Martina Corry, Untitled, 2005 photographic paper, aluminium 35x48.7cm

Martina Corry

Martina Corry

Exhibition previews 8pm, June 17th Exhibition runs until July 22nd

Martina Corry is a visual artist working within the field of photography and graduated from the University of Ulster in 1999 with an MFA (with Distinction) specialising in photography. This is her first solo show at Context Galleries.

Most of the artist’s images are made without using the optics (i.e. the lamp, lens, colour, gobo and mirror system that produces a projected image) of the camera. In the darkroom images are generated through actions carried out on the photographic paper. Actions such as creasing, crumpling, folding, cutting and drawing engage directly with the picture surface as a material in itself.

Corry is interested in how photographs are experienced simultaneously as image and object, tangibly real and yet somehow remote. Not merely images, but seen, encountered and negotiated as real objects. Often employing a single motif or action, previous works have explored ideas concerning memory and intimacy through the absence of figuration. Recent works have explored memory and vision through the activity of drawing and mark making.

The use of materials such as fibre optics (specially manufactured, hair-thin glass fibre for the transmission of communications in the form of light) in the image making process addresses the fundamentals of the chemical based photographic process namely the play of light on the surface of a light sensitive material. Fibre optics are today used widely in communication systems. In the technology’s early development, optical transmission was possible due to the “phenomenon of total internal reflection, which can confine light in a material surrounded by other materials with lower reflective index, such as glass in air.” (Jeff Hecht)

The images are made as opposed to having been taken- in the way a camera could be said to passively ‘take’ a photograph. The image is built up over a period of time and rather than merely representing a past event records and represents itself, inextricably linking the real and the represented.

Many of the works in this exhibition are luminograms. (A luminogram is the resulting image caused by exposing the photosensitive medium to light without the intervention of an object. The light is modulated by varying the intensity through distance from the photosensitive surface, power of the light source, or by the use of filters or gels or motion of the light. The paper can itself be shaped to create the desired effects in the final image.) Gottfried J├Ąger describes these as “the result of pure light design; the rudimentary expression of an interaction of light and photosensitive material… a kind of self representation of light.”

Andrew James Boyle, The Raven, video stills

The Raven, Andrew James Boyle

The Raven
Andrew James Boyle

Exhibition previews 8pm Saturday 17 June, 2006.
Exhibition runs until July 15th

Andrew James Boyle graduated in Media at NWIFHE in 2006. He has previously exhibited and selected work as part of the Context Galleries project, Videographies in November 2005; and was awarded the NWHB Moving Image Media Award in May 2006.

“If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.” Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe’s poem ‘The Raven’ is brought to the foreground by the artist Andrew James Boyle in his attempt to project the poem in a significantly contemporary fashion. Andrew’s work is constituted as contemporary as the poem is read aloud by familiar faces that penetrate the domain of the media on a daily basis. It seems that the poem remains intransigent in it’s effectiveness, even in today’s modern society it has left an imprint on our minds as it appears to have an eclectic influence on film makers, writers and musicians in the 21st century.
My next thought concerned to the choice of an impression or effect, to be conveyed: and here I may as well observe that, throughout the construction, I kept steadily in view the design of rendering the work universally acceptable’ Edgar Allan Poe
One can only imagine the writer sitting at his desk with the lights turned down, pondering over his manuscript. Poe’s world is one which escapes into the Romantic and the Gothic; a world reflecting his own inner turmoil and pain. It conjures the question as to how Andrew James Boyle’s work and that of Poe’s are inextricably linked. Since the Romantic and the Gothic are justified as tools to escape the realities of life, modern society poses the opposite, there is no room for privacy. Our media is overshadowed by reality TV shows, we gloat on the misfortunes of others in this seemingly godless world. However as each person reads out a verse from the poem, the literal word demonstrates a living embodiment and diverse mannerist nature of ‘The Raven’.
Christine Mullin, Curator

This exhibition is a Context First Curatorial Project selected by Christine Mullin, recent Context Gallery trainee. Context First Curatorial Projects is a scheme allowing gallery trainees from the region to develop the experience of working with artists for the first time.

This work, The Raven, features a complete video performance of Edgar Allan Poe’s haunting poem from 1845, The Raven. All eighteen verses of the poem are read by a cast of comedians, actors, singers, musicians, a DJ, a politician and a mime artist. Each reader reads a single verse of the poem to camera for the artist. Each act of reading is a performance which characterizes both the poem and the reader. The readers were filmed backstage, in green rooms, on tour buses, in college corridors and concert hall storerooms; at various gigs, performances, and public events over 2005 and 2006. Readers include:

Des Bishop, comedian
John Hume, politician, Nobel Prize Winner
Ardal O’Hanlon, comedian
Paul Linehan, vocalist and bassist of Irish band The Frank and Walters
Glen Hansard, vocalist of Irish band The Frames
Amy Farina, vocalist and drummer of American band The Evens
Richmond Shepherd, American mime artist/director/producer
Colin Fox, bassist of English band Delays
Dara O’Briain, comedian
Pony & Pee Pee, vocalist and keyboards of Irish band The Chalets
Paul Noonan, vocalist of Irish band Bell X1
Colin Murphy, comedian
Pete Doherty, vocalist of English bands Babyshmables, The Libertines
Ian McKaye, vocalist of American band Fugazi
Jack L, singer
Tony Robinson, British actor, author and presenter
Neil Hannon, vocalist of British band The Divine Comedy

The Raven

Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!'
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more!'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as `Nevermore.'

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow will he leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never-nevermore."'

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking `Nevermore.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!

Delta 32: When the Jazz Man Testifies The Wise Man Believes…

the final instalment of...
Abridged 0 – 4: An(other) Irishman in New York

Curator Greg McCartney, selecting for a 2007 Context project, continues his reports from an Arts Council of Northern Ireland Residency in New York.

Well, Sky Sports, The Guardian, The Independent, The Sun, The Daily Mirror, The Express, The Mail and all your so called football ‘experts’ contained within – Your boys took a hell of a beating! Champions Chelsea again! Sorry about that, had to get that off my chest. And welcome Michael Ballack and Andriy Shevchenko. The world’s best. Don’t need to say more. So I won’t.

So this is pretty much my last entry this side of the ocean. The project at this end is nearly complete. I’m happy the way it’s turned out. I’ve met a lot of people; saw much art in many studios and many galleries. It’s been very beneficial and I’m pretty certain I will return. I’ve worked hard (ok nobody will actually believe me when I say that and isn’t working down a coalmine but still…) and I’m hoping that the project gets funded and that Derry sees some damn fine artists and some damn fine art (sorry for the Twin Peaks terminology – a damn fine show.). Is there any lessons to be learned to take back home? Hmmm probably is, though they tend to become apparent in time rather than anything startling and revelatory. We currently operate in a different sphere where thankfully it’s isn’t imperative on us to sell though in the future who knows what will happen.

My impressions of New York? Well, a great city, an untidy city, a noisy city, an angry city (see previous blog for the reasons) a diverse city (you can’t possibly realise how diverse until you get here) and a city that has too many galleries. Never thought I’d here myself say that, but bloody hell there’s a lot. If all that was important was the exhibition itself this wouldn’t be such a problem but when the need to sell is uppermost, well you tend to get a lot of dodgy abstract paintings with a lot of red dots appearing beside them. So imaginative artists don’t really benefit from the vast number or if they do they have to come up with something saleable. There are notable exceptions (see previous blogs for examples) of course. Could I operate in this arena? Probably could though coming from the public background I tend to think in terms of ‘show’ rather than what will sell. But with a space and some money (much easier said than done) I think I could do something over here. (Go West…Life is Better there…Go West…In the Open Air…and all that!) Hasn’t everyone from Columbus onwards said that though? Mind you, still even at this stage haven’t got the hang of the food thing!

It’ll be interesting to discover fully what’s been happening at home and to immerse myself in the deluge of funding form filling again. The OBG controversy has succumbed to real world politics as was inevitable I suppose. We’ll await developments on the newly reopened space with interest and won’t say ‘told you so’ if museum type things occur.

It was great seeing so many studios and talking to so many artists. Sadly of course the remit of the project meant that all the work I saw, even though it was interesting didn’t always fit. It’s often hard to get away from the form filling so visiting a million converted warehouses and factories was beneficial. Also there could be some lessons for establishing studios learned from here. For example there’s a set of studios right in the heart of Manhattan loaned to an artists organisation by the company that owns the (very plush) building. Basically they’ve given them a very (ahem) basic floor, which has been simply divided up but hey with workable and wide lifts it seems pretty good to me. Maybe there could be some similar avenue explored in Derry?

Thanks are due in no small way to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Declan Sheehan of Context Galleries who are responsible for me being here. Thank you kindly.

Well this is a shorter piece to end on than usual because the author is now going to operate in fully fledged tourist mode. And there’s nothing wrong with that! The Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty awaits…So Goodbye, and Abridged 0-3: Romance & Assassination(that confused you! – see previous blog for explanation) will appear very soon as will the first Abridged public art project, Abridged 0-5.

Have A Nice Day!