Artists' Takeover: Niamh McCann

  • Print

For my Artist’s Takeover I have chosen to highlight some of the things that have kept me occupied and led research over the last few months and interspersed them with Hugh Lane picks (my own and others…)

Niamh McCann

Image: ‘Tree’ [detail] - Wood, Walnut Burl Veneer, Goldleaf over Bronze Casts.
Photo Eugene Langan

 

 

I am currently making a poured concrete sculpture and am in general obsessed and drawn to the abstract details of large concrete edifices. I love wandering and getting lost in Charles de Gaulle Airport! With random travel being out of the question right now, I find myself instead perusing the images of the Brutalism Appreciation Society (yes, it’s a thing..)
Image: Salime hydraulic power plant. The viewpoint of "The mouth of the whale" makes me want to visit as soon as is possible. Architect Joaquín Vaquero Turcios / image @carloscopertone
Links to more here and here

Tree’ was first shown in TiltShift, a solo exhibition in Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane in 2010. I made an early version of this piece when on residency in HIAP, Helsinki. It has since been shown in Bozar, Brussels and has found its permanent home in the IMMA collection. It is currently on view as part of the group exhibition ‘Ghosts From The Recent Past’ at IMMA. It is always gratifying to see works having an onward journey.
Image: ‘Tree’ [detail] - Wood, Walnut Burl Veneer, Goldleaf over Bronze Casts.
Photo Eugene: Langan
Link to IMMA exhibition here

One is always looking for one’s fore-sisters on the walls of the museum. When looking through the Hugh Lane collection online, I was jolted into remembering how much I love the vibrancy and integrity of Mainie Jellett’s work. I see a relationship between the pictured work ‘Composition' 1962 and the Salime Hydraulic plant.
Image: ‘Composition' 1962 Mainie Jellett.
Hugh Lane Gallery Collection

Over the last few months I have learnt and re-learnt the importance of dancing around your own living room.
Link to Celestial Choir - Stand On The Word (Larry Levan Mix) - here
I have equally realised how much I miss and how vital live performance is. I look forward to being in the same room with our performance, theatre and musician family.
Link to the launch page of ‘In Waiting’ new album by the Pillow Queens here
Also good for dancing around your own living room.
I have equally realised how much I miss and how vital live performance is. I look forward to being in the same room with our performance, theatre and musician family.
Link to the launch page of ‘In Waiting’ new album by the Pillow Queens here
Also good for dancing around your own living room

I had the pleasure of once of visiting the Hermitage in St Petersburg, at around the same time that I was making the ‘Tree’ piece (image 1). Its labyrinthine richness was overwhelming. More recently I have taken to watching ‘The Russian Ark’, by Aleksandr Sokurov shot in the Hermitage. Characters from both past and present mix magically in this musical and visual feast of art, politics and mysticism. It is a sumptuous cinematic experience based on the concept of shooting a continuous, entirely uncut 90-minute steadicam shot and is almost as dizzying as the host location.
Link to trailer for Russian Ark here

I co-opted Rodin’s ‘The Age of Bronze’ from the Hugh Lane collection into my exhibition ‘Furtive Tears’ 2018/19. The sculpture has also been known as The Awakening Man or The Vanquished One. It caused a scandal on its initial exhibition for being ‘too real’ and therefore possibly a cheat i.e. a life cast. I find the voluptuous, inward looking quality of the figure itself very interesting. It is unusual historically to see with a male nude.
Image: McCann’s Rodin's The Age of Bronze AKA The Awakening Man AKA The Vanquished One (masked). The Age of Bronze, Auguste Rodin, Hugh Lane Gallery collection. Photo by Rory Conaty.



For the same exhibition ‘Furtive Tears’ 2018/19 I made a sister work to the above piece - McCann’s The Upshot AKA The Awakening Man AKA The Vanquished One (masked). This has subsequently gone into the Arts Council of Ireland Collection. Its journey continues.
Image: ‘McCann’s Upshot…’ [installation image]. Photo Lee Welch

About the Artist

A graduate of Chelsea College of Art & Design, London, Niamh McCann has exhibited extensively in Europe, Ireland and in the USA.
McCann’s work is a considered, individual voice in contemporary Irish art; effortlessly correlating strands of three dimensional work, painting/drawing and installation. This in itself is unpredictable and frequently humorous, most immediate in the playful use of appropriated political figuration in her latest body of work, Furtive Tears.  Layering and re-coding the given image, figure or cultural trope, a quasi-deified equilibrium is achieved when juxtaposed with globalised cultural imagery.
The artist is the recipient of various Arts Council awards, and residencies at Cemeti Arthouse, Indonesia; HIAP, International Artists' Residency, Cable Factory, Helsinki, URRA Artist Residency, Argentina, Leitrim Sculpture Centre, Ireland; and of Perspective and EV+A exhibition awards