Jack Kornfield in A Path with Heart describes ‘taking the one seat in the center of the room, opening the doors and windows and seeing who comes to visit.’ When we take the one seat in Buddhist meditation it is said we become our own monastery. We create the compassionate space that allows for the arising of all things such as sorrow, loneliness, shame, desire, regret, frustration and happiness.
The focus of investigation in this new body of work for mid-career artist, Mary A. Kelly, is the chair; armchair, couch, as a physical object in space. It is a resting place, container, location and position. It’s position on its own or with another or other chairs is a conversation about relationships with people, objects and self.
Be seated, take a seat, take one’s seat is something we take for granted today but was not always the case. The first chairs in ancient Egypt were supported on representations of the legs of beasts or the figures of captives. They believed that chairs needed to incorporate natural forms to avoid creating chaos in the universe by constructing an artificial object. The earliest known Greek chair dates to 6th century BC. It was not until the 12th century that chairs became widespread in China. For most civilizations until the Renaissance the use of the chair was mostly confined to high office. The 20th century saw the increased use of technology with metal folding, plastic and ergonomic chairs. Their common use has evolved relatively recently.
Mary A. Kelly’s interest in this project started many years ago while taking part in a group psychotherapy process. ‘The simplicity of the room and the depth of life experienced in that space led me to explore many similar rooms with my camera. Eventually my focus became the chair as a construct aside from life and a witness to life. The exploration extended to chairs beyond the psychotherapeutic rooms into other living rooms. The intimate space of the psychotherapeutic experience opens out into a broader public space and life itself. Eventually the paint brush took the place of the camera.’ Mary A. Kelly, January 2019.
A chair or seat is a piece of furniture that holds and supports the human body. In these paintings the body is absent but implied. The intention is to create a pause or resting point for the artist and the viewer. The gallery, not unlike the secular church, stands as a temple between life itself and art. The sound recording of the dawn chorus is the natural orchestration of birdsong with the advent of dawn after dark and Spring after Winter. It is a homage to the Natural World with respect and wonder.
The Exhibition & Tour:
Chair: Mary A. Kelly is a solo exhibition curated and initiated by Aoife Ruane, Director, Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda (9 February – 13 March) and presented in partnership with Uillinn/ West Cork Arts Centre, where it will tour to in the autumn (26 October – 12 December), after exhibition at Custom House Studios (6 – 30 June), the exhibition was granted an Arts Council Touring & Dissemination Award. The exhibition is generously sponsored by Anglo Printers, Drogheda, and one of Ireland’s leading and innovative print solutions providers.
Mary A. Kelly will be in conversation with novelist, journalist and freelance curator, David Galloway, on Saturday 9th February at 3.30pm. Free, all welcome.
EXHIBITION: EXHIBITION: Concerning the Other | Basement Gallery, An Táin Arts Centre | 5th March – 6th April 2019
Concerning the Other is a collaborative art project which brings together ten artists to create a hundred collaborative artworks. The concept for this project is that in these days of uncertainty, mounting racism and intolerance, artists can take a lead in promoting diversity and showing concern for minorities and for refugees from areas of conflict. Ten selected artists responded to and took account of each other’s work in a collaborative process which took place over ten weeks in 2017. The collaborative nature of this project is particularly relevant in these turbulent times and it resulted in surprising and engaging artworks. The Artists: Brian Fay, Claire Halpin, James Hanley R.H.A, Joanna Kidney, Eoin Mac Lochlainn, Miriam McConnon, Kate Murphy, Ben Readman, Gail Ritchie and Susanne Wawra.
29th November – 2nd March 2019
Gallery Opening Hrs: 10am-5pm Tuesday – Saturday
This group exhibition curated by Dorothy Smith explores the many facets of contemporary print making; including, etching, lithography, screen print, monoprint, installation and the three dimensional possibilities of print making. PRINTWORKS celebrates and brings to attention to the range and wealth of print work being produced in the North East Region.
From an open submission process, independent curator Dorothy Smith has invited fourteen artists from the North East region and two guest artists to participate in this varied and exciting show.
Artists: Adrian+Shane, Els Borghart, Órlaith Cullinane, Aidan Flanagan, Raphael Hynes, Declan Kelly, Robert Kelly, Jackie Hudson Lalor, John Moloney, Jebun Nahar , Garry McGuire, Kieran McNulty, John O’Connor, Niamh O’Connor.
Invited Artists: Debora Ando, Anthony Lyttle.
There will be an OUTREACH PROGRAMME over Jan and Feb ‘19, to include tours of the exhibiton for the general public with the curator and artists; and specific tour/talk for secondary school students based around the Leaving Cert Art Gallery Question. Resource packs will also be available for schools. For more details email email@example.com.