It was a balmy summer’s evening for the WIT Degree show and I had the honour to meet Tony Ryan at the opening. Tony taught art there up to his retirement and he sang in his own way the praises of Denis Power of 92 The Quay. Power’s work was a colourful mix of collage and painting with a theme of folktales and fantasy. I could make out the Metalman and Pickardstown Shrine as pat of his iconography.
In the Cry Chapel was a typical exhibit to annoy visitors who opine is that all art students do and miss the point of Thaddeaus Soffer’s installation on degradation and gambling. His work had a Spider Biker gaming machine at its cluttered centre.
Up a staircase you were caught by a two-part quotation – creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes – and you think typical cop-out, until you read the second part of Scott Adams quotation – art is knowing which ones to keep. Una Walsh’s Medical Molly was a haunting social story of St. Malachy’s ward in St. Patrick’s Hospital where she made sublime fragility of objects and shocked with the detail in fine pencil drawings of old age, especially a sore on a leg. Walsh’s accompanying video study was a clinical but sad look at the shiny cleanliness of old places a the edge of life and there after.
The video work of Diane Dalton was a beautiful study of a pregnant woman who, on other screens, wrapped a beautiful baby in white sheets or swaddling clothes. The belly shots showed two hands knitting in pink but they looked like the image in a scan or ultrasound.
Helen Ivers impressed with her painful studies of a nude girl with rocks and blocks on her breasts and naked torso. Her video work was fine.
Grass and the environment was part of Bill Doyle’s geometric city shapes and Sinead Larkin from Kilsheelan was excellent with her grassy supermarket trolley, grassy swivel chair, grassy lampshade, grassy book, grassy tea-set and impressive grassy image growing out of a cadaver mould. Her orange and black paintings were special too.
The star of the show was the powerful images of water and figurative work on big canvases by Rayleen Clancy. MISDIRECTED was a powerful cinematic image mottled with colour. THE MEMORY OF WATER and TWO WORLDS caught her memories of two homes in her formative years – the pools of Californian family life and the creative family life on the Helvick Peninsula.
Once again these students don’t seem to understand the importance of self-promotion or even minimal direction at WIT. And if WIT won’t blow it’s trumpet, they must.