CHAIR: an exhibition by Mary A. Kelly

CHAIR: an exhibition by Mary A. Kelly

Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda Co. Louth

In the 1940’s this was a church where my father served mass as an altar boy. He lost his job after being a bit vigorous with the incense thurible and setting the rug on fire.

Highlanes as a Church
Highlanes as a temple to art

This is a restrained collection of paintings, sedate even (knowing what I do of Mary A. Kelly’s previous work – video and photography, performance with meat etc. – ) but beautifully rendered. There was a sadness in it, the absence in those chairs. The life that the chairs have witnessed. Implied conversations, people and their relationship with objects and self. The titles layered further possible meanings by framing the images in the work of others, quotes from films, books and poems.

In the accompanying leaflet the sentence ‘ the intention is to create a pause or resting point for the artist and the viewer’ had me stumped. What?? ‘ The gallery, not unlike a secular church, stands as a temple between life itself and art’ Ok, I get that bit but what has ‘the sound recording of the dawn chorus is the natural orchestration of birdsong with the advent of dawn after dark and spring after winter’ have to do with a bunch of aesthetically painted chairs with psycho therapeutic inferences -there was no physical reference to/or a soundtrack audible during my visit?? By that stage I was ill with confusion. So I went for coffee.