Post-Picturesque: Photographing Ireland presents the work of nine accomplished Irish artists to American audiences, many for the first time, and includes photography, video, installations, and artists’ books.
Ireland beckons tourists with its near-mythic rural beauty, even in post-Celtic Tiger times. To many outside the island, Ireland’s identity continues to be entrenched in the romantic vision of idyllic, rustic people and places. Tourists are fed photos of bucolic green fields, stone walls, ruins, grazing beasts and cottages that perpetuate practices of the picturesque, which pushes the real, contemporary experience of Irish life out of view. Defying the inherent natural beauty of Ireland, Irish photographers embrace the challenge of representing a new, emboldened Irish identity through quizzical, charming, daring and truthful photography.
This exhibition presents exciting new work by cutting-edge Irish artists, created with critical intelligence, a keen sense of history, compositional vigor, and lively humor still deeply embedded in place. Each artist grapples with the challenge of visually defining a landscape that retains many features of Ireland’s agrarian past, even its sectarian conflict, as well as more modern concerns of turbulent economic forces, farming methods, European Union regulations, real estate development, and lifestyle choices which effect Ireland’s rural experience and urban challenges.
Post-Picturesque: Photographing Ireland is a generous gift from Carleton College, demonstrating stronger institutional bonds between Rochester Art Center and area galleries and museums. This ambitious exhibition, curated by Carleton’s Perlman Teaching Museum Director Laurel Bradley, includes the following artists: Gary Coyle, Jill Quigley, Anna Rackard, Martin Cregg, David Farrell, Paul Gaffney, Anthony Haughey, Miriam O’Connor, and Ruby Wallis.