The Laughing Heart || April 28 – May 14 2016 || Galway Arts Centre
Opening on Thursday, 28 April 2016 18:00
Thomas Barron | Declan Byrne | Mary Cody | Sinéad Fahey | Fergus Fitzgerald | Karl Fitzgerald | Andrew Pike
“there is a light somewhere”
The Laughing Heart is a group exhibition featuring seven artists from KCAT Studios, Callan, Kilkenny. The exhibition has been curated as a result of studio visits by GAC’s curator Maeve Mulrennan over the past eight months. Although a broad range of practices are represented, The Laughing Heart focuses on the duration and process involved in studio based practice through painting, sculpture and animation.
The paintings of Thomas Barron endure a process from figurative mark-making into the abstract, with each large canvas undergoing countless layers of drawing and painting. Declan Byrne’s work in painting and sculpture mediate on the materiality of paint itself, with colour broken down, echoing pointillist techniques. Mary Cody’s painting has developed over her career to incorporate different materials such as wool working with multiple layers of paint. The abstract work speaks of time, landscape and ritual, with Cody making visible the lengthy process of layering materials. Karl Fitzgerald’s semi-abstract paintings on paper also focus on practice, time and ritual, with new work being made by the artist each day he spends in the studio. It is Karl’s work that links again to Bukowski’s The Laughing Heart: ‘there is a light somewhere’. Each work, featuring a sunset or sun rise, and most often a body of water, may, on their own, present as melancholic, particularly with Karl’s choice of colour. However it is when a whole week, month, or indeed a year’s worth of daily paintings are presented that the viewer can contemplate the subtle changes each day. Also the fact that there are many, and many more to come, gives an overall optimism. Fergus Fitzgerald combines text and image to present a multi-faceted approach to landscape for the audience; encouraging engagement and careful attention to detail. Sinéad Fahey’s work is full of colour and light. Playing with composition and perspective, Sinéad’s everyday observations are transformed into a kaleidoscopic world, leading the viewer to pay close attention to form, line and texture. The ever sardonic Andrew Pike presents two animations, referencing global politics via tennis and a love affair in one, and James Joyce and friends in another. Plays on words, puns and literal representations of metaphors, delivering Pike’s caustic wit via the lengthy and painstaking process of stop-motion animation.
Galway audiences will be familiar with Andrew Pike and Sinéad Fahey, who co-designed Macnas’ 2006 parade, The Big River, working with familiar faces such as Dave Donovan and Pete Casby. The parade also toured to Callan and the Kilkenny Arts Festival in 2006.
The title of the exhibition comes from the poem of the same name by Charles Bukowski. The title was chosen to represent the different processes of each artist: the poem speaks of light, duration and affirmation. What was apparent from the very beginning of the curation process was the dedication and focus each artist brings to their practice. Each artist works fulltime in KCAT Studios, something which is reflected in their multiple past solo and group exhibitions and projects. KCAT Studio, part of the KCAT Arts and Study Centre Kilkenny, supports each artist and their practice.
The Laughing Heart will open at 6pm on Thursday April 28th and run until Saturday 14th May.