Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ladies who Launch - At the Lismore Castle Arts Summer 2011 Exhibition

 Last Friday evening I went to Lismore Castle Arts to the
opening of the Summer Exhibition 2011 - Still Life is the name of the exhibition and it has paintings on the walls again - a far cry from last year's way too avant-garde video installations in a blacked-out gallery. I took some nice photos and met some friends there - like any gallery opening it was an eclectic and diverse group with a lot of quite plummy posh people from the art world who stood around knowingly stroking their beards/chins - while I wandered around looking like a lady who launches for a living!

I love the opening events at the castle as there is a good buzz around and plenty of people milling about genteelly. With the setting sun casting slanting shadows across the gardens the atmosphere was magical. I was here about a month earlier at Devonshire Day and it was amazing to see the change in the gardens in such a short time; the tulips and wallflowers were in full bloom and the daffodils were starting to straggle. The blossom on the trees was at various stages of bloom, with some early cherry trees already past their prime and shedding.

The gallery housed the majority of the works on display and after the glass of wine and the wander around, I wallked through the gardens to the only outdoor exhibit - the Monkey Tower, which had a makeover from 2009 Turner Prizewinner Richard Wright that was delightfully quirky. The walls of this circular tower at the corner of the Lower Gardens were stamped with a series of symmetrical triangles on a white background, and it was very pop-arty with a trompe l'oeil effect incorporating the window recesses and the doorframe. That was one of my favourite pieces. Another one that I liked was the video installation of the robot reflecting the room on a continuous 20 minute loop, called Made in 'Eaven, 2004, by Mark Leckey. Weird but pretty cool, like a Philip Starck kitchen gadget - it's been in the Tate and he was the Turner Prizewinner in 2008

There were a lot of floral paintings by Gillian Carnegie, you can see the photos above. The photos of the Open Book series by Anne Collier were nice, if a bit I-could-have-done-that-myself -ish! But that's modern art for you - and at least it was aesthetically pleasing, even if I didn't quite get it - is it art or photography as art? Oh dear, I'm just such a philistine when it comes to the whole art thing.

This year I missed my favourite exhibition of the year in the Castle, the Sotheby's Irish Sale Preview - it was on in early March and I didn't check the dates, expecting it to be in April as in other years. A missed blog opportunity as well as a wander through history. I'll not be so remiss next year!

Another exhibit were three plasticised polystyrene bomber jackets by Seth Price - one of them was slightly in meltdown, and they didn't really do it for me as they were just vacuum packed reliefs of bomber jackets in the plastic. Probably technically great but art? I dunno!

Aspens in Flagstaff made an impact from a distance - it was clever as they were all pictures of the same image of aspen trees - a photo in a large frame - all placed on the wall to make one big exhibit. Sherrie Levine was the artist, and again you could say I-could-have-done-that. And probably add - why-didn't-I? and that would be because I'm not an artist and wouldn't have thought of it!

There is a video installation in another venue in Lismore, St. Carthage's Hall, which has served as a satellite gallery for the Castle Arts last year as well. I haven't yet been, so that will be for another weekend. I enjoyed the stroll through the lovely gardens, and we are very lucky in Lismore to have easy access to the beautiful castle and its gardens, and the boundaries between the aristocracy and the locals have become very blurred, in that the castle incumbent, Lord William Burlington, is a very pleasant chap who doesn't put on any airs and graces and is as friendly and chatty as the next person, as is his wife Laura. They have two little kids, and they spend a lot of time in Lismore, and our son has played cricket with Lismore over in Chatsworth, the main gaff of the Devonshires.

I haven't yet captioned the photos - just have a look and see whether you can match them up from the descriptions I've given. Most are pretty self-explanatory.

Next week I'll be back (like Arnie) for the launch of Immrama 2011 in the Pugin Room and will report on that illustrious event in Dispatches from the Deise. Watch this space!


Susan said...

Sounds interesting-this is the 2nd blog post I've read of yours from there & thought ''I must get out there myself!'' But when... Anyway, I'll share this so others may be able to go even if I mightn't!

Rita said...

You are so fortunate to live in and area where you have such interesting happennings. Wonderful photos and that castle is Superb!

Marilyn Miller said...

Love seeing the castle and gardens in that last picture.

Catherine said...

Thanks for comments - yes SUSAN you should try to visit sometime - the gardens and gallery are open till October every day - a nice day out and if you make it on a Sunday then there's Farmers' Market in the Avenue to the Castle.

RITA - we take it for granted as it's so familiar but it is a lovely place when we sit back and look at it. There's always something going on - not always time to get to it all!

MARILYN - there are a lot more Castle and Gardens photos on different sidebar albums and the Devonshire Day ones are lovely too. You might even get to visit it one day!

Catherine xxx

Stephanie V said...

Just catching up with your lovely post. It felt like I was actually there.

I guess the magic of art is not the piece and whether or not we like it but rather, as you say, someone had the imagination to think it and create their vision. I agree that the magic doesn't work for everyone.

Catherine said...

STEPHANIE V - Thanks for that - it was a refreshing change from the darkness of last year's exhibition! That's true about it being in the eye of the artist and their intention - the magic is their ability to create even if they don't manage to convey that intention to their audience!
Catherine xx