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  •  A solo show of new work by Margaret Corcoran, Emergence will open on Sept 30th at 7.30pm 

7.30pm, May 6th: Zephyr - Alice Maher
Zephyr; works on paper by Alice Maher, opens in Claremorris Gallery at 7.30pm, May 6th.  

In Alice Maher’s show Zephyr; works on paper, we see the breadth and variety of her practice in drawing, print and watercolour. Maher’s reference points include art history, mythic narrative and, more recently, medical textbooks. Her shape shifting figures call down and mischievously intervene with the oft times problematic representation of the feminine throughout all of these fields.  Zephuros was the god of the west wind in Greek mythology, and appears on many archaic world maps, blowing ships off course and keeping civilisation confined to the ‘known world’. In Maher’s watercolour, Zephyr, a giant female figure with covered eyes exhales a storm from her open mouth, like a modern dragon in her yellow swimsuit, while in her hand she holds a mysterious amoeba-like object.  This mix of mythic, contemporary and scientific imagery hints at a world of continuous flux, where overlapping elements and intermediate states hold sway.

In her intense watercolours, the inner and outer body enfolds and unfolds simultaneously and elements intermingle in hybrid arrangements. After a recent brush with illness herself, the artist’s works reveal not only an occupation with corporeal transformation, but also a fascination with our contemporary societal unease with the abject, with decay and with death.  A woman carries a monstrous heart upon her back in Hunter; we are not sure if she has birthed herself from this organ or if it is, in fact, devouring her for its own nefarious purposes.  ‘Distilling and braiding a representational web between Hieronymus Bosch and Leonora Carrington’s fantastical subject-object-animal-vegetal transfigurations, Maher’s mutating maids are excessively, incongruently and defiantly within process of becoming and change’, wrote Tina Kinsella on the occasion of Maher’s show The Glorious Maids of the Charnel House at the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery in 2016. 

On an altogether different scale, Matrix, a very large charcoal drawing shows the monumental head of what could be a Mantegna saint in three quarters profile, except that from her open cranium sprouts a great Gordian brain-knot, like the dark star in a science fiction film. The wormly halo balancing so artfully and yet so precariously upon this Madonna’s crown, reflects many other works in the show, including The Snail Chronicles, which were made in collaboration with a group of snails fed with vegetable dye so that their coloured trails formed the basis of the 5 prints, and onto these the artist grafted her own enigmatic imagery. 

Another series of 9 dynamic colourful pieces, Reservoir, employs every conceivable print medium including woodcut, engraving, linocut, etching, carborondum, photopolymer and digital to explore imagery from her back catalogue of sketchbooks stretching over a 30-year period. Her work in animation is also represented with a set of intaglio prints titled The History of Things from her film series of that title made in 2009.  Anarchy, ambiguity, creativity and power are all explored, re-presented, and re-deployed to subversive witty purpose in the works of this challenging shape shifting artist.

Zephyr continues at Claremorris Gallery until May 26th , wed to sat, 1 – 6pm and until June 1st by appointment, (087) 7912337.

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