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A NEW LANDSCAPE – Cork or Venice, who cares, who can tell

23 March  – 15 April, 2023 at Lavit Gallery, Wandesford Quay, Cork.

Opening reception 23 March, 5.30-7.30pm

24 March, 12.00 noon: Bernadette Kiely in conversation with Crístin Leach (broadcaster, art critic and writer) and Lisa Fingleton (artist and environmentalist).

The exhibition ‘A NEW LANDSCAPE – Cork or Venice, Who Cares, Who Can Tell’ presents new work by Bernadette Kiely that is concerned with the effects of flooding and decay on both the landscape and human lives. This has been an enduring theme in the artist’s practice over the past 25 years, and now with increased significance in times of more extreme environmental changes.

Featuring moving image and new large scale and smaller paintings her images of urban areas and streets, including Cork, suggest an ‘anywhere, any town’ feeling and draw us in with their visual proximity to what is happening at ground level. Her title* is a nod to the oft quoted saying that Cork is the ‘Venice of Ireland’ but more particularly to the fact that flooding and decay collapse our definition of geography, rendering towns, cities and landscapes unrecognisable, and borders obsolete, thereby focusing our attention on the bigger picture. The exhibition will be accompanied by an essay by broadcaster, art critic and bestselling author Cristín Leach.

While inspiration often comes from the ground beneath her feet, Kiley’s imagery also comes from sources including her own photography, TV broadcasts, newspapers and online documentary images. Her work draws attention to a sense of unease and awareness of atmospheric conditions – and suggests a resigned ennui and melancholy towards the instability of a constantly changing world.

Bernadette’s work on flooded landscapes has most recently been shown in ‘IMAGINE LIFE WITHOUT ART’ at the Custom House Gallery and Studios, Westport, County Mayo (September/October 2022) and was included in the Contemporary British Painting Prize 2022 at the Huddersfield Art Gallery, UK and Thames Side Gallery and Studios, London, UK. Her portrait  An artist becomes their work – portrait of Paul Mosse in his studio is currently on show at The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin and will tour to the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny in June 2023.

*Lines taken from Lisdoonvarna by Christy Moore, 1978: “This is heaven, this is hell, who cares, who can tell”.