Re/Dressing Cathleen: Contemporary Works from Irish Women Artists
October 5 through December 7, 1997
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The McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College presents an exclusive exhibition, Re/Dressing Cathleen: Contemporary Works from Irish Women Artists, on display from October 5 through December 7, 1997.
The exhibition and accompanying catalogue are the first to explore the contributions of Irish women artists to the recontextualization of Ireland's national identity. The artists included in Re/Dressing Cathleen are leaders in changing cultural and social attitudes about women's roles in contemporary Ireland, according to exhibition organizers. Responding in part to a feminized, traditional iconography, they seek to reclaim and reinterpret symbols for a modern nation. The installation comprises nearly 50 works in various media-including painting, sculpture, photography and video. The exhibition also commemorates "Black '47" - the pivotal year of the Great Famine (1845-50) - and the burden it placed on the women of Ireland.
This is the first exhibition to explore the work of contemporary Irish women artists in this country.This generation of young artists has become a prominent force toward reshaping the arts in Ireland in the last decade.
The artists participating in "Re/Dressing Cathleen" are the first generation of Irish women artists to receive national and international recognition. They include:
Pauline Cummins / Rita Duffy / Mary FitzGerald / Finola Jones / Eithne Jordan / Mary Lohan /Alice Maher / Deirdre O'Connell / Eilis O'Connell / Gwen O'Dowd / Geraldine O'Reilly / Kathy Prendergast / Louise Walsh
Like the exhibition, the catalogue - which presents original scholarly research - is intended to advance the understanding of the contribution of Irish women to the late 20th century Western-European and American visual arts. Interviews with the artists by catalogue co-editor Conley, McMullen Museum curator, and Boston College Fine Arts Department faculty member Mary Armstrong - artists and co-curators of the exhibition - discuss the artists concerns and individual works in the exhibition. Faculty members from Boston College's Irish Studies Program and the university's Fine Arts Department - as well as renowned art critics and scholars from Ireland-have contributed essays to the catalogue, which explore the art historical context, literary parallels and content of the works. The interdisciplinary catalogue (approximately 140 pages) reproduces all of the works in the exhibition in color and black-and-white; it is be available for purchase at the BC Bookstore (800-878-0978). Essay contributors are:
- Pamela Berger, professor, Boston College Fine Arts Department; "Modern Propagators of Ancient Legends and Traditions: Mythic Memory or Serendipity?"
- Angela Bourke, Modern Irish lecturer and director, master's program in Irish Studies, University College, Dublin; "Exploring the Darkness: Gwen O'Dowd's Uaimh"
- Claude Cernuschi; "Visual and Ideological Pluralism in Practice: Contemporary Irish Women Artists in Context"
- Adele Dalsimer, professor, Boston College English Department and Irish Studies Program co-director and Vera Kreilkamp, Abercrombie Professor of Writing, Pine Manor College; "Re/Dressing Mother Ireland: Feminist Imagery in Art and Literature"
- Katherine Nahum, faculty member, Boston College Fine Arts Department; "In the Roundness of Being: Land, Body and Mother Ireland" Philip O'Leary, associate professor, Boston College English Department; "Rounding Up the Ubiquitous Suspects: Kitsch, Camp and Cultural Anxiety in Finola Jones LUSCIOUS-(an aesthetic view of culture)"
- Medb Ruane, writer and art critic, London Sunday Times; "From Dublin to Belfast: Women and Contemporary Visual Arts in Ireland"
- Robert Savage, faculty member, Boston College History Department and Irish Studies Program associate director; "Strongholds and Relics: The Troubles Represented"
- James Smith, faculty member, Boston College English Department; "Retelling Stories: Exposing Mother Ireland in Kathy Prendergast's Body Map Series and Mary Leland's The Killeen"
- Appendix compiled by Ruth-Ann Harris, faculty member, Boston College History Department and Irish Studies Program; "The American Letter." Director's preface by Netzer; forward by co-editors Conley and Grinnell.