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And yet again, I had another privilege to get the opportunity to re-imagine and celebrate the story-telling of Roald Dahl with the Blind Elephants last Thursday 28th July at the Jam Art Factory.

Revolting Rhymes was always one of my favorites. A parodying rendition of the infamous folktales of Goldilocks, Cinderella, Snow White, Jack and the Beanstalk, Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood; with dark and sinister humor.  It was hard to chose from, but Little Red Riding Hood won hands down!

What a whopper night hosted by Jam Art, and great to see what everyone produced for the show. Roald Dahl Vs The Blind Elephants- rockin’!

Jam Art Factory has been bringing the wild imaginings of Irish artists to your living room wall for a while now. Prints from emerging designers and illustrators based over the country adorn their city centre walls and they are always seeking out the newest, freshest images. 

The Blind Elephant Collective are a group of Dublin based illustrators who formed a group in 2009 to set themselves bi-weekly illustration challenges. Inspired by their approach, Jam Art asked them to create illustrations inspired by the writing of of everyone’s fantasy granddad, Roald Dahl.

The humorous and beautifully sensitive illustrations of Quentin Blake which marked most of our childhoods are difficult to forget, but the Blind Elephants were definitely up to the challenge. 

Each illustration is available to purchase at their Patrick Street shop, is signed by the artist and limited to only 30 prints. They can be purchased for a piff-whiffling €30 so avoid an absolute trogglehumper and pick them up from the hopscotchy people at Jam Art Factory!” –Jam Art Factory

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Revolting Rhymes: Little Red Riding Hood. pen, ink, collage and digital media; 2016

 

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A closer look at the work from Bardo, at the Laois Arthouse, Stradbally, Co. Laois.

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Installation view from Bardo, 2016

 

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Bardo, 2016; acrylic, enamel and nylon thread on wood. 15 x 15 cm.

 

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The Wisdom of The Heart I, 2016;  acrylic, enamel and nylon thread on wood. 60 x 60 cm.

 

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The Wisdom of The Heart I, 2016;  acrylic, enamel and nylon thread on wood. 60 x 60 cm.

 

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Sigil I, 2016; acrylic, enamel and nylon thread on wood. 15 x 15 cm.

 

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Sigil II, 2016; acrylic, enamel and nylon thread on wood. 15 x 15 cm.

 

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Sigil III, 2016; acrylic, enamel and nylon thread on wood. 15 x 15 cm.

 

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Sigil IV, 2016; acrylic, enamel and nylon thread on wood. 15 x 15 cm.

 

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Sigil V, 2016; acrylic, enamel and nylon thread on wood. 15 x 15 cm.

 

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Items from the Patrick Scott Archive, on loan from the National Irish Visual Arts Library.

 

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Items from the Patrick Scott Archive, on loan from the National Irish Visual Arts Library.

 

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The opening of Bardo on Sunday 12th June

 

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With Jenny Haughton (who opened the exhibition) and Muireann Ní Chonaill, Arts Officer and curator of Laois Arthouse.

 

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Sigil series 2016

 

PRESS RELEASE:

The Laois Arthouse Gallery, Stradbally, Co. Laois, will present ‘Bardo,’ an exhibition of paintings and sound installation by Aisling Conroy.  Jenny Haughton, Public Art Advisor to Grangegorman Urban Quarter, will officially launch the Exhibition on Sunday 12th June at 3pm.

‘Bardo’ meaning “intermediate state” derives from, Bardo Thodol (“liberation through hearing during the intermediate state”). The text describes the different stages referred to in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which instruct and guide the consciousness from life into death. This transitioning journey can also be understood as change and reincarnation within the living world.

Aisling Conroy’s latest work, explores the idea of intention, reincarnation and repetition. Her paintings, which channel impressions of mystic rituals and that resemble meditative aids; are inspired by Eastern religious iconography and Tantric art. In ‘The Wisdom Of the Heart’ and in the ‘Sigil’ series, Conroy attempts to represent doors or portals that must be passed through during the process of transformation or ‘liberation’ within love, life, death and rebirth.

Also on exhibition will be a number of items on loan from the Patrick Scott Archive in the National Irish Visual Arts Library, Dublin. Through this invaluable archive, Aisling has drawn parallels between her own art practice and life as an artist. A Patrick Scott drawing, one of his studio books and personal photographs will be included alongside the work in ‘Bardo.’

Aisling was awarded a Laois Arthouse artist-in-residence bursary, where she worked on developing this exhibition. “During my time at the Laois Arthouse, I explored and developed this new body of work that was informed by and made in response to a collection from the late Patrick Scott, recently bequeathed to The National Irish Visual Arts Library. This donation is a rare and previously unseen collection of Scott’s day-to-day studio diaries, photographs, correspondence and drawings. Zen Buddhism, meditation, veneration and ritual directly influenced Scott’s work; recurrent veins that have grown throughout my own practice and have indirectly influenced this exhibition, “- Aisling

Conroy Aisling Conroy is originally from Portlaoise. She is a Dublin based artist using drawing, painting, sculpture, sound, and installation. She graduated from The National College of Art and Design with a BA Hons degree in 2009 and an MFA postgraduate degree in 2011. Aisling has exhibited in various venues around Ireland, as well as having exhibited in the US, China and India. Her work is represented in public and private collections, both nationally and internationally.  Aisling also works at the library and archives of the National College of Art and Design, Dublin.

 

Opening times:

Tues and Thurs 1pm-5pm & 5.30pm-8pm

Sat: 10am-1pm (except on Bank Holidays)

(Entry through library)

Wed and Fri 1pm-4pm (entry through Laois Arthouse)

For more details contact T: 057 8664033 E: artsoff@laoiscoco.ie

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It has been a busy couple of months, to say the least!

April got off to a sweet little start with the OFFSET festival at Bord Gáis. I had the opportunity to attend Friday’s day of events and not surprisingly, it was filled with lots of inspiring creatives and their work. Stephen Kelleher commenced the day with an outstanding presentation and insight into his work and life as a designer. Robert Ballagh amazed the audience with his impressive portfolio and all round modest personality to boot, and Morag Myerscough blew me away with her wonderful colour installations.  The day ended with lots of laughs for Mr. Bingo- a real treat to see what this guy has done! As usual, walking away from OFFSET, one feels a slight envy seeping in (lets be honest!) but overall an inspiring, uplifting and reassuring day to be an artist, designer and maker. Creative brains unite!

Barcelona was the next highlight of the month. I was very lucky to have the opportunity to visit ELISAVA design and engineering university in Barcelona on a staff exchange. All of the staff at ELISAVA were so helpful, especially Andreu and Paolo who gave me the grand tour of the Library and college campus there. Meeting with some of the postgrad students, as well as the first year Product Designers was a really enjoyable experience, and interesting to see the similarities between NCAD and ELISAVA.

Just from visiting MACBA, The Picasso Museum, as well as numerous of the smaller art galleries and design houses; the city was bursting with food for thought…as well as food for devouring! Amazing city to visit- thank you Barcelona!:)

As Co-Founder of a new artist collective, Studio Blasta, I have just finished a mammoth project with two other artists and designers, Anita McCarthy and Bláthnaid Ní Mhurchú for Crumlin Children’s Hospital. The project is a collaboration between Google and Vision branding to redesign the infamously dark and dreary “Long Walk” corridor in the hospital.

It has been a tough few months to try and get all of this design work together, along with all of our own busy home and professional working lives; but we got there! and the work is being installed by Vision this week. We’re hoping to launch the new ‘Magical Corridor’ on Wed 1st June to celebrate making this space a more creative, imaginative and fun space for children, their family and the staff at Crumlin Children’s Hospital. We’re hoping there will be lots of smiles on this newly imagined corridor!

And finally, i’m on the last stint of preparation for the solo exhibition ‘Bardo’ at The Arthouse in Stradbally on June 12th. This is surely a day to relax and celebrate all of the hard work put into the residency and traveling up and down to the studio last year.  ‘Bardo‘ is an exhibition of new and unseen paintings and a sound installation, about life, death and renewal. The exhibition will be opened by Jenny Haughton, lecturer at IADT and Public Art Co-ordinator of the Grange Gorman Development Agency. Light food and refreshments with be served. Press release and invites to follow in the coming weeks.

 

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From left to right:
OFFSET Dublin 2016, ELISAVA, Barcelona; Elephant motif, Crumlin Children’s hospital, ‘Sigil‘ (2016) series for the exhibition ‘Bardo.’

 

 

 

 

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Clongowes window, 1916; watercolour and ink design by Michael Healy

It was an honor to be invited to take part in this years commemoration of the Easter Rising in Dublin City on Easter Monday, alongside the Digital Repository of Ireland and RTE’s Reflecting the Rising series. Showcasing ‘ Michael Healy’s 1916 Diary: A Centenary Debut‘ on behalf of The National Irish Visual Arts Library (NIVAL), the presentation aimed to inform people about the diary of one of Ireland’s renowned stained glass artists, Michael Healy. In his diary, Healy documents a very real and personal account of his experience during this historic period,  and ultimately the challenges he faced working as an artist in Dublin City during the Easter Rising. The event which was held at the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) was extremely well received and the discourse on each talk, informative and intriguing. A proud and emotional weekend in Dublin’s fair city.

As part of ‘Reflecting the Rising’, the Digital Repository of Ireland invited members of the public to enjoy ‘pop-up’ talks and interactive site presentations of Inspiring Ireland, the multiple award-winning project by DRI at the Royal Irish Academy. It brought together fascinating objects – photos, diaries, medals, ephemera, and more – that first came to public attention at last year’s ‘Road to the Rising’ event in the GPO. They are now displayed and openly available within Inspiring Ireland 1916, a series of curated exhibitions that combine public memorabilia alongside ‘iconic’ objects from national cultural collections and RTÉ Archives.

The talks and site demonstrations by digital cultural heritage experts and  historians aimed to  help visitors learn more about the public and private stories of 1916 in Inspiring Ireland, stories that paint a picture of everyday lives during this important year in Ireland’s history. Pop-up speakers on the day included Teresa Breathnach, Natalie Harrower, Brian Hughes, Timothy G. McMahon and Pádraig Yeats.  DRI is Ireland’s national trusted digital repository for humanities and social sciences data. This means that digitised 1916 content is preserved for long-term access and discovery, and will continue to be available to a worldwide audience for the next 100 years and beyond.

 

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12771585_1090877350933556_3006488293437324872_oAnd so, the long awaited documentary Thou Art: Dublin is about to be previewed in the Irish Film Institute (IFI)  this Saturday 26th March for its cast and crew members . The documentary was filmed around the streets of Dublin, in my then studio, at The Talbot Gallery & Studios on Talbot Street; and in the other participating artist’s studios (Joe Ryan, Colin O’Daly, Donal MacManus, Donal Murray). A lot has changed since 2012 when this was filmed; both in terms of my practice, and in my outlook on the Dublin/Irish art scene -little did I know that we’d be watching the finished product in the IFI four years later!  Looking forward to seeing the preview, and meeting the other artists and crew.

Thou Art: Dublin is a documentary that attempts to paint an intimate portrait of the creative life of Dublin.  Set in post-Celtic Tiger Ireland, the film documents the efforts of five artists as they communicate the vision of their work amid the difficulties of the recession. More info here 

 

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Last night The Blind Elephant Illustration Collective had a big night out at the Lighthouse for the opening of the Coen Brothers latest movie, Hail Cesar!  Our group were invited to redesign posters of their favorite Coen Brothers’ films and exhibit the works alongside the movie launch. There are some rockin’ renditions of some of the Coen’s best loved films on display- I chose the film ‘Inside Llewyn Davis'( see below).

The re-imagined movie posters will be on show in the Mezzanine area of the Lighthouse Cinema from the opening night of Hail Caesar! on March 4th. The exhibition will run until March 18th

 

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‘Inside Llewyn Davis’, re-imagined poster by Aisling Conroy; 2016

 

 

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It’s coming to the end of the residency here at the Arthouse. I started back in August 31st 2015 with many plans, inspirations and aspirations; and six months on, I’ve come out of it with a body of work that I never expected. The artist Padraig Robinson’s artwork ‘Knowing You, Knowing Me'(2007) which is on display just outside my studio door; seemed to resonate volumes as I packed up my things and left the Arthouse.

The initial listing for the Patrick Scott Archive has been completed and will entail a much larger project in hand for NIVAL in the coming year; something that the archive are very excited about. Simultaneously working in the studio and delving through Pat’s collection has inspired the work, but without doubt, the dark Winter months of travelling to the studio every week have certainly managed to make their “spiritual stamp” on the paintings (‘Sigil’ series, 2015) and some of the sound/video work too.  The Winter has been tough, but over all an incredible experience having such a serene, comfortable space to come and work in.

The support which I received throughout my time at the Arthouse has been undying. With many thanks and appreciation to Muireann Ní Chonaill, Maureen Culliton, Bridie Keenan Wendy Wright, and Julie Ann Shead in the Library for all their help during the residency. A serious band of women to behold! And a special thank you to NIVAL for access to their significant resources.

The work made in residence at the Arthouse will be on exhibition in June 2016 at The Arthouse Gallery. Details TBA.

 

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Patrick Scott, date unknown; courtesy of NIVAL

 

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A snap shot from the collection at NIVAL

 

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Sigil (2015) 15cm x 15cm;  acrylic and nylon thread on wood

 

 

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Last Monday 18th Jan, there was a public launch for the ‘Hares on the March‘ project at Dublin Castle.  After this event, the team went over to a huge ground floor storage facility in Smithfield Square D7. They were allowed to use this place to store the plinths, with hares inside for the week as they distributed them around the city.  They received a 40 ft rigid truck full of plinths and hares, these had to be unloaded by hand then loaded into one of the 2 vans involved in the distribution/installation process. As you can imagine battling through peak Dublin traffic, one way systems and Luas roadworks wasn’t the easiest route to navigate. So, the team decided to deliver hares to shops, galleries and work places during the day and hotels and shopping centres during the night.

Four long days and nights saw 2 vans and 6 operatives deliver the vast majority of plinths, hares and plaques to all 52 venues around Dublin city.  Thursday the 21st was allocated to replacing plaques on hares that had sponsors names applied. On Friday 22nd, the majority of 15,000 ‘Hare Trail’ booklets had being delivered to the participating venues.

The charity is hoping that funds raised for The Jack & Jill Foundation will make a big dent in the €2.7 million it needs in 2016 to provide home nursing care to sick children nationwide. Please check out the website for more info on the trail and how to bid for this worthy cause http://www.haresonthemarch.ie/index.html#services

Lastly, on Wednesday 9th March 12noon in the CHQ Building (IFSC, Dublin 1), there will be an exhibition as well as a ‘Meet and Greet’ function for all artists, sponsors, supporters and followers at the . Being able to see all 110 hares in one venue together is going to be a wonderful sight to behold.

I’ve already had a bidder for my own creation, ‘Midnight’s Fable’ which is a great start with only a few days after the launch, and hopefully there will be plenty more raised for the Jack & Jill Foundation by that time. ‘Midnight’s Fable’ can be seen on location at the Alexander Hotel on Fenian Street, D2.  You can check out the bidding catalogue here

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Midnight’s Fable, 2015

 

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On ending 2015 and four months into the residency at Laois Arthouse, my research on Patrick Scott and his work grows to new levels as I have delved into his collection of papers and studio books at NIVAL.

Scott’s love affair with simplistic forms in shimmering gold, influenced by Zen Buddhism, as well as his earlier work with striking Bauhaus tones in a brilliant rainbow of colours, appear to mirror his long colourful life. This is the impression that I get as I continue to appraise this collection and discover through numerous warm and heartfelt letters, postcards, greetings cards and fax mail from adoring friends and colleagues. Adored not just for his art, his skill and his professionalism, but for his friendship, his kindness, his witty humor, his understanding and his wisdom. I began this project with the artist in mind, his work and the influence it has has on my own practice; but now I have begun to get a glimpse of the person, and a life filled with love and expression. (Note: All photographs are taken for documentary purposes*)

The making in the studio still continues. I have just completed a series of six paintings titled ‘Sigil I-VI’. One of these in currently on display at the Dunamaise Gallery for their annual Winter show. The work attempts to interpret various forms of mystic ritual and meditative aids inspired by religious iconography, Zen and Sufi art.

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Thirteen boxes: the Patrick Scott Collection in its totality.

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Brochure design for the Dublin International Theatre Festival, 1957.

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A design for a Brown Thomas lighting brochure, 1952.

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Early designs for an Irish tourism brochure

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One of Pat’s infamous cat drawings from a fax mail:)