The mix for the summer exhibition at Lismore Castle Arts had a lot going for it in the planning stages. Get a top-class curator, Richard Cork, who has an affinity for Lismore, take a fresh modern approach with young achievers in the mainly UK world of sculpture. Have a garden party and introduce most of the artists to the public who paid to hear these new voices talk about their art. It should have been wonderful and it wasn’t.
Perhaps it was the awful weather, the difficulty in getting a review catalogue, but possibly it was the fact that I went to hear the artists talk about their work first. With two exceptions the comments were dotted with hesitancy – kinda – um – well – I suppose – in someway – perhaps. While I don’t expect artists to be verbal geniuses, six in a row was difficult and one guy said – I kinda do things, I don’t want to do. Go figure.
Then going to see the work was a disappointment. A car engine encrusted with blue crystals didn’t cut the mustard no more than a few rods occupying space or some rusty discs. Nor did timber and plasterboard shapes than a junior fitted-kitchen apprentice could do.
Daniel Silver got my attention by the closeness of plinths with mis-shapen heads on them or perhaps it was more like standard sculpture. Kate Atkin had a curious painting called BALL and a black pyramid that came out of the wall like 3D.
Conrad Shawcross impressed me with SLOW ART INSIDE A CUBE, a mechanical arm with a light inside a cage that threw shadows all over the room, making instant changing art with the viewer as part of the shadow play.