Dublin City Arts Office
The LAB, Foley Street, Dublin 1

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Past Exhibition


Ann Maria Healy

June 28 - September 30 2021

Hypnagogia is a common dream where various states of wakefulness intertwine into a surreal narrative and screens flatten reality into an ever erupting collage. The pineal gland is a site of melatonin production, a hormone that regulates our sleep wake cycle, when this is off kilter, heightened sensations recall past and future traumas. The protagonist of Ann Maria Healy’s new film, a Self-driving car, has forgotten its destination but through various breathing exercises is finally finding its way home. In this landscape, spiritual awakenings abound but perhaps we are inside the ultimate trance machine, one that we are perpetually awaiting release from.

The LAB is pleased to present this ambitious solo exhibition of new work by Ann Maria Healy. Healy’s work expresses itself through video, sculptural and textual form. Her 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. Drawn to narrative that is connected to place and object, often acting in an absurd manner, the work seeks to employ mysticism as a device to reconsider our present moment.

For Hypnagogia, Healy has collaborated with artists including Karl Burke, Jane Deasy, Christopher Steenson and Enter Yes.

The large sculptures holding court in the exhibition bring to mind the standing stones of Stonehenge or Avesbury. Similarly they are large, standing strong, perhaps in dialogue, maintaining a confident but ambiguous presence. They are also both mysterious and mystical. The bright discs at their centre appear like pupils as the forms begin to take the form of an eye, perhaps the Third Eye. A drawing as you enter the gallery suggests a key or legend while showing us the forms in another context, a landscape. Here at the LAB Gallery, the artist has sought to cocoon us from the street through the use of light and repeated pattern. The sculptures appear to be growing from the ground, with tufts beneath them like the stubborn grass that can’t be cut around a standing stone. Throughout the exhibition, familiar forms of materials take on new meanings. There are references to mystic practices, transient states, pharmaceuticals, sleep cycles, a self-drive car and the hypnotic mating ritual of the peacock, all woven together through drawing, sculpture and film.

As part of her research for this exhibition, Ann Maria undertook a three month residency at The Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics alongside post doctorate researchers looking at neuro feedback therapy. The exhibition will be followed by a publication to mark the closing of the exhibition.

Selected exhibitions include 'Desire- A Revision‘ Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2019 -2020, ‘When Dealers Are Shamans’, Pallas Projects, 2018. ‘Futures: Series 3 Episode 1’, Royal Hibernian Academy, 2017. Previous residencies include Fire Station Artist Studios Dublin, 2017 -2020, Cow House Studios, Wexford, 2015 and The Banff Centre, Canada, 2014. She is an MFA graduate of The Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam, 2014 and a recipient of the Irish Arts Council, Visual Artist Bursary Award, 2019 and 2020. Her work is part of the Irish Arts Council Collection and she currently holds a project studio at Temple Bar Gallery & Studios.

The Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics is one of the largest Data Analytics centres in Europe. It undertakes high-impact research, seeks to derive value from Big Data, and provides innovative technology solutions for industry and society by enabling better decision-making. INSIGHT is a joint initiative between researchers at University College Dublin, NUI Galway, University College Cork, and Dublin City University, as well as other partner institutions. https://www.insight-centre.org/

The INSIGHT artist residency is awarded to an artist in the community that wishes to engage in scientific research to expand their own practice and foster links between the arts and science communities to further inter-disciplinary research. The purpose of the residency is to support artists, curators or producers to develop and research new, ambitious work intended for public presentation. The intention of this residency is to allow the artist impactful access to current research at the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics. The research collaboration will focus on the development of a particular project. It is hoped that the residency will enable the creation of a work that is ambitious and far-reaching: works which propose new forms of medium and new ways of theorising complex scientific ideas are welcome.

Read this essay by critic and writer, Jan Verwoert, specially commissioned by the LAB Gallery in response to the exhibition.

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