A Fantastically Magick Conjuring of Play, Consumption, Consuming And Making: How Artists Are Acting On The Things We Can’t Express Just Now…(Thanks To NCAD And The Irish Times!)

Above: detail of Margaret Thatcher’s influence on the landscape in Lee Hamill’s NCAD show 2019

Dublin’s National College of Art and Design was established in 1746 in St George’s Lane Dublin and relocated to the historic Liberties in 1980: (the ‘liberties’ came out of feudal social organisation where certain privileges and entitlements to regulate trade and commerce were ‘given’ to the area).

The Irish Times posted a video (Mon 24th June) about five of their students, Lee Hamill, Ro Lynam, Roisin Smith, Jack Meagher and Stuart Walsh who are using paint, sculpture, blown glass, video and performance to create a kind of news room conversation with the public about things that really matter.

Watching the superb video on the Irish Times website, instantly reminded me of the fantastic The Place is Here Exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary; an exhibition which has been really important in Nottingham, across the UK and the wider world in rekindling our recognition of what is always here: the Place is always here and change, begins with re-evaluating the mechanisms, values and currencies we use in an accessible and generous way.

Fine Art Media  is their school studio brand I think.

NCAD Lee Hamill‘s Solutions For The Border

Lee Hamill‘s work collapses the idea of time, place and space in her consideration of borders and Brexit using the image and persona of Margaret Thatcher. (Politicians are performers and so are we). In using performance, Lee is connecting the voices of the past with a rich view of history that we can all benefit from.

To Lee I feel that ‘The Place’ is always here if we want it, the change is always here if we want it. The work is exciting and performative, using painting to represent Margaret Thatcher in action and to create the ‘stage’ around the theatre Lee uses to capture Mrs T’s speculative ‘take’ on Brexit…. What struck me was how small, human and yet reflective this work is, like an ongoing conversation we are having and need to continue with democracies across the world. She made me think that we need more than theatrical politicians, we need to reinvest our institutions with the values we live, hope, dream of.

Above: from Images Lee Hamill’s layered understanding of borders and Brexit

In Sulm Room (anagram of Slum), Ro Lynam used her time (three years) in the 4 foot 9 x 5 foot six room she rented for 400 euros a month in the Georgian fronted house of multiple occupation on Leeson Street, Dublin; expressing her experience in the sculptural form of  of a replica.


Above: Iphone image of Ro’s room at home inside the replica of the 4ft 9in x 5ft 6in space she rented as an art student at NCAD

Inside Ro’s replica the interior references the emotional labour inside the tiny Alice like space with the larger space of the room she grew up in via mobile phone images. I loved how this work is both inside and outside art history, referencing, say Rachel Whiteread’s House and Tracey Emin’s tent (see Discussion on Liquid modernity and the use of mad labour)

In Roisin Smith’s gorgeous glass Jelly fish work ‘Blooms’, Roisin uses glass to reflect on how climate and over fishing change (and, possibly, mass electric fishing methods) have increased the numbers of jelly fish in the sea at the moment. Her work is called Atolla, after maybe, Atolla Wyvillei, also known as the Atolla jellyfish or Coronate Medusa, a species of deep-sea crown jellyfish (Scyphozoa: Coronatae). It lives in oceans around the world. Like many species of mid-water animals, it is deep red.

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Jack Meagher Fine Art Media Jack’s work is, like the other artists in the Irish Times video full of relevance, insight and investigation  All the clothes in his exhibition have been taken out of landfill.

Jack uses the techniques of journalism and art to look at how how we can deconstruct what we mean by environment, where it is and how we interact and connect with it humanly and creatively.

Mind, body, soul/sold/bought, creation/re-creation/recycle. Can we reduce the amount of waste going to landfill?

This is a really useful way to re-examine aesthetics, comforts, beauties and uglinesses of the immediate, the things we see, feel, touch, smell, wear. With all the changes in delivery of goods and services we often have no idea how the world we live in (and often float over) actually works. This is the kind of work that accesses our lost questions about how things work.

If we can begin to ask these questions about landfill and the supply chains that surround the things we consume: if this is to become news, then we need to understand how we are part of that news and begin to tell our part of that story…

Stuart Walsh  Boiled

Stuart’s work is literary, research driven, investigative and, like the other four artivists, (see Front Row, Artists as Artivists at 9.26) and @CounterArts on twitter

In  Boiled Stuart want’s to know Why Are People Popping Pills The Same Way They’re Taking Sweets? Like the other four artists, Stuart takes liberties with the artist’s place, the scale and relation of words, images and things, literally blowing up the size of tablets, pills, prescriptions, making them sweet things, playful things…but they’re glass, they break and the fibres, shards, can harm you, can kill you.

Above: Stuart Walsh’s Boiled expressed as Pharma: A Fantastically Magick conjuring of play, consumption, consuming and making: how we deal with the things we can’t express just now…

You can find the whole student group of 2019 on their website. Good luck and change the world, artists!