Congratulations to Niamh O’Malley and Temple Bar Gallery
Congratulations to Niamh O’Malley and Temple Bar Gallery on the opening of the Irish pavilion at Venice Biennale 2022. Ireland at Venice is an initiative of Culture Ireland in partnership with the Arts Council.
Niamh O'Malley presents GATHER
Commissioner: Culture Ireland
Curators: Temple Bar Gallery + Studios
Curatorial Team: Clíodhna Shaffrey & Michael Hill
And as matter makes matter and space makes space, I am a room and bear a room, just the same, whether you are looking or not.– Eimear McBride
Niamh O’Malley’s sculpture and moving image works hold us in the space for which they are made. Using steel, limestone, wood, and glass, she shapes and assembles objects to create a purposeful landscape of forms. Sculptures tall and free-standing, ground-bearing and cantilevered, with paced and looped moving image, inhabit and animate.
On the floor lie undulating limestone forms punctured by deep cuts and reminiscent of drains or the harsh fissures in weathered, sedimentary rock. There are hints at functional objects and familiar structures; architecture’s shadow. Shelter invites us to stand under its awning and look up into a fan of leaf-embossed translucent glass. Vent fills an entire LED screen, concentrated on a loop of flapping louvers, opening, closing, in and out. Breathing.
Time and again, support systems dominate, becoming a part of, not just a means of displaying work. An outsize shelf carries an assemblage of coloured glass and concertinaed metal. A tangle of wooden contours are suspended via a steel rod. These are surfaces, and this is an exhibition, where one part depends on the other, filtering light, bearing weight, and holding together a system of planes and shapes. O’Malley’s works, writes Lizzie Lloyd, “are replete with edges that outline, overlap, and neighbour other edges. Their meeting points accentuate buffed, pitted, powdered, and polished surfaces over which our eye catches and slips.”
This exhibition is a call to gather. It invites movement and communality. It is both lure and demand, for touch, encounter, and occupancy. It draws attention to its location towards the end of the length of the Arsenale; a place of thresholds, windows, glass, holes, drains, vents, and a glimmer of water and daylight. O’Malley’s sculptures gesture towards enabling, offering protection, conveying sensations of touch, and more – of grabbing, holding, caressing surfaces, offering a moment of tether and precarious poise.
A publication designed by Alex Synge will accompany the exhibition including commissioned texts by Brian Dillon, Lizzie Lloyd, and Eimear McBride.
Niamh O’Malley was born in Co. Mayo, Ireland, and lives and works in Dublin. She studied in Belfast where she was a Director at Catalyst Arts. O’Malley’s recent solo exhibitions include John Hansard Gallery, Southampton (2021), mother’s tankstation Dublin (2020), Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin (2019), Lismore Castle Arts (2019), Grazer Kunstverein (2018), Bluecoat, Liverpool (2015), The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2017 and 2015). Selected group exhibitions include Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival; CAG, Vancouver; eva International, Limerick; Eli & Edythe Broad Museum, Michigan; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.
Temple Bar Gallery + Studios is an artists’ studio complex and contemporary art gallery in Dublin. The Temple Bar Gallery + Studios Curatorial Team is Clíodhna Shaffrey and Michael Hill.
Ireland at Venice is an initiative of Culture Ireland and the Arts Council of Ireland.