Saturday, 24 December 2011

Thank You!

The Niland Gallery was a project initiated and run by Engage Art Studios during November 2010 and from April – December 2011. The project was made possible with the generous support of Oliver Niland and the Arts Council.

The creative re-use and fixing up of this 'slack space' in Galway's city centre provided a much needed addition to the visual arts scene in Galway, as well as providing a unique platform for curators and Engage Art Studio's members.  Thank you to everyone you participated and attended our events.  Special thanks to Tulca, The Galway Arts Festival and Kai Cafe + Restaurant.

Engage Art Studio is no longer running a project in this space, but for more information about renting the space contact Niland House.

From Field Work. Photo by Clare Lymer.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Tulca 2011: After the Fall

The Niland Gallery is delighted to be a part of Tulca 2011: After the Fall curated by Megs Morley.  We will be hosting the work of Fillipo Berta, Nilu Izadi, Joanne Richardson and David Rych as part of the festival for the full two weeks.  The gallery is open everyday.  Please see for complete details.

The Niland Gallery is an Engage Art Studios project and is made possible by the generous support of the Niland family and the Arts Council. The Niland Gallery is located on Merchants Road, Galway. 

Monday, 26 September 2011

'Trust' - Curated by Mark Cullen - October 1st - 30th

Maeve Curtis, Kate Molloy and Beth O' Halloran
Curated by Mark Cullen
The Niland Gallery
October 1st - 30th
Opening Reception: Friday 30th of September 6 – 8pm.

Mark Cullen was invited by Engage Studios to curate a show in The Niland Gallery following some form of interaction  with the artists of Engage Studios.

The idea of trust comes from a belief in artists being able to rise to the challenge of exhibiting their own work without excessive curatorial mediation, and in an understanding that the 'exhibition' presents a valuable opportunity for artists, entrusted by the gallery, to explore their work in the public realm. It is a trust in the artists vision of their own work. Following an invitation from Engage Cullen invited these three artists to take on the three rooms of the Niland Gallery, a room each per artist. Manifold manifestations of trust will permeate the hang as the different circumstances of each artist effects how their work can be installed; Maeve Curtis will have her work installed in absentia as she passes the mantle of trust over to a colleague, Kate Molloy will have her first opportunity to explore her working constellations in a gallery show since graduating in 2011, and Beth O Halloran has entursted the curator to hang her work following consultations at her studio.

Beth O’Halloran’s practice of late has been multi-disciplinary combining painting and photography with site-specific installations. Her interests lie in asking questions about transitional states and the blurred borders between changing conditions which can manifest physically or metaphysically. She has exhibited predominantly in Ireland and the U.S. but also Japan and the U.K. Recent exhibitions include her first museum based show at the Olin Museum of Art, Maine. She received her master’s degree at IADT, and her BA from NCAD and the Glasgow School of Art.

Kate Molloy is a member of Engage Studios and a graduate of GMIT. Her work is a combination of abstract paintings and drawings based on endless elements of the everyday with the main focus of the work is in its placement, how it may create a conversation amongst the pieces. In a way posing the question can paintings or drawings influence each other by considering the way they have been arranged together?

Maeve Curtis poses questions about our ubiquitous use of imaging technology - Why have we become so trusting of imaging technology? Is our faith in machines changing how we see ourselves as individuals?  Are we possibly at the start of the long anticipated endgame of the individual where machines will no longer have faith in us? She graduated from NUI, Galway with a First Class Honours Degree in 2007. She has been the recipient of many awards and is currently exhibiting work in the prestigious Threadneedle Prize Exhibition, in the Mall Galleries, London.

Mark Cullen is an artist and founder/director of Pallas Projects/Studios.

The Niland Gallery is an Engage Art Studios project and is made possible by the generous support of the Niland family and the Arts Council. The Niland Gallery is open Friday and Saturday from 12 until 5pm or by appointment and is located on Merchants Road, Galway.
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Friday, 26 August 2011

'Field Work' Text by Rowan Sexton


Field Work
The Niland Gallery Galway.
18 August – 10 September 2011

Colm Clarke & Tonya McMullan // Alissa Kleist & Ruaidhrí Lennon // Fiona Larkin // Duncan Ross
Curated by Charlotte Bosanquet.

Cultural Fieldwork

Field Work was conceived to forge links between a creative network of curators, artists and writers between Belfast, Galway and Dublin. The premise of the exhibition was a challenge, involving pressures such as the available timeframe, resources, and the parameters of producing an exhibition which had such boundaries to adhere to. An integral part of the project, was for each of the participants to become immersed in their surroundings, by relocating to Galway for the duration of production and development of artworks for the exhibition.  In order to maximize this opportunity and encounter Galway, its community and gain an understanding of the contemporary art scene, members of Engage Art Studios and locally based artists generously assented the participants to stay with them over a period of one week. In this setting, the objective of staying with local practitioners aspired to influence the development of new forms of artistic practice with an emphasis on place, context and local identity. Insight into the milieu of Galway-based cultural and social environments increased the potential for deeper understanding throughout the process of research.

Traditionally, field work is defined as site-specific research conducted to assemble data pertaining to studies, usually with a scientific bearing. This project related to cultural field work, where the artists took inspiration from tradition, history and social structures through the artistic domain. In Phenomenology of Perception, the French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty stated “We must therefore rediscover, after the natural world, the social world, not as an object or sum of objects, but as a permanent field or dimension of existence”, neatly illustrating the humanistic approach taken by the artists whilst examining the workings of culture, and exploring the historical division between nature and society. By emphasizing the development of a sense of place in the natural, social and built environment, it accentuated the impact on human ecology throughout the period of creative development.  The aim to cultivate theoretical, discursive and artistic responses throughout this process culminated in critically aware, sustainable work with integral qualities that remained true to the initial brief.

The modus operandi behind Field Work was influenced substantially by deliberately choosing to locate the project in Galway. Using the metaphor of the journey, participants in the exhibition alluded to physical, mental and conceptual elements in their artistic responses, articulated according to cultural predilection and evaluation, by taking their source, path and ultimate goal into account. Alongside the production of work, a vital component of the project was instigating the development of successful artistic networks. Through the coalescence of geographically diverse practitioners fostering an environment where the synergy created from working in partnership with individuals, collectives or institutions, resulted in mutually beneficial exchanges, and the laying of foundations for future collaborations, the benefits of establishing sustainable professional relationships was highlighted.

The challenge of arriving in a different location, with the pressure of engaging and responding to the surroundings  was met with excitement, nervousness and determination by the artists participating in Field Work. The pressure of delivering an accomplished piece of work, thematically encapsulating links with Galway, over a four day period was a daunting prospect. An added clause was tendered to two pairs of artists, who were asked to work collaboratively, in contrast to their usual solo practices. Compromise and risk were discussed in relation to the nature of the project, yet as the process evolved, the necessity to be decisive became a significant feature in preparing work, and the outcome was seen as positive both in an individual and collaborative context. The research-based focus of the exhibition has led all of the artists to consider experimenting, and perhaps adopting a similar approach to future endeavors, testing the constraints of their practice by introducing a timeframe to complete work.
The evolution of Field Work has been challenging in a myriad of ways: given the tight four day deadline to create work, and the research-based process integral to the concept, it has been a highly pressured environment and has positioned the artists' outside of their comfort zones. In unity with the curatorial concept, the artists’ have undertaken various strategies to respond to the space, both within the gallery setting and off-site, using tangible and ephemeral methodologies to manifest their work. There is a deliberate strategy to create a relationship with Galway by engaging and enhancing the viewers experience in unexpected ways, through interventions, performance and documentary evidence.  The complexity and integrated layers of meaning in the artworks can be explored through the forged links with Galway, whether in a permanent and physical manner or in a  deliberately transient or historical capacity.

This exhibition contains a diverse body of work featuring pieces that extend beyond the confines of the gallery and the duration of the exhibition. Works with an annual incarnation, or dual function between aesthetic merit and practicality, negotiate the traditional boundaries that dictate exhibition structure. The differing artistic sensibilities encompassed in Field Work are triumphant in responding to the curatorial concept, and open a discourse on how to traverse the challenges, limitations and unexpected outcomes borne of working on an experimental, process-based exhibition.

There is a cohesion between the artworks and factors at play that are central to the exhibition. A strong dialogical aesthetic emerges from the assemblage of multidisciplinary responses, encouraging discourse that supports each autonomous artwork, and also when experiencing the culminative effect of the pieces in synchrony. Each artist has created work that considers the implications of the project, responding in succinct, visually stimulating and thought provoking pieces. Their methodologies differ, however they are united in contextualising these particular artworks thematically, through concepts of temporality, the resonance of their location, and on the processes involved in developing work that has evolved from the theoretical to practical manifestations within such a condensed timeframe.
Rowan Sexton is an independent curator based in Dublin. She has previously worked in IMMA, the National Gallery and the Hugh Lane.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

'Field Work' opens tomorrow!

Our lovely new friends visiting us from Belfast have been toiling away this week in The Niland Gallery preparing a research-based show - 'Field Work' - which opens tomorrow, Thursday 18th, at 6pm. Despite their already busy schedules and numerous picnics they were also the highly-entertaining guest speakers at 'Talking About Stuff & Things' on Monday evening and joined Engage in 'Collective Conversations' with Artspace Studios in the Arts Centre on Tuesday evening. We have thoroughly enjoyed hosting these guys and look forward to seeing the show.
Come on down to the opening at 6pm tomorrow in The Niland Gallery for a fresh-eyed view of our city, some amazing Kai Cafe punch and even some music from Lewis Carroll.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Field Work 19th August - 10th September 2011

Field Work

A group exhibition with: Colm Clarke & Tonya McMullan, Alissa Kleist & Ruaidhri Lennon, Fiona Larkin, Duncan Ross 
With text by Rowan Sexton
Curated by Charlotte Bosanquet
The Niland Gallery, Galway
19th August 2011 – 10th September2011

Fieldwork has been conceived as a research based project in Galway. From Belfast four artists or groups have be invited for an intense 4 days to make work for the Niland Gallery. Four days to make work based on experiences of traveling to, the city and people of Galway, staying through the generosity and co-operation of locally based artists, studio members of Engage Studios. This research based approach to the show aims to create new networks between the 152 Miles that separate Galway from Belfast, cross pollinating and establishing sustainable partnerships.

Rowan Sexton (Dublin) has been invited to respond to the work created with text and will be working in the Gallery as the artists are making the works.
The Niland Gallery is an Engage Art Studios project and is made possible by the generous support of the Niland family and the Arts Council. The Niland Gallery is open Friday and Saturday from 12 until 5pm or by appointment and is located on Merchants Road, Galway.
Contact: thenilandgallery(at) or engageartstudios(at)

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Colm Clarke and Tonya McMullan have recently begun to collaborated on projects together. As their primary collaboration they have just completed the curators residency at Paragon Studios as a curatorial team.

Colm received a BA(hons) Fine Art from University of Ulster (2006), was a co-director of Catalyst Arts (2006-2008) and currently sits on the board of Bbeyond. He recently exhibited in Disconnected GT Gallery (Belfast), EPAF (Poland), Ars Electronica (Austria), Belgrade Triennial (Serbia), Art Karavan (India) and Exist-ence (Australia).

Tonya McMullan received a BA (Hon) from Edinburgh College of Art, she is currently a Director of Catalyst Arts, co –founder of the Edinburgh Based artist collective Echo and a participant in Belfast based art collective, PRIME. She has recently shown in Give and Take (Forte Bragg and Belfast) 2011 and Transcent, MAS Gallery (Serbia) 2010

Alissa Kleist’s & Ruaidhri Lennon have worked together previously in 2009 on a print project in Limerick Printmakers.

Alissa Kleist has just completed her MA Fine Art at the University of Ulster. She has taken part in art@work 2010 and the UNESCO supported ‘Sensucht nach Ebene 2 ‘as well as being a founding member of artist collective PRIME. Kleist is currently showing at Water Tower Art Fest , (Bulgaria) and the Void, (Derry).
Ruaidhri completed his BA(hons) in 2008 at Limerick School of Art and Design and has just completed a MA Fine Art at the University of Ulster. He has taken part in the UNESCO recognised public art project “Sehnsucht nach Ebene 2, in the Museum of Modern Art in Arnhem, Netherlands and has shown at the Void, (Derry).

Fiona Larkin is an artist based in Flax Art Studios, Belfast who’s work primarily finds form in video, photography and action. She holds am MA from the University of Ulster and has exhibited widely both Nationally and Internationally.

Duncan Ross seeks to integrate the development of a personal visual language with active participation in arts education, dissemination and advocation. He graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in 2000 and completed His MA in Fine Art from the University of Ulster in 2009.

Rowan Sexton is an independent curator based in Dublin. She has previously worked in an educational and curatorial capacity for the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Ireland and Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane. She was awarded a B.Sc from NUI Maynooth in 2000, and is currently completing a Masters in Visual Arts Practice at the Institute of Art, Design & Technology, Dun Laoghaire.

Charlotte Bosanquet is an artist/curator based in Belfast. She graduated from Glasgow in 2004 and moved to Belfast in 2008. Having finished on the Board of Directors at Catalyst Arts, Belfast in early 2011 she formed the collective, PRIME. From 2004 to 2007 Charlotte co-curated Cabin Exchange in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Melbourne.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Gathering and Vis-à-vis - July 2011

Gathering: An evening of high art and high food
with Kai Cafe + Restaurant
7:30 pm Wednesday, July 6th, 2011
The Niland Gallery
Conceived and organised by Jim Ricks and Jess Murphy
A unique evening of contemporary visual art and gourmet food. The title draws off of the words double meaning, it is at once the searching and collecting of sustenance and the assembly of people.  Gathering will reach to new audiences in new ways in a new venue for a single night banquet and screening at 7:30pm Wednesday, July 6th. The video will remain on display that evening and be open to the public after dinner.

The work The Right Way (1983) by the world renowned Fischli and Weiss, features the artists dressed in rat and bear costumes, scaling Alpine slopes and crossing rivers as they seek the right way. They forage, fight and frolic, but the video is ultimately both philosophical and humourous. 

This piece is coupled with a themed banquet in the gallery.  The food will be prepared by the Best Chef in Connaught, Jess Murphy of Kai Cafe and Restaurant (  The meal will respond to the art work.  The tables and seating will be a unique adaptation to the space and film, as the whole event becomes an unforgettable synthesis of art, installation, food and film.
The set meal is €30 per person.   Wine will be available.  Reservations can be made through or at Kai Cafe + Restraurant (

The Niland Gallery is an Engage Art Studios project and is made possible by the generous support of the Niland family and the Arts Council. The Niland Gallery is located on Merchants Road, Galway.


Engage Art Studios for the Galway Arts Festival presents:

Vis-à-vis: Artists from Monster Truck Studios (Dublin) and Engage Art Studios (Galway)
Ella Burke, Ann Maria Healy, Steve McCarthy, Angela O’Brien, Lesley Ann O’Connell, Tadhg O’Cuirín, Noilin O'Kelly and Jim Ricks 
The Niland Gallery, Lower Merchants Road
11th - 24th July 2011
Opening reception: Wednesday July 13th 6pm.

An artistic 'face off' between Monster Truck Studios (Dublin) and Engage Art Studios (Galway) at The Niland Gallery, Merchant's Road, Galway. 4 artists from each studio will exhibit side by side.

This pairing of studios includes a diverse range of practices with painting, large scale photographs, digital works, monumental sculptures and drawings.

To include Noilin O'Kelly, Ella Burke, Lesley Ann O’Connell and Steve McCarthy from Monster Truck and Ann Maria Healy, Angela O’Brien, Tadhg O’Cuirrin and Jim Ricks from Engage.

The Niland Gallery is an Engage Art Studios project and is made possible by the generous support of the Niland family and the Arts Council.

Aidan Dunne of The Irish Times writes: "Dublin’s Monster Truck Studios meet Galway’s Engage Studios in Vis-á-Vis at the Niland Gallery and the result is a really good show...". Read the rest here.