Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Maggie's Moustache

Maggie's Moustache is a sociopathic entity in the form of a moustache named Gobnait which lives on her host Maggie.  Maggie works at a garden centre and rides a moped.  Gobnait likes fighting and killing things and country and western music.  You can read about their adventures in 3 newly published editions currently available at Soma Contemporary in Waterford.  Probably more to come next year as and when my imagination thinks them up.  I really like making up these little books though.

Photos show first editions, 1 and 2 were on sale at the Limerick International Publisher's Salon but I revamped them in the style of 3 for the 2nd edition.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Rory Tangney - This Way To Enchantment

Rory Tangney – Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, Co. Cork
19 October – 16 November 2014

I remember my father playing some recordings from my childhood.  The sounds were those of footsteps in the stone yard outside and baby voices asking questions that I don’t remember now.  The recordings were on reel to reel tape and we listened to them again and again by pushing a lever on the tape recorder to the left or right to play and rewind. The memory of listening to those recordings hits me when I see Consensus, a two-part sculptural work in the second solo show by Rory Tangney at the Sirius Arts Centre.  Metres of reel to reel audio tape are suspended in a geometric wooden framework.  The tape is in colours of rust, dark brown and grey and moves slightly with the air movement of the viewer’s passing.  In places it is kinked and creased and one piece is repaired with sellotape.   These frail audio slices of lives lived and recorded are preserved in part in the sound piece When All Is Said And Done.  Here are more slices and fragments, primarily the voice of Peter Higgs, who predicted the existence of the Higgs boson or ‘God particle’, together with explosions, clicks and warbles, male voices and a musical track interwoven throughout.  Some of the sounds are recordings are taken from inside an MRI scanner and Tangney has referenced this in three fragile pencil drawings, What If, Know Thyself and Slice.  Intimate and delicate, Know Thyself and Slice allow us inside Tangney’s head, literally, since they are drawn directly from images produced from an MRI scan that Tangney had several years ago.  They suggest human vulnerability against scientific invincibility but also draw attention to the very site of artistic creation itself, something beyond the horizon of consciousness and in direct conflict with the will-to-technology of the 21st century.  The drawings are made up thousands of pencil dots, appearing hazy and faint in contrast both to the science which they refer back to and also to the sculptural works in the show.  Yet even these sculptural works, Consensus and Monument, for all their sharp solidity, are sliced, layered and segmented.  This layering of sound, vision, idea and object is replicated throughout this show.   These works are carefully chosen and executed so that they resonate with meaning both individually and collectively, presenting a series of visual and aural prompts rotating around questions of science and religion in a post-religious world.
 These questions follow on from Tangney’s first solo show, Build Your Church On The Strength Of Your Fear which was held in 2011 at The Camden Palace Hotel in Cork   Tangney’s father was a physician and his childhood was paradoxically spent in a staunch Catholic background combined with a rigid adherence to scientific rationalism.   Tangney investigates and attempts to reconcile this dichotomy through his art practice as a spiritual outlet into which he brings a concern both for the nature of belief and conviction on the one hand and on the other, a fascination with science and its possibilities. 
A second sound piece, Breathe, consists of rhythmic, pulsing exhalations of sound which come in regulated slices. It could be a machine breathing or a machine sustaining human life.   One is reminded of an iron lung in which polio patients lay until they could breathe again unaided but the sound becomes comforting after a while, its mechanical regularity both proof and reassurance of a firm existence, here and now, enduring perpetually.   At the other end of this spectrum is Paranormal, a pencil drawing which looks like an old, grainy black and white photograph of a UFO.  Tangney’s interest in obsolete technologies is obvious but he uses these references and materials to raise doubts for the technologies we live with today. The drawing Lifeline is an extreme close up of the palm of a hand, simultaneously a reminder of the limitations of science and an invocation of beliefs outside of science.
Finally, if we cannot trust science and we cannot turn to religion, what is left?  The works always return to one starting point, which is the self; fragile, finite, sometimes reliant on science for life itself. Science may refute the spirit but in This Way To Enchantment Tangney insists again and again on the interconnectedness of ourselves, (even as particles and fragments), with both.



Know Thyself