Luan Gallery is currently presenting PORTALS, a group exhibition featuring artists Ann Maria Healy, Bassam Issa Al-Sabah, Eleanor McCaughey, Jennifer Mehigan, Daire O’Shea, and Lucy Sheridan.
The exhibition was launched by Miriam Mulrennan, Arts Officer of Westmeath County Council, on Saturday April 29.
PORTALS is a group exhibition that delves into playful dreamscapes and journeys across fictional realms. Through sculpture, installation, film, mixed media and paint, the artists featured in this exhibition offer pathways into speculative fictions and alternate worlds. PORTALS embraces the potentiality of technology, fantasy, and the unconscious mind in providing us with portals of escape from the ominous realities of our inner and outer worlds.
The exhibition will incorporate newly commissioned and existing works including a site-specific outdoor sculptural installation by artist Daire O’Shea in direct response to the construction of the Athlone Greenway pedestrian bridge due to open in Summer 2023. PORTALS is the first exhibition to be curated by recently appointed curator Aoife Banks for Luan Gallery.
Eleanor McCaughey and Lucy Sheridan’s site-specific installation ‘Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain’ takes on the ruined aesthetics of the city of Oz (Return to Oz, 1985 ). This immersive work contemplates the dark sentiment running through Return to Oz through the fabrication of a fictional landscape that layers elements of sculpture, painting, video and sound. The installation deals with themes of displacement, escapism, and mental health, with obvious links to theatricality and film. Both artists are interested in the idea of elevating the status of selected everyday objects through various modes of display, lending new meaning and a facade of importance through altered modes of representation.
Bassam Issa Al-Sabah aims to convey visions of war, resistance, and perseverance in his practice. He utilises a multi-media installation comprising of video, painting, sculpture, and printed matter. The work is concerned with how the past is continually revised to meet the present, when the juvenile fantasy breaks down into the reality of adulthood.
In their collaborative practice, Jennifer Mehigan and Bassam Issa Al-Sabah work together on the peripheries of their individual practices, combining their interests in glitched bodies, narrative filmmaking, and images as sites for excavating normativity. Emerging out of conversations between them as friends, and the exchange of skills across various digital technologies in their work, the images and objects they produce together are often a result of building fantasy worlds, playing in them together, and seeing what happens.
Ann Maria Healy’s practice is concerned with reoccurrence, the power of history and narratives embedded within the human psyche. She seeks to co-opt the embodied meaning of material in order to unpack and subvert it. Being drawn to narrative that is connected to place and object, the work seeks to employ mysticism as a device to reconsider our present moment.
Sculptor Daire O’Shea presents a site-specific outdoor sculptural installation in response to the construction of the new Athlone Greenway pedestrian bridge. In his practice, Daire explores how materials communicate with one another through physical interaction and how humans communicate and respond to these dialogues. Through material investigation of the infrastructures that surround us he explores the relationship between people, digital representations, and physical objects. He takes influence from many areas such as Object Oriented Ontology, the 2014 heyday of post-internet art and his own daily interactions with objects. Human bias and its tendency to interpret the most basic of physical realities and imbue them with literary or even romantic meaning is a fertile area of exploration for the artist.
An accompanying programme of events will be programmed throughout the exhibition. Further information can be found on Luan Gallery’s social channels; Instagram: @luangalleryathlone Facebook: @luangallery.
Admission to the gallery is free for groups and individuals. Tours for schools and groups can be arranged by contacting the gallery in advance on 090 6442154. Luan Gallery is open to the public Tuesday to Saturday from 11am–5pm and Sundays from 12–5pm.