Kevin Mooney | Beast |
2020 | Oil,
distemper and acrylic on jute
Culture night 2023 the Arts Council will once again proudly showcase a
selection of works recently added to its extensive Visual Art Collection.
To celebrate the
evening we are sharing some insight on each of the artist and artworks which
will be on display:
‘My recent work traverses boundaries
between history and myth. My paintings, and recently, sculptures originate from
my curiosity about the histories of migration of Irish people and also my
interest in the culture making actions of migrants in general. My parents were
part of the mass exodus from Ireland in the 1950s, returning decades later. A
background as a UK born Irish person, growing up in Ireland, has afforded me an
"outsider" view of Irishness. This perspective has informed the way I
have imagined an alternative Irish art history. Research into historical links
between Ireland and the Caribbean has been a great source of fascination. The
"void" in the records of these narratives and cultural interactions
allows room for reinterpretation.
constant waves of outward migration from Ireland were also an exodus of
cultural memories, identities and traditions, as centuries of our visual
culture vanished along with our emigrants. But migration can also be a key to
the reimagining and retrieval of an art history- by reimagining the interaction
of Irish culture with other cultures on emigrational journeys.
The materials of the
work play with the notion of time. Clay, sticks, oil paint, rough jute, nails
and varnish echo artists from earlier centuries working across mainstream
European, African and folk art idioms. I want the works to appear both in this
contemporary moment, and outside of time. Some appear aged and slightly broken
down, as if artefacts from an unknowable era. The works play with imagery and
languages from historically and temporally disparate cultures, compressing time
and history into the immediate space of the canvas or the sculpture. With this
compression of time, the work can be read as a reimagining of an alternative
indigenous visual culture- a speculative art history projected into the
cultural voids created by emigration and colonisation.’
Kevin Mooney is an Irish
artist based in Sample-studios, Cork. Informed by mythology, history, and
cultural migration, his work explores a speculative art history of the Irish
The Arts Council Collection was established in 1962
and now comprises almost 1,350 works of modern and contemporary Irish art.
This year we are delighted to once again welcome
audiences to the Arts Council buildings on Merrion Square to engage with some
our most recent acquisitions.
Works by many of Ireland’s leading artists will be
shown on the night including pieces by: Elizabeth Cope, Miriam De Búrca, Mollie
Douthit, Justin Fitzpatrick, Marie Holohan, Helen Hughes, Catriona Leahy,
Jialin Long, Kevin Mooney, Doireann Ní Ghrioghair, Emma Roche, Mark
Swords, Amna Walayat and Orla Whelan.
As well as this glimpse into the Arts Council
Collection for Culture Night, artworks can be seen all year round throughout
the country as part of exhibitions and long term loans in public buildings such
as hospitals, universities and schools.
the Collection and more on our website here.