This first exhibition of the season presents the work of three contemporary Irish artists and their approach to the doomed, the dead and the decomposing.
The Belfast-born painter Dermot Seymour creates works whose strength and size belie the decay they project from within. His monumental images of humans or animals, sick or dead, cry out that this world is sick. Observations of the artist's surrounding in the North and West of Ireland, these undeniably beautiful paintings present destruction in a direct and uncluttered manner.
A native of Co. Clare, Veronica Nicholson deals with 'road kills', small animals killed on the road. Photographed in beautiful super real colour, their bodies are exquisitely presented and surrounded by simple garlands of mourning. The earth being the eventual repository of all living things, the artist buried the bodies and, after some time, exhumed their bones to complete the presentation of these creatures? demise.
Dublin-based printmaker, Andrew Folan uses digital techniques for both his works in the exhibition. His Study for the Raft of the Medusa, after Gericault's dramatic depiction of death, suffering and impotence yet ultimately of hope and resurrection, is a comment on the current social predicament of the male gender. His digital print Analysand 4, an anatomical image of the brain, lays bare the vulnerability of the body in a much more clinical manner, giving the impression of a post-mortem display piece.
The members of the 'Ireland' research group based at the Institut d'anglais Charles V (Université Paris 7-Denis Diderot) have been working for the past three years on the place of the dead body in the modern Irish imagination: the body as a focus of veneration and pilgrimage, as an object of negotiation and manipulation, as an area of attention in literature, film and photography. The present exhibition moves this exploration forward into the area of contemporary Irish art.