Art Review


Mark Clare

Crawford Art Gallery, Cork


‘What is art?’ was perhaps first asked when Dadaist icon Marcel Duchamp turned a urinal into art by putting it on a pedestal. Today, definitions of art have expanded such that there is a second question: ‘What is an artist?’

The exhibition notes for Mark Clare’s five-year retrospective, ‘I Believe in You’ at the Crawford Art Galler, in Cor, tell us that he is a “creative public agent”. While this might be hyperbole, this show is essential viewing, and is beautifully realised across all three floors of the gallery.

Clare has a real skill for exploring ideas and themes that cause the viewer to think deeply. Using photography, video and sculptural installation, the artwork is carefully nuanced and is an assault on the senses as well as on the intellect.

Start with the installation, ‘For All Mankind’, which comprises an array of foil dishes that slowly rotate using kitchen timers. The ticking sound builds and merges with other, nearby works, including the mesmerising animation piece, ‘DemocraCity’, which utilises a heart-wrenching soundtrack by Avro Part. On the first floor, ‘MonoCulture’ is made up of copper pipes. These are arranged into a maze that surrounds a pseudo-beehive that periodically extrudes steam. All these facets seem to link together, and encourage you to revisit the works several times over.

Many of the pieces creep up on you and lodge in the psyche.

Clare has mapped out visual puzzles that cleverly make the viewer feel part of the exhibition by inviting interaction and personal interpretations.

Even the simplest of interventions, such as slide images of branches in a forest, which have been pared to point with a pencil sharpener, confirm this is conceptual art of real substance.

Mark Ewart

Until November 1


Junior Cert and Leaving Cert students mustn’t be forced to go through the motions with state exams, and we need creative thinking to find alternatives fast, writes mother and educator Ellie O’Byrne.Policy fail? Insistence that state exams go ahead in June is glib and ignorant

Yes, we all need to stay at home but that doesn't mean your children have to be bored, says Michelle McGlynnWorld of wonder: What to do with the children outdoors

Over the next three weeks, I am going to outline how you can support yourself and your family over this period of lockdown, writes Richard Hogan.Learning Points: Keeping children on a healthy and happy regime

As we are settling into our new routines of self isolation, staying at home and home schooling it feels that a whole new set of pressures is coming down the tracks.Mum's The Word: Pressure to be productive in a world of online classes

More From The Irish Examiner