Mark Garry, 'Another Place', installation view (showing detail of Folds, sizes variable, threads, pins and beads). [enlarge]

Mark Garry, 'Another Place', installation view (showing detail of Folds, sizes variable, threads, pins and beads).

Mark Garry, 'Blue Eyed Grass Series', hand carved American basswood, sizes variable, 2009 [enlarge]

Mark Garry, 'Blue Eyed Grass Series', hand carved American basswood, sizes variable, 2009

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REVIEW

Mark Garry: Another Place

Kerlin Gallery, Dublin
15 January - 13 February

Reviewed by: Jessica Foley »

I went last week down along the Grand Canal in Dublin. I have a real fondness for the canal. It acts like a strange umbilical cord, drawing a line from my adult house to my childhood house in the midlands of Ireland. The day I walked along it last the sun was shining brightly and lowly in the sky, beaming out through winter weary clouds, highlighting their edges in a premonition of springtime. The kind of sunlight that cuts right through to the back of your eye unreservedly diminishing your sight to only shadows and traces of reality - relieving you temporarily of any responsibility of direction. Though I did have some purpose in my ambling on this day, I was sauntering but with intent. My downward cast eyes found coolness in the suddenly clear and tranquil canal waters. Similarly, as with the clouds, the canal waters betrayed the onset of seasonal change that day - seeming more translucent than had been previously possible. The ducks seemed to corroborate this by appearing to glide as if on air. I batted my eyelids to confirm the physics of it. Walking along the canal, on a crisp and sunny afternoon became the backdrop for my task that day, which was to visit an art gallery and look at Another Place.

I'd never been to this gallery before. There were stairs first, square, light woodish brown steps, flighting upwards ahead of me, so naturally I followed. I could hear the faint humming of technology on one of the landings, a door ajar led me to believe an office and workers existed there. I kept on up and up, until I broke through into the whiteness of the space - it was a long room, at one end threaded with a warp of rainbow colours and at the other closed with small layers of black gauze, misaligned, and so not quite transparent and not quite opaque - the black gauze confused me. I walked around the room to see what was to be seen, photo etchings of a tornado in various colours, wooden flowers extruding from the wall, a string of beads like a snake being charmed to the heavens, a drawing of multi-coloured S-shaped lines in tow of each other, black gauze made from sheets of sandpaper, and a yellow feathery headed moment of calm on a miniature stage extending from the wall... like an island of serene thought, a deserted piece of mind, peaceful and extended to the eyes of the visitor. At this point I decided to go and sit in the farthest corner, to try to assimilate what I'd seen.

They thundered up the stairs, heavy footed and group-like, just as I was delighting in being the only one present. "Tornados," said one to another. "Prism," the other said in reply. And then more footsteps, drowned out by laughter not a moment too soon. "A feather duster" said one to another. "My one at home is better than that", said the other back with a facetious chortle. "I like the coloured threads" said one almost to herself. And then a phone disintegrated the space. Mumblings followed. "We'll go and do something will we?" said one to another. "Yeah," said the other back. They thundered away again, plod, plod, plod, plod, thunk, shuffle, away, away, down, down, down... Quiet.

"Sorry about my ignorance, But I think I don't understand it... Rubén. Good Luck anyway..."
A visitor's comment in the Guest Book

It's not unusual to glide through a gallery, looking, and then to set away again. It might be more unusual to squat awhile. We are used to orientation I think, we are used to systems which are meant to guide us, the road signs and traffic lights of our city streets, or the 'statement' and 'synopsis' of the art exhibition. And when the artist attempts to question this orientation through their practice, through spending time, effort, touch, engaging in that which is both a process of value and an end in itself; the process carving out the mind, the product testifying to that mental sculpture, we can forget to imagine the journey undertaken. We can forget to ask about the journey at all. How I got to the gallery that day helped me to begin to think about the possible journey of those object testimonies carefully placed about the long white room at the top of the stairs. It may sound 'fanciful' or 'whimsical' to some, but that is what I believe. Perhaps the artist would agree. I believe that understanding is not passive or static, but it is ongoing and difficult, revelatory and transcendental, and only sometimes does it betray itself through its by-products of testimony. I think I saw a sublime glimpse of it that day in Mark Garry's work.

Venue detail:
Kerlin Gallery »
, Dublin

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