The untold want, by life and land ne’er granted,
Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1871-72)
Curators Notes, Patrick T. Murphy, RHA Director:
I have very vivid memories of this exhibition which I co-curated with Paris based curator Caroline Hancock in 2015. It allowed us to place work in relation to each other that did not have an obvious connection. Work shared a sensibility rather than a direct commentary.
The exhibition examined notions of immensity, nature, mortality and freedom, and included work by Irish and international artists such as: Agnes Martin, Robert Gober, William McKeown, Vivienne Dick, Vija Celmins, Mary McIntyre, Félix González-Torres, Nan Goldin, Andrew Vickery, Ana Mendieta, and Dorothy Cross, amongst others.
One of my favourites was the coupling of Robert Gober’s child’s chair with Agnes Martin’s painting from the Hugh Lane Gallery. Both showed the vulnerability and fragility of our human existence. Also the notion of immensity in the light filled large monochromes of Willie McKeown juxtaposed against the modest scale dense drawings of the star filled night sky by Vija Celmins, both works creating a sense of awe in the viewer. Weaved into other areas of the gallery was a meditation on nature with works by Dorothy Cross, Vivienne Dick and Willie McKeown.
We used all three galleries to create visual metaphors with the selected works. And allowed ourselves to use other works by the same artist but in a different context.
There was a room that probed the social truths of the demi-monde with works by Nan Golden, Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Andrew Vickery. And a room that addressed mortality and death, with a wall-paper work by Felix again, two videos by Ana Mendieta and a black monochrome by Willie McKeown.
Examining notions of immensity, nature, mortality and freedom, this exhibition will include work by Irish and international artists such as: Agnes Martin, Robert Gober, William McKeown, Vivienne Dick, Vija Celmins, Mary McIntyre, Félix González-Torres, Nan Goldin, Andrew Vickery, Ana Mendieta, and Dorothy Cross, amongst others.
This major group exhibition has been curated by RHA Director, Patrick T. Murphy and Caroline Hancock, curator of the William McKeown Foundation. The selection aims to create a stimulating relational environment between the chosen works in the gallery spaces.
This exhibition has been made possible through the support of the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation.