23 May. 2017

The Model presents Cairde Visual Submissions Open / Deadline June 12th

(Heidi Wickham, Emer Mc Garry, Tara Mc Gowan and Cormac O’Leary. Image by Barra Cassidy)

In 2013, a group of established Sligo based artists came together with Cairde Sligo Arts Festival with an aim to create a significant, international open submission exhibition for the North West. Cairde Visual was born and the first annual submission took place in The Hyde Bridge Gallery in 2014. The exhibition has, in a short space of time, become a much-anticipated feature in the arts festival’s programme and in the cultural calendar of the region, not to mention an increasingly important fixture for artists all over Ireland and abroad. The third annual exhibition in 2016 boasted over 70 artworks from local, national and international artists, featuring a great diversity of media.

The Model came on board as a collaborative partner in 2015, offering The Model Cara Award – a short-term residency in The Model’s artist studio. Recipients of the Model Cara award to date have been Helen Blake in 2015 and both Daniel Chester and Selma Makela in 2016.

The move of Cairde Visual to The Model for 2017 is an exciting development for all concerned. Director of Cairde Sligo Arts Festival, Tara McGowan, believes that the collaboration with The Model will further enhance the reputation of the annual exhibition. ‘We are delighted to collaborate with The Model as one of Ireland’s leading arts centres. The phenomenal growth and success of the exhibition over the past three years has lead to an increase each year in submissions. The Model’s beautiful gallery spaces will ensure that we can showcase selected works in the best possible way”.

Acting Director at The Model, Emer McGarry is equally looking forward to collaborating with Cairde Sligo Arts Festival on Cairde Visual. “Part of the core work of The Model is to offer opportunities for the development of professional artists. We are delighted to partner with Cairde Visual in 2017 and to extend the opportunity for local, national and international artists at all stages in their careers to submit work for consideration. We believe that we can bring our expertise and experience to the progression of this Sligo-based open submission exhibition”

Submissions are now being accepted for this year’s Cairde Visual. Guidelines and submission forms are available at www.cairdefestival.com and also at The Model reception desk. The deadline for receipt of applications is June 12th 2017.

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

10 May. 2017

Interview: Steve Wickham

(Photography by Paul Mc Manus)

Steve Wickham is a true Sligo treasure. As a long-serving member of The Waterboys, the Dublin born violinist has travelled the globe collaborating and performing live with the likes of Bob Dylan, U2, REM, Elvis Costello, The Hothouse Flowers and Sinead O’ Conner. Wickham is a resident studio artist at The Model. It isn’t an all too uncommon occurrence to hear the sound Wickham’s soaring violin spilling from the window of his studio whilst passing below. It’s a bit like having Madonna in the attic, really.

Safe to say, we consider ourselves very lucky to have him. Having had such a prolific career, it is no surprise that Wickham is gearing up to release his second solo album, Beekeeper. In preparations for the launch of the album (taking place at 8pm, Fri. 12 May in The Model) Steve Wickham sat down with our marketing assistant, Rebecca Kennedy to discuss Beekeeper, inspiration, and Sligo.

Can you tell a bit about how Beekeeper came about?

I was sitting for a painting for Nick Miller in his studio up in Rathcormac for about a week. I asked Nick was it okay for me to bring my violin because it’s kind of boring to just sit there. He was into it. I brought the fiddle and improvised while he painted me. I brought a recorder to tape all the tunes and in the end I had hours and hours of improvised music. As I was collating the music, I realized I wasn’t ready just yet to make that album yet but it sparked the creative juices to put out a solo album so I did. I recorded some of it in my studio. The creative process was spurred on by being in The Model. I wrote ‘Song of Lost Things’ in The Model and ‘The Hare.’

Your music is such an eclectic mixture of sound. What goes through your head while your writing?

It’s one song at a time. I never think, ‘Oh, I have an album here.’ I had a lot of pieces that were saying to me ‘what are you going to do with me?’ I kind of answer them by saying; ‘I’m going to put you all in an album.’ I had a great producer working with me, a guy called, Joe Chester. He’s actually an old friend of mine. He was in The Waterboys. He’s an Irish producer who worked with Hozier. He has a great aesthetic. When you’re working on things yourself, you’re too close to them. Like a curator in an art gallery, a producer can step back from an artists’ work to actually look at it. So, I’d a lot of help from Joe and some of the guys in The Waterboys. I also had help from Brian Mc Donagh with whom I began the recording process.

How does your experience as a solo artist compare to your experience of being in a band?

When you find yourself in any sort of group, there’s a group dynamic to be aware of. When you are part of a band of musicians, you must find the dynamic. Find your own place within it. That place, where you can give most of your musical self. The lead singer or songwriter is generally the leader of the band. I am primarily a violinist and most of my career has been spent supporting the song and the singer and for the most part this has been completely fulfilling for me. With this record I’ve had to stand up more to the fore which is a bit more daunting but fun too, especially with a great band behind me.

If you could describe Beekeeper in three words, what would they be?

A hive of songs…or a deadly buzz!

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

3 May. 2017

Interview: New Irish Directors

New Irish Directors is a short series of film at the Model curated by Edel Doherty. To get under the skin of New Irish Directors, Rebecca Kennedy sat down with Edel to discuss the series and what it has to offer Sligo audiences.

Why the focus on Irish director’s?

It’s an exciting juncture. A new wave directors have been are being recognised in at Toronto, Cannes & the Berlinale. The directors in the series are quite contemporary. Some of the classic themes of Irish cinema are still there but they are being teased out in a more nuanced way. The way the film industry has moved in the past in that Irish film relied on outsider funding from Britain in the form of co-productions. Now, more and more co-production with Irish cinema is happening with other European countries. This is having an impact on how Irish directors are telling their stories; they becoming far more international and far less parochial. It’s an exciting time in the history of Irish cinema.

Is there anything regarding visuals or storytelling that separates Irish directors from their international counterparts?

Lenny Abrahamson for example is on his way to having a very distinct body of work. We don’t have a distinct visual director. We haven’t got a David Lynch or a Jean-Luc Godard in amongst our directors but we are terrific storytellers. Irish directors are catching up with their international counterparts in that sense. You know, a lot of stories have come out recently about our collective past. Stories of the Catholic Church and government corruption that we see continue even past reports and tribunals. Our filmmakers are not afraid to touch on that, even directly at times. It’s something you can really say about Irish film. We are fearless storytellers.

What film from the series would you most recommend and why?

Our last film Mammal is a complicated film on grief and loss. The Young Offenders is a sophisticated, pure comedy with some really beautiful, natural scenes. Each one shows something different. When it came to curating the series, we wanted the films to compliment each other and we wanted a balance overall.

If I had to choose one I would pick Further Beyond. There are a few reasons I would choose that. It’s our only documentary in the series. Dramas and fictions tend to get a bigger audience but so much creativity is happening with documentaries at the moment. The word “hybrid” is thrown around a lot with films like this. I think that Further Beyond is more of a film essay. And it has a Sligo connection.

It charts the journey of Ambrosio O’ Higgins who’s family were forced to leave their lands in Sligo and eventually travelled to what is now modern Chile. His son, Bernardo O’ Higgins was one of the first leaders of Chile after they gained independence from Spain. The film charts his journey by taking you to key locations that let you grasp some clues as to who this individual was. Further Beyond explores immigration and identity; themes that are at the core of any Irish film. We are looking at our past, our politics and our identity, at times very humorously.

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

2 May. 2017

Guest Blog - Nicola Evans on ‘The Art of Drawing with Michael Wann'

Nicola Evans has been volunteering at The Model for over a year. As a marketing professional, Nicola lends her expertise one morning a week to The Model. As well as a passion of PR & marketing, Nicola harbors a fine talent for drawing. To improve upon her skills and make the most of The Model’s phenomenal education programme, Nicola recently took part in Michael Wann’s class ‘The Art of Drawing’. Michael Wann is a celebrated artist famous for his wonderful charcoal work that artfully weave technical skill with nuanced emotion. He has been the recipient of countless prizes and awards such as the AXA Insurance Drawing Prize & the Tom Caldwell Drawing Prize. In this short guest blog, Nicola tells us about her experience in The Art of Drawing and why you should consider taking the class.

“I always dreamed of the day when I could take an afternoon off from work weekly to pursue a hobby and so it was with great anticipation that I signed up for Michael Wann’s drawing class.

I had not drawn for a while – so it was quite nerve wracking walking in – especially knowing what Michael could achieve with charcoal. However, the class couldn’t have been more relaxed. All the artists in attendance varied in levels of experience. Michael is a patient, encouraging instructor that gave us direction when we needed it.

Us newcomers started off by learning the fundamentals of art like perspective and how to create dimension & tone. Michael really encouraged us to experiment and take drawing at our ease. ‘Loosen up’ and ‘make a mess’, he would often say, ‘accidental marks are often the ones that make a drawing come alive’.
After our crash course on the essentials, we moved onto landscapes. It’s so easy to lose yourself when drawing big open skies; time just seems to disappear.

By the time the final class rolled around, my technical drawing skills had definitely improved. I was becoming braver using charcoal, less precious about creating a masterpiece and just having fun experimenting and exploring the millions of different effects you can get from a burnt piece of willow.

The class was a very relaxing experience. It felt like yoga for the mind & thanks to Michael, I am very inspired to continue drawing in the future.”

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

16 Apr. 2017

Sean Larkin - New Studio Artist Profile

What is your practice?

Fine Art Painting.

How did you come to rent a studio at The Model?

The Model is recognized as one of Ireland’s leading contemporary arts centers, and as such presents itself as a stimulating cultural site which offers a range of supports and opportunities for collaboration with fellow artists as well as potential projects with high artistic and educational merit. The Artist Studios at the Model makes it a site of artistic production and an opportunity to present work to interested audiences, which I see as vitally important. Networking opportunities with other arts professionals is equally important to artists so when a Studio became available in early 2016, I couldn’t resist the opportunity.

How does it feel to have the space to work?

What excites me most about the space when I walk over the threshold into the studio is the feeling yes, this is where I want to be – this is the space I want to be in, which is very empowering. I can see my residency in the Model as a catalyst for continuing creative inquiry, creative practice and related research loosely based on cultural signposts.

What are you plans for the future?

What challenges me most about contemporary practice in painting is that it is about change itself, never still, and its capacity for reinventing itself as cultural sign posts is both exciting and surprising given to enormous impact of new media and technologies.

My immediate plan is to sift through the material I have been collecting over the past year and produce a body of work – which will result in an exhibition in the not too distant future while also looking at networking opportunities with other arts professionals.

Could you tell us a little of your background?

I live and work in Sligo. I was educated at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) Dublin & graduated in 1973. I was the former Head of School of Creative Arts at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) in Dun Laoghaire from 2005 to 2012. I worked at senior management level in the Institutes of Technology sector from 1978 until I retired in 2012. I represented the Institutes of Technology sector, Ireland (IOTI) as Chair of the Working Group on Practice – based Research in the Arts, an advisory group established by the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC) with support from the Irish Universities Quality Board (IUQB). I was HETAC external examiner /assessor in Fine Art on a variety of assessment and programme validation panels for the Sector.

I was Head of Department of Art and Design at IADT from 1998 to 2004 and previous to this post was Head of the Department of Humanities at IT Sligo. During this period I was the HETAC nominee on the Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) on the senior cycle Curriculum in Schools Committee. I maintained a link with professional art practice with work represented in public and private and public collections including the Arts Council Collection, Ireland. 

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

30 Mar. 2017

My Pick - Alexandra Hopf

This painting, ‘Singing the Minstrel Boy’ by Jack. B Yeats has triggered my ongoing fascination with the stage. I have been fascinated with it since I was a child. My mother was a trained circus performer and I can remember very vividly my first theatre performance. Ever since then, the stage has been is a magical place for me. Everything on stage is born out of the darkness; daytime, nighttime, sounds, changing settings, action, still stand, smoke in the backlight, smells from the dusty curtain, a bang from a revolver, false hair, forgotten texts and the ghosts of the past that become visible.

The stage is an interesting subject for a painting. A framed fiction itself, the stage is framed once again by the painting, therefore it is an image contained within an image. Yeats’ depiction in this painting of that moment within a staged performance is uncanny. The uncanniness of the moment is echoed in the actresses pale face. Maybe the light conditions were not perfect, maybe the make up was over dramatic, and so she comes across as a ghost… the ghost of an actress that has to perform over and over again, caught in the moment and doomed to perform forever. At the same time the audience were also doomed to watch that performance over again and again, pretending to see it anew.

For me, what Yeats has captured in ‘Singing the Minstrel Boy’ is the essence of both those who perform and those who consume. In the scenario of this painting, we as viewers are also integrated into the image, with those who watch us, watching others watch.

“The Night” – An exhibition by Alexandra Hopf is on display at the Model until the 16. Apr. 2017

“Singing the Minstrel Boy”(1923) by Jack B. Yeats is currently featured in “Lives” a Model exhibition in The Niland Gallery. “Lives” will be on display until 01. Oct. 2017.

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

15 Mar. 2017

Daniel Bannon talks volunteering with Rebecca Kennedy

To highlight volunteerism in Sligo during it’s year as The European Volunteer Capital for 2017, Rebecca Kennedy talks to Daniel Bannon, a volunteer at The Model.

“I choose to volunteer in The Model because I had finished a degree in Music technology in Tralee, Kerry and I was looking to help out in an arts center where I could make use of the theatre. What I enjoy about volunteering at The Model is that the team here is made up of really good people.“

Mr. Bannon tells us about the fast-paced work environment at The Model.

“You learn something new everyday so I get a lot out of it. I meet new people and it’s an opportunity to network.”

“My favorite memory of working in The Model was doing the sound engineering for ‘Beneath the Air’, last October. That was the first gig I worked on at The Model and after it finished I had a great buzz. It was really exciting. I knew a lot of theory about sound engineering from my degree but having the opportunity to practically apply that meant that I gained some really great experience.“

“I will continue to volunteer in The Model and I would recommend volunteering here to anyone remotely interested in the Arts. Spending your time at The Model presents the opportunity to learn new skills, get practical experience and meet like-minded people.“

If you are interested in joining the volunteer team at The Model please contact getininvolved@themodel.ie

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

8 Mar. 2017

Noel Corr talks volunteering with Rebecca Kennedy

Noel Corr is undeniably one of the longest serving and dedicated members of The Model’s Volunteer team. Every Wednesday Noel rises early to take the bus from his hometown in Bundoran, Co. Donegal to Sligo Town to donate his time as a Gallery invigilator.

Noel tells us why he volunteers and why he thinks others should too!

“I started volunteering at The Model about seven and a half years ago on the 25th of May, 2010. I’ve always been interested in art, now and again I would go to Dublin, to the National Gallery. I used to come here to The Model every Wednesday anyway. I came for the art and the café! For me, it’s a day out.”

“I volunteer from 10am – 2pm. There’s a nice atmosphere in the galleries. What I really like is that I meet a lot of different people. Later in the year, during the summer season, you meet Europeans, Americans & Australians… I’ve met so many over the years and I’ve made friends with a couple of them. I picked The Model because it is a peaceful place to come to, you know you can relax.”

“I will probably stay here. I come to Sligo every Wednesday anyway, 12 months of the year. So I’m going to keep volunteering as long as I’m still alive!”

“Volunteering would be good for anyone at college who may want to do something during the summer months. But anyone who’s interested in art could volunteer here. Coming to the Model, there’s a lot that you learn about the arts and the art world… and it’s a great place to be, I get on with everyone. They’re just a nice bunch of staff here and that’s important. You can come here and have a laugh and a joke & that’s just as important as anything else!”

If you are interested in joining the Volunteer team at The Model please contact getinvolved@themodel.ie

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

23 Feb. 2017

Reconstructing Memory Masterclass: A Review

Clea van der Grijn’s Reconstructing Memory is the culmination of three years hard work. The exhibition is multi-disciplinary featuring paintings, installations, sculptures & photography. It’s the result of the artist’s stay in Sayulita, a jungle encased village in the heart of the Mexican jungle. Considering the prolific nature of the show at hand, it is interesting to wonder what a masterclass hosted by the artist would entail. In other words, what can a group learn in one day of an exhibition that took the artist over three years, multiple mediums and one heck of a move to create?

Quite a lot, as it turns out.

The class commences at 10.30 am in the education room at The Model. Van der Grijn begins with a short talk, explaining the conception and creation of Reconstructing Memory. Then comes a tour of Reconstructing Memory packed with lesser-known facts about the exhibition. After our tour, the real work begins. As an exercise in the art of beading skulls, a traditional folk art in Mexico, we are asked to pick symbols from a sheet that van der Grijn hands us. These symbols serve a dual purpose, they provide the intrinsic designs that adorn the skulls and tell the story of the person the individual the skull has been decorated for.

The symbols are not for the faint hearted. They are complex patterns that need to be beaded & glued to the skull with great care. Of course, half of us find this fact out after we have chosen the hardest, most detail heavy symbols. The skulls are polystyrene and the first step in the decoration process is to create a base. Seeing as the students in the master class had long since waved goodbye to childhood, it would be fair to presume that coating the skulls with crepe paper and P.V.A. would be a tedious chore. But far from it, creating the base with sticky, messy glue is more fun than you can imagine. Toddlers really do have the life of it.

After the bases are created the skulls are left to air dry, we pick from a mountain of supplies. There are tiny beads, shiny buttons, crepe papers, fake flowers & an abundance of markers to help us tell our stories. When the skulls are ready, so begins the challenge of decorating. Van der Grijn has brought along a real beaded skull as an example and your dear correspondent catches more then one nervous glance in its direction as the class unfolds.

Indeed, the Mexican skull is so skillfully and beautifully decorated that it feels more Fine Art than Folk Art. And ours are proving more difficult than we predicted, the beads are difficult to control and the glue is temperamental. Looking down and the cranium in my grasp is a sad affair, with its paper-Mache surface & drawn on nostrils, it feels less Fine Art & more Art Attack. But the Masterclass is enjoyable nonetheless. The shared mood is relaxed and the conversation careens naturally from topic to topic like the bends in a lazy river. “You must take yourself seriously as an artist,” van der Grijn tells us. It is not her only tit bit of advice but the one she says in her most vigor.

The rest of the class is spent finishing our skulls but only beginning our stories. I would highly recommend a master class to anyone interested in a particular exhibition. Not only will you learn a new skill, it is also a chance to get to know the artist behind the work, and perhaps learn to see the exhibition from their point of view.

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

25 Jan. 2017

The Art of Drawing with Michael Wann - A short note

31st of January – 7th March 2017

2.30 – 4.30pm Advanced

€120 six week course

“Wann’s work is imbued with feeling and memories of the experience of being in the places he draws so skillfully” – Brenda Moore-McCann, Irish Arts Review.

Michael Wann, a celebrated Sligo-based artist will be holding ‘The Art of Drawing with Michael Wann’ a 6 week master class course in The Model, Sligo. The drawing classes commence on the 31st of January and will come to a close on the 7th of March. Michael Wann’s classes have long been a fixture of The Model’s programme as Michael provides his students with excellent expertise, a new skill-set and positive encouragement to explore your artistic side.

Why you should take Michael class?

That’s a fair question. We would not expect you to take classes from an instructor with no credentials, the same way you wouldn’t take etiquette lessons from Trump. Luckily Michael has a long list of achievements and experience to put your mind at ease. Here are just some of the honours and accolades Michael has garnered along his journey of artistic exploration:

Since graduating from the Sligo Institute of Technology in 2003, Wann has exhibited continuously in numerous solo and group shows. In 2004, his work was selected for the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) Annual Exhibition. He won the AXA Insurance Drawing Prize at the RHA Annual in 2006 and was an invited artist to the Exhibition in 2009. He also had a solo exhibition “Humble Remains,” at the RHA’s Ashford Gallery in 2009. Other prizes followed in 2010 when his work was selected by Hughie O’Donoghue for the Tom Caldwell Drawing Prize at the Royal Ulster Academy’s Annual Exhibition. Wann was also awarded the Sean Keating Prize and Silver Medal at last year’s 186th Annual at the Royal Hibernian Academy & has the honor of being invited back to the R.H.A. this year.

His work is held in both private and public collections in Ireland and Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

Who should take “The Art of Drawing by Michael Wann?

Another great question. Wann’s classes are aimed at any one with a basic level of drawing experience, however if you are a complete beginner and passionate about learning to draw, this class is definitely for you. On what the class entails, Wann remarked, “The class aims to encourage participants to enjoy the act of observing and drawing in an easy going and informal atmosphere.”

The classes could also be a perfect gift for a creative friend or family member. Give the gift of artistic confidence and send a loved one to Wann’s classes, where they will up their skill level in the safe hands of a talented & highly experienced artist.

How to sign up:

To book a place on “The Art of Drawing” you can contact Michael directly on: 087 9303528 or email: studio@michaelwann.com

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

11 Jan. 2017

Graphite & Easel: A review

Graphite and Easel is a life-drawing classes led by Artist Emma Stroude. It takes place in The Model on Fridays at 10.30 am. To resurrect whatever waning artistic talent I may have left, I decided to give Emma’s class a go. Life drawing for some is the most essential of all artistic practices. It trains its students in a variety of skills like shape and form, space, line, colour and texture, components that are crucial for any artist’s repertoire. Because I haven’t been to a life-drawing class in quite some time, I am a little too eager and I arrive at Emma’s class at 10 on the dot. Thank god, she’s already in the education room with a friend, setting the stage.

“So, who’s the model?” I ask, secretly hoping for a woman because men are impossibly boring to draw (they’re just a couple of straight lines with a lumpy bit after all).

“You’re getting the best model,” Emma’s friend informs me.

“Who’s that then?”

“Me!” she tells me.

The class starts to fill up around 10.15 so any newcomers interested in attending Graphite & Easel are advised to arrive that little bit earlier. There’s a pretty big crowd but there’s plenty of easels to go around. Emma takes to the middle of the class to give us the low-down on the schedule. We are to do a series of warm-up sketches to get us moving, then our model will pose for longer periods of time followed by a short break.

“No problem,” I think, “Sure, I’ll be a little bit rusty but I can shake that off in the preliminaries.”

Oh, how wrong I was. During the warm-up poses I can’t quite believe how good I am not. In fact, some sort of clinical separation between body and mind seems to be at play here. My brain knows what it perceives and what it would like but my hand refuses to oblige. When did my fingers become sausages? Why can’t I draw? Who has done this to me?

Our Model seems to be switching poses with rapid speed. I glance around at my classmates to find that I seem to be the only one breaking a sweat. The other students are as calm and focused at Buddhist monks. Am I the only one who believes that our Model is not so much posing as vogueing?
It turns out I am. And that’s because I’m out of practice. I stumble upon this conclusion when we have a short intermission and Emma encourages us to take a waltz around and view each other’s work. When I take my turn around the room I discover that although I may have struggled, my classmates had no such issues. All levels are welcome at Graphite & Easel, and every group is represented here. From shy beginners to the very the intimidating masters, we are all accounted for but the overall standard of work at Graphite & Easel is excellent.

So much so that your dear correspondent took one look at her neighbour’s haunting charcoals drawings and fled the room, rather then having to stick around and justify the glorified stick-woman I’d managed. I took solace in the café and chatted to others from the group. Everyone was friendly and the atmosphere is one of goodwill and encouragement. When our break is over, we filed back into the education room; I was ready for round two. It’s easier than the first half, partly because I’ve warmed up and partly because I left my massive ego at the door.

Graphite & Easel takes place in The Model on Fridays from 20 Jan.
10.30am – 1pm, €10 per session.

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

20 Dec. 2016

A seasonal sing-along screening for families at The Model cinema

Special Family Day with Secret Sing-along Screening

Wed 28 December

•Printmaking workshop, post-holiday celebrations and story-telling from 11.30a.m.
•Free secret sing-along film screening for families at 1p.m.

The Model are holding a top-secret movie screening and some post-holiday celebrations for all the family on Wednesday December 28th. The event is part of a special edition of Family Day and takes place from 11.30am-3pm with a top secret sing-along screening at 1pm. Our sources can reveal that the film in question is of a recent movie, and that children age two to ten agree it’s already a classic. It’s the perfect way to spend an hour or two out of the cold this festive season. Get cosy in the Model Cinema with some seasonal sing-along fun! The screening is free to attend and all are welcome.

The Gallery Cafe will be open, for all your hot chocolate and cupcakes needs. Children and their minders will also have a chance get creative, explore printmaking, participate in a dance competition, and enjoy a fireside storytelling session. Those wishing to attend the craft workshops are advised to register in advance, as places are limited, and there is a small fee to cover materials.

Take the whole family and make your way to The Model (if you’re not too busy building snowmen!)

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

9 Dec. 2016

Sligo Global Kitchen with Pulled

Pulled Screen Print in association with Sligo Global Kitchen are holding their second ‘Cult of the Night’ print party this Friday, December 9th at their studios at the Model, Sligo. Attendees will be treated to a special food menu with culinary delights from across the world presented by the expert team at Sligo Global Kitchen. There will be live screen printing of festive cards and live vinyl DJs. Booking is strictly limited to 20 places and are available from Pulled’s Facebook page or by emailing info@pulled.ie

Sligo Global Kitchen is a cooking venture that opens its doors to everyone in the community especially those living in Direct Provision to meet, cook and eat. ALL are WELCOME!

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

8 Nov. 2016

My Pick - Irene Geelan

It’s funny, I’ve been to most of The Model’s previous exhibitions but I had never seen ‘Mountain Window’ by Jack B. Yeats. I had seen it in a lovely, little catalogue that the Niland produced and I really loved it. I used to come in, this was going on for several years, hoping that I would see the real painting but it was never seemed be on display. Then on Heritage Week, I went to a story telling session in Grange and there was a little shop where Imelda was reading a story. At the end of her storytelling she mentioned some other events that would be happening for Heritage week and she mentioned that ‘Painted Universe’ was on. I asked her if ‘Mountain Window’ would be on part of that exhibition. She said it should be so that day I came and Heike was the guide.

I told her that I’d only ever seen ‘Mountain Window’ in a book and when I finally got to see it, it was almost like an emotional connection with the painting. I don’t know why, I just wanted to see the painting so much. I had talked to Mick about it (Irene’s husband) and he said, “Well, if you like it so much, I will paint it for you.“ So, from the image of Mountain Window in the catalogue he painted me a copy of ‘Mountain Window’. For two or three years it’s been up on the wall in our house, so I really wanted to see the original.

I think I love the painting because of the mountain subject matter. When you see it, it feels like you are in the room looking out the window and it feels very warm and secure. You can sense other people in the room, too. Whatever about it, it had that domestic feeling to it. It just felt familiar but it wasn’t one of those tourist-type paintings either. You can see this was Jack’s feeling about this mountain; he really captured the emotion of it. To see the real one was great. You think, is it going to be as wonderful in reality? The first time I saw it I was very pleased. There’s something lovely about it and it’s not too complicated. I just feel that I have an emotional connection with ‘Mountain Window.’

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

21 Oct. 2016

The Allingham Festival

Here at The Model, we like to think of ourselves as your number one Arts institute. Indeed, we like to believe that we cater to all your artistic/cultural/ entertainment needs and that the relationship you have with us is well…exclusive. Alas, we know that not to be the case. To have your needs met, you, our adoring public, must see other Arts institutions. As much as it pains us, we try to understand. It is only when we are faced with an institution playing host to a festival, exhibition or event so fantastic, that your straying away becomes a bit justifiable and thus the sting of your betrayal becomes that little less painful.

There are many great festivals and events to cheat on us with but the one that we feel is of special note, is The Allingham Festival. The Allingham Festival takes place in The Abbey Centre, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal from Thursday, Nov. 3 to Sunday Nov. 6. With an eclectic mixture of workshops, lectures and concerts, The Allingham boosts something for everyone. Past years have gained the festival a reputation for hosting a unique collection of artists and acts and this year is sure not to disappoint.

Some of the highlights of this year’s festival include but are not limited to: A lecture on the refugee crisis by investigative reporter, Valerie Cox, a workshop with Model favorites, ‘FAB LAB,’ a professional development workshop with the Irish Writers’ Centre and Anne Enright, Man Booker prize winner and Laureate for Irish Fiction, will take part in a public interview with Sinéad Gleeson (‘The Book Show’ on RTE). Topics for discussion will include Enright’s novel ‘The Green Road’ and her other writing, the Laureateship, and the state of writing in Ireland today. Plus, Former Board member and great friend of The Model, Kieran Quinn, will be Headlining The Allingham concert with special guest reader, Anne Enright.

For more information or tickets for any of The Allingham Festival events are available on The Allingham website: www.allinghamfestival.com

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

20 Oct. 2016

The Waterford Healing Arts Trust comes to The Model, Sligo

Mary Grehan and Claire Meaney, Arts Directors of one of Ireland’s leading Arts and Health programme, the Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT), are coming to Sligo for a three-day residency at The Model from 25th – 27th October.

Established in 1993 and based at University Hospital Waterford, WHAT supports the development of arts and health practice in Ireland through training, advice and artsandhealth.ie, the national arts and health website. Between them Mary and Claire have over 25 years experience of curating arts programmes in a range of healthcare settings including acute hospitals and mental health settings.

During their time at the Model, Mary and Claire will share their experience of running arts and health programmes via free advice clinics on 26 October in the Gallery Café at The Model and visit similar programmes in the North West. They will also facilitate an Introduction to Arts & Health, a one day training programme for artists and healthcare professionals who are new to the area of arts and health.

The residency will conclude with the launch of An Introduction of Arts and Health // 10 Things to Consider , a short publication by Mary Grehan which describes the various aspects of arts and health practice, offers guidelines for good practice and signposts readers to further information. This will take place at The Model at 5pm on Thursday, 27th October. All are welcome to attend.

An Introduction of Arts and Health // 10 Things to Consider will be launched by Niamh O’Connor an artist and arts coordinator for the Arts Initiative in Mental Health, a programme of Sligo Leitrim Mental Health Services.

In the words of Mary Grehan, Arts Director of WHAT, ‘Sligo County Council was the first local authority in Ireland to publish an arts and health strategy and in the light of this and the personal relationships we have built up over the years in the north west, we are very much looking forward to our residency at The Model. This is not just about sharing our experience but also being inspired and reinvigorated by the work of others in the field of arts and health.’
If you are interested in meeting Mary and Claire during their residency at The Model, please e-mail info@artsandhealth.ie to book your place.
For more information on the work of the Waterford Healing Arts Trust / artsandhealth.ie phone 051-842664 or see www.waterfordhealingarts.com and www.artsandhealth.ie.

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

18 Oct. 2016

My Pick - Barbara Breitenfellner

What really struck me about ‘Johnny Patterson singing Bridget Donoghue’ is that it is so far removed from the aesthetic of the rest of the exhibition, Painted Universe. The other paintings seem pretty conventional in comparison and when I saw this I was really thrilled. The desperate violence of the face reminded me of The Scream by Edvard Munch, but also of the photographic series of monstrous clowns by Cindy Sherman. It is a face falling apart in horror. Then you look at the title and see, ‘Johnny Patterson singing Red O’ Donohue’.

When you think of a singing clown, it sounds kind of nice you know. A clown is a kind of a children’s entertainer. But then you examine this painting and that concept completely flips. I found it fascinating how he treats the paint. I think that it ventures so far from his usual style, the way that he is using the brush and really going into the paint by stirring it. Also, you have to examine the way he uses colour. Particularly yellow, which is one of the brightest, sunniest colours that you can imagine. But here, Yeats’ is mixing it with all these dark colors until it becomes contaminated. Transforming it into a dirty yellow, that, in the context of this painting, is utterly sad. It shows a remarkable depth of despair.

When I was researching this painting, I came across a text by Roisin Kennedy on The Model’s website. The text stated that the painting was inspired by Yeats’ first memory of seeing the clown perform but he was also reflecting on the role of the artist, which made complete sense to me. The clown is standing before an audience, trying to entertain them and I think that is a great image. In that sense Yeats’ painting could be read as a distorted, absurd and ironic representation of exhibiting art and being an artist.

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

26 Sep. 2016

Deepest Condolences

The Staff and Board of The Model would like to extend deepest condolences to the family and friends of Shirley McClure, who passed away on the 23rd of September 2016. Shirley, a celebrated poet, was due to take part in our literary event “Looking Out and Back,” on Sunday, the 13th of November. Her absence will be a great loss to the world of poetry.

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

15 Sep. 2016

Culture Night 2016 at The Model

The Model will be celebrating Culture night 2016 in its usual elegant fashion. For you, our dear public, we are presenting and playing host to some top-notch events and workshops. Where to begin with this list of heart- racing affairs is this bloggers first world problem of the day. The celebrations kicks off at 5pm on Friday the 16th of September and end roughly at 10pm. During these hours you will be enthralled, baffled and entertained by the following acts and exhibitions:

The Miniature Theatre at The Model presents a magical evening of story-telling!

5.00pm – 7.15pm

The Model has commissioned Wayne O’Connor, a local illustrator to develop a unique set-design for this year’s Oiche Cultur children’s event. O’Connor, a talented Sligo- based artist, has been busy working on original artwork and set-design for the miniature theatre that will animate The Model’s bi-lingual storytelling event, Cití Cailleach, taking place from 5pm on Culture Night, the 16th of September.
The set was inspired by both “The Toy Theatre,” by Jack B. Yeats and his well-documented love of Victorian theatre. The notorious artist, who lived in Devon in the early 1900’s, crafted miniature theatre’s to keep the local children entertained. For more info, click here.

Jack B Yeats; Painted Universe – Exhibition

5.00pm – 10.00pm

While still on the topic of Jack B. Yeats, I thought it only fitting that “Painted Universe” come next on the agenda. “Painted Universe” is an exhibition that charts Yeats’ development from his earliest pen & ink illustrations to his last great, epic oils. This exhibition allows us to study Yeats’ oeuvre, revealing his abiding interest in people. Often depicted as ‘everymen’ or as archetypes of a particular emotion or characteristic, the figures of the clown, the singer, the sailor, the street seller, and the wayfarer were reoccurring characters throughout his work. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. “Painted Universe” is closing on the 17th of September so Culture Night is the last night to see the exhibition. Well, if it was good enough for Bowie…..

Ghosts of Other Stories – Preview of Exhibition

5.00 pm – 7pm

The Model is delighted to partner with the British Council in this centenary year of the 1916 Rising on an exhibition drawn from the British Council Collection. On Culture Night, The Model will be holding a preview of the exhibition. Pieces by internationally known artists such as Tomma Abts, Ed Atkins, Bank, Tacita Dean, Ryan Gander, Graham Gussin and many more will be on display.

Ghosts of Other Stories explores works within the British Council Collection where threads of lost stories or forgotten histories flash momentarily into the light. Each work has at its heart an elusive or mysterious quality that speaks of a story passing into history – untold, unheard or interrupted.

Kaleidoscope Night – Musical Tour

7.00 pm – 10.00 pm

A fascinating musical experience will take place in The Model in collaboration with Con Brio on Culture Night 2016. “Kaleidoscope Night” is a Dublin based salon music series that will see an eclectic mix of musicians perform in various spaces around the venue. Acts such as classical guitarist Redmond O’Toole, fiddle player and composer Claudia Schwab, flautist Linda Andonovska and multi-instrumentalists Shahab and Shayan Coohe will perform in various spaces throughout the building.
The audience will be led on a tour from one musical ‘happening’ to the next, and each tour will take approximately one hour. This journey of melodious discovery can be joined at any time and will be presented 3 times over the course of the evening between 7-10pm.

Pulled – Workshop and Music

5.00 pm – 10.00 pm

Pulled will be hosting a pop-up print workshop where visitors for Culture Night will get the opportunity to roll- up their sleeves and take part in a live art experience. Guests will be invited to print their very own super-cool tote bag using a pre-prepared screen print set-up, which they can show off to all their friends. When bragging it is advised to casually exclude any mention of pre-prepared screen prints so unknowing friends may be deceived into believing that you are actually a very humble, secretive creative genius. To make this deal even sweeter, the workshop will be soundtracked on vinyl by Turn It On.

Open Studio

5.00 pm – 9.00 pm

The studio artists of The Model will be opening their doors to the public. The artists in attendance will be on hand to greet the public and talk them through their creative process. This event gives the public a symbolic key-card to wander freely between the studios and get to know the artists behind the work. For any of those interested in the lives of artists and their work, this is an event not to be missed. It is a rare opportunity for a light-hearted interrogation on the innermost workings of the artistic mind. Questions are welcomed and will be answered in full, leaving no air of mystery or stone unturned.

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

13 Sep. 2016

The Miniature Theatre at The Model presents a magical evening of story-telling!

5.00pm – 7.15pm

The Model has commissioned Wayne O’Connor, a local illustrator to develop a unique set-design for this year’s Oiche Cultur children’s event. O’Connor, a talented Sligo- based artist, has been busy working on original artwork and set-design for the miniature theatre that will animate The Model’s bi-lingual storytelling event, Cití Cailleach, taking place from 5pm on Culture Night, the 16th of September. Here at The Model, we are so excited for the debut of O’ Connor’s designs that we have decided to tantalize you all (we are known to be teases in that regard) with a few sneak previews of the artist’s illustrations. We hope that you are as impressed with them as we are!

Earlier this year, The Model collaborated with students from The Performing Arts Department, IT Sligo to create a striking replica of the toy theatre, featured in the well-loved painting The Toy Theatre (1906) by Jack B Yeats. The bespoke miniature theatre developed by the Sligo students was a beautiful homage to Yeats’ painting but now the torch has been passed to O’Conner and we can’t wait to see the finished piece!

The idea behind commissioning the theatre was inspired both by Jack B. Yeats’ ‘The Toy Theatre,’ which is a permanent piece in The Niland Collection, and the artist’s well known love of miniature theatre. The notorious artist, who lived in Devon in the early 1900’s, crafted miniature theatre’s to keep the local children entertained. He produced a series of plays featuring pirates, seafarers and a legion of circus characters. He carefully documented these miniature theatre productions, compiling notebooks full of set design notes, watercolour and ink cardboard cutout characters, illustrated by play-scripts and written in green ink. Seriously, did the man ever sleep?

In keeping with the spirit of Victorian entertainment, we invite you to join us on Culture Night at 5pm for an evening of dark and comical storytelling using our newly commissioned miniature theatre set. Come and be enchanted by this hilarious tale of a mischievous witch called Cití Cailleach, who adores everything black. However, she does find herself in a spot of trouble with her black cat Smúróg! The tale of Cití Cailleach, from the series Winnie the Witch, written by Valerie Thomas, has been translated into the Irish language by Liam Mac Cóil. These sessions are suitable for children ages 5-11 years. Children under 5 years are very welcome but must be accompanied by parents/guardians. This is a bi-lingual event and is performed in both the English and Irish language. This event has been generously supported and funded by Foras na Gaeilge.

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

Related Programming

24 Aug. 2016

David Bowie's Jack B. Yeats up for auction

The Model is home to a substantial collection of Jack B. Yeats’ work. “Painted Universe” an exhibition of Yeats’ paintings and “A Broadside”, are currently on display at The Model. Although we possess a significant amount of Yeats’ work we do not, regrettably, have it all. The Model houses 50 of the artist’s oil paintings, a relatively small portion of the 1300 paintings in his entire body of work. The majority of Yeats’ oeuvre has been snapped up by various public art institutions, so that they may remain in public view, while others have been purchased by private collector’s, often never to see the light of day again.

It is always a curious, delightful surprise when a painting once thought lost, resurfaces in the public domain. It is even more curious when said painting comes from the collection of one of the biggest artists in history. “Sleep Sound”, by Jack. B Yeats (1955) an Oil-on-canvas, valued at up to £180,000, was owned by the late David Bowie. Bowie – an avid art collector with a keen taste for modern and cotemporary American and British Art – purchased “Sleep Sound” anonymously in 1993 at Sotheby’s for £45,500. The painting was previously owned by a private art collector, Eleanor de Bretteville Reid, an American who bought the painting for just £600, from the Waddington Gallery in London in the 1950s.

The painting was created in 1955 and is typical of the wild, abstract style that Yeats’ developed in his later years. According to numerous media reports, the painting depicts two figures lying on a moor beneath a heavy sky. The merging of these figures, to the sky and land, is a not too removed from the composition and style of “Leaving Far Point”, perhaps the most infamous of Sligo’s publicly owned Niland collection.

Just some of the artists claiming a space in Bowie’s enormous art collection are Damien Hirst, Frank Auerbach and Henry Moore. While certain pieces of the collection will be retained by Bowie’s surviving relatives, the remaining pieces will be up for auction. The collection is estimated to raise £10 million although it is expected that Bowie’s more enthusiastic and financially sound fans may cause a bidding war.

On the topic of Sleep Sound Bowie remarked: “I have a painting of his of two bums lying on a hillside, sleeping. The apocryphal story is that it was one of the paintings which influenced Samuel Beckett when he was writing ‘Waiting For Godot’, which I’d love to believe. “

On Jack B. Yeats, Bowie said: “There’s something about the life and death motifs in his work that maybe are not dissimilar. Just to have that kind of work around me, I find, influences me tremendously.”

“Sleep Sound”– and some others from Bowie’s collection – wil be exhibited in Ireland for four days from September 1st at the RHA Gallery, Dublin.

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

23 Aug. 2016

New Chairperson appointed at The Model

The Model, home of the Niland Collection and one of Ireland’s leading contemporary art spaces, is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Bláithín Gallagher to the role of Chairperson of the Board of Directors.

A passionately motivated social scientist with a strong interest in equality, ageing, disability and gender, Dr Gallagher has many years of experience in research and management, both in the academic and not for profit sector. She has been the recipient of a number of prestigious, highly sought after fellowships, (HRB & Marie Curie). With a strong record in successful funding applications, strategic planning and implementation on a national and international level, The Model is delighted to bring Dr Gallagher’s experience and expertise to the board. She is currently Vice President of the European Network for Vision Impairment Training, Education and Research (ENVITER), and a member of the executive committee of the European Society for Low Vision Research and Rehabilitation (ESLRR). She is also a fellow of the Higher Education Academy UK (HEA).

Bláíthín has a long association with the arts having studied Communications and Media studies at undergraduate level and has keen interest in visual art, film, photography, creative writing, music and current affairs. She has been editor of the Leitrim Guardian journal since 2010, an annual snapshot of life and culture in County Leitrim, first published in 1968.

Commenting on the announcement, Acting Director Emer McGarry said: “Everyone at The Model is over the moon with Bláithín’s appointment and we look forward to working with her as Chair of the Board of Directors.”

Bláithín stated that she is delighted with the appointment and is looking forward to working with all involved to steer The Model over the next number of years. “I am very excited about the challenges ahead. To have the opportunity to build on the hard work and dedication of former board members and the many local people who have made The Model one of the most outstanding spaces for contemporary culture in the country, is something I particularly relish. I look forward to working with the staff and board, our local and regional artists, audiences and all of The Model’s stakeholders to build a strong future for this special institution”.

Dr Gallagher will take up her new position as chairperson with immediate effect.

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

18 Aug. 2016

Soundtrack to an exhibition - a special playlist to Elizabeth Price

The Elizabeth Price exhibition draws to a close very soon, on the 28th of August, no less. For your listening pleasure, Edel Doherty (primarily) and Rebecca Kennedy (a little) have composed a playlist to accompany the exhibition. In a fitting homage to Price’s artistic process, the selected tracks have been painstakingly hunted down from the furthest corners of YouTube.

When selecting these tracks we delved into Price’s past as a member of the 80’s twee-pop band Tallulah Gosh. Of course, the best of the bands tracks are included on the playlist. Price, who sang vocals and played guitar in the notorious band, discussed her time in the music industry with Declan long at the launch of the exhibition. You may have a listen to said talk by clicking the link below.

The playlist begins with the three tracks that Price used in her films – Shangri La’s ‘Out on the Streets’ (The Woolworths Choir of 1979), Crystal Gayle ‘Don’t it Make My Brown Eyes Blue’ (K) and A-ha ‘Take On Me’ (User Group Disco) which launches us into such musical territories as twee-pop, post-punk, garage-rock and electronica.

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

9 Aug. 2016

My Pick- Annie West

The thing I like best about the broadsides is the layout of the sheet. They are all the same layout and typeface so it’s lovely and clean. Yeats uses less rather than more. The illustrations are so simple but really annoyingly beautiful. He just gets it; it’s hard to explain. The colours as well, he doesn’t colour everything in, he leaves some of it so you’re drawn to what’s going on in the illustration. It’s just really classy.

His work is understated but at the same time he’s using heavy pens and inks. It looks like it took five minutes but I know it didn’t. I remember that my grandmother had a couple of prints of his illustrations of the races in her house. I always liked them when I was a kid because they were so readable. I just love the look of the whole exhibition. I think that students of illustration, graphic designers and publishers should see it.

Look at the way the broadsides are presented, I really just want to dive in and read them. The book cover is just lovely, it just whispers to you, “Open me.”

What I see now more and more in illustration, and particularly graphic design is the concept that more is more. It doesn’t have to be like that. Sometimes, when you are designing for people, it’s very hard to convince them that less is more. There’s a lot of empty space you can use to draw attention to the illustration.

The huge posters in this exhibition really grab you. It really hits you when you walk in the gallery. A lot of people aren’t aware that Yeats earned a living as a commercial illustrator as well as a painter. He had a nifty sense of humor too. If you look very closely you can see that there’s a few gags in there. Very tiny ones mind you but they are still there. Here’s one in particular, the one with the kids at the door at Halloween, “The bang on the door boys.” It’s fantastic; the characters have so much personality. Look at the little feckers! It gives it that little bit of a kick, which you wouldn’t expect. It works very well.

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

26 Jul. 2016

My Pick- Imelda Ryan Jones

The painting that I have chosen for the My Pick series is Leaving the Far Point by Jack B. Yeats. I love that Jack depicted himself, his wife Cotty and his favorite uncle walking on a Sligo beach in the image. Jack presented the painting to his wife two months before she passed away. It is likely the last painting he ever gave her.

Leaving the Far Point reminds me of Chagall, there’s something about Jack’s use of colour that strikes a resemblance of Chagall’s work for me. I also like the vague way that the figures in the image appear. It’s a real skill isn’t it? To use loose brush marks but still have such defined figures within it. A lot of our collection of Jack B. Yeats’ work has that feature. It’s a big contrast to his earlier works that were illustrative in style; the lines are very clear and deliberate. I believe this loose, undefined style suits the story behind the painting. Jack’s figure is clear. The figure that is extremely faded is his uncle, who died many years before. The central figure is his beloved Cotty, whose health was failing at the time and Leaving the Far Point was in fact a gift for Cotty’s last birthday in 1947.

As his uncle, George Pollexfen, died in 1910 long before Jack painted Leaving the Far Point in 1946, I think that this piece has an element of wishful thinking behind it. Maybe he never had an opportunity to walk on Rosses Point strand together with his favorite uncle and his beloved wife? Maybe he wished that they could all be together again, and maybe his wife was too unwell to venture out? I have read that they are the two people he loved most in his life.

I really like that he depicted his uncle too. I can imagine them walking on the beach while Jack was young. Maybe his uncle supported and influenced him to become a painter. We rarely get the time to celebrate those who inspire us enough. We look at someone who has done great things with their life and we usually hardly know anything at all about the people who helped them get there. Jack remembers his uncle and his wife, and that’s inspiring.

After Cotty died Jack decided to donate Leaving the Far Point to the people of Sligo. The painting meant so much to Jack and he gifted it to us. This was a catalyst for Nora Niland to take her vision forward and create a collection of art for Sligo. That draws me to the painting too, and I love The Niland Collection book, published by The Model, that tells the story of the collection of art owned by the people of Sligo.

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

19 Jul. 2016

Interview with Elizabeth Price

Interview with Elizabeth Price

Friday, the 24th of June was a glorious, sunny day. Not that any of The Model staff noticed. We were too busy to be concerned with temperamental Irish weather. Turner Prize-winning artist Elizabeth Price was opening her first solo show in Ireland in The Model, the following day and the air was thick with excitement. While the last few details of the show were being taken care off, Elizabeth Price sat down with our marketing assistant, Rebecca Kennedy, for an interview. For the sake of continuity, the following interview has been edited slightly and condensed. If it weren’t for such edits, the majority of said interview would have focused solely on Jude Law.

You’ve had quite an interesting career. You started out in indie bands like Tallulah Gosh and The Carousel in the 1980’s, at a time when there seemed to be a prominent climate of subcultures. Can you tell me a little of your experience as a musician at that time?

When I was a teenager, I strongly connected the idea of making music with being an artist. Then when I went to art school I became aware of how different those two worlds are. When your eighteen, it can be difficult to know how on earth you can make a bit of visual art and have other people come to see it whereas with independent music, it was really possible to form a band, make a record and distribute it. There was a real sense that you could actually participate and create things. I suppose at the time the art world seemed like it often seems, aloof and impenetrable whereas music seemed to be more accessible to someone of my age and background, who knew no one that lived a life making art. I had no idea how that would be possible.

I felt like I could enter the music world and it was really quite tribal, people demonstrated their allegiance to different ideas of youth culture and subculture through their fashion sense. There were: Mods, Punks, Post-Punks, Rockabilly Punks and Teds, B-Boys and B-Girls. If you decided that you belonged to a certain tribe it wasn’t a casual gesture.

So, it was an interesting time to grow up. I remember briefly trying to go out with someone who was in a really terrible soft-genesis sort of prog-rock band. It lasted about ten days. We were from two completely different tribes and it really finished me off when he bought me a cuddly toy for my birthday and I just thought, ‘we have two completely different idea’s of women within these two completely different genres of music and this is never going to work’. I’m never going to be the type of woman who likes to be bought a cuddly toy. I hung out with punks who would never do that!

Were you happy to be onstage?

No, I was always really shy so I found it vaguely mortifying. We (Tallulah Gosh) kind of started out as an experiment. Being in a band was a way to make friends and to hang out with these really cool, interesting people. Weirdly, we were successful quite quickly. After our first gig we got written up in N.M.E., which was completely bizarre. It went from being a slightly crappy, funny band to having people show up to see us.

We were crap but it was regarded as a virtue. It was a post-punk attitude thing. I could only play four cords at the time; my guitar had cost 5p from a jumbo sale and it made the most terrible noise. It was really quite funny and enjoyable to do it by ourselves; to make these terrible noises and to write these stupid little songs. It was all quite funny until people decided they liked it and they started to turn up at our gigs. Sometimes we were good and sometimes we were a complete car crash.

You’ve spoken out previously about the state funding cuts for the arts in universities and the introduction of Ebecc scheme to the GCSE’s and how that might lead to the arts being something only that the privileged may pursue. How do you feel about that state of arts education and public funding today?

The things I said at the Turner Prize are still relevant. My generation was incredibly lucky in terms of the access to education we had. The idea that we would have to pay for our education didn’t exist to us so we could pursue what we wanted with almost complete freedom. We were young and we would be funded and given the support to pursue the things that we were interested in. It seemed to me to be the most natural thing in the world; I just accepted it like sunshine and spring.

It’s really damaging to see that the relationship between education and economic duress so tightly associated now. The defenders of the fee scheme say that students only have to pay it back once they earn a sufficient amount, therefore it shouldn’t impact students but I don’t believe that amounts to the freedom I had. I certainly think that whilst people will continue to go to university perhaps they will think, ‘I would really like to do art but that’s a crazy choice given the expense of the degree and the fact that I will have to bare that economic burden, so I will do mathematics, science or law.’ I think that people’s natural choices are being influenced or shadowed by the sense of a future economic burden.

When you add the fact that artists are being marginalized by the school curriculum, fewer people will have the opportunity to discover that they are talented at art. When I was at school I was always good at art and English, the so-called “soft-subjects” but it never occurred to me those classes weren’t as important as languages or maths. And I think that not only will students not gain access to art, those who are good at it will think that having artistic talent isn’t of any value. I believe that the changes have made art into something trivial, it’s nice but it’s not really important.

All those factors will conspire and amount to people from working-class backgrounds not becoming artists. That’s bad for not only the individual but for the art world too. Artists make art about their world and their experience. If only seven percent of the population is allowed to study at art school then art will be made solely by a very narrow demographic and that’s just not good enough. I think it’s really important that art is publicly funded. The art world needs to be made up of people from every different walk of life so everyone is represented.

How has winning the Turner Prize effected your career as an artist?

It always has an impact but for me it had an especially big impact. I had only just completed my first museum show when I was nominated. Although I had been an artist for ages, I had gotten nowhere and all of a sudden (within two years) my career really transformed. It was completely bizarre for me to be nominated for the Turner Prize. It was very funny, strange and slightly surreal to win it. It was a bit alienating to be frank. It was similar to the shyness I had felt all those years back in Tallulah Gosh. I found it very public.

In terms of my career, it accelerated it considerably. Having only done one museum show previously I now do quite a few throughout the year. When I won the Turner Prize- I felt a bit like I had my foot in the stir-up of a saddle on horse that was galloping away and I was sort of bouncing on the ground on my arse behind it – that’s how much I felt in charge off life and my career and circumstances. It was fantastic but really hard to get used to and only now have I begun to feel like I’m kind of settling into it. All and all it has been fantastic.

Jude law presented you with the Turner Prize.Is he really that good looking in real life?

Yes, yes he is.

Your work is complex and dense. When watching “The Woolworths Choir of 1979” I felt that I had just grasped a narrative before the images cut and it slipped away. Is the narrative intentionally elusive?

In Woolworths Choir there are parts of it when it’s really clear what it is telling you for example you are told about gothic architecture or the Woolworths department fire. The individual sections are straightforward in some sense. The thing about Woolworths Choir is how you can move in and out of these sections. I guess I really wanted to create a film in parts where you can move from one single story to another. In the first part there are all these images of gothic architecture and the second part features images of female performers but it’s really interesting that you end up with pictures of a girl group when you started with gothic architecture.

I wanted it to create a narrative that felt like, as you were watching, the floors would suddenly open out and you would fall in another kind of space that had a different sort of logic and then you move on to another. I was thinking of that it in relation to the folders in my computers. When I am making those videos I go through all the different archives on my computer. The videos are made of entirely different sections that were kind of important and intentional for me. I wanted to make a film about assembly and how we bring people together. I mean that as in an artistic assembly. I think of my films as collages. I mix lots of different materials and make them work together compositionally, formally and narratively, but also I wanted to think of human assembly and the idea of collective voice.

In the second part of the film, I assemble a choir from different materials of female singers making gestures with their hands. I edited it all together and make this chorography of hands and gestures. I thought about building this architecture as a choir, populating it with a choir that had been assembled because it was a chorus, telling you a story or a history.

I wanted this story to be a minor but significant social history. I decided on the history of the fatal fire in the Woolworths department store in 1979, which has been a relatively forgotten corporate disaster. I really wanted to extend the idea of a choir or a voice or a collective of people speaking and singing together to tell that story of the fire. The final section of the film is a narrative woven together from different accounts of the fire by various people, those trapped in the fire, witnesses, (the majority of which were working class boys and girls) the emergency services, journalists and the coroner. In the final section, these people gather and become a chorus, which communicates the story of the Woolworths fire to you.

That’s how I think of it. There is a strong, purposeful narrative to it but there are also deliberate, lurching surprises and changes of context. I think that happens in all my films, they are really rhythmic and change space. I really want them to have an intense dramatic shift. I want to tell these intense dramas that really focus collective history in a dramatic way. It’s actually quite difficult to film and narrate objects. One of the ways you can do it is through melody and music, percussion but also through what I call big formal shifts so a way of proceeding through a film is established and then that turned on its head and then another way of making the film is established.

Have you any advice for emerging artists?

Go to an interesting art school if you can. The most important thing for an artist at any level is to find other artists. When I came out of art school, I got together with a group of artist friends and we persuaded someone to let us use their building in Shoreditch, London. At the time, Shoreditch was a complete dead zone; it was all derelict or ex-industrial buildings. We held lots of shows there. We spent two years doing it, we worked together and we agonized over every decision. It was an amazing education.

You end up building up a network of support, a peer group. So, I think that whether it’s putting on exhibitions, setting up a studio, doing a website or publishing together, I think setting up a network of like-minded people with whom you can make art with really helps you get by in those lean years. Unless you are one in thousands and thousands, there are those lean years where it seems like nobody’s interested and so you find this small community for yourself. You learn a lot and I found it so enjoyable, so exciting and interesting. I think that that is the most important thing, is too find that peer group and community.

I mean obviously there are all kinds of professional things. The Art world is a weird world in which to build a career, where there is no obvious career progression. There are people who are really good at networking, they’re really gregarious and find it easier to socialize, that can be a real asset but many artists aren’t good at that.

I would see other artists and it’s easy to look at them and think “oh no,” because I was always terrible at that stuff but in art you have to use what you are good at, if you find that you not good at some part of it, don’t agonize about it. If you find that you are really good at socializing then go out, hang out and make friends, convince people how interesting you are.

If you’re really not like that then find a close knit group of friends, develop your own projects, work with them and then hopefully, gradually, it takes a bit of luck and a lot of perseverance but things can start to happen. You get a show here and there but it’s not a straight road. It’s sort of winding and wiggly road with a few bumps but I had some great nights, hanging out and being useless at networking. So, hangout and meet up with your mates and slag off the show. Yeah, I had some good times. Now, I’m very sensible and I don’t stay out all night!

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Rebecca Kennedy

23 Jun. 2016

Elizabeth Price: A short note

Elizabeth Price has had quite an eclectic career. During her student days, the Yorkshire born artist fronted the indie band “Tululah gosh.” The band, which achieved notoriety in the U.K. and U.S., disbanded in 1988, two years after Price left. Their sound was a hybrid of post-punk meets sweetheart vocals in an audible homage to the girl bands of the late 50’s/60’s. Price then went on to study sculpture in the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford and the Royal College of Art, London. In 2012 she won the Turner Prize for her solo exhibition, ‘Here’, at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead. Upon winning the Prize, Price made an impassioned speech about the degradation of art education in Britain.

Price’s work is the creation of immersive video installations, which feature a diverse mixture of historical materials, archival documents, digital animation, photographs and samples from pop music. Price’s installations are time-consuming productions, often taking over a year to complete as she regularly revisits old works to re-create and update versions. Price’s installations are created with the intention of being viewed by the audience in a gallery so the experience of the installations can be all consuming.

“The Woolworths Choir of 1979” (2012) is a film installation, which comprises three distinct sections; the first examines the choral architecture of churches and the examination of what the word “chorus” derives from. The second concentrates on coordinated dance routines performed by pop groups and backing singers; (a recurring theme in Price’s work, since her days in Tuluah gosh) and the third focuses on archive footage from the notorious fire at the Woolworths department store in Manchester in 1979. The video, combined with the text that appears on-screen is reminiscent of the aesthetics of advertising and propaganda, lending the piece the seductive undertone of ritual and desire. The footage of people in Price’s pieces is never directly filmed; they are scoured from across the Internet and archives of newsrooms.

Physical gestures recur throughout the film, and parallels are drawn between the movements of a woman hand waving from a window of Woolworths as she awaits rescue and those of the dancers and singers, twisting and moving their arms for musical emphasis. The hand gestures; the clapping, clicking, waving and dancing become the point of assembly presented in The Woolworths Choir of 1979. When combined with the recurring sounds, music and digital graphics, the effect is that of a dissonant, evocative chorus, which floats somewhere between social history and fantasy.

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

10 Jun. 2016

Congratulations Matthew Jones

Matthew Jones is a Woodturner based in Rivertown, Co. Sligo. In December 2015, Matthew was kind enough to donate some of his work to our Gala, which we held to raise funds for The Model. In this Video, Matthew discusses the opportunities that arose after he donated to The Model.

Matthew was selected as a Regional Winner in the Etsy Awards UK & Ireland. His shop “Matt Jones Turning” has been awarded the best in Ireland. As part of the prize his work will be displayed at this years TENT London at the London Design Festival. Matthew’s work is available to buy in The Model shop.

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

9 Jun. 2016

My Pick- Noel Corr

I picked “Mountain view” (1946) by Jack B. Yeats because Benbulbin is in the background. I climb Benbulbin a couple of times a year with some German friends. I like Benbulbin because it’s an interesting mountain. When you’re up there it’s so quiet and peaceful and you can see the whole of Sligo right around. When you stand on top of the mountain, you’re standing like a giant.

Benbulbin is famous in Sligo and I love the style of the painting, especially the old windows. It’s the old windows of years ago and you can still find them in older houses. Those windows collected moss and fallen leaves, they were the kind of windows that were around when I was a child.

I like the colours, in the painting Benbulbin is blue but when you look at it today it’s green, when “Mountain window” was painted it was overcast. When the weather changes and you can see, Benbulbin becomes a different colour.
The mountain is almost red in the sunset. I like that Jack B. Yeats captured that change of colour. It’s the type of thing you would only appreciate if you were a local.

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

1 Jun. 2016

A gift for a gift

The Model, like many other Irish art institutions, could not survive without the generous donations we receive from you, our patrons. As a thank you for the kindness and generosity you have bestowed on us, we would like to offer a small gift in return.

In October 2010, Artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov exhibited an installation at The Model entitled Angelology. The Kabakovs are amongst the world’s foremost living artists. Their work is included in the collections of MoMA in New York and the Tate Modern in London.

The exhibition was an eclectic mixture of paintings, drawings, models and sculptural structures. There were many of the fantastical elements present in Angelology that the Kabakovs are famed for; a childlike sense of wonder, naiveté and a desire to represent humanity for humanity. To accompany Angelology, The Model published this gorgeous little book of the same title. The book features a print of “Alternative History of Art CH. Rosenthal The Wings” on the cover. It is a catalogue of the exhibition but also a representation of the visual history of angels. Essays by both Seamus Kealy and Rod Megham touch upon topics like the Kabahov’s fantastical work and the iconic and anthropological antiquity of angels.

Thanks to your donations, The Model has hosted some of the world’s most prestigious artists and will continue to do so. Because we appreciate your support, we would like to gift Angelology to any patron who donates €10 or more. Please remember that when you donate to The Model, you not only supporting the gallery but the community of artists that teach and work here, the artistic culture of the West Coast of Ireland and the community at large.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

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Rebecca Kennedy

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