126 Artist-Run Gallery is thrilled to present Idolum, a showcase of work undertaken by artist Meadhbh McNutt during the 126 “Unset in Stone” residency program. The title draws attention to the Latin root of the word “idol” – an insubstantial image, fallacy or apparition. This image of the phantom underlines the contract at work in canonisation, wherein the physical subject is traded in for a divine, alluring image. The enduring popularity of idols speaks to a human urge to redirect grief, confusion or isolation into an object of fixation. Through a series of candid texts and photographs, Meadhbh McNutt explores the visual traces of this impulse in her home county Donegal, posing questions of intimacy and belonging. Idolum draws on those historical (and historically masculine) ideals of freedom, strength and sacrifice that resurface in details of rural Irish youth culture, such as militaristic buzzcuts with tribal scratches, rebel rave songs or morbid joy riding bravado. There is often a fascination with martyrdom underlying these narratives, a romanticisation of loss. The artist invites us to consider the ways in which we fabulise those we admire in their absence.
About the artist:
Meadhbh McNutt is an Irish artist, writer and photographer. Employing a wide range of materials, her practice revolves around ideas of voyeurism, technology and power. Underlying all of her work is a concern with the discrepancies between our lived experiences and the systems from which we seek guidance and acceptance – be they religious, scientific or political. Meadhbh’s work has been exhibited internationally in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hungary, Poland and Hong Kong. She is a regular contributor to Tank Magazine, and has published work with Rowman & Littlefield and Above the Fold.