possibilities of collapse.


Exhibition runs 25 July - 27 August

Reception on Wednesday 23 August, 7pm, as part of Heritage Week

30 YEARS, ARTISTS, PLACES

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Major Touring Irish Art Exhibition

Dunamaise Arts Centre Portlaoise is proud to present the finale of the 30 Years Artists Places exhibition, after an extensive national tour, from Monday 10 June to Saturday 15 July.

Following an 18-month national tour to venues in Clare, Mayo, Waterford, Cork, Tipperary, Limerick, Cavan, Louth, Dublin and Donegal - the exhibition, curated by Muireann Ní Chonaill, Laois Arts Officer- is a must see at Dunamaise and features an extraordinary line up of Irish artists.

This exhibition is a collection of artworks owned by Local Authorities across Ireland and marks 30 years since the first local authority arts officer was appointed in Ireland. The works speak of places, people and home which reflect upon local authority arts development as just that, of a place and of a people, of rural and urban Ireland, of home in a changing island where we are bold with new ideas but rooted in our past. Renowned artists such as Tony O'Malley, Alice Maher, Robert Ballagh, John Kindness, Norah McGuiness, Seán McSweeney, Sean Lynch and John Shinnors alongside emerging artists Cora Cummins, Cleary Connolly, Seán Cotter, Lisa Fingleton, Jenny Brady, Vanessa Lopez and David Stephenson and many others feature in the exhibition.

On 29th June at 3pm at Dunamaise Arts Centre, a panel discussion to mark the exhibition, entitled Collecting Who for What, will be chaired by Cliodhna Ní Anluain with contributions by Cristín Leach, Jacquie Moore, Kevin Kavanagh and Seán Cotter. A musical response to the exhibition by Andreas Balke will also take place. Admission is free and all are welcome.

On the same day at 5pm, Liz Meaney, Arts Director (Performing & Local Arts, Arts Council of Ireland) is Guest Speaker at the reception to mark the conclusion of the exhibition.

This is a must see, not just for the extraordinary line up of Irish artists, but for the stories of how they each came to be purchased, commissioned or acquired by local authorities - therein lies the real narrative - the quiet, genuine and imaginative support for Irish artists demonstrated by local government for the past 30 years.

A beautiful souvenir catalogue, with details of each of the artworks accompanies the exhibition and is available for €5.

School visits available on request.


Funded by The Arts Council www.localartsireland.ie

Curated by Muireann Ní Chonaill, Laois Arts Officer

Exhibition runs 10 June - 15 July

Reception on Thursday 29 June, 5pm.

30 YEARS | ARTISTS | PLACES




Abbeyleix Further Education Centre

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Annual Art/Craft/Design Exhibition

Students of QQI level 5 & 6 courses present work in a variety of disciplines including ceramics, textiles, drawing, print and painting. Work explores concepts of self-identity urban spaces, sub conscious/conscious, memories and psychogeography. An exciting blend of contemporary art from emerging artists working and living locally. See art.abbeyleixfec.ie for information on all art courses.

Official Opening Friday 5 May, 7pm | Exhibition runs until 5 June

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Funded by

The Arts Council

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Dunamaise Arts Centre

Church Street Portlaoise, Co. Laois, Ireland.

Contact The Dunamaise Arts Centre

Box Office Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Friday: 10am to 5.30pm
Saturday: 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm.
One hour prior to curtain on the evening of a performance.
Box office 00353 57 866 3355.

General Enquiries: info@dunamaise.ie

Our Sponsors

The Arts Council Laois County Council