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Art Review: 2020 MU

16 January 20 words: Adrian Shaw

Our Adrian pottered down to Surface Gallery to check out another marvellous exhibition...

I was privileged enough to meet Una Nic Samhradhain (AKA Agnes Williams) and MJ (AKA Michael Sheppard) at Surface last week, during the launch of the 2020MU and International Postcard Show exhibitions. Una and MJ are collaborators in this show, (hoping to form a collective of local artists), who explore colour in a mixed and cross-media way. Their application of methods in a celebration of colour and light and sound is definitely worth experiencing.

They also put-on a workshop on the following day, exploring printing with mixed colours, starting with drawing on polystyrene cards, then etched with pencil, and used as a surface for intricate colouring with a gesso-acrylic mixtures. I joined in and found their method different from others I’ve encountered. These techniques were also used in some work shown in the exhibition.

Una exhibited work commemorating the Great Irish Famine and other socially-concerned work, such as ‘Toxic Tulips’ (which refers to myths of Tulip mania in the 1600s, which led to an economic crash through mass-speculation).

The part of the show by MJ The Art Traveller (Michael) took the visitor on a journey of colour, sound and moving image, which I found extraordinary in its layering and complexity.

It combines collages of recorded images via drawing and combined with time-lapse video and rhythm, telling tales from his personal experience while being a participant on Sky Arts’ Portrait Artist of the Year.

Una Nic Samhradhain, in concert, invites the observer to engage with a celebration of escape via her portrayal of colourfully complex, the twisting forms populating her landscapes of imagination, and figures and sculptures.

The colour, sound and exuberance of these joyful exteriors overlie a deeper and foreboding truth – raising questions regarding the past, present and future of our environment.       

The collaborative show offset the upcoming Winter dark. Punters were most definitely stimulated, entertained and informed by what the artists achieved in 2020MU.

2020MU exhibited at Surface Gallery from Friday 10 January to Saturday 18 January.

Surface Gallery website

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