The 126-Artist Run Gallery is delighted to introduce Reviving Plains, an exhibition of work from Robert Dunne and Stephanie McGowan.

In Reviving Plains, Dunne and McGowan have elevated those everyday spaces that remain imprinted yet overlooked in our memories. Both artists look at the role of necessity and familiarity in aesthetic perception – amplifying traces of a material’s former life and purpose.

Stephanie McGowan’s work occurs within an immersive landscape that draws on Ireland’s natural environment. Using naturally extracted dyes home to Galway, McGowan has created paintings that share an affinity with sculpture and installation. Set against an ambiguous sonic backdrop, the works become “caught in a space between nature and architecture, the organic and synthetic.”

Robert Dunne’s practice is based in questions of design, material and scale. He looks at the ways in which time and need have shaped his surroundings, and derives meaning from the traditional use of a repurposed object. Dunne works primarily with wood and plaster. “As well as bringing form to the pieces, plaster hides and exposes elements of the structural fabric of the work. The scraps of wood I use were once part of something larger and would have had a function or use. Once assembled within this new context, they exhibit residual traces of their former use.”

In subtracting, manipulating and reassembling these common materials, Reviving Plains opens up new ground for recontextualising the familiar.

About the artists:

Robert Dunne (b.1968 Ireland) lives and works in Co. Kilkenny. Dunne works mainly with plaster and used wood in ways that “reframe our ‘made’ environment.” “I try to capture physical and visual elements of my surroundings and reimagine, juxtapose and alter their structure and meaning to make new but vaguely familiar scenarios”.

Dunne has exhibited as a solo artist in the Theca Gallery, Milan; Linenhall Art Centre, Co Mayo and Pallas Studios, Dublin. Recent selected group shows include ARTWORKS 2016 at Visual, Carlow; Absolute at Boecker Contemporary, Germany; Winter Open 2017, Rua Red, South Dublin Arts Centre and Harvest at Theca Gallery, Milan.

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Stephanie McGowan is an Edinburgh-based artist, and recent graduate of the ECA Contemporary Art Masters programme. McGowan’s practice relies heavily on a ‘thinking through doing’ process, utilising commonly discarded and dispensable materials. Her work is concerned with how nature meets architecture and vice versa.

“Trees have hidden systems to communicate, trading valuable information beneath our feet. Earth and its water, rocks and trees have been here for billions of years, and now, transformed, in the form that is in front of us, in our hands. To me it seems completely viable that their mute dialogue is still present.” McGowan’s work operates in the liminal space between this ancient dialogue and language as we have come to know it.

In 2018, she completed a residency at the Lasalle College of Arts in Singapore. Among her most recent exhibitions are: Socius at Dok Artist Space, Edinburgh; MICRO at Embassy Gallery, Edinburgh; Tropical Lab 12 at The Institute of Contemporary Arts, Singapore and Confabulate State at Embassy Gallery, Edinburgh.

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