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With Compliments. Photographed in the Limerick City Gallery of Art at the opening of Mountains, Fall on Us by artist Austin McQuinn were the artist and Úna McCarthy, Director, LCGA Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22 With Compliments. Photographed in the Limerick City Gallery of Art at the opening of Mountains, Fall on Us by artist Austin McQuinn were the artist and Úna McCarthy, Director, LCGA Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22

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Mountains, Fall on Us by artist Austin McQuinn runs at Limerick City Gallery of Art until June 9, 2024

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Pictured in the Limerick City Gallery of Art at the opening of Mountains, Fall on Us, artist Austin McQuinn were the artist, Austin McQuinn and Úna McCarthy, Director, LCGA on opening of the exhibition. Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22

Limerick City Gallery of Art (LCGA) brings Mountains, Fall on Us a large body of recent new work by Austin McQuinn

James Lawlor, Úna McCarthy, Director, LCGA, artist Bernedette Cotter and Robert Rasmussen pictured at the launch of the austin McQuinn exhibition. Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22

This is a significant opportunity to experience a large body of new and recent work, curated by Helena Tobin, Artistic Director of South Tipperary Arts Centre (STAC).

Mountains, Fall on Us invokes the poetic object as a means of salvation, alongside micro gestures of iconoclasm. Paintings on discarded military engravings, a tower of Aran sweaters, medals, clay tongues, sequins, bog oak and upholstery fabric are reclaimed and refashioned with a new baroque sensibility. Queered with an optimism and infused with what the artist has called ‘a kind of mad hope’, McQuinn takes possession of these found images and objects, painting over them with ink in an extravagant and decadent defacement.

His reworking of the discarded prints of popes, earls, and imperial militaria with highly elaborate doodling is not so much as critique or commentary but as a reclamation of these historic power images.


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The intention is to achieve a personal overcoming of the experience of oppression by these embodiments of imperial authority. At a bacterial level of interrogation and reinterpretation, the singular becomes plural.

“These new biologies churn with psychedelic energy where, as the artist asserts, “popes become pupae for some new kind of creation or thinking I want to release.”

The biblical title of the exhibition comes from Michael Hartnett’s titular poem and reflects McQuinn’s deeply felt connection to the Limerick poet. Hartnett’s proclamation that the ‘the act of poetry is a rebel act’ resonates strongly with McQuinn as fellow artist and outsider. He also draws from the sensibilities of ancient texts, mythologies, Kafka, Kavanagh and contemporary poets such as Sean Hewitt. He feels that the deep action of observation is the artist’s and poet’s primary task and responding with a poetic work is the challenge.

Helen O’Donnell, James Horgan and Helena Tobin, curator of exhibition. Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22

Austin McQuinn’s solo exhibition at LCGA encompasses all of the ground floor galleries in a major presentation of new paintings and sculptural installations. This exhibition is a reclamation and revisiting of important materials he has employed in his long practice, living and working in Ireland. McQuinn is a visual artist and live art performance expert and his studio practice is supported with major awards from the Arts Council and the acquisition of work for public and private collections in Ireland and the United States. His recent book on sound, animality and performance was reissued this year by Penn State University Press.

Recent exhibitions of newly commissioned work include The Source, Thurles and South Tipperary Arts Centre culminating in an epic twenty-four hour continuous live-streamed, live art performance called Imperial Lunatic at STAC Chapel Clonmel in April 2023. Fall on Us by artist Austin McQuinn runs at Limerick City Gallery of Art until June 9, 2024.

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