Great visit today from two of Ireland's most outstanding artists Graham Gingles & Ciaran Lennon.
‘Gingles and Gingles’ is a collaborative exhibition at Dublin’s Peppercanister Art Gallery between father/ daughter artists Graham and Lisa Gingles. Born in Larne Co Antrim, Gingles Sr is well known for his complex and intriguing sculptures. These are usually housed in hand made boxes or reliquaries, although sometimes recently an old suitcase has served this purpose. Based in Valencia Spain, Lisa Gingle’s works are small, feminine drawings, overlaid on reclaimed pages and manuscripts- playful and fun and with a strong gothic undertow of foreboding, mixed with dark humour. Images of memory and place mixed with despair and resolution create an interesting dialougue between two generations of this talented artistic family. Gingles and Gingles 7-30 September.
Father and daughter exhibition Gingles and Gingles explores themes of darkness, light, memory and place, through images of nature, a dash of childhood whimsy and the use of mixed media. The box sculptures created by Antrim artist Graham Gingles contain symbols of nature and science (above left) housed in multidimensional structures, which hang beside the small drawings by his daughter, Lisa Gingles, which are overlaid onto reclaimed books and manuscripts (above right). Together, the artists' world of eerie fairy tales and ancient folklore, a world where both menacing and benign forces of nature are at play.
Continues until September 29 at the Peppercanister Gallery, 3 Herbert Street, Dublin 2; tel: 01-6611279; website: peppercanister.com
Exhibit A: Nothing's too square when Eilis is around - Sophie Gorman reviews Wall & Plinth in The Irish Independent
Derry artist O'Connell uses a wide range of materials in her work and the results range greatly in scale, but all share developing themes of geometry, archaeology and architecture.
And this distinctive sculpture features in a major exhibition of contemporary sculpture, 'Wall & Plinth', opening next Thursday at Dublin's Peppercanister Gallery, www.peppercanister.com.
O'Connell is just one of a number of important artists on display and her piece will be joined by works by the well-respected likes of Sonja Landweer, Carolyn Mulholland, Graham Gingles and Robert Janz, who will be exhibiting cast bronze versions of one of his delicate mixed-media figures. Work will vary from the figurative, by John Behan, Breon O'Casey and Robert Janz, to the abstract, by Michael Warren.
This show will also have the premiere outing for two major pieces by succesful Argentinean artist Adolfo Estrada.
And the gallery will be exhibiting the work of two Irish artists for the first time; established ceramicist Deirdre McLoughlin and budding sculptor Sharon Lynch.
In sculpture, box-makers are a small and relatively neglected minority. They do not just make boxes, even minimalist boxes; they make boxes and contents. The boxes they make are often like small worlds of their own. Barrie Cooke, whose retrospective is showing at the RHA, has created many sculptural boxes, mostly during the 1970s and 1980s.
Several are included in his show, which coincides with a rare appearance in Dublin by another prominent box-maker, Graham Gingles, who has a solo show at the Peppercanister Gallery. Where for Cooke boxes have been one aspect, albeit significant, of his artistic activity, they have been the principal form of expression for Gingles for well over 25 years.
He was born in Larne, Co Antrim, in 1943, attended Belfast College of Art and has been consistently based in Northern Ireland. He began his artistic career as a painter, and his current show includes some paintings. Drawing and fine draughtsmanship continue to be central to his work.
His work is hermetic, obsessive and usually quite dark.
Are these common attributes of sculptural boxes? Certainly they could apply to those made by another Irish artist who has contributed to the form, Kathlyn O'Brien. And think of boxes and sculpture and the chances are that Joseph Cornell will come to mind. Cornell, a strange and reclusive US artist who died in 1973, pioneered the form. His work used collage extensively; his glass-fronted cabinets are like reliquaries, as often as not stocked with objects and images relating to his obsessive interest in particular ballerinas. There are inbuilt feelings of loss, hopeless longing, sadness and nostalgia in his works.
Gingles is apt to make and manage every constituent of his boxes, inside and out, to a much greater degree. One of the first things you are likely to notice is that as objects they are carefully devised and constructed, to a level of complexity far in excess of simple utility. Even viewed merely as containers, without regard to the intricacy of their content, they have tended to be strange, baroque objects. It has been suggested in the past that their over-engineering is a kind of restraint or imprisonment of what is within.
The current work surpasses in complexity anything from the past. There are conventionally boxlike, rectangular constructions, but also cylindrical containers and the half-rotunda forms of the extraordinary Surprise Of The Promenade series.
The most obvious way to view the boxes is as personal reliquaries, and it is true that Gingles spent a year in Rome at the beginning of the 1970s and was very taken with the wealth of religious paraphernalia on view.
Yet although his boxes function partly as cabinets of curiosities or as specimen cases, they also go considerably beyond that. Take his zest for sub-compartmentalisation, which is everywhere apparent. You have to get close to make out the interiors of the boxes, but once you are in close you realise you can only ever glimpse part of the story. Rather than being designed to display things, each interior is a labyrinth of endlessly recessive, interconnecting spaces. There is always another level, another corner around which you cannot quite see. It's as if Gingles doesn't want to put definite limits on his internal world, as if to imply that it goes on and on.
Each box is an account of an internal world, presumably the artist's own, a visualised cross-section of a mental space or, perhaps more accurately, mental activity visualised in spatial terms. In fact, to judge by their form and content, you could view each box as a mind, a head, a body or a building. A recurrent feature is a treatment of the human body fragmented, pinioned and anatomised, echoing the overall sense of containment imposed by the formidable external constructions.
There is a pervasive sense of the past in the way Gingles conjures up specific spaces, from musty hotel rooms to the pungent seashore. But he never spells out meaning or context. We can infer that he is dwelling on moments of personal experience - of boredom, morbidity, revelation, eroticism, fear - but he doesn't explain anything. He is resolutely introspective about it all, although there are clues aplenty.
Work on this level of obsessiveness may be demanding of the viewer, but it is also demanding of the artist. It is exceptionally well made on every level, from the minutely calculated woodwork of the boxes to the beautiful sculptural components within.
Although respected within a circle of artists and collectors, Gingles is not as widely appreciated as an artist as he should be, perhaps because he is not very prolific - the painstaking nature of his work pretty much rules that out - and because his work is so darkly hermetic and inward-looking. But this show demonstrates why he has to be regarded as one of the best sculptors working in Ireland.
Aidan Dunne, The Irish Times, September 2003