Ireland at Venice 2022, the national representation of Ireland at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia presents Gather by artist Niamh O'Malley, curated by the Temple Bar Gallery + Studios Curatorial Team.
'And as matter makes matter and space makes space, I am a room and bear a room, just the same, whether you are looking or not.' - Eimear McBride
Niamh O’Malley’s sculpture and moving image works hold us in the space for which they are made. Using steel, limestone, wood, and glass, she shapes and assembles objects to create a purposeful landscape of forms. Sculptures tall and free-standing, ground-bearing and cantilevered, with paced and looped moving image, inhabit and animate.
On the floor lie undulating limestone forms punctured by deep cuts and reminiscent of drains or the harsh fissures in weathered, sedimentary rock. There are hints at functional objects and familiar structures; architecture’s shadow. 'Shelter' invites us to stand under its awning and look up into a fan of leaf-embossed translucent glass. 'Vent' fills an entire LED screen, concentrated on a loop of flapping louvers, opening, closing, in and out. Breathing.
Time and again, support systems dominate, becoming a part of, not just a means of displaying work. An outsize shelf carries an assemblage of coloured glass and concertinaed metal. A tangle of wooden contours are suspended via a steel rod. These are surfaces, and this is an exhibition, where one part depends on the other, filtering light, bearing weight, and holding together a system of planes and shapes. O’Malley’s works, writes Lizzie Lloyd, “are replete with edges that outline, overlap, and neighbour other edges. Their meeting points accentuate buffed, pitted, powdered, and polished surfaces over which our eye catches and slips.”
This exhibition is a call to gather. It invites movement and communality. It is both lure and demand, for touch, encounter, and occupancy. It draws attention to its location towards the end of the length of the Arsenale; a place of thresholds, windows, glass, holes, drains, vents, and a glimmer of water and daylight. O’Malley’s sculptures gesture towards enabling, offering protection, conveying sensations of touch, and more – of grabbing, holding, caressing surfaces, offering a moment of tether and precarious poise.
Ireland at Venice 2022 continues as an Irish Tour curated as a multi-venue exhibition and public engagement programme during 2023. Niamh O’Malley’s Gather is presented in full at The Model, Sligo; an exhibition of newly-commissioned work at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin. The Irish Tour will be accompanied by an online and in-person public engagement programme at The Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar presented by Mayo Arts Service and Mayo County Council.
Niamh O’Malley was born in Co. Mayo, and lives in Dublin, Ireland. She has made numerous major exhibitions in recent years including The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin; John Hansard Gallery, Southampton; Bluecoat, Liverpool; RHA, Dublin; Lismore Castle Arts; Grazer Kunstverein.
Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin, supports the development of artists and creation of art. The TBG+S Curatorial Team comprises Clíodhna Shaffrey, Director, and Michael Hill, Programme Curator.
Niamh O’Malley was born in Co. Mayo, Ireland, and lives and works in Dublin. She studied in Belfast where she was a Director at Catalyst Arts. O’Malley’s recent solo exhibitions include John Hansard Gallery, Southampton (2021), mother’s tankstation Dublin (2020), Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin (2019), Lismore Castle Arts (2019), Grazer Kunstverein (2018), Bluecoat, Liverpool (2015), The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2017 and 2015). Selected group exhibitions include Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival; CAG, Vancouver; eva International, Limerick; Eli & Edythe Broad Museum, Michigan; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.
Temple Bar Gallery + Studios Curatorial Team
Clíodhna Shaffrey is Director of Temple Bar Gallery + Studios. She has worked as an independent curator producing exhibitions, festivals, public commissions, collaborative research projects, and writing. Across a diverse range of creative work, policy, arts planning, and curation.
Michael Hill is Programme Curator at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios. He has worked in public, private and artist-run contemporary art galleries and museums, and is invested in emerging Irish practices and independent publishing.
Temple Bar Gallery + Studios is a leading artists' studio complex and contemporary art gallery in Dublin city centre. Its mission is to support the development of artists and the creation of art. This is achieved through high quality studio provision and an ambitious exhibition programme. TBG+S supports an inclusive environment of learning and creativity and nurtures close and sustained engagement of audiences with the work of Irish and international artists. TBG+S was founded in 1983 - by artists, for artists.