COMPRESSION brings together contemporary artworks that achieve density and compactness of meaning through the use of spare and concentrated means. While much recent art has depended upon high production values and spectacular effects, the exhibition explores strategies for the generation of aesthetic and conceptual magnitude via the articulation of more modest artistic materials. The exhibition presents recent work by nine artists from Ireland and the UK made in a range of media: painting, sculpture, photography, digital video, tapestry, collage, and found objects.

While the artworks presented here frequently develop the exacting standards of modernist aesthetics in the visual arts, the term ‘compression’ is more familiar to poetic discourse. Cristanne Miller, writing on Emily Dickinson’s poetry, argues that ‘compression’ denominates ‘[any] language use that reduces the ratio of what is stated to what is implied.’ The implications issuing from the work to be exhibited here prompt the following questions: when visual language is concentrated, reduced to a minimum, what is gained and what extra value is achieved? What are the contemporary stakes of abstraction, both as a mode of art making and as a form of thinking? What is the relationship between digital compression and communicative richness? How do strategies of collage and the readymade relate to other kinds of compression in art? How might such spareness and concentration in visual art help to open up ideas and experience of the everyday world in a particularly powerful way?

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue and some Notes on Making; the latter offer entry points for thinking about the specific materials and strategies informing each work. A curatorial tour led by Ed Krčma will take place on Wednesday 15 July at 4pm.

Admission is free and all are welcome.


Stephen Brandes, Maud Cotter, Angela Fulcher, Tom Hackney, Catherine Harty, Caoimhe Kilfeather, Susan Morris, Trevor Shearer and Alison Turnbull. COMPRESSION is curated by Ed Krčma. 10 July - 7 August 2015 Image: Installation view of COMPRESSION featuring works by Caoimhe Kilfeather. Photography by Jed Niezgoda.        
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