All posts by Hilary Murray

Writing and reviews by Hilary Murray

Sonia Shiel: Pet Boy and the Bird’s Dream

Live Performance: Friday, November 25th (6-7pm), as part of Dublin Gallery Weekend. This installation will also be on display Saturday 26th, and Sunday 27th. 

Booking is recommended:

Pet Boy and The Bird’s Dream, has been developed as part of Avocado – a UCD Parity Studios’ Artist-in-Residence production, by the 2016-17 Arts and Humanities’ Artist-in-Residence Sonia Shiel. It involves the materialisation of dove-tailing short-stories into a new play and will see its adaptation to film, sculpture and installation with a series of events throughout 2016 and 2017, and this first performance of it in ArtBox on the 25th of November. Pet Boy and the Bird’s Dream is written and directed by Sonia Shiel. It acts as a prologue to her project at UCD, which will culminate in a major performance and installation in autumn 2017. UCD Parity Studios is a university wide programme connecting the rich ecology of art practice in Ireland with research and education at University College Dublin. The performance will take the shape of a staged read through, akin to free reader theatre, or chamber theatre. The installation will feature intrinsic props and set pieces, around which the action is performed, gestured and narrated, conjuring surreal encounters between fictional characters and the illusory world around them.

Sonia Shiel has had recent exhibitions at The Crawford Gallery, Cork; The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; The Lewis Glucksman Gallery, UCC, Cork; Rua Red, Dublin; ISCP, New York; The Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin; and The Oonagh Young Gallery, Dublin, among others. In 2014, Sonia Shiel received the Arts Council’s Project Award, with which she completed the Art & Law Fellowship Program, at Fordham Law School, while participating on the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York. In 2015, she was Artist-inResidence at the Irish Museum of Modern Art and received Arts Council Visual Artists Bursary 2015. She has been the recipient of many competitive awards including the (HIAP) Helsinki International Artist-in-residence; Culture Ireland and Arts Council funding; the Centre Culturel Irlandais Award; the TBG+S Frankfurt Exchange Program; Banff Centre for the Arts, Leighton Residency Award, Canada; the Hennessy Craig Award (RHA); The Tony O’Malley Award; and TBG&S Membership Residency, among others. Her works are in public and private collections including the Arts Council of Ireland and the Office of Public Works. She is represented by the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin. UCD

PARITY STUDIOS ARTIST IN RESIDENCE PROGRAM Through the UCD Artist in Residence Programme, Elective modules and Public Engagement Programme, UCD Parity Studios Residencies support critical thinking and creative approaches to cross- disciplinary research, pedagogy and communication. It offers year long residencies to professional artists who are interested in developing collaborative projects in a university environment. Artist studios, based in converted laboratories in UCD School of Physics, provide a bright working hub and supportive environment for this unique community of artists at University College Dublin. Supported by UCD Colleges of Science, Social Sciences and Law, Arts and Humanities and College of Business, the Residency Program creates a dynamic network of professional artists, academics, researchers and students, working at the intersections of their disciplines. Pet Boy and the Bird’s Dream has been kindly supported by the UCD School of Arts and Humanities and The UCD Drama Society, with special thanks to Eamonn Jordan and Seán Mac Dhonnagáin.


Sausage Fest

Jemma Egan | Sheila Rennick

28th October -18th Nov. Preview: 28th Oct (6-8pm)

Sausage Fest is an exhibition by UK based artists Jemma Egan and Sheila Rennick. Through their diverse practices, questions of taste, aesthetics and class culture are explored through painting, sculpture and moving image where both artists investigate cultural identity through a contemporary lens.

Rennick’s paintings based on screen-grabs from online dating applications feature male figures presenting themselves to potential suitors. In stereotypical representations of hyper-masculinity and bravado, each man is depicted in Rennick’s distinctive loose and free styling. Her lurid and unrestricted technique undermines each of the characters’ supposed confident stance.  Alongside these portraits is a painting of of a pair of discarded female underwear, perhaps a trophy of a past sexual conquest, an image to allure and arouse, or an imagined interaction.

Egan’s sculptural and video works are derived from specific sources references and images based on fast-food products. Like Rennick, Egan explores question of taste, instant gratification or the quick fix. We are fed a diet consisting of mostly pork products, which has obvious sexual connotations, banger.  A video work of a pussy’s tail seductively swaying from side to side further implicates the viewer.

Rather than looking from the outside, both artists are rooted within the context and culture they are referencing, so despite hints of satire and humour, there is still a certain affinity with the subject-matter. Together Egan and Rennick demonstrate a palpable interest in what lies between what we might desire or hold in disgust. Furthermore, the work included in Sausage Fest not only alludes towards sexuality, but pokes at our abject and engrained needs.

Sausage Fest is guest curated for ArtBox by Séamus McCormack.

Jemma Egan is an artist based in London. She completed an MA in Sculpture at The Royal College of Art in 2015 and BA in Fine Art in Liverpool in 2005. Recent exhibitions include: It means more to me than most people, Zabludowicz Collection-Invites, London, 2016 (solo); Bloomberg New Contemporaries, The Bluecoat, Liverpool and ICA, London, 2016; dip, CBS Gallery, Liverpool, 2016; Is it Heavy or Is it Light?, Assembly Point, London, 2016. Upcoming projects include an Arts Council and British Council AIDF research trip to Las Vegas, 2017 and an artist residency at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, 2017.

Sheila Rennick graduated from NCAD with a degree in Fine Art Painting in 2004 and upon graduating swas co-recipient of the prestigious CAP Foundation Award. In 2006 she completed an MA in Painting at St. Martins College, London. She was one of thirty artists selected from across the UK for the notable Jerwood Contemporary Painting exhibition, 2007.  Recent exhibitions include Save Changes at Stour Space, Hackney Wick, London, 2015 and Somethign for Nothing, Hillsboro Fine Art, 2016 (solo).  Rennick was selected for Futures at the RHA, Dublin and in 2016 was awarded runner up at The Marmite Painting Prize at Block 336, London.  She lives and works in London. Sheila Rennick is represented by Hillsboro Fine Art.

Séamus McCormack is a curator and artist based in London and is Programme Manager, New Contemporaries.  Previously he was Assistant Curator: Whitechapel Gallery; Assistant Curator: Collections, IMMA and Project Coordinator: Exhibitions, IMMA.  At IMMA he curated exhibitions Traces (2009); Roadkill (2014) and was co-curator of Mobile Encounters (2014) and Primal Architecture (2014).  At Whitechapel he was Assistant Curator on Christopher Williams – The Production Line Of HappinessHarun Farocki – ParallelThe Kibbo Kift Kindred and Electronic Superhighway. He has co-edited numerous publications and written on artists including Haroon Mirza, Paul Sharits, Jonas Lund, Ulla Wiggen, Christopher Williams, Janine Davidson and Elaine Leader. As an artist he has exhibited his work in solo and group exhibitions

Main Image: From Here to Eternity single screen moving image, looped (steel hot dogs with oil on brass) 2014

The Subnatural and MONTO

Inspired by the notion of Subnature and the terrain of historic MONTO. ArtBox invites you to enjoy a menu by chef Clare Anne O’Keefe and responsive artwork by artist Bridget O’Gorman.

This event takes place at the gallery from Tuesday 18th-Friday 21st October 1-2pm (daily), booking is essential.


As part of ArtBox’s LUNCHBOX, we invite you to join us for “The Subnatural and MONTO”, a food and art intervention. The event will take place in ArtBox gallery on James Joyce Street from 1-2pm, October 18th-21st. The event will begin with an artistic intervention, inspired by the spaces of the historic MONTO by Bridget O’Gorman and moving onto a meal which will take a creative look at the local terroir, using “subnature” as its point of reference. Courses include a deconstructed “black” coddle, and an urban foraged salad. Vegan options available upon request.

The term “subnature” was coined by architectural theorist David Gissen in 2009 to describe the less desirable aspects of the built environment: puddles, pollution, and pigeons. Subnature questions the historical assumption behind the mostly unquestioned hierarchy in which light, air, and greenery are perceived as “good,” while the equally natural dust, dirt, and weeds are unwelcome. Subnature and MONTO aims to engage with historical perceptions of subnatural environments and attempt to re-imagine them for the future.

“Send it back from deep inside to where it came from transformed and used up”

“Taking a long, deep gulp of thickened blackened air now releasing it”

Bridget O’Gorman graduated with a BA in Fine Art Painting from the Crawford College of Art (IRL) in 2003. In 2008 she completed an MFA between the Department of Applied Art and The School of Sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland. Recent solo and selected group exhibitions include In The Flesh at The Lab Gallery IE 2016, Telling the Bees at the Galway Arts Centre IE 2015. She is the recipient of various awards including the Golden Fleece Award Shortlist/Commendation 2015, Arts Council Visual Arts Bursary Award 2016/14.

Clare Anne O’Keefe has curated a series of edible artworks for Dublin’s Science Gallery. She recently collaborated with the Centre for Genomic Gastronomy and the bio-artist Oron Catts on ArtMeatFlesh, a live performance in Smock Alley Theatre centred around the philosophies of future foods. She is currently working with Dr Jane Stout (TCD) to create Insect /animal pollinator recipes and a stage performance as part of “PROBE”; an art and science festival night.

Mystery Ewer

Jane Fogarty | Mark Swords

Exhibition dates: September 10th – October 8th.

Preview: Friday, September 9th (6-8pm)

Mystery Ewer, features new work by artists Mark Swords & Jane Fogarty. Referencing the trans-disciplinary nature of contemporary practice through the work of these two artists, Mystery Ewer explores the boundaries of perceived genre. Throughout history exchange and dialogue have existed between distinct media, more recently the notion of media specificity has become a non-issue. Today’s “sculpture” derives much of its source material from painting, and “painting” from sculpture.

Jane Fogarty’s work derives from the artist’s interest in the history of painting. Fogarty’s sculptural work focuses attention on exploring those spaces that sit between sculpture and painting. Mark Swords’ paintings are well known for their ongoing dialogue with the spaces within and surrounding them, the paintings often moving out of their frames inhabiting the exhibition space. This exhibition takes its title from Adrian Saxe’s 1989 work “Untitled, Mystery Ewer”. Saxe, a member of the 1960’s Funk Art Movement (1) (along with Robert Arneson at UC Davis), explored the limits to, and integrity of clay as a sculptural medium in response to the dominance of painting’s Abstract Expressionist notion of medium specificity (2). The works featured in Mystery Ewer contain an amusing cross-referencing of genres and materials, exchanging the frame of painting and sculpture across works as each artist explores the fluidity and range of contemporary practice today.

This exhibition is curated by Hilary Murray, assisted by Isobel Foley and Katy Gaffney. Mark Swords is represented by Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin.



Main Image: Mark Swords, Untitled (detail) (2016), left;  Jane Fogarty, Untitled (2016) right and below.

Jane Fogarty


PhotoIreland 2016: UU MFA

PhotoIreland 2016: MA in Fine Art in Photography, Ulster University’s Belfast School of Art.

Exhibition Dates: July 8th-23rd. Preview, Friday, July 8th (6-8pm)

New works from the MA in Fine Art in Photography, Ulster University’s Belfast School of Art. This exhibition marks the culmination of study for a group of MFA Photography Students at Ulster University’s Belfast School of Art. The photographs are part of a greater body of research that each student has completed for their final year project.

Artists: Aaron Dickson, Richard Gosnold, Dianne Whyte, Tim West, Dalyce Wilson, Katrina Taggart

This exhibition is part of the PhotoIreland festival, 2016.

Main image: Richard Gosnold, 2016. Copyright the artist.

Adam Gibney: Euclid, I miss you..

Adam Gibney: Euclid, I miss you..

June 10th-July 2nd. Preview, June 9th

“But this map of what surrounds the present, like all maps, is only a surface; its features are but abstract signs and symbols of things that in themselves are concrete bits of sensible experience.” (1)

 Symbolic descriptions of reality, even the axiomatic, have proven to be only temporary and tentative. The line, a breadthless length(2), now protrudes into the platonic. The solid formal structures that held truth now exist precariously within the newfound multitudes of reality. The rigorous quest for certainty seems to only expand the terrain of uncertainty. Here and there, an arbitrary line connects points, which have no part (3), here.

Adam Gibney is a Dublin based artist who graduated from IADT in 2010. He was the recipient of the IMOCA Graduate Award, the Aileen MacKeogh Award and the Siamsa Tíre Emerging Artist Award. His solo exhibitions include Limbo-Excavated (2011),RE:definition (2012) and Exercises of an Audionaut (2014). Most recently his work was exhibited as part of the RHA’s Futures Anthology

In June 2016 Adam will present Euclid, I miss you, a solo exhibition in ArtBox Dublin. Other upcoming events include Deep Inside (Moscow Biennale of Young Art) and Activating Pangea (CB1 Gallery, Los Angeles).

This exhibition is kindly supported by Fingal County Council


Cloudlands National Tour

CLOUDLANDS National Tour, Helium Arts

Exploring the Creative Lives of Teenagers in Hospital

Exhibition Dates: 19 May- 2 June. Preview: Thursday May 19th (6-8pm).

The Cloudlands National Tour by Helium Arts invites audiences into the creative lives of teenagers in hospital. Themes of alternate realities, escape and hidden stories are revealed through two distinct pieces of artwork, developed by artists Rachel Tynan and Eszter Némethi with teenagers in Temple Street Children’s University Hospital and Cork University Hospital.  The Cloudlands National Tour runs from March to June 2016 in arts venues and hospitals in Galway, Waterford, Cork and Dublin. Cloudlands will be accompanied by a series of free events for artists, schools and medical students at participating arts venues. For tour information visit


Galway Galway Arts Centre 4 – 19 March 2016

Waterford Garter Lane Arts Centre 31 March – 9 April 2016

Cork The Atrium, Cork City Hall 22 – 28 April 2016

Dublin ArtBox, 19 May- 2 June 2016

The Cloudlands National Tour is funded by an Arts Council of Ireland Touring and Dissemination of Work Award.

Rachel Tynan graduated from the National College of Art and Design (BA Art and Design Education) in 2009. She recently completed her Masters in Design, examining the effects illness has on the human body through textile, sculpture and body art. She exhibited Soar Saor as part of The Ark’s Awakening Curiosityexhibition (2012) and her solo exhibition Cut Throat at The LAB (2012) pushed her work beyond the fixed manifestations of installation with an explorative dance performance which further explored the experience of living with an illness.

Eszter Némethi is a theatre maker and holds a BA in Drama and Theatre Studies from UCC. She has a special interest in collaborative performance making in various contexts. Her work centres on “real” non-actor performers and collaborators, strongly defined spaces and a special attention to the audience’s experience and engagement. Over the past year, Eszter has been exploring the use of game-mechanics and interactivity in her work. Eszter is the artistic director of Makeshift Ensemble and director of the company’s productions to date, Exit Strategy (2013), No One Can Hear You In There (2012) and Osteoporosis (2011). She is also curator of the multi-disciplinary arts event Quarter.

Helium Arts is a children’s arts and health organisation transforming the healthcare experience of young people and those who care for them through art, imagination and play. Established in 2009, Helium’s creative projects take place in hospitals, health centres, and community settings across Ireland.


Emma Eager, Communications Officer, Helium Arts

Mob: 086 3552789 |


PROVING GROUND: The Age of Independence, The Internet and Ireland

Exhibition Dates: April 1st-30th. Preview: Thursday, March 31st (6-8pm)

ArtBox is delighted to present a new work by artist Fiona Marron. Marron’s. PROVING GROUND, explores Ireland’s communications infrastructure and its significance historically. This extensive project also explores how  Ireland’s perceived neutrality and geographical location contributed to the cultivation of a scientific research tradition, nurturing its existence as a location for experimental systems.

Juxtaposing the contemporary with the historical, the work presents the latest Irish cable station in its preparation for a new fibre optic cable to be put in service during 2016, together with an account of Ireland’s position within the development of cable technology over the past century. Linking America to Europe, this new submarine cable is designed to be the most secure transatlantic cable system in existence and has its landfall on the west coast of Ireland. The cable’s onward course is observed at various junctures in the Irish landscape, beneath which it follows a trajectory to the featured cable station.This work was developed in association with the UCD Art in Science Residency programme – Parity Studios.

Fiona Marron was born in Co. Monaghan in 1987 and now lives and works in Dublin. She holds a BA in Fine Art from Dublin Institute of Technology (2009) and an MA in Visual Arts Practice from IADT Dun Laoghaire (2013). Solo exhibitions include ‘Pivot a closed path’ at Flat Time House, London (2015), ‘Co-location’ at RUA RED South Dublin Arts Centre (2013), ‘Last and First Men’ at The Joinery, Dublin (2011), ‘As Topic and Tool’ at The Joinery (2010) and ‘For Who Knows What’ at FOUR, Dublin (2009). Recent group exhibitions include ‘Bandits live comfortably in the ruins’, Flat Time House, London (2016), ‘Reverse Pugin!’ at St. Cartage Hall, Lismore Caste Arts, Co.Waterford (2015), ‘In Free Circulation’ at Mother’s Tankstation, Dublin (2014), ‘Ingenious Showcase’ at The Drawing Project, Dun Laoghaire (2014) and ‘At the level of entity’ at The LAB, Dublin (2013).



Barbara Knezevic | Tadhg McSweeney

Exhibition dates: February 5th-March 5th.
Preview: Thursday, February 4th, ArtBox 6-8pm

The object has engaged with art’s historical and contemporary encounter with destruction, as well as more philosophical explorations of iconoclasm. When we witness destruction in the field of culture, such as the recent destruction of Palmyra in Syria, some societal breakdown has inevitably occurred:

“News footage of museum looting in times of civic unrest and revolution, seem particularly powerful, functioning almost metonymically for the breakdown of civilized society as a whole into anarchy” (1)

Object Wars explores the rich history of object making, collecting and the place of the object in fine art today. Museum collections and the objects therein, are often seen as the vehicle of historic human narrative. Depicting scenes from World events, these objects often reduce the complexity of human suffering into a simplified mark or decoration. Through the contemporary art object, artists challenge the framing of history through cultural institutions, whilst acknowledging the delicate balance between the preciousness of the object and the precariousness of life.

“The sense of something irreplaceable at stake in each example is matched by the paradoxical way this reverence is reawakened by the sound of its own disintegration, whether we actually hear it or not.”(2)

1. Laura Grey ‘No Construction without destruction’: Ceramics, sculpture and iconoclasm. Art and Destruction, Jennifer Waldon (Ed)
2. Cornelia Parker, ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’. Art and Destruction, Jennifer Waldon (Ed)

Main image: Barbara Knezevic , Objects for a film (2015)

This exhibition is curated by ArtBox Director Hilary Murray. Tadhg McSweeney is represented by Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin. ArtBox is supported by Dublin City Council.



A series of performance events at ArtBox.

Exhibition dates: December 3rd – December, 17th, 2015.

Participating artists: Atoosa Pour Hosseini | Teresa Gillespie | Justine McDonnell

Schedule (all 6-7pm):
December 3rd: “MIRAGE”, Atoosa Pour Hosseini
December 10th: “You and Me”, Justine McDonnell
December 17th: “moot”, Teresa Gillespie

In the idea of art we find the moment in which human alienation is overcome and the need for the experience of meaning and value is satisfied. Through art, in the aesthetic experience, the rift in the world that frustrates our primordial desire for encountering a sense of meaning and value is healed. (1)

Against the assumption that there is a single public sphere in which citizens come together to argue about the great issues of the day, performance art shows us how fragmented and plural public spheres are in contemporary democracies. For there can be no doubt that this is art by, and for, a minority audience, an art that cannot even pretend to mass appeal. When it does intersect with the more general public sphere, it is precisely its challenge to the reigning assumptions about decency, artistic value, and the role of state sponsorship of controversial art that has a democratising effect. Democracy, we might say, works best if such enclaves are allowed relative autonomy and allowed to serve as laboratories for unorthodox and even offensive ideas and practices, which can then invigorate, outrage, and provoke the general public, whose pieties need to be challenged from time to time. Although the more general public can easily dismiss what it finds objectionable as self-indulgent and exhibitionist, and often has, in time, a kind of learning process can take place in which at least some of the provocations produce more general reflections on the cultural and political issues raised by the offenders. (2)

1. Thomas Alexander, “The Art of Life: Dewey’s Aesthetics,” in Reading Dewey: Interpretations for a Postmodern Generation, ed. Larry A. Hickman (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, l998)

2. Excerpt taken from, Somaesthetics and Democracy: Dewey and Contemporary Body Art, by MARTIN JAY, Journal of Aesthetic Education, Vol. 36, No. 4, Winter 2002

Main image: Justine McDonnell, image below Teresa Gillespie “moot” (2015) video stills. Series curated by Hilary Murray, assisted by Daniel Bermingham.