Magazine article Artforum International

Fergus Feehily: DOUGLAS HYDE GALLERY

Magazine article Artforum International

Fergus Feehily: DOUGLAS HYDE GALLERY

Article excerpt

Situated on the Trinity College campus, the Douglas Hyde Gallery is distinctive within the Dublin context not only because of its university setting and Brutalist architecture but also because it has provided a particularly prominent platform for the articulation of a strong curatorial voice--that of John Hutchinson, its director since 1993. The addition of a second gallery in 2001 has allowed for parallel exhibitions of artworks and craft objects, further asserting the distinctiveness of this institution. "Pavilion," Fergus Feehily's exhibition in the first gallery, fittingly explored the idea of an enclosed space--whether a room, a gallery, or a provisional structure such as a pavilion--as a coveted territory and a privileged vantage point on the world.

All but one of the sixteen works in the exhibition--the exception being Lakeside Structure (Model), 2009, a simple construction standing in one corner--were presented on the walls, at a low height, appearing almost absurdly small from a distance. Several of these unconventional paintings incorporate images suggesting fields, foliage, or low walls, but these views are often either forcefully contained by wooden frames or partly obscured by the addition of small sheets of painted or plain plywood--implicitly inviting viewers to peer above or below the barrier that only renders the partially hidden components more compelling. In some works, the predominance of grays, pale pinks, and yellows, and the incorporation of found fragments such as lacquered frames, patterned cloth, and bird illustrations evoke a sense of delicacy. In others, however, such fragility is dispelled by the visible presence of multiple large screws, piercing the frame and securing the work directly to the walls of the gallery. This almost violent gesture, suggesting a territorial claim, operates alongside a more whimsical exploration of the gallery as the setting or stage for the invocation of memories and fantasies of other places. …

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