Surreal Estate

Surreal Estate installation
Graphic Studio Gallery: May 2013
Thermal transfer screen print on constructed aluminium boxes containing interiors with etchings/screen prints/monoprints.
11 Digital Archival pigment prints
3 minute animated film.

Surreal Estate
Surreal Estate has grown out of my interest in shadows, reflections and windows. Working in a beautiful old studio surrounded by a variety of old and disused windows, obsolete vitrines and historic picture glass, I was particularly drawn to how the inherent distortions formed in glass during manufacture and the subsequent creep of ageing can influence how and what we see. Such idiosyncratic textures together with additional visual patterns of rain, dust and oil provide a unique impression; a distorted reality. This in turn led me to look closer at patterned and decorative glass, nets, curtains and blinds, all of which control or alter what we allow of our private life to be seen and how we view our surroundings. The installation comprises three elements Surrealight, 35 print and sculptural constructions, Surrealshadow, a set of digital prints and Shadowlight, a 3min animated film.

Surrealight represents an uninhabited urban area akin to the many historic, deserted Irish villages and current ghost estates albeit with an independent imaginary life of its own; one that we are not invited to share. Nevertheless, we are pulled in by our curiosity and by the desire to make sense of what we can see. A dirty window obscured by torn curtains suggests neglect or eccentricity but this is entirely presumed. We do not know what is behind the glass; whether or not there is an occupant. We live with so much around us that we consider important yet often an abandoned room will contain vestiges of their inhabitants who have since moved on. This becomes part of the history or life of the rooms. A new occupant may change it all but time will ensure that the cycle of dereliction and regeneration continues. These questions have morphed into a fascination with how perception can be distorted. How do we perceive these spaces – do they remind us of our past or do they make us think about where we are and of our own place in time?

Surrealshadow

The digital prints which make up Surrealshadow represent views of the fabricated interiors and exteriors of Surrealight. The patterns of curtains and glass, the interplay of light and shadow and the image of windows all are shown in stasis and as such appear stage-like and inanimate in comparison. It interests me how differently these spaces are perceived and how our emotional response is altered.

Shadowlight

In Shadowlight themes of watching and being watched are presented to the spectator through a non-narrative sequence which hints at the private ethereal existence of spaces independent of us. How does the feeling or knowledge of being watched distort how we behave? Light and shadow play, pattern and effects on glass create an additional visual plane for the viewer sometimes at harmony with the images in the shots and at other times in conflict. The intent is to blur the lines between apparent reality and created fantasy, to look further into what appears straightforward at first glance. Shadowlight will elicit curiosity and contemplation in the spectator and will in turn affect how Surrealight and Surrealshadow can be perceived.

Surrealshadow

11 Digital Archival pigment prints
Surreal Estate: Graphic Studio Gallery: May 2013

The digital prints which make up Surrealshadow represent views of the fabricated interiors and exteriors of Surrealight. The patterns of curtains and glass, the interplay of light and shadow and the image of windows all are shown in stasis and as such appear stage-like and inanimate in comparison. It interests me how differently these spaces are perceived and how our emotional response is altered.

Window Shadows

I was delighted to participate in the PLUID project for Pieta House. I chose windows as a symbolic representation of the restrictions imposed by COVID. They also reflect the shelter that I have been lucky to enjoy with my family in a warm and secure home, with space in which to create.

[Hu]Manned Mission

The moon is a distant object, gazed upon by more humans than any other solid object in the universe (Morton, 2019), yet its surface has only been walked on by 12 white American men. The only people to have experienced it first-hand. However, does that make the rest of our knowledge less valid? 

[Hu]Manned Mission is a pseudoscientific exploration into humans’ interactions with the moon. An appraisal of lunar myths and missions, combining fact with fiction to create new narratives. It offers an invitation to reconnect and communicate with your moon, to consider the importance of language in your quest, because … it matters what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what knots knot knots, what thoughts think thoughts, what descriptions describe descriptions, what ties tie ties. It matters what stories make worlds, what worlds make stories (Haraway, 2016).

News

[Hu]Manned Mission at the Lumen Crypt Gallery London

Buzz me in as part of GSD/Simon exhibition The Art of Home

Peripheral in Homeland Dog Days

Surreal Estate and Peripheral in CITY at the Highlanes Gallery

CV

EDUCATION
2018 – 2020 MFA Fine Art, NCAD
1989 – 1991 MA Conservation of Fine Art, Newcastle Polytechnic, UK
1985 – 1988 BA History of Art and Archaeology, University College Dublin

EMPLOYMENT
1995 – present Paper Conservator, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin
1994 – 1995 Paper Conservator, Delmas Bindery, Marsh’s Library, Dublin
1993 – 1994 Paper Conservator, National Museums Northern Ireland
1992 – 1993 Conservation Assistant, Bodleian Library, Oxford

AWARDS
2021 Arts Council Visual Arts Bursary Award
2020 Arts Council Professional Development Award
2020 Long listed for the RDS Visual Arts Award
2018 Sponsors Portfolio, Graphic Studio Dublin

SCHOLARSHIPS
2001 Sharing Conservation Science Scholarship, (ICCROM) The Louvre, Paris
1996 5th ICCROM Japanese Paper Conservation, Kyoto (JPC96) ICCROM

Accreditation and MEMBERSHIP
Member of the Darkroom since 2020
Member of Graphic Studio Dublin since 2010, currently on board of directors.
Accredited member of the Institute of Conservator-Restorers in Ireland since 1996

CURRENT & UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS
2021 191st RHA Annual Open Exhibition, September
2021 [Hu]Manned Mission, Lumen Crypt, Bethnal Green, London, 26 – 30 October

SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2017 Wilgefortis, Graphic Studio Gallery, Dublin 21 April – 09 May
2013 Surreal Estate, OC Architects, Ranelagh Arts Festival, Dublin, 13 – 29 September
2013 Surreal Estate, Graphic Studio Gallery, Dublin, 09 May – 01 June

CURATED EXHIBITIONS
2017 Bristle: Hair and Hegemony, Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda with Roisin Kennedy and Aoife Ruane

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2021
City, Highlanes Gallery Drogheda, 15 August – 2 October
Woman in the Machine/Artworks 2021, VISUAL Carlow, 4 June – 12 September
Lost and Found, The Darkroom, Dublin, Photoireland festival 2021, 15 – 22 July
UnEditioned, Manhattan Graphics Center, curated by Katie Michel, 1 June – 31 July
Diamond Point, Graphic Studio Dublin, 12 December – 15th May 2021
Spectacular Replica, NCAD Gallery, curated by Anne Kelly 21 – 29 January
2020
CIACLA Online Program https://ciacla.com/online-program/
NCAD digital Catalogue https://ncad.works/courses/mfa-in-fine-art
The Human Heart, Graphic Studio Dublin 18 June – 22 August
Highlanes Gallery Open Submission 2020, Drogheda, 07 June – 11 July 2020
2019
The Body of Empathy, Hendrix College, Arkansas, USA, 19 September 2018 – 2019
189th RHA Annual Exhibition, RHA, Dublin, 22 May – 11 August
Impressions Biennial, Galway International Arts Festival 15 – 28 July
Come Back to Me, MFA group exhibition, RUA RED, Tallaght, Dublin, 02 – 10 May
2018
10th Sponsors Portfolio, Graphic Studio Gallery, Dublin, 08 December – 15 January
On the Flipside: Wendy Judge, Niamh McGuinne & Mella Travers, The Darkroom, 19 – 27 Aug

FILM SCREENINGS / FESTIVALS
2021 Peripheral, Homeland Dog Days,
Damer House Gallery, Roscrea 23 October – 03 November
Barcelona Loop film festival, 9 -21 November
Cervantes Institute, November – December
2019 Peripheral, Merciful Hour, The Darkroom, Dublin 3, 10th December
2013 Shadowlight, The Poetry Project, 01 January – 30 September
2013 Shadowlight, Kinsale Arts Festival, 06 – 14 July

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS
Fitzpatrick, O. Bristle: Hair and Hegemony, eds: Kennedy, R., McGuinne, N. and Ruane, A., Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda, 2017
McGuinne, N. A History of Conservation in Ireland, Museum Ireland, Vol. 15. 2005
Reid, Z. McGuinne N. & Fields, J. The Yeats Archive: a method of identifying wax crayon, IIC Biennial Congress 2002, Baltimore.
McGuinne, N. McLean P. & Plunkett, C. Protecting the Integrity of Impermanent Art, Conference Proceedings IPCRA, 2001
McGuinne, N. Art Meets Science at the National Gallery, Technology Ireland, 1998
O’Connor A. & McGuinne, N. The Deeper Picture – Conservation at the National Gallery of Ireland, NGI 1998

Peripheral + Surreal Estate in City at Highlanes Gallery

Exhibition Dates 14 August – 2 October, 2021

Helen Cammock, Sean Edwards, Joy Gerrard, Seamus Harahan, Anthony Kelly & David Stalling, L.S. Lowry, Christine Mackey, Niamh McGuinne, Hardeep Pandhal, Kathy Prendergast, Gary Reilly, Dorothy Smith, Andrea Luka Zimmerman.

Cities in Ireland, the UK and across the world have developed and diversified more rapidly over the last ten years than ever before in their long histories, and today over half of the world’s population live in an urban area.

With the Coronavirus pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement, there has been much reflection on what we now want from our urban environments. This exhibition aims to look at how city dwellers and society have engaged with their built-up surroundings and, will hopefully prompt conversations about towns and cities of the future. The many facets of city life – architecture, migration, commuting, crowds, noise, lights – have been a rich source of inspiration to artists and this exhibition brings together a diverse range of work and media, and considers some relevant topical issues. 

The film works are all from the UK’s Arts Council Collection, at the Southbank Centre, which is the largest loan collection of modern and contemporary British art, with works from the Drogheda Municipal Art Collection, as well as from artists living and working in Ireland and the UK.

Peripheral + Surreal Estate

Peripheral, 2019, 03:24, music by Lisa O’Neill and Christophe Capewell 

Surreal Estate, 2013, thermal transfer screen print on constructed aluminium boxes containing interiors with etchings/screen prints/monoprints.

The protagonist in Peripheral is the artist who is continually searching for a sense of place, physically and metaphorically, often on the fringes of society. Being of no perceived economic value or use to the majority, but instead considered surplus to requirement, the artist abides.  

Surreal estate grew out of my interest in shadows, reflections and windows. Working in a beautiful old studio surrounded by a variety of old and disused windows, obsolete vitrines and historic picture glass, I was particularly drawn to how the inherent distortions formed in glass during manufacture and the subsequent creep of ageing can influence how and what we see. Such idiosyncratic textures together with additional visual patterns of rain, dust and oil provide a unique impression; a distorted reality. This in turn led me to look closer at patterned and decorative glass, nets, curtains and blinds, all of which control or alter what we allow of our private life to be seen and how we view our surroundings.