press release

In Niamh McCann’s first solo exhibition at the Green On Red Gallery, entitled Purlieu, she continues her investigation into how we construct our social relations through a visual and linguistic framework. Purlieu is defined as "a certain territory of ground adjoining unto the forest [which] was once forest-land and afterwards disafforested by the perambulations made for the severing of the new forests from the old." Within the context of this exhibition it refers to a created landscape, an in-between space that divides the border between a real and fabricated visual landscape. McCann's use of mediated images and everyday kitsch in her work contribute to this both real and fantastical landscape that is part of our everyday experience.

In her sculptural works and drawings she splices urban motifs and natural elements to create a hybrid cultural wasteland where both the natural and the urbane co-exist. She transcends the limits of representation and de-stabilises the established hierarchies of thought, re-shaping and re-configuring the norm to create a new visual landscape. Writings on the postmodern condition continually refer to the degree of openness of systems of language and their transient nature. As part of her practice, McCann adopts this shifting framework through layering, montage, deconstruction creating an idiosyncratic language. Each piece autonomous but self-reflexive. This is reflected in Perch 2 which draws on iconic modernist architecture domineered by a hybrid bird, highlighting the conflictual co-existence of the man-made and natural world.

The repetitive motifs of contemporary graphic texts, signage and modernist architecture refer to a specific ontology. McCann reverses the idea of the sublime, shattering established belief systems and directly refers to idea of the human experience as a simulation of reality rather than reality itself. The hybrid nature of international and localized cultural signage adds to the increased sense of dislocation; this is punctuated throughout the exhibition.

When engaging with Niamh McCann’s work one oscillates between fact and fiction, while it mirrors contemporary anxieties, it also alludes to the possibilities of reality. Her works such as Splice 7 (Contentious Gathering of Condolence, Celebration and Protest) references reactions to post-elections in Belgrade, while Arial Black, Bold Italic 94 alludes to our economic implosion.

Biography: Niamh McCann is an Irish artist living and working in Dublin. A graduate of Chelsea College of Art & Design, London, McCann has exhibited extensively in Europe, Ireland and in the USA employing a variety of working methods from drawing to sculpture. She is currently exhibiting in the ‘Into Irish Drawing’ exhibition at Limerick City Gallery. In 2008 she exhibited in EV+A and had a solo presentation of work in Zoo Art Fair in London.

only in german

Niamh McCann