Men in black in a metaphysical mystery: this week’s visual arts highlights

John Boyd’s paintings evoke Magritte; also, the diverse creative life of Derek Jarman

John Boyd, Ambivalent position, oil on canvas. The Molesworth Gallery

John Boyd, Ambivalent position, oil on canvas. The Molesworth Gallery

 

PROTEST
Derek Jarman. Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin Until February 23rd, 2020 imma.ie
Derek Jarman, who died 25 years ago, was best known as a film-maker and perhaps for his unorthodox shoreline garden at Dungeness in Kent. This retrospective exhibition focuses on the diverse range of his creative activities, including gardening, plus painting, writing, set-design and political activism.

MERELY CONVENTIONAL SIGNS
John Boyd. Molesworth Gallery, 16 Molesworth St, Dublin Until November 30th molesworthgallery.com
The dark-clad men who inhabit John Boyd’s obscurely allegorical paintings bear a burden of woe for reasons unknown. They are like the characters in some of Magritte’s paintings, rewritten by Harold Pinter. The air of metaphysical mystery attending the images has won them a wide following.

CONCERNING CLOUDS AND OTHER THINGS
Felicity Clear. Oonagh Young Gallery, 1 James Joyce St, Dublin Until December 20th oonaghyoung.com
Felicity Clear trawls the haphazard turnover of the constantly changing urban environment. Drawing is at the heart of her work, whether in two-dimensional drawings on paper or more elaborate three-dimensional constructions recalling the urban infrastructure of order, utility and communications.

NOWHERE: FACTUAL NON-SENSE / RED LINES
Jeff Gibbons / Alan Phelan. The Dock, St George’s Terrace, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim. Until January 4th, 2020 thedock.ie
Wordplay and image-play combine in Jeff Gibbons’s paintings of utilitarian, everyday still life objects accompanied by phrases from song lyrics, art jargon and common sayings. Alan Phelan, meanwhile, has been working for three years on reviving the 19th-century Joly screen colour photographic process, which originated in Dublin. Works include floral arrangements made with Dunboyne Flower and Garden Club.

A QUIET MUTINY
New work by Daphne Wright. Crawford Art Gallery, Emmet Place, Cork Until February 16th, 2020 crawfordartgallery.ie
A substantial show of Daphne Wright’s recent work in which, using unfired ceramic clay, she considers our experience of progressive stages of life by subjecting ordinary, transitory, “fleetingly valued” objects to intensive, meditative scrutiny, objects such as “buggies, houseplants, a fridge and a child’s drawing”. Also included are two new videos that reflect on the unnoticed role of carers in everyday life and the experience of “usefulness and redundancy”.

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