Orla Whelan | Against a
Melancholy Moment (or Magic Carpet) | 2020 | Acrylic paint on plywood
Culture night 2023 the Arts Council will once again proudly showcase a
selection of works recently added to its extensive Visual Art Collection.
To celebrate the
evening we are sharing some insight on each of the artist and artworks which
will be on display:
‘Against A Melancholy Moment (or
Magic Carpet) is a large floor based painting which consists of 63 individually
hand painted plywood wedges. The unit shape is an upscaled canvas wedge/key; a
modest functional component usually found on the reverse of a conventionally
stretched canvas and used to increase tension at the corners. The piece was
developed specifically for Rathfarnham Castle's unrestored, dining room hearth,
for A More Immortal Atlas; a solo exhibition by Orla Whelan at Rathfarnham
Castle, OPW in August – September 2020. It was subsequently exhibited at the
6th Biennial Painting in Zagreb, Croatia.
My work explores the
relationship between colour and form within the expanded conditions of
contemporary painting. I am motivated by an existential anxiety, and by a belief
that abstraction is a viable means to address metaphysical uncertainties. While
my practice is rooted in painting, in addition to oil paint on linen, I use non
traditional painting materials to refer to the materiality and tropes of
painting. These include wood veneers on panel, painted plywood wedges, modified
furniture and site responsive interventions. I also write experimental texts
which explore ideas of authorship, meaning and the conventions of art writing.’
Orla Whelan is a visual
artist based in Dublin. In 2021 she took part in Dubliners -The 6th Biennial of
Painting in Zagreb, Croatia. Recent solo projects include; Matter Mammal Oil
Soar; a book exploring the relationship between art writing, authorship and
painting (Whale Dust Books 2021) which was launched at the Dublin Art Book Fair
at TBG&S, A More Immortal Atlas; solo exhibition at Rathfarnham Castle
(OPW), Dublin (2020), A Falling of the Bright; commission for Facebook A.I.R.
Programme at Grand Canal Dock, Dublin (2019) and Chaos Bewitched, which won the
inaugural Merrion Plinth Award, by the Merrion Hotel, Dublin (2019). Her
practice is supported by The Arts Council of Ireland with a Bursary in 2022 and
2021. Her work is held in the collections of Trinity College Dublin, Merrion
Hotel, and the OPW State Art Collection. Orla is founder and director of At
HomeStudios; a collective of visual artists working from studios based in their
own homes, and the art publishing project Whale Dust
The Arts Council Collection was established in 1962
and now comprises almost 1,350 works of modern and contemporary Irish art.
This year we are delighted to once again welcome
audiences to the Arts Council buildings on Merrion Square to engage with some
our most recent acquisitions.
Works by many of Ireland’s leading artists will be
shown on the night including pieces by: Elizabeth Cope, Miriam De Búrca, Mollie
Douthit, Justin Fitzpatrick, Marie Holohan, Helen Hughes, Catriona Leahy,
Jialin Long, Kevin Mooney, Doireann Ní Ghrioghair, Emma Roche, Mark Swords,
Amna Walayat and Orla Whelan.
As well as this glimpse into the Arts Council
Collection for Culture Night, artworks can be seen all year round throughout
the country as part of exhibitions and long term loans in public buildings such
as hospitals, universities and schools.
the Collection and more on our website here.