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Current Exhibitions


Following Threads

Ciara O'Connor, Self-portrait in Red Knickers, 2022

Public opening: Friday 8 September from 5pm

Exhibition dates: 9 September 2023 – 28 January 2024

Textile based artworks have been a growing presence in art galleries over the last decade with artists investigating a variety of new and age-old concerns with fibres and threads. The boundaries of traditional techniques such as weaving and embroidery have been pushed by artists who are interested in embracing the potential of thread in contemporary art. 

Spotlighting areas of practice we are curious about and interested in, the exhibition will feature works by Ailbhe Ní Bhriain, Isabel Nolan, Matt Smith, Ciara O’Connor, Cecilia Danell, Mainie Jellett design by Ceodogàn rugs, Dorothy Cross, Michelle Malone, Jennifer Trouton, Anne Kiely and Mary Palmer.

Ailbhe Ní Bhriain works with films, computer generated imagery, collage, print, installation and tapestry. Intrusion III, is a large scale Jacquard tapestry translated from loose digital collage depicting scenes of architectural ruination.

Working on a more intimate scale, Ciara O’Connor’s thread drawings deals with themes of identity, feminism, trauma and recovery: “When I stitch, I am aware of how my actions mirror those that have gone before me, and I relish the connection. Whilst honouring the labours of the past I seek to utilize these techniques in new and dynamic ways to explore societal issues, challenge the notion of craft, and tell stories about my experience of being a woman in today’s world.”

A recent addition to the gallery’s collection, Daunt, Dorothy Cross’ work is an unusual medium for the artist. The tapestry brings to the fore familial and local geographic traces by replicating a photograph taken by the artist’s father in the 1930’s into a tangible object.

For Matt Smith History is a ‘constantly selected and refined narrative’ that edits out marginalised histories. After sourcing tapestries, mostly on eBay and auction sites, Smith laboriously unpicked and re-stitched them to subvert their original in order to challenge our perceptions and highlight the fluid nature of memory and history.

Isabel Nolan has an extensive practice in term of media. Echoing stained glass of churches and grand chandeliers The Light Pours Out of You offers a dysfunctional, chandelier like sculpture which cast fabric instead of light. Nolan’s powerful and playful signature work was one of the key works in Limerick’s EVA International Biennale (2018).

The 3 tapestries by Michelle Malone where initially shown in her installation Great Uncle Joe about her family experience with the Artane Boys Industrial school. The sourced imagery

for the 3 works were the Artane volume of the archives of the Commission to enquire into child abuse (established in 2000).

Between fiction and reality, Cecilia Danell hand-tufted rugs are inspired by the Swedish landscapes of her childhood, layered with the artist’s research in fiction and science-fiction novels and how the natural world is rendered in these stories.

Jennifer Trouton has described her practice as ‘80% painting but also embroidery, or collage and assemblage, things that were ascribed to women and that were seen as women’s work, women’s subjects and women’s craft.’ The 6 embroideries relate to topical and feminist questions of bodily autonomy and the State, herbs and flowers that have traditionally been known to induce abortion during pregnancy are paired with maps of Ireland and the female pelvis and uterus.

Championing Modernism in 1920s Ireland, Mainie Jellett (1897 -1944) designed rugs derived from her abstract cubism art and from in-depth research in the use of colours, patterns, and shapes. In 2008, Ceadogàn Rugs issued a limited edition of her rugs’ designs. In 2023 they were commissioned to make a rug from Carpet Design, a small Mainie Jellet’s watercolour in the gallery’s collection.

Acquired by the gallery in 2021, Mary Palmer and Anne Kiely’s collaborative art quilt Who Will Tell the Bees delicately combines hand screen-printed images, etchings, and manipulated photographic images to produce layered designs that echo characteristics of the handmade. Who Will Tell the Bees addresses key environmental concerns, as well as the histories of women’s work.

Textile as medium also relates to the gallery’s past as Crawford School of Arts; our shared histories and teachings will be illustrated in Following threads with the display of our collection of lace artefacts.

Emmett Place, Cork, Ireland
T12 TNE6
Tel: 021 480 5042

Opening Hours
N.B. Last entry is 15 minutes before closing

Monday–Saturday 10.00am–5.00pm*
Thursday until 8.00pm

Sundays and Bank Holidays
11.00 am4.00pm

*Second floor closes 15 minutes before closing
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