‘The Lie of the Land’
Exhibition at Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh ( Feb- Mar 2015)
Participating artists included visual artists Helen Devitt (sculpture/installation) (Cork), Kenneth O’Halloran (photography) (Dublin/L.A), Adrian Duncan (sculpture/installation, video, drawing) (Dublin/Berlin) and Jill Quigley (photography)(Belfast), writer Sarah Baume (Cork), and RTE Radio 1 producers Kevin Brew and Luke Clancy (Dublin). Curated by Miranda Driscoll.
Extract from review by Padraig Spillane, ‘Collected’, April 2015
‘The exhibition is spread over the two galleries of the Sirius Arts Centre: the Centre Gallery and the West Gallery. The Centre Gallery of Sirius Arts Centre contains a selection of photographic works by Kenneth O’Halloran and sculptural objects by Helen Devitt. Numerous rusting 3D objects are lined up on the right hand side of the space. These metal items tilt against a wall and a green tower-like structure takes its place just off-centre within the room. Both framed and unframed photographs of varying sizes are featured on the left and adjacent walls, displaying images of large grey walls that stand straight and loom upwards. The framed pieces are smaller in scale, and appear diminutive compared to the larger unframed image which bursts out, on account of the differing proportions of the works presentation.
Devitt’s work Turning is the row of metal objects, seemingly frozen in the effort of slipping and leaning up against the wall. They are a multitude of spring-like objects varying in size, reminiscent of coils found in clothes pegs and scrap metal. They have a fragile despondent quality of something spent, like a match that has been completely consumed. Their empty heads tip ostensibly having lost their balance, yet remain tentatively grounded. Their presence suggests some unknown agricultural activity that was perhaps significant once, but is now superseded. What is of interest however is the reading and analysis of these objects as something tool-like and also as something figurative. For underneath the corroding material and the suggestion of something left to fester, there is something also of the transformative. The impression of something to come is posited in these particular forms beyond the circumstantial leanings and slippages. These objects act like intermediaries – their rusted surfaces and the tangible spatial tensions are not indicative of something old being recycled, but perhaps reflect on something else, something in an act of conversion to a new unknown state.’