In Barry Schwabskys Dark Laughter, Genesis Belangers witty sculpture The Options Are Slim, 2019, a facsimile of a plug socket with a kitchen knife jabbed into it, elicits a sardonic laugh no matter how close or far away you stand from it. However, by reducing this and other works by Belanger, Emily Mae Smith, Ellen Berkenblit and June Leaf through an all-too-familiar press release about each artists idiosyncratic tact in a world gone haywire—in which their dark sense of humour quietly rebels against a status quo—the individual prowess of each practice is short-changed.
Before Ikon Galleys exhibition The AerodromeAn exhibition dedicated to the memory of Michael Stanley, Stanleys contributions to the British arts scene were often spoken of in contemplative tones as a result of his suicide at the age of 37.
If curators Jonathan Benington and Brendan Rooney are right and it is time for a re-evaluation of Roderic O’Conor’s oeuvre, then the case they put forward in Roderic O’Conor and the Moderns: Between Paris and Pont-Aven, on view at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin, is certainly a captivating one–but not entirely without its pitfalls.
Any initial humor found in the absurdity of these two hyper-sexualized scenes, perhaps especially for straight male audiences, quickly gives way to uneasiness and introspection, resulting in a sudden and powerful realization that the only way systematic change can begin is from within the viewer.
The uniquely compelling factor, which keeps the viewer in front of the works, is their lack of answers. In these paintings, more so than in any previous body of work, Doig directs the oneiric overtones from the present rather than from memory.