Fantastic beasts and unlikely heroes: the best visual art this week

Ttopology at Visual Carlow; Sustainable Futures at Sirius Arts Centre, Zoología Fantástica at Solstice Arts Centre, and Donald Teskey goes down the river and up a creek

Ttopology – Dennis McNulty

New work and a survey of McNulty’s previous projects. Having studied engineering and psychoacoustics, and with his involvement with electronic music, McNulty came to visual art from an unconventional angle, producing custom-built hardware and software in exploring “technologies and systems that have been developed, cast aside or revised in order to advance on our human potential”. The show includes collaborations with musician David Donohoe and artist Bea McMahon.

Heroes and Villains
Gibson Galleries and The Long Room, Crawford Art Gallery, Emmet Place, Cork, February 8th-August 25th

In their latest trawl through the Crawford’s collection, Anne Boddaert and Michael Waldron have come up with a trove of works that offer a survey of artistic representations of heroes and villains, from mythic archetypes such as Achilles right up to our own era, when the line between hero and villain is harder to discern. Step forward, Roy Keane, who has long divided opinion on the issue, though it’s safe to say that the balance is inclined towards the heroic view.


Sustainable Futures
Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, Co Cork, February 8th-April 1st

Claire Ryan is both curator and facilitator in an ambitious “multi-part collaborative project” that aims “to open a dialogue around our environment and sustainability”. Besides a group exhibition of work by Meadhbh O’Connor, Fiona Kelly, David Thomas Smith and Sarah Lincoln, scientists from the Environmental Research Institute (UCC) and the Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy (UCC) will take part in public talks, and local artists (Colette Lewis, Carol-Anne Connolly and writer Billy O’Callaghan) will run workshops based on the questions raised by the project.

Zoología Fantástica
Solstice Arts Centre, Railway St, Navan, Co Meath, Until April 5th

Swapping her curatorial cap for a wizard's hat, Sabina MacMahon ventures into the surprisingly crowded world of imaginary creatures. The title is from Jorge Luis Borges' Manual de zoología fantástica, or Book of Imaginary Beings, though JK Rowling's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them also strikes the appropriate note. MacMahon's point of departure was "the motley crew of entirely fictional and real-but-odd-looking creatures that populate the pages of illuminated Gospel manuscript books like the Book of Kells". Artists include Peter Burns, Arne Olav Fredriksen, Jane Locke, Kieran Moore, Janet Mullarney, Bennie Reilly and Suzanne Walsh.

One River, One Creek – Donald Teskey
Oliver Sears Gallery, 29 Molesworth St, Dublin, Until March 15th

The river is the Dodder, adjacent to Donald Teskey’s home and studio in Dublin; the creek is Crum Creek in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, painted during the artist’s residency at Swarthmore College. The “two semi-domesticated river systems” provide milder fare than the epic rocky coastline of Ireland’s western seaboard, but in Teskey’s closely observed studies on paper and canvas they have a lot to offer, each watery habitat a world of its own.