Sunday, 29 April 2012

Willie Doherty (art)

I think the last Northern Irish artwork I saw at the Towner was a sculpture by Brendan Jamison, a whimsical fairytale tower created entirely from sugarcubes. The current exhibition of work by his countryman Willie Doherty is a very different prospect.

Willie Doherty was born in Derry in 1959 and continues to live and work in his home town. The first of his works to gain significant recognition was a series of powerful photographs, exhibited in the 1980s, which explored the difficulties of living within a divided community. Much of Doherty's work throughout his career has returned to this theme as he has tried to understand the daily fear, oppression and uncertainty that was 'normal life' for so many people in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. As a child he witnessed Bloody Sunday and has suggested that this horrific event had a great influence on his work and particularly in his use of photographic images to tell multiple stories concurrently. Doherty has twice been nominated for the Turner prize.

The Towner exhibition, 'Disturbance', is a survey of Doherty's work from the mid-1980s to the present day and includes both video installations and photographs. His current work shifts between urban and rural terrains and Disturbance includes the most recent of his video pieces, 'Ancient Ground', which was filmed this year in the peat bogs of Donegal.

Disturbance opened on the 21st April and will continue until the 24th June. Admission is free.
The Towner is open Tuesdays to Sundays (and Bank Holidays), 10:00-18:00.

Have written my review in the Comments below.

1 comment:

  1. The Willie Doherty exhibition is quite select, comprising of ten photographs and two video installations. I particularly liked three of the photographs:
    'Dead Pool l' appeared from a distance to be of a bleached bone poking out above the surface of a pond but closer examination revealed the 'bone' to be a discarded white car door.
    'Dead Pool II' was a more sinister image showing a hint of something below the water's surface but in such vague detail that my imagination was allowed to run riot.
    'Seepage' is a simple photograph of puddles on a rural track but it was the formation of the puddles that I found unsettling - perhaps they depicted a skeleton?

    Both the video installations were very powerful. My favourite, 'Sometimes I imagine it's my turn' depicted a journey through trees and along the body of a man lying face down. The viewer doesn't know if the artist is the one holding the camera or the one lying on the ground and the 'dead' man is dressed anonymously in jeans, jacket & boots indicating perhaps that he could be anyone.