Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Wednesday Artist: Alice Maher

Described as one of Ireland's "most respected and influential" artists, Alice Maher works in a range of media, from sculpture to drawing and painting, to installation, to photography and video animation, to artist books. 

The diversity of Maher's work, which she often creates in series, is striking, as is her use of many different kinds of materials, from hair and feathers to plant or other other natural and perishable materials (berries, rose thorns, sheep horns, etc.), that articulate her recurring themes of memory, time's passage, ephemerality, and change. She has made a stairway of thorns, a dress of bees, a dress of berries, a necklace of lambs' tongues.

A miner of myths and fairy tales, Maher also explores such subjects as dreams, childhood innocence, death, transformation, and growth and renewal. For viewers, not only her materials but also her titles and cultural references offer insights into her mark-making's meanings.

In addition to exhibiting throughout Ireland, which she represented in the 22nd Sao Paolo Biennale, Maher has shown in England, France, and the United States. Her recent — and wonderful — watercolor series The Glorious Maids of the Charnel House was shown in an exhibition of the same title earlier this year (September 21, 2016 - October 15, 2016) at Purdy Hicks Gallery in London. Nine large drawings from the series also were exhibited this summer at Kevin Kavanagh Gallery in Dublin.

Maher's work can be found in numerous public and private collections around the world, including those of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City), The Pompidou (Paris), The British Museum (London), the Fogg Museum (Cambridge, Massachusetts), the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), and the Hammond Museum (Los Angeles).

In the short film below, Maher talks about her journals, which hold her ideas for future artworks, and the publication of her monograph Reservoir: Sketchbooks and Selected Works (Roads Publishing, 2014). Many more books of her work have been published. 

ROADS 'Alice Maher' from Motherland on Vimeo.

Alice Maher at ArtsyFirestation Artists Studios, Kevin Kavanagh GalleryDavid Nolan Gallery, Purdy Hicks Gallery, and Stoney Road Press

Illustrated 'becoming' Exhibition Publication (2012-2013) from Irish Museum of Modern Art (pdf) This booklet is for teachers and students; however, general readers also may find it informative.

Images from Reservoir

"Alice Maher in Conversation", National Gallery of Ireland, 2014 (YouTube) 

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