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Nailing Jelly

Monster Truck at Catalyst

Nailing Jelly to the Wall

Neil Carroll / Jane Fogarty & David Lunney / Helen Hughes
Tadhg McSweeney / Maggie Madden / Liam O’Callaghan

31st May – 29th June, 2013

Opening reception: Thursday 30th May, 6pm – 8pm

Monster Truck’s exhibition will look at at how seven sculptors, two working collaboratively, utilise walls and other vertical gallery surfaces in a variety of different ways that is essential to their work, whether laying bare the processes of artistic design, using painterly techniques to expand narratives, elaborating into three dimensions from two, or amplifying the dialogue between construction and representation. The show will not be a typical ‘in the round’ affair, with floor works being tethered to the wall in various ways.


Nailing Jelly to the Wall


Picture a flag.  Imagine it bears your colours.  In your configuration.  No family crests, officious insignia, or figurative depictions.  Just your own, personal abstraction  /  When Ardal O’Hanlon was on RTÉ’s Late Late Show to champion Sean Scully’s Wall of Light Orange Yellow in a tie-in for the 2012 TV programme Masterpiece: Ireland’s Favourite Painting[i] he readily admitted it was an impossible sell.  ‘People hate that’ he assured us of the work  /  The relationship between sculpture and walls in a gallery context is most commonly a mixture of demarcation and work being provided a neutral vertical backdrop, rarely extending to physical dependence, conceptual support or aesthetic necessity  /  Your flag is lying on the floor  /  We have found that artwork which is too sympathetic to interior workspaces can become invulnerable to theft, being utterly invisible  /  When the ‘personal space’ of sculpture is hemmed by an additional plane there can be a co-adoption between the two.  It is often an anomaly – not there to augment a gallery environment, but to annex part of its space (& time) as a temporary egress for viewers  /  A Neanderthal male and female walk into a clearing in the forest.  Before them, a modernist domestic dwelling of the International Style.  They enter the white building  /  Your flag is flying at the top of a flagpole  /  Our relationship to sculpture is largely based upon the x/y axis of the horizontal plane – our everyday form and positions gravitationally bound  /  We embrace the possibility of failure, even when cogent offers abound to join dots left floating for us  /  It goes that if artworks have a job, this is telling a story, imbuing a message, recording something for prosperity.  Many assume these abilities are defunct in abstraction  /  Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic[ii]  /  On the one hand, a simple proposition – an elemental visual lexicon full of possibility.  On the other, frustratingly esoteric visual gibberish  /  Your flag is pinned to a wall, displaying its form clearly, its staff 30° to the horizon.


Niel Carroll makes sculptural paintings and painterly sculptures, sometimes pairing them,  with a clear, open dialogue between the elements which make up his installations.  They seem to aspire to the worked surface as an ideal, but a malleable, even playful one, reminiscent of what an architect might three-dimensionally sketch if deprived of pencils and paper, doodling within the perimeters, deprived of a margin.


Helen Hughes utilizes both found objects and an array of purchased industrial products in her practice. Like an inventor tinkering in their workshop, she throws away the instruction book – end-product finishing points of manufactured goods being her starting point. Her sculptures are rarely inert – possessing and excising a palpable latent energy upon their surroundings. Her skill is in knowing where to subsequently stop and begin anew in the viewer realm. We might at first, like the artist, do this by pondering the teetering de(con)structive possibilities innate in its manifestation.


In Revolving Construction, we are privy to the inner workings of a phantasmagorical magic lantern. Even at his most abstract, Tadhg McSweeney’s work seems homely. Much of his material is detrital and used as if almost to evoke the childhood skill of configuring disparate objects to conjure so much more than the sum of their parts


Maggie Madden is interested in system schemata of all types. In Flow, a tangle erupts vertically, diagonally and horizontally towards its (open) end, while her Drawings close in upon themselves in an apparent, infinite conclusion – one akin to a Möbius strip being wired into an invisible fuzzbox[iii].


Liam OCallaghan has a sensitive command in matters of volume and scale, which is readily apparent in the spatial economy of his sculptural work.  With his sculpture In this Moment of Still Surrender, we are enticed to interpret a curious configuration. We might choose between reading a line of supplication, fear, generosity, or a darkly comic gesture with no need of a punchline. In his Companion Structures series, he pins the dimensionality of his photographed objects (and subsequent digital interventions thereof) to a single vista, impossible to prove impossible by the imagination.


Jane Fogarty & David Lunney‘s Adorned Documents addresses the fetishisation of the various constituents {information panels, objects, paraphernalia, documentation} that make up the experience of consuming art – it rarely being bestowed to the world in a contextual vacuum. Here, process, interpretation, design and presentation are melded into a flexile loop which can be entered into at any point.

[i]            imaginary tagline: “if you like X-Factor you’ll probably tolerate this and mightn’t even notice one of the paintings is a stained glass window”.

[ii]           (Arthur C.) Clarke’s third law.

[iii]           Being an effect device used on electric music instruments, to distort their signal.

Nailing Jelly to the Wall | 2013 | 2013, Archive, The 00s | Comments (0)

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