Devotion // Welcome Back
Gillian Kenny and Michael McLoughlin
March 09 - September 30 2006
Devotion, an exhibition of new works by artist Gillian Kenny, and Welcome Back, an exhibition of new work by Michael McLoughlin, will preview from 6-8pm on Wednesday 6th September 2006 at the LAB, Dublin.
These works have been produced over a year during which both Kenny and McLoughlin worked with members of the travelling community at St. Margaret’s Halting Site, Ballymun as they each developed their own strand of work. In addition, McLoughlin has worked collaboratively with residents to produce a permanent artwork now sited at the entrance to St. Margaret’s, Ballymun.
Central to Gillian Kenny’s work with the group has been the abundance of shrines and statues at St. Margaret’s Park and the reverence held by members of the travelling community for religious imagery and family photographs. Kenny is interested in the manner in which the kitsch aesthetic of religious iconography can subvert the traditionally sobering nature of religious contemplation. Through a series of workshops, Kenny, in collaboration with members of the women’s group, has developed a significant body devotional paintings and drawings. Kenny also explores pilgrimages as a physical act of prayer and devotion through a new video work entitled Bridie and Hughie. In March 2006 Kenny was the recipient of an Arts Council Travel bursary, enabling her to travel to Mexico to study traditional and contemporary Retablos and in turn further inform her work at St. Margaret’s.
Michael McLoughlin is a prolific artist working in a wide variety of media including drawing, photography, sculpture and sound based work. Efforts to track and record travel, migration and movement are of particular interest to the artist. McLoughlin has recorded a number of documentaries both with residents of St. Margaret's and of the wider settled community in Ballymun. In a new audio work entitled How did we get here? interviewees recollect their journeys into the Ballymun area, some having travelling from other parts of Dublin such as North Strand and Finglas, others having travelled from as far away as Salford, Krakow and Yokohama. In a similar vein, McLoughlin has also looked at the literal coming and going of the erratic electricity supply in St Margaret. For this exhibition McLoughlin presents a series of light and sound based installation pieces representing his own efforts to document and make tangible the various movements in and through Ballymun.
Gillian Kenny was born in Limerick in 1979. She received a first class honours Degree in Fine Art (Painting) from the Limerick School of Art and Design in 2001 and received a Masters Degree in Fine Art at the University of Ulster, Belfast in 2003. In Belfast, Kenny worked with residents of the New Lodge, a high rise housing project similar to Ballymun in Dublin. With the help of DECAL she then produced a publication “Friends in High Places,” examining this community’s visual responses to their environment. Kenny has exhibited at Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda, Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick, Catalyst Arts Centre, Belfast and in New York and London. She has also participated in collaborative and community engaged art projects, such as Young Ev+A Outreach, the Community Diversion projects, and in the prison system with the support of the Arts Council. Most recently she was the recipient of an Arts Council Travel Bursary enabling her to travel to Mexico to study Retablo painting there. Gillian Kenny is represented by the Spectrum Gallery, London.
Michael McLoughlin graduated from Limerick School of Art and Design with a BA in Public Sculpture in 1994 and is currently completing a Masters Degree in Fine Art Professional Practice at Middlesex University. His recent work combines drawing, photography, audio and
sculptural objects. He develops work in each of these media, which he in turn exhibitions in a wide range of different contexts. He has previously exhibited at Limerick City Gallery of Art, Limerick, Temple Bar Gallery & Studios, Triskel Art Centre, Cork and as part of audio art radio events such as AART,IMMA (1995), SonicEye, Helsinki (2000) and Resonant Cities, Glasgow (2004) a CD of which been released has recently. He has also made site-specific artworks in association with many community groups including Limerick Travellers Development Group, ADAPT House (Limerick), Balcurris Boys Home (Ballymun) and made a site-specific exhibition in association with residents of Kimmage Manor Way, Dublin 12 entitled Ideal Homes in 2001.
The Commissioner - Breaking Ground
Kenny and McLoughlin were commissioned by Breaking Ground 2 (BG2), the Ballymun Regeneration Ltd per cent for art progamme. Breaking Ground is the most cohesive and ambitious local authority art commissioning programme under the Government’s Per Cent for Art Scheme in the history of the State. From the outset Breaking Ground has acknowledged the work already being carried out in the community by local artists and organisations involved in or using the arts. Breaking Ground presents opportunities for both permanent and temporary commissions for artists across all artistic disciplines. As well as embracing diversity in arts practice Breaking Ground seeks to engage new audiences and participants. Breaking Ground is engaged in forthcoming projects with Cecily Brennan, John Byrne, Adam Chodzko, Joyce Duffy and Mick O’Kelly, and is organising a major international conference in Spring 2007, Art in the Life World.