It’s nice to meet our friends once in a while
May 06 - May 29 2010
In It’s nice to meet our friends once in a while Michael McLoughlin sets out to examine the value placed on the feelings of ownership, belonging and connection experienced by both individuals and groups when they meet socially. McLoughlin’s collaborative work has recently centred on an enquiry into the various ways in which people meet up and organise themselves as social units, celebrating the importance of clubs, groups and circles of friends. The title of this body of work, ‘It’s nice to meet our friends once in a while’, is a phrase that was constantly recurring throughout McLoughlin’s time spent working towards this exhibition with groups and organisations based in the Crumlin area of Dublin 12. Though a simple statement of fact, it eloquently addresses the principle concerns of Michael McLoughlin’s practice and has been instrumental in informing the development of this body of work.
Focusing on points of interaction and belonging, this exhibition of new work is a direct response to a two year period during which McLoughlin completed a PerCent for Art Scheme commission for St. Agnes’ Road for Dublin City Council. In 2008 he set out to involve as many people as possible in that process, with the result taking the form of a publication made up of photographs documenting the activities that take place in the Crumlin area from week to week, as well as special one-off events. Work included in the publication is a visual record of sociability that celebrates people with common interests and the common bonds they share.
In addition, McLoughlin has made a series of pen and ink drawings relating to the goings-on in Crumlin, presented here alongside several light box pieces and film work. They focus on Day Centres run for older people in the area, local allotments, bingo, lawn bowls and dancing. The commonality that the drawings share with the photographic work is that they portray people in the simple act of enjoying each other’s company.
Michael McLoughlin is a practicing artist based in Dublin, Ireland. Working in a wide variety of media including drawing, photography, sculpture and sound, he has consistently been developing and presenting new ways of working in a social context for over 10 years. McLoughlin is particularly interested in the relationships that exist between contemporary practice, traditional visual art spaces and the broader community for whom the art spaces exist. He has exhibited widely in Ireland and internationally, with exhibitions in France, Finland, Norway, Great Britain and America. Some recent exhibitions include: 2MOVE: Ireland curated by Mieke Bal and Miguel Á. Hernández-Navarro, Belfast Exposed; Looking out on sunny days, axis Arts Centre; Audience (1) Waltzers with Mary Nunan, The LAB; and Bypass, Shared Designs and I only come here cos it’s free, Limerick City Gallery of Art, the latter of which began the particular enquiry that continues with this current body of work.