THE NEW Year at the Galway Arts Centre will spring into life with a solo exhibition by Galway born, Dublin based, artist Gareth Kennedy, who came to international acclaim in 2009 representing Ireland, alongside Sarah Brown, at the Venice Biennale.
Kennedy’s works draw on the social, cultural, and economic history of a people and a place to craft work that is a meaningful composite of these histories. For his Galway Arts Centre exhibition he will present three recent works: The Last Wooden House in Kupchino, made as a result of research and work made in Russia; Post Colony explores the natural, industrial, colonial, and heritage histories of Killarney National Park, Kerry; and recent work from his project in Headford, where the artist work with the Headford Men’s Shed group to create an architectural public space, utilising traditional boat building techniques, and addressing concerns about access to public space and the preservation and continuation of local heritage.
In February GAC will present the first public exhibition of The Asylum Archive by Dublin based artist Vukasn Nedeljkovic, who is originally from Serbia. The Asylum Archive is a multimedia exhibition investigating both the architectural and psychological space of direct provision centres in Ireland. GAC will run an extensive schools programme as part of this exhibition and Nedeljkovic will also host a panel discussion and create a publication for the exhibition.
Each year GAC invites an independent curator to work on a group exhibition for the gallery. Dublin based curator Anne Mullee will present Product Recall in summer 2015.
Product Recall will feature work by Irish artists Tom Watt, Damien Flood, American artist Sarah Baker, and Swedish artist Veronica Forsgren. They will investigate the current status of material culture and consumerism, reflecting on the 1990s movement of relational aesthetics where the material object was rejected, and the current movement of new materialism, which calls for a re-evaluation of our relationships with objects.
Autumn brings a new exhibition from Irish artist Bridget O’Gorman. Her recent research concerns itself with linking poetic, philosophical, and historical accounts with contemporary sites. O’Gorman will create a new exhibition that responds to the Georgian townhouse and former domestic space of GAC.
Angela Fulcher and Ruth E Lyons will exhibit together at the end of 2015. Fulcher works primarily in sculpture and photography. Her work utilises found objects and materials to reveal their historical or social contexts, for example, in Conjuring for Beginners, she created an installation of discarded tents, collected at music festivals, to create a space to contemplate the temporary utopias and social spaces created by festival culture.
Ruth E Lyons will be investigating energy generation and the future of landscapes. She will be working with the Geography Department of NUIG and focussing on Galway’s position in energy generation, specifically addressing recent turf cutting regulations and the development of wind energy technology.
Fulcher and Lyons, while working separately, will create a space for the audience to make their own investigations into the relationships between objects and context. Through their work, both artists show the re-circulation of history and knowledge in creating new ways of working, whether in search of new energy generation or in the creation of public, non commercial space.
GAC will also partner with several festivals in 2015, including the Galway International Arts Festival, Cúirt International Festival of Literature, Baboró International Arts Festival for Children, and TULCA Festival of Visual Art, and the centre plans to curate exciting exhibitions for each one.
GAC is also known for working in-depth with groups over long periods of time. In January 2015 the Burning Bright programme will kick off, and 11 nursing units and day centres in the city and county will welcome visual artists in to work with their service users over an eight week period. Participants will be challenged to create artwork in a range of materials and responding to different themes
In 2015 GAC will work with COPE Galway for the first time, on a project addressing the influence and importance of music in older peoples’ lives. The project will culminate in a music event programmed by the Mervue Lunch Club participants.
GAC has worked with teenagers since 2008, and in 2011, Red Bird Youth Collective was formed. The youth-led collective has since been awarded Arts Council and National Youth Council of Ireland funding to work with professional artists and architects in several projects.
Red Bird consists of young people aged 15 to 23, from a variety of backgrounds and interests. In 2015, the group will work with artist Siobhan McGibbon and Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust, looking at how chronic illness can affect the forming of identity in adolescence. The group then move on to their biggest project to date; a virtual architecture project that creates a Utopian space informed by research into Utopian literature and favela housing in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Red Bird has moved into a new phase of programming for peers, with the culmination of an animation project in collaboration with Galway Diocesan Youth Services and the curation of a Youth Arts Seminar in spring 2015.
Paper Visual Art, the online art review journal, will be working with several galleries, including Galway Arts Centre, on art writing workshops. The free workshops, in spring 2015, will respond to the current exhibition in the centre and address different methods around art writing. The aim of the project is to nurture art writers nationally, and to attract new writers – whether from other art forms or visual artists new to critical writing.
Maeve Mulrennan is the visual arts officer at the Galway Arts Centre.