Although a week separated the closing of Marie Farrington and Sarah Doherty’s joint exhibition at The Joinery Dublin and the opening of Aleana Egan’s solo exhibition at Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, looking back, the three female artists were formally in concert, albeit showing in spaces that are on distant rungs from each other on the career ladder.

The Joinery always feels a little damp, like a mopped-up bar in the early hours or a public toilet where residual moisture hangs in the air from the automatic flushing system. Without invigilators there is no meeting of eyes in the two-roomed gallery. These environmental factors don’t distract but ground the art objects on display there: compounded by the fact that the emerging artists who are selected to show at The Joinery always retain an element of risk in their art-making which is eye catching.

The meeting of eyes at Douglas Hyde Gallery is more commonplace but somehow you feel alone with the work. The balcony leading to the stairwell drops you from street to basement level of the double height space – offering you an initial overview of the art – which is immediately forgotten when you land in the gallery proper. Arrowslit windows let some of the Dublin light in but none of the noise. In this close-to-perfect environment to view art, those works that have a tendency to be conceptually or formally loose, look like they have been rolled out fully resolved with one sweeping gesture. The artists who get to show here invariably have their shit together. Significant status and what is presumably an intimate process of realising the exhibition and accompanying publication with Director John Hutchinson is the reward; a process that more often than not bears fruit.

At the Joinery two works in particular held my attention and represented the contrasting artistic end games of resolution and potential of the artwork. Sarah Doherty’s dirty, wringing wet Towel (2012) hung on a wall from what I presumed to be a rusted nail. It was at a level that said functional: it could be grasped easily to use for the dirty work at hand. It was also at a height that suggested intentional display, so the other art objects at The Joinery were read within an interrelated spectrum. However, as my eyes jostled with the other works I kept coming back to Towel. It seemed to belong to the Joinery; mopping up nicely my earlier imaginings of early morning bars and public toilets. But Towel was far from functional. It represented under-the-toilet-lip-dirty-work as artefact: in brilliant illusory fashion Towel was made of concrete.

The second work that stood out at The Joinery was Marie Farrington’s Eventual Apparatus (2012). Coal was used as a miniature winding infrastructure for a network of straight runnels in which milk was poured and seemed to set as buttermilk, or would do. Coal as a bed for milk is nervy decadence: an open-air elemental process with no scientific glassware in sight.


Milk Miners & Coal Maidens

Outside the System of Difference, The Joinery, Dublin

16th May – 27th May 2012



day wears

The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin

1st June – 18th July 2012

LEFT: Sarah Doherty, Towel (2012), Concrete,

The Joinery, Dublin, 16th May – 27th May, 2012.

RIGHT: Marie Farrington, Eventual Apparatus (2012),

The Joinery, Dublin, 16th May - 27th May 2012; images by author.



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