The Narrow Gate of the Here and Now at IMMA Dublin 2021 ongoing.
The Narrow Gate of the Here-and-Now traces urgent themes across the 30-year period as they impact the personal, the political and the planetary, and prompts thinking about the effects of globalisation today in the Irish context as we respond to global crises from COVID-19 to Climate Change and the Black Lives Matter movement. The exhibition will explore ideas of bodily autonomy, conflict and protest, the Anthropocene era, and digital technologies, through the rich holdings of the IMMA Collection and Archive which represent a diverse history of artistic responses to these themes.
The first Chapter, Queer Embodiment, maps the context for the project, reflecting on the dramatic legislative changes that occurred in Irish society such as the decriminalisation of homosexuality (1993), provision of divorce (1996), marriage equality (2015) and the repeal of the Eighth Amendment (2018). These moments in the struggle for human rights find echoes across the globe, as grassroots movements continue to contest the impact of the State on the Body.
The Museum’s Collection and Archive reflects a strong history of feminist practice, relaying the defiance of women in Ireland against church and state oppression; as well as queer histories that capture moments of resistance and joy, as well as presenting the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS. While many of these changes have built a more compassionate society, some of the artists in this exhibition engage with troubling issues, such as Irish citizenship and migration, which remain unresolved.
Queer Embodiment is organised in sections: the first, explores themes of mourning, HIV/AIDS, bodily autonomy and domestic violence. The second shows how artists, particularly female and queer artists, articulate resistant forms of identity representation that counter prevailing beliefs. The third considers the idea of home as it is articulated through ideas of the national, post-colonial, traveller, migrant and refugee experiences. The final section presents viewpoints from artists who embody hopeful visions of recuperation, and the future.
Chapter One: Queer Embodiment
I Am What I Am – June 5th 2021 at Ballina Arts Centre.
I Am What I Am is a nuanced celebration of queer artists who work with gender, sexuality, identity and queer politics. Curated by Sinéad Keogh, the exhibition brings together artists from all backgrounds to unite in a diverse exploration of queer art in Ireland today.
The title hails from the song finale in the 1983 Broadway musical La Cage aux Folles written and composed by queer writer Jerry Herman. The song was covered by Gloria Gaynor that same year and has been an empowerment anthem for the LGBTQ+ community ever since. I Am what I Am is a stronghold in the form of resistance against adversity in an ever evolving and dissolving world.
‘The curatorial process was to engage, understand and listen to the vast array of cultural practitioners and members of the community involved in the programme. It provided the opportunity to talk to them about their historical relationships and one another, the state and indeed their own relationship with art and to bring them all together with a sense of unity. To celebrate and enrich the lives on one another through the creative process of making and experiencing art’
The exhibition runs from June 05th to July 31st.
View the accompanying exhibition catalogue I am What I am
‘Queer As You Are’ – Group Exhibition at The Luan Gallery
Queer As You Are; a group exhibition of Irish artists which explores the gaps and fissures of queer presence within Irish history and considers how queer historical discourses, or lack thereof, populate our past, present and future.
The exhibition ran from 20th July to 19th September, and featured artists; Kian Benson Bailes, Stephen Doyle, Austin Hearne, Breda Lynch and Conor O’Grady and is curated by Aoife Power.
The artists within this exhibition examined the tension in translating different historical, social, and cultural contexts into something that could be understood by others today. Addressing the absence of objects to assist in their story telling each supplement alternative materials, drawing on psychoanalysis, activism, archaeology, hook up culture, the occult and autobiographical accounts.
Blue Dyke installation at Ormston House , Limerick
Oct 2020 – Oct 2021
This installation was part of an ongoing programme of local partnerships, events and exhibitions under the umbrella of ‘The Feminist Supermarket’ curated by Mary Conlon and Niamh Brown.
More information here:
#FEMINISTSUPERMARKET #ORMSTONHOUSE #2020
ELLIPTICAL AFFINITIES: IRISH WOMEN ARTISTS AND THE POLITICS OF THE BODY, 1984 TO THE PRESENT
Curated by Dr Fionna Barber and Aoife Ruane
Aideen Barry, Sarah Browne, Amanda Coogan, Dorothy Cross, Pauline Cummins, Rachel Fallon, Patricia Hurl, Jesse Jones, Breda Lynch, Alice Maher, Alanna O’Kelly, Kathy Prendergast, Louise Walsh
This exhibition was commissioned for The Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda in 2019 and toured to Limerick City Gallery of Art early 2020.
Since the mid 1980s an important tendency in art by Irish women has been to situate itself clearly in relation to the significant changes in the politics of the body in Ireland that began to take place during that decade, culminating in the recent upsurge of both activism and artwork in relation to the Campaign to Repeal the Eighth Amendment. The revitalisation of feminism during the 1980s in response to the repressive attitudes of church and state also resulted in the emergence of a new generation of Irish women artists whose work was explicitly focused around the politics of the Irish female body.
An exhibition that explicitly focuses on tracking this ongoing conjunction of art and feminism in Ireland is long overdue, and in this sense Elliptical Affinities builds on and acknowledges precedents such as But Still Like Dust I’ll Rise curated by Vivienne Dick at Galway Arts Centre (2018) and the enmeshing of women’s history, temporality, embodiment and affect in Jesse Jones’ Tremble Tremble.
Rather than a straightforward linear chronology Elliptical Affinities proposes something closer to the ‘elliptical traverse’ of Catherine de Zegher’s influential feminist exhibition Inside the Visible, exploring new genealogies of Irish women’s art indexed to the political.
Central to this is the notion of femmage to investigate temporal relationships of affinity and influence across generations of women artists, as in Amanda Coogan’s video documentation of her performance of Snails: after Alice Maher (2010) which was restaged in its entirety for the exhibition opening at Highlanes Gallery on November 15 2019.
The exhibition will consist of loans from both public and private collections, and artists’ studios, including Pauline Cummins’ Inis t’Óirr, Alice Maher’s The Expulsion, Chant Down Greenham by Alanna O’Kelly, and Mr & Mrs. Holy Joe by Dorothy Cross; works remade especially for the exhibition like Louise Walsh Outlaws/Inlaws (first shown at In a State, Kilmainham Gaol, 1991), and more recent work by Breda Lynch, Sarah Browne and Rachel Fallon amongst others.
A full colour publication accompanies the exhibition with contributions from Gill Perry, Sarah Kelleher, Fionna Barber, and Ailbhe Smyth, and designed by Neil Gordon, 256Media
Full colour catalogue available here:
150 First Avenue
New York, NY 10009
RECEPTION: Friday, October 25, 6 – 9 pm
Curated by Amy Goldrich, Christopher K. Ho,
Omar Lopez-Chahoud, and Sara Reisman
DYNASTY is a recurring exhibition—first staged in 2006 and again in 2013—in which the organizing curators are, for the purposes of the show, fictional in-laws: Goldrich and Reisman are “sisters,” with their “husbands,” Lopez-Chahoud and Ho, respectively. By virtue of its organizing principle, DYNASTY addresses familial and filial relations, creative influence, and the evolution, growth, distribution, and consumption of ideas and objects over generations and time.
For this third installment of DYNASTY, eighteen artists were allocated square footage in each of the East and West Galleries at PS122 Gallery. In a conceptual curatorial gesture, each couple—Ho and Reisman, Lopez-Chahoud and Goldrich—has entrusted gallery space to their “offspring,” artists who formed the first generation of heirs. In turn, several of these artists opted to bequeath their space, wholly or partially, to other artists. For example, on the Reisman-Ho side of the family, Claudia Joskowicz invited Aliza Shvarts, Stephen Truax opted to collaborate with his reallife mother Debra Truax, and Jennifer Dalton asked Sara Shaoul, who has in turn asked Gabriela Vainsencher, who has further extended the family legacy by inviting Hsini Des. Family members who are not present in the exhibition—Nina Katchadourian and Baseera Khan—have fully transferred their inheritance to other artists, with Katchadourian passing the opportunity to show onto Mashael Nezar Alsaie and Yuwei Pan, and Khan doing the same with Cielo Félix-Hernández and Da Eun Lee. Goldrich and Lopez-Chahoud gifted PS122 Gallery’s West Gallery to four artists, all of whom chose to keep and use it to show their own work: Franklin Cain, Tommy Kha, Matthew Morrocco, and Scheherezade Tillet. While remaining a single generation of artists by electing to use the gallery for themselves, their artwork creates a conceptually activated whole.
The curators wish to dedicate the exhibition to Dominique Deveraux and her real-life counterpart, Diahann Carroll (1935-2019).
Image: ‘Goat Woman’, by Breda Lynch, Cyanotype/Digital print 2018
And Still, Like Dust, I Rise
Opening Friday June 1st from 6pm – 8pm
June 2nd – July 6th 2018 | GAC
Galway Arts Centre
Alexis Adler | Dara Birnbaum | Vivienne Dick | Olivia Eberstadt
Dragana Jurisic | Breda Lynch | Eileen MacDonagh | Alice Maher
Margaret Maiorana | Selma Makela | Isabel Nolan | Kathy Prendergast
curated by Vivienne Dick
Channeling the great poet Maya Angelou, we as women artists assert our rights as citizens of the world, our rights over our own bodies, our equal rights within the law, our right to speak, to legislate, to create, to write our own history, to have shelter and to live in a world free from war and violence.
This exhibition presents work from a diverse and intergenerational group of artists which speaks to ideas around female corporeality, autonomy, strength, and vulnerability. Our survival depends on our respect for this Earth and for women, who carry out the work of producing and sustaining life.
Maher’s work The Hind and La Mujer Sierpa find their origins in mythology and hybridity. Birnbaum’s video Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman’ radically deconstructs and manipulates a well -known female Pop icon. Eberstadt’s film plays with gender-queer images as does Lynch with her gothic fables and ironic take on power and the atomic bomb.
The work of Dick, Jurisic, Makela, Nolan and Prendergast addresses fragility, dislocation and the power of the moment, while Maiorana’s self -portrait focuses on nuances of structural and intimate violence. MacDonagh’s three -dimensional star shaped stones denote matter along with the abstract and the wider universe. A speculative post human future is intimated in Walsh’s sound installation and Adler’s images of an in-vitro female egg is reminiscent of a planet bombarded by asteroids.
A live event will take place on July 5th from 7 – 9pm to close the show with performance, music and film screenings featuring Ceara Conway, Lisamarie Johnson, Isabella Oberlander, Áine Phillips, Vicky Smith and others.
Witch and Lezzie
Solo exhibition by Breda Lynch
5th Oct – 5th Nov 2017
Ashford Gallery, RHA Dublin
Breda Lynch has created art from her ongoing engagement with discourses on identity, appropriation and re-appropriation, hidden histories and queer culture. Additionally, she engages with methodologies and approaches that respond to the history of mechanical reproduction, digital reproduction online, the persistent circulation of images in the public domain, all the while querying our relationship with the image, its consumption, distribution, reproduction, value and forcing (re)considerations of authenticity within art. After all the online civilisation is, historically speaking, a relatively new space wherein pictures circulate devoid of origins. Divorced from their maker, original purpose, function, physical properties and even family. We are reminded of the omnipotent availability of pictures through multiple searches and googling.
“Lynch’s gesture of taking the picture is a process of infinitely re-appropriating it. Literally working through fragmented histories of visibility and the proximity that mechanical reproduction has to the external performance of identity”. Padraig Robinson, Satan was a Lesbian, essay 2016.
For this particular series of drawings, there is a focus on the representation of otherness and queer, lesbian identities as presented through the retro genre of lesbian under-the-counter ‘Pulp’ fiction. These pocket paperbacks mushroomed in production in the early 40’s to late 60’s after the introduction and enforcement of the Hays production code in the American film industry in 1930 and parallel to the publishing of the Kinsey Report in the 40’s. Before the 60’s sexual revolution these paperbacks provided a peak into perceived scandalous, erotic encounters of the same sex. Often the featured female characters were depicted as sexual predators into Satanism, witchcraft, BDSM, or even more fantastical grotesques that even came from another planet. It must be mentioned that the publishers did demand that the thrilling, high camp, deviant themes, which were popular to the heterosexual male and isolated women seeking a lesbian community, were not to be promoted as desirable hence many of the characters where eventually confined to lives of frustration and bitterness or even death by madness or suicide.
“With any fragmentation comes the madness of multiplicities. Especially when the conditions of visibility point to the complex presence of the invisible. Lynch’s gesture of collecting pictures underpins a process of re-construction, therefore performing identity on the surface of the image alone. Yet judging books by their covers is still far from a simple process in her drawings”. Padraig Robinson, Satan was a Lesbian, essay 2016.
With these sociopolitical and cultural considerations in mind the artist engages in reclaiming, redrawing and remaking vintage book covers from the various different sources, counter culture, underground or pulp fiction. From the many different themes that the lesbian character appeared – queer pulp, lesbian pulp, deadly or horror pulp, sci- pulp, clandestine romance pulp, she was presented as bold, kitschy, colourful, sexually simmering in appearance. Hence the artist’s motivation is exposed. Challenging the stereotype, the straight or fantasy trope, all with the intention of subverting for her own end the original source, the heteronormative, prudish, conservative era that they were published. Re-appropriating and re-claiming the low-brow writing and not so subtle innuendo this vein of imagery and content gives opportunity, at the very least, to present humorous subversion in the form of the drawings.
Image: Signed limited edition ‘Bookcover’, (100 in the edition with 4 different covers).Produced to coincide with Breda Lynch’s solo exhibition ‘Witch and Lezzie’ at the Ashford Gallery RHA Dublin. With the essay ‘Satan was a Lesbian‘ by Padraig Robinson. Design by Yin Yin Wong and production by Publication Studios, Rotterdam.
Fragments of a Lost Civilisation
19th Feb – 12 March 2016
Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar, Co. Mayo
Abhainn Ri Festival 2015
27th June – 5th July – Macra Hall, Callan, Co.Kilkenny
Glitch: ‘Cash Rules Everything Around’
Rua Red Gallery, Dublin 2014
Glitch curated by Nora O’Murchu at Rua Red, Tallaght, Dublin, featured the work of three artists: Breda Lynch, Addie Wageknecht and Fergal Brennan. Lynch presented a drawing/vinyl installation titled: ‘Strangelove’ and a looped video on screen titled ‘The Pit’ .
The Pit and Other Stories
Solo exhibition at Siamsa Tire Arts Centre, Tralee, Co Kerry – 2014
126 Gallery present: Breda Lynch | Thursday’s Clinic 09 February – 02 March 2013
The exhibition titled ‘Thursday’s Clinic’ presented new work specifically created for the 126 space, Galway. The body of work came about from a period of intensive research, which begun whilst on residency in the Cill Rialaig artist village in Kerry early in 2012. The photographs reference the language of hysteria as described in the extensive collection of photographs shot by 19th century neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot at Saltpetriere Hospital in Paris of his medical muses. These postures and positions which articulated the distress of some of these women have subsequently been uncannily repeated in particular films, ‘Mother Joan of the Angels’, ‘The Exorcist’, ‘Possession’ and ‘The Snake Pit’. Here are depicted the same and similar postures of bizarre fits and spasms, paralysis of the limbs, inverted figures and faces, contortions and convulsions. Much of the horror in such films is predicated on threats to the body particularly the female body, either through its destruction, dissolution, convulsion, fragmentation, disempowerment or death. An early childhood memory of a dream sequence from the 1948 film ‘The Snake Pit’, became the focus of the presented video installation. Utilizing strategies of cinematic appropriation the presented video installation ‘The Pit’ uses the remembered sequence where the main character Virginia finds her self in the most chaotic ward in the asylum. This scene conjures up horror, which lies in the threat to humanity and humanness, both individual and collective. The destruction of self emblematized by loss of face and voice. The depictions of these bodies have histories; some motifs of posture and gesture are so persistent in visual culture as to suggest a valid trans-historicity, a kind of collective memory of forms.
“The body is always at risk of twisting from the human to the monstrous.” From“The Face of a Fiend: Convulsion, Inversion and the Horror of the Disempowered Body” by James Clifton. Oxford Art Journal, Vol. 34, No. 3, 2011.
Solo exhibition with Black Mariah, Cork 2010
Song to the Siren
Solo exhibition at the Galway Arts Centre 2009
The exhibition ‘Song to the Siren’ is comprised of a body of new drawings and photographic works by Breda Lynch. This solo show explores and draws inspiration from areas of the Gothic that examine gender identity within art, literature, film and more contemporary influences such as Goth street style, music and subculture. It also includes a specially made for Galway Arts Centre video/sound installation titled ‘The Kiss’, which is a collaborative piece by Breda Lynch and Cork based artists Not Abel.
Other art works presented in ‘Song to the Siren’ are a series of drawings that celebrate the appearance and strength of image of 70’s Punk/Goth music icon Siouxsie Sioux to the street savvy girls in typical Goth, Post-Goth attire, which in turn describes a type of ‘freakish’ beauty or the display of physical appearance that assumes the position of ‘outsider’. Indeed the Goth sub-culture has been based on making the badge outsiderdom a proud rejection of conventional society. This series of drawings amalgamate these current dialogues with more historical areas of Gothic literature referring to descriptions of young women caught up in stituations about unrequited love, forbidden love, or doomed love scenarios for example ‘Carmilla’ by La Fanu or ‘Christabel’ by Coleridge
Lynch’s video/sound installation ‘The Kiss’ appropriates clips from the 1931 German b/w film ‘Madchen in Uniform’, which was deemed controversial at the time and was censored for various reasons. This inspired film based on a true story describes love that was considered dark or ill-advised – the ‘love that dares not speak its name’.
Mary Toft’s Children
South Tipperary Arts Centre 2007
Solo exhibition of drawings by Breda Lynch.
Solo exhibition at Prehen House
in association with The Context Gallery,
Derry, Northern Ireland 2007.
Catalogue produced by Context Gallery and Limerick City Gallery of Art:
Fleurs Fatales (Click to view PDF)
Essays: This Corrosion by Greg McCartney (Click to view PDF)
Les Fleurs Fatales by Dr Kieran Cashell (Click to view PDF)