An exhibition poster with a watercolour-like background with pale browns, reds, purples and greens that reads the text: 126 Members' Exhibition 2024: imagine the blue is red. Open Friday 12th January 6pm. Running Wednesday-Sunday from 12-6pm until 28th January. Along the bottom of the poster are logos of funders: The Arts Council of Ireland and Galway City Council Arts Office. There is also a 126 Gallery logo and address of 15 St. Bridget's Place, Galway.

12 January - 28 January
12-6pm
126 Artist-Run Gallery & Studios, 15 St. Bridget's Place, Galway. H91NN29

Overview

Our 2024 programme launched with imagine the blue is red, a selected members’ exhibition where twenty-three artists and thirty-eight works were featured in 126 Artist-Run Gallery & Studios from 12th-28th January.

 

                      

 

The exhibiting artists were Annette Colleran, Antoinette O’Mahony, Aodán Feeney, Austin Ivers, Ciara Corscadden Hennessy, Deirdre Stephens, Dónal Kelly, Eilís, Elodie Rein, Fionnuala Quinn, Frank Boyce, Kate Hodmon, Lady Milo, Manuel McCarthy, Mary Fahy, Nasrin Golden, Renske Boef, Seán Cahill, Suzanne Kearney, Sylvia Hill, Tiffani Love, Vincent Kelly, and Zelda Cunningham.

 

             

 

This exhibition was curated by Kate McSharry.

Image Credits: Kate McSharry and Vanessa Jordan.

 

               

 

Exhibiting artist Fionnuala Quinn wrote a response to imagine the blue is red, which you can find below.

 

PAYNES GREY AND POLYGONS, by Fionnuala Quinn

 

It is the last night of January; I am out of the city, out of my car and the dog is electric – alert with nighttime canine imaginings, but what would I know? I need a torch to mind my step on the stony ground while up above, all is space hung with particles of stardust. Looking out across the fields to sparse distant buildings I perceive a little desaturation of the black night sky, where a fringe of indigo frames the distant dolls’ house roof tops that reach into the abyss. Trapezoids of pale-peach skylights look to the sky, while life below, in cosy safe-house caves, waits for the season to turn.

 

The 126 members’ exhibition opened in frozen early January which already feels long gone. The gallery foyer, crisp and white with grown-up classy frames housing poetic black and white landscape photographs, and a large, sumptuous earth-toned embroidery made a fine welcome to the new year. Through the heavy curtain, dark grey walls magnificently punctuated by abstracted shapes of shadow and light illuminated the artwork of twenty-three artists in spaced groupings. The work pulsated – this was theatre. Kaleidoscopic in reds and blues, two opposing visions of life in-flux flanked the painted underfoot of a giant, things turning holy at a saintly gesture of beneficence and a small, prone body just edging down into the spotlight, stops one dead with its lonely emanation. 

 

The placement of works took risks, asking for scrutiny and attention within dark corners, intense spotlights and partial veiling. It wanted you to look. The spirited chatter of opening night was eloquent trilling to the whispers, melodies and clamouring rants of the art shifting in and out of the light. There was a strong chiaroscuro vibe, the technique of shaping form from strong tonal contrast, old as the Chauvet cave paintings. Towards the back wall of the gallery, works jostled with ego, object desire and serious intent giving shape to worldly thought in photograph, graphite and pigment of all kinds – emotional import high and coloured with literal painterly vibration. Continuing down the right hand wall, crowns to the left of me, fathers to the right, here was my work, suspended in the middle floodlight, posing, pink and sombre as death candy. From this spot, a series of three square canvases green, brown and white, seemed as ballasts amongst the variety, gently humming their abstracted grid. 

 

A scene-change where a selection of interior spaces with distinctive colour palettes and mark-making rendered subtle, diverse atmospheres and detailed the importance of small things: a newborn, the tinkling of a piano and the soft cushioning comfort of home. A small moth at a tiny night window evoked reminiscence. Textures became pronounced, actual, in the dark depths of the recess of the final corner. An embroidery resembling skin and hair appeared to breathe, and a small light box offered versions of itself, from all angles creating its own chiaroscuro with shadows in and of itself. A long confident painting rolled down from above and sent shadow shapes to the walls behind, from which it was set free. A pair of delicate embroideries with surfaces reaching out beyond opaque frames played with grades of transparency in the partial shade. They blinked in hues of pink and blue, a joyful end to the show, or was it blue and red? Returning to the exhibition on a quiet day, I found these gods and devils in the detail and they remain with me. 

 

Back in our midnight ramble, tangled thoughts letting loose as this generous immensity around me has no concern for minutiae. I return to this wild, dark place time and again expectant for the embrace of the deep-time universe. Glancing up, far away, across the fields to an isolated barn, a tiny, lemon, triangle is punching hard against the dark. I have “imagine the blue is red” in mind, its intense colour and light show waking the year up like a gift. I say to my dog, this scene is another chiaroscuro, all light and dark, or is it ‘tenebrism’? She turns in the torchlight and touches my gloved hand with her nose, to say, hush now, this is no ‘scene’, this is it

 

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