Focusing on OutArt (1996-2001), this project explores the series of exhibitions that were organised by members of the LGBTQ+ community to build solidarity and explore queer practice.
Although Irish LGBTQ+ practice has been examined in recent exhibitions such as I Am What I Am (Ballina Arts Centre, 2020), The Queeratorial (Pallas Projects, 2019) and Queer Embodiment, as part of The Narrow Gate of the Here and Now (IMMA, 2021), still its history in Ireland and Northern Ireland remain under-examined.
Focusing on OutArt (1996-2001), this project explores the series of exhibitions that were organised by members of the LGBTQ+ community to build solidarity and explore queer practice.
Featuring a wide range of work and approaches, OutArt showcased work by gay and lesbian artists at a crucial moment in LGBTQ+ history: in the Republic, homosexuality had only recently been decriminalised, and across the island of Ireland the gay rights movement was rapidly growing in influence and attitudes to sexuality were rapidly shifting.
Working with the RHA, this program of talks, interviews and accompanying online publication will document the experience of those involved and will republish reproductions of little-known work to consider the legacies of OutArt. The program comprises conversations between Pluck Projects and artists involved in organising and contributing to OutArt Mick Wilson, Louise Walsh and Alan Phelan, as well as interviews conducted by artist Padraig Spillane with participating artists Prof. Catherine Harper, Andrew Kearney and Niall Sweeney
Pluck Projects is a curatorial collaboration founded by art historians Sarah Kelleher and Rachel Warriner that champions innovative work and seeks to reassess the histories of contemporary Irish art.
Drawing on the figure of Mother Jones, a community organiser born in Cork, artist Rachel Fallon is creating a mobile glass house to consider the potential of ‘mothering’ as an activist strategy for reimagining community after Covid. These three eight-hour performances will take place in this purpose-built Glasshouse, taking the form of a conversation about care: with the first examining advice and support; the second, loss and hope; and the third, protest and repair. Each performance invites the people of Cork to have their voices heard, offering an optimistic forum for reimagining community.
Rachel Fallon is a visual artist whose work examines themes of motherhood, domesticity, and women’s relationship to society. Working across sculpture, drawing, photography and performance, her work explores the conflicts and ambivalences within familiar territories and the fragile boundaries of power and trust that exist in familial relationships. Recent projects include The Map, a collaboration between Rachel Fallon and Alice Maher at Rua Red, Tallaght. Her work is held in national and international collections, including the Collection of the Arts Council of Ireland, the National Museum of Ireland, the Wellcome Collection, and Goldsmiths Women’s Art Library. Supported by the Arts Council and Cork City Council
What happens when an online transaction is completed; when a mouse is pressed in positive confirmation, or a buy icon clicked to complete a purchase? What people, devices and systems are put into service? How do these things affect our senses? define silver lining (V2.0) presents a constellation of image, 3D works and soundscapes to speculate on new descriptions for living. This new installation searches the appearances, sounds, and infrastructures of our everyday networked world for what political theorist Mark Fisher calls post-capitalist desires, those new hopes for the future produced in the contemporary moment.
Pádraig Spillane works with photography, appropriation, and object- based assemblages to explore intersections of desire through imagery, anthropomorphic arrangements, and installation. His use of material considers gestural potentials and animations of various forms with works performing as gatherings of disruption and appeal. Recent solo exhibitions: ‘define silver lining’, Queens Old Castle, Grand Parade, Cork (2021); ‘What Passes Between Us’, Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, (2017). Recent group exhibitions include, ‘Saturation’, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork (2022); ‘Silver-Tongued Seas’, Jupiter Woods, London, (2021); ART WORKS 2017’, VISUAL, Carlow. VEINS is a collaboration between Pádraig Spillane, Karen O’Doherty, Marc Rensing, and Fernando Cimino.
Occupying a city centre location, artist Kate O’Shea and vocal artist/composer Siobhán Kavanagh present an ambitious new visual artwork which invites the public into a performance space that combines live music, spoken word and visual performance. Exploring alternatives to a society that separates and seeks to dismantle community, it will also mark the launch of new music composed by Siobhán Kavanagh and John Linnane and a new text, poster work and song cycles by Dr. Ciaran Smyth of Vagabond Reviews and Kate O’Shea.
Kate O’Shea works with printmaking, large-scale installation, performance and publishing. Her collaborative practice builds spaces of solidarity to explore alternative modes of community and dialogue. S.E.A. – Heart // Break features fragments of her reflective process and is supported by the AIC Scheme Bursary Award 2021.
Siobhán Kavanagh has performed extensively as a vocal artist for over twenty years, exploring a range of vocal techniques and musical genres. Through experimental performance, Siobhán combines elements of performance art, costume and stage design. As a composer, Siobhán writes songs and experimental musical arrangements; working collaboratively with musicians and artists.
Kate O’Shea is funded by the Create: Artist in the Community Scheme Bursary Award 2021: Collaborative Arts and Community Development and Siobhán Kavanagh by the Arts Council Agility Award.
Artist Colm Keady Tabbal, who’s practice investigates forms of knowledge about sound and their relation to systems and infrastructures of control, presents new work combining sound, video projection and text which traces the history of sound masking technologies through their diverse applications; as an aid to sleep, focus, and productivity, as means of masking unwanted sounds, producing privacy in bureaucratic settings and as a technique of psychological warfare and an instrument of violence.
Colm Keady Tabbal is an artist based in Dublin. Their recent installations and performances include Through Walls (2021) Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Applied, Misapplied* (2021) Granary Building, NCAD, Dublin and Learning from Nothing/Forgetting Nothing (2020) Richmond St South, Dublin. Colm’s ongoing project Noise Architecture operates as a performative architectural firm, exploring theories of noise in relation to audio culture, urbanism and public policy.
A new body of work by Amna Walayat that explores female embodiment and cultures of shame in the context of Ireland and Pakistan. According to Islamic tradition when a woman becomes pregnant, a paradise opens automatically under her feet. However, women and children often become victims of a “culture of shame”, with murder, exploitation and related violence common throughout the world. These new works draw on the narrative of the fall of Adam and Eve and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden to consider cultures of shame in a contemporary moment.
Amna Walayat is a Cork-based Pakistani-born emerging mixed media visual artist. Her current practice is based on traditional and neo-Indo-Persian Miniature painting, expressing her hybrid cultural experiences and her position as a migrant artist. Her work is currently included in the yearlong exhibition The Narrow Gate of Here and Now at IMMA (2021-2022), 191 RHA (Oct 2021) She has recently mounted her work in Dublin Arts and Human Rights Festival in Chester Beatty and Mill Theatre (15-24 Oct) and a two-person show at LHQ (March 2021). Amna is working with Cork County Council as a Creative Producer in residence supported by Creative Ireland.
OPEN CALL FOR VISUAL ARTISTS FOR CORK MIDSUMMER FESTIVAL 2022
For Cork Midsummer Festival 2022, and responding to the context of Covid-19, quarantine and successive lockdowns, CONNECTION reflects on this unprecedented and paradoxical experience of shared isolation and confinement to think more broadly about the concepts of community, care and connection and the encounter with the artwork. We invite artists from or based in Cork to take these ideas as a starting point for response and encourage unexpected interpretations. These could include: Projects that conceive of CONNECTION as a formal device. Conceptual responses to the title or the ideas it generates (whether these be – for example – largescale social issues; intimate, personal interpretations of the idea of connection; or ideas that connect to popculture, politics, digital landscapes etc). Performance, visual practice (including paintings, drawing, lens-based work, sculpture, installation), sound art, film and video, durational works, site-specific works, workshops and/or social praxis. Pluck Projects are actively seeking venues in the city in which to exhibit/locate the work of successful applicants during the Festival.
Pluck Projects are Visual Arts Curators in Residence at Cork Midsummer Festival. One of Ireland’s largest multidisciplinary arts festivals, CMF uses Cork as its backdrop and inspiration with events happening in venues, spaces and unexpected places across the city. It provides a unique platform for national artists at all stages of their careers, presenting bold and innovative work that engages audiences of all ages. While rooted locally, including an annual programme of socially engaged and participatory events, the outlook is global with inspiring international artists and the exploration of burning topics both essential to Midsummer. The programme is developed in collaboration with many of the city’s arts organisations and institutions.
Formed in 2014 by Sarah Kelleher and Rachel Warriner, Pluck Projects work closely with artists to realise ambitious exhibitions of innovative and avant-garde work. To date, Pluck have produced exhibitions including Alice Maher’s Vox Materia at the Source Arts Centre in Thurles and the Crawford Gallery of Art in 2018, Gaol Break by Angela Fulcher in Cork’s City Hall in 2017, New Work from Glasgow at the Windle Building, UCC as part of the Cork International Film Festival’s Visual Arts Programme in 2015, and curated a strand of The Land of Zero at the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork 2015.
For each project, Pluck seeks to promote the work of outstanding artists through creative curation and critical engagement. Utilising the specific context of Cork Midsummer Festival, we are particularly interested in proposals that demonstrate a capacity to engage with broad and diverse audiences, and that offer unique perspectives relevant to Cork. Successful applicants will receive an artist’s fee of €500 and a budget of up to €400 for production costs. There is no application fee. Projects will be assessed according to the merit of proposals and their relationship to the theme. We encourage applications from artists at all stages of their careers.
TO APPLY Email your proposal as a single PDF file (max 10mb) to email@example.com with CONNECTION Exhibition Proposal in the subject line of the email.
Please make sure your proposal includes the following: CV: Max 2 pages. Containing name, address, email and website (if available) Artist Statement: Max 200 words. Proposal Summary: Please provide a summary (max 500 words) of the project you are proposing, how it relates to the theme of CONNECTION, and a description of the final work. Supporting Material: Max 10 items which could include. • Examples of work including details of material, dimensions, year of production. • Links to video and audio (please do not include audio or video files in submission). • Letters of agreement, for example from a group you plan to work with or a particular venue for site-specific work. There is no need to include letters of support with this application unless they are directly related to the proposed project.
Cork Midsummer Festival and Pluck Projects are committed to equality and to facilitating access for all artists regardless of circumstances. If you have any questions about the application, or details of funding and support, please contact Sarah Kelleher and Rachel Warriner at firstname.lastname@example.org Deadline is midnight, 20 December, 2021.
We’re delighted to launch the programme for FALL /OUT at Cork Midsummer Festival 2021. This year, we are working with six artists who are responding to our theme through interrogating ideas of work, climate change, our relationship to technology, fantasy and nature, and interrelationships.
Cork Caryatids celebrates the history and strength, physical and symbolic, of female labour in Cork. This series of banners makes reference to the Shawlies, Cork’s famous street traders, but also points to larger stories of changing labour practices and the ways in which these changes to the ways in which we work impact the urban landscape. Akerman’s imagery draws on the history of caryatids, carved female figures which were used as pillars in Classical architecture. Caryatids were mythological women subjected to the hard labour of holding up a heavy temple, but were also associated with celebratory rituals where the women would wear baskets of fruit on their heads. The graphic design of the banners uses the layout of Excel sheets, each cell filled with vivid colour, to engage with contemporary office based work practice and the new architectural landscape in Cork that accommodates this digital labour.
Pádraig Spillane: Define Silver Lining
This window-based installation, occupying the old Argos premises on the Grand Parade, will jostle between shop windows occupied and not-occupied. Incorporating abstract imagery derived from consumer packing and using the structures of commercial display, Define Silver Lining invites us to think about the ways in we are affected by the technologies that support our lives. The title, Define Silver Lining, prompts us to consider the acceleration of technologies of communication and commerce both before COVID-19 and those being amplified due to the pandemic. Define Silver Lining is accompanied by a soundscape by VEINS (Karen O’Doherty, Marc Rensing, Pádraig Spillane). The viewer is invited to follow a QR code that leads to a website (www.definesilverlining.com) which holds a sound clip comprising a melody line within noises made from the workings of electronic devices, electricity, the sounds of connectivity, the hums and statics of interfaces we increasingly connect with in our daily activities.
Anne Ffrench: To Hold Still
To Hold Still is a sculptural installation made from briars which spills through the doll’s house space of the Lord Mayor’s Pavilion. The work draws on the idea of suspended time in fairytales, where brambles surround and protect a castle’s sleeping inhabitants. During the first lockdown Anne Ffrench spent a lot of time in young woodland overgrown with gorse and briar, two impenetrable barriers. Briars, she reminds us, have a vital protective function, saplings need the time of the briar to establish and grow strong before the briars recede and trees take their place. During the first lockdown we heard reports of nature reclaiming space as humans stood still. To Hold Still wonders what if ‘lockdown’ could mean the briars were free to grow and encircle us until the threat had passed, much like the castle in Sleeping Beauty. Accessible to a family audience on the imaginative level of the fairytale, To Hold Still is a visually striking meditation on time, threat and care, and further, a prompt for us to be still and allow nature to grow wild around us.
David Mathúna and Andrew McSweeney: As Above, So Below
‘As Above, So Below’ is an interconnected audiovisual system comprised of two individual real-time scenes – clouds above, water below – each unfolding digital panorama influencing the behaviour of the other. In hermeticism the phrase “as above, so below” indicates that earthly matters reflect the operation of the astral plane, or in a more secular context it refers to the idea that the microcosm reflects the macrocosm. In its establishment and examination of minute relationships of cause and effect, the system takes causality and chaos theory as formal devices, building its structure around action and consequence.
Conceived of in Berlin by Cork-born artists Andrew McSweeney and David Mathúna, ‘As Above, So Below’ brings together different aesthetic and technical aspects of each artist’s practice and is a continually evolving project, changing its form in response to the nature of physical space and the influence of new creative technologies.
Vicki Davis: Meatàn
Sited in the Port of Cork, Meatàn is an immersive living sculpture that references the live deportation of cattle from Cork and draws on processes proposed by industry to counter the environmental impact of cattle farming. This work developed from research into one of the Argentinean government’s solutions to the climate emergency: a balloon that collects methane gas emitted from cows. It is an invasive process, involving the insertion of a pipe into the intestinal tract of a cow, creating a hybrid between animal and machine that speaks to the agricultural industry’s relationship to global warming. The ‘living’ sculpture takes the form of a balloon made from specially screen printed cattle feedbags, which will inflate and deflate slowly over the course of the festival. Meatàn prompts us to examine the ways in which climate change impacts our imaginations.
Pluck Projects are delighted to announce Pluck@RHA, a three year collaboration with the Royal Hibernian Academy as it approaches its 200th anniversary. Beginning with a conversation on Women, Artists and The Institution, this programme will consider the institution as a site of challenge, examining its inclusions and exclusions, how they shape what is considered to be art, and the ways in which these definitions have changed in our recent history.
For September 2020, we will be running the programme Women, Artists and The Institution
Feminist activism in the Irish art world has been a significant force since the 1980s when women artists mounted a challenge to the institutions that they felt had excluded them. Collectives such as the Women Artists’ Action Group argued that artists were not being recognized because of their gender by the museums and galleries that helped define Irish art in the popular imagination. Nearly forty years later, Abigail O’Brien, the first female president in the RHA’s almost 200 year history, reflected the ambitions of women’s artistic activism by foregrounding gender balance in her inaugural address. This echo is illustrative of the ways in which major institutions have absorbed activist demand into their own ways of thinking about themselves, leading them to instigate changes shaped by the challenges mounted against the establishment. In this series of seminars and screenings, Pluck Projects consider the legacies of the women’s movement in the Irish art world, and discuss not only the history of feminist challenge, but also how it has interacted with the interests and ambitions of artistic institutions.
The programme is as follows:
4 Sept 2020 18.00:
Pluck Projects in conversation with Aideen Barry (ARHA), Pauline Cummins and Eithne Jordan (RHA).
This discussion will consider feminist practice, women’s artistic activism and the institution from the perspective of three key contemporary practitioners.