Allanah Byrne is newly graduated from Crawford College in Cork and her exhibition at the SOMA Gallery, Lombard Street reflects an open-ness and free-ness of shapes and geometric patterns in a site specific area. SOMA, a City Council initiative, provides the space and the artist has the freedom to work in and with that space.
Like many young artists who come from the cocoon of college and the alienation of renting studio space in the impersonal Backwater Studio in Cork, Alannah Byrne is daunted but excited by the possibilities SOMA offers. You can see work at an early stage of a career and that beginning is part of the excitement in Byrne’s work.
In one room there is a series of cardboard boats or vessels like parts of egg boxes that seem to have a random pattern among prints like photocopies of Mods in Tramore in the early eighties with duck’s arse parkas, striped blazers and eager faces. These are part of the shape of groups – the jigsaw of people in a place, like figures in an urban seaside. You can almost hear The Who stutter through My Generation.
In the central larger room there is a series of thread patterns on golden pins that initially seemed flat against a white wall but walk away from them into the opening space and view them through the door space and they take on an amazing 3D imagery.
Alannah Byrne is excited about her work and the space and her imagination is about the process of art and texture – the shape of things and the images that are shaping her society. It is that young, still growing up, awareness, that makes her work somewhat experimental. I might want more meaning, more certainty but this is work – is art, in progress, in process.
On the way to SOMA, enjoy on The Mall the ephemeral art of cherry blossoms all over the streets, cars and that is process as well.