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Visual Art – archive autumn winter 2015

Visual Arts



David Upton – Curator in Residence

 WHEN Residency MON 7 to FRI 11 September | Performance and reception FRI 11 September 1.30pm – FREE

The Courthouse Arts Centre (Tinahely), Mermaid Arts Centre (Bray) and the Wicklow County Council Arts Office are partnering together for the first time with funding from the Arts Council of Ireland to work with a Curator in Residence, David Upton. 

David will host a week long residency with two exciting and innovative international artists, Adrian Williams and Elisabeth S Clark in the Courthouse Arts Centre as well as curate an exhibition of their work in Mermaid Arts Centre. Adrian Williams will work for the duration of the residency with 44 students of Kilcommon National School to make a performance called Watering Hole. The students have already begun workshops learning songs and lyrics with Adrian and David, with the help of Amy Ryan (Music Generation) and the students’ teacher Joanne Katus. The students are gaining an understanding of the lyrics, poetics and themes of community and independence. Elisabeth S Clark will create a site specific installation in the Courthouse Arts Centre drawing influence from Tinahely’s village library and nearby Tomnafinneog woods, the last surviving fragment of Ireland’s oak woodland.

A performance of Watering Hole by Adrian Williams and 44 students of Kilcommon School will take place in the Tinahely village square accompanied by local musicians at 1.30pm. This will be followed by a reception in the Courthouse Arts Centre and a presentation of work by Elisabeth S Clark.

 Supported by an Arts Council of Ireland Curator in Residence Award and Wicklow County Councils Arts Office


David Upton, Curator in Residence  Mermaid Arts Centre

WHEN: Opening FRI 18 September at 6pm | SAT 19 Sept –  SAT 31October

 Between the Woods and the Water  Elisabeth S Clark and Adrian Williams  Curated by David Upton

 “While still a student I first came across the work of Adrian and Elisabeth at the Terminal Convention in Cork Airport in 2011. Both Adrian’s and Elisabeth’s practices create poetic narratives from every day experiences and objects giving them a quality that clings to the memory allowing their work to spill over the bounds of the gallery, to be activated and enjoyed again by the day to day act of living. Between the Woods and the Water explores these traces and fragments that remain in the memory and their capacity to affect a whole landscape or thought process.”


David Upton, Curator in Residence  Mermaid Arts Centre

WHEN: Opening FRI 18 September at 6pm | SAT 19 Sept –  SAT 31October

 In Adrian Williams conceptually narrative work, explorations of spaces both literal and fictitional are presented as performance, intervention, and film in a form of expanded writing. Originally from Portland, Oregon, she lives and works in Frankfurt.

Elisabeth S Clark’s art practice explores the topography of language, of time, of sound and thought. Through a slightness of touch, Clark carefully interweaves what is already ‘there’, to accentuate, isolate and question the ephemeral, integral and changing qualities of ‘being’. Her slight appropriations, often very playful and seemingly absurd on first glance, imbue deeper insights upon further reflection and consideration. She lives and works between London and Paris.

Supported by an Arts Council of Ireland Curator in Residence Award and Wicklow County Councils Arts Office

Thanks to Joanne Katus, Melanie Hadden from Kilcommon National School and all the students families.

Special thanks to Amy Ryan from Music Generation and 




Culture Week – Monday 14 Sept – Fri 18th September

TAG – Crows & Scarecrows. For Culture Night 2015 TAG are delighted to be working in collaboration with Signal Arts in Bray. The project involves making scarecrows, for both groups, with  TAG also making 3D crows … a”murder” of crows! Both groups are inviting their local communities to get involved in the creation process and there will be correspondence between both groups of scarecrows and crows in the form of postcards, drawings etc..which will be on display in both venues for Culture Night. Tinahely writers group will come on board for this part, and will give readings on the square on the night. Scarecrows and crows will be on display in the square and in the Courthouse on Culture Night and the public will be invited to dress a “skeleton” scarecrow.

Courthouse Arts Centre  –  Collaborate:Experiment:Create …  Nests.

Outreach officer and professional artist Maeve Hunter will work over 4 days with a broad cross section of local community groups to collaborate, experiment and create large and small scale ‘nests’ from found and recycled materials: fabric, card, wax, paints, wire, wood, buttons, threads etc. The groups will learn how to weave materials together to create 3d nests using batik, stitching, embellishment and construction.  These nests will compliment the crows and scarecrows which will also be on display made by TAG. The installation will remain on display until Fri 9th Oct. An opening reception of the work will take place at 7:30pm before the Culture Night screening of the film Selma. All welcome. Free.

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Jonathan Dickson

Title: Qualia

This exhibition will be opened by DONAL LUNNY. 

Opening Date: Sun 18 October   Time: 4-6pm   Admission: Free  
Exhibition Runs: Sun 18 Oct – Fri 13 Nov  Open: Wed 10-1pm Thurs – Sat 10-5pm 

A graduate of NCAD, Jonathan is a visual artist. In this body of work, Jonathan used two main guides in his approach. The first was informed by the philosophical concept of qualia.  

 Qualia are qualities or properties as perceived or experienced by a person, ie. the taste of a lemon or the pain of a headache. A true understanding of these properties can only be gained through direct experience. “I try to follow this through in the paintings with the title serving as introduction. The images along with the titles are how I experience the world around me and how I make sense of it (or not). I try not to verbalise what goes on between the paintings and titles too much as I already know and I prefer to invite open speculation or none”.

The second guide stems from his past as a musician. “I’m constantly aware of the similarities between music and painting as I work, for example  I sometimes rationalise my use of colour and composition by comparing it to chord and key usage in tune writing. I also tend to follow a linear path when painting, echoing the time line of a tune. Not as a contrivance, it just happens that way”.

Immersion in music while creating these works was important and often the music belongs to the image. For example ‘Shaking and Trembling’ was directly influenced by a composition of the same name by American composer John Adams and was completed during a particularly intensive, elevated session of painting. Another painting called “Ring a ring a rosie” from the song “Dublin in the rare old times”.

Paintings tend to occupy space, whereas music usually occupies time (and as a wonderful contradiction, they both have the ability to stop time). “I’m interested in my paintings showing an occupation of time and what I’m like when I’m doing it. I start (usually) on the top left of a canvas and work it up by painting a small part at a time. I don’t work over the whole canvas, and usually don’t draw the whole thing out first, I do it bit by bit. This effects the final image, not in a blatant way but it allows me to see a time line in the painting, parts where my mood was elevated will be looser and flow more freely, when mood or confidence drops, brushes get smaller and painting progress slows. I wasn’t always confident to allow this but it’s now part of the process, for now.

Music and visual art has a capacity to move one without the need to know why. “You can experience a concert of the most challenging and complicated music and be moved to helpless tears. You can completely lose yourself in a work of visual art and have no conscious idea why. The knowing is nice but I believe it’s secondary and in no way vital. My obsession lies in the part where art and music unravels you from conscious thought and swamps you in a visceral wash. There’s always a story behind a painting even if it’s not obvious at the time, and I rather like that”.

Of course, none of this makes a jot of difference if the painting doesn’t work standing entirely by itself without all the words to prop it up!

“You can completely lose yourself in a work of visual art or music and have no conscious idea why. The knowing is nice but I believe it’s secondary and in no way vital”.


Kiera OToole_Betwix and Between Video Still 2015

Kiera O Toole

Title: Betwixt and Between

Opening Date: Sun 22 November   Time: 4-6pm   Admission: Free   
Exhibition Runs: Sun 22 November  – Fri 18 December   Open: Wed 10-1pm. Thurs – Sat 10-5pm 


The exhibition offers an alternate and renewed perspective from a returning Irish migrant that explores our inherited spiritual and religious past, which shapes our current systems of belief and cultural identity. Through a re-appropriation emblematic imagery found in graveyards and ancient burial grounds in counties of Sligo and Wicklow, a fusion of megalithic, pagan, famine, catholic and protestant stories merge. These publicly private sacred spaces play a significant role in the Irish psyche and O’Toole posits the question, can these markers of individuals, societies and cultures act as thresholds to explore the authorship of spirituality in contemporary Ireland in an apparent age of secularism?


 The exhibition acts as a physical and psychological space where drawing mines the liminal spaces that reach backwards and forwards in time to articulate old and new lines of being Irish. Comprising of a video piece and ambiguous and large-scale drawings, the exhibition also serves as a reminder our own mortality but also in conversing about death we inevitably talk about life.