‘more adventurous thinking…’ from the archive of Dorothy Walker, artist response from Seamus Nolan

Exhibition opened by Mr. Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, on Friday, 14th June at 5pm.

Saturday, 15th June - Monday, 7th October 2013

Dorothy Walker with a work by Patrick Ireland c.1990

NCAD Gallery opening hours are 1pm-5pm, Monday-Friday, exhibition 15th June - 7th October 2013.

'more adventurous thinking...' from the archive of Dorothy Walker, with artist's response from Seamus Nolan, opened by Mr. Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, on Friday, 14th June at 5pm.

For more than half a century, art critic Dorothy Walker (1929-2002) influenced contemporary culture in Ireland with her tireless energy, commitment and vision for a creative landscape that would embrace international developments and nurture cutting-edge practice in the visual arts.  She championed progressive thinking and chronicled her unique perspective in journals, articles, correspondence and other writings, all of which were meticulously kept and organised throughout her lifetime.

The Dorothy Walker Archive was donated to the National Irish Visual Arts Library (NIVAL) in 2004.  The material charts the broad scope and diversity of her interests in Irish art and architecture, abstract Modernism and the development of conceptual art both internationally and in the context of Irish art from the 1960s onward.

'more adventurous thinking..' avails of the richness and complexity of Walker's archives to trace the emergence of conceptual art practices in Ireland through her words and those of her contemporaries. As writer, curator, administrator, and cultural commentator, Walker established intense friendships that merged the personal with the professional and counted Michael Scott, Louis LeBrocquy, Patrick Scott, Brian O'Doherty, Eileen Gray, James Johnson Sweeney, Clement Greenberg, Sean Scully and Seamus Heaney among her lifelong friends.

Outspoken, persuasive and singularly uncompromising, Walker played a central role in many of the most significant events in Irish visual art in the second half of the 20th century including the Rosc exhibitions, the Guinness-Peat Aviation Awards and the establishment of the Irish Museum of Modern Art. She contributed art criticism to the New York Times, Hibernia, RTÉ, Studio International and the Sunday Times. Her book, Modern Art in Ireland (1997), provides the first critical account of the impact of political and cultural developments on the visual arts in Ireland in the post WWII period.

In response to the Dorothy Walker archive, visual artist Seamus Nolan engages select works of art of the early modernist period in the context of NCAD Gallery. Private collectors and museums are approached by way of written invitation to consider the compatibility of these works of art within this contemporary gallery structure. The Gallery is subjected to the standards and processes applicable to the exhibition and handling of museum objects through detailed measurement of the environmental statistics, specifically, humidity, temperature, light and ultra violet levels.
For this exhibition Nolan has printed a postcard detailing the environmental measurements of the Gallery to send to private collectors and installed a text on the Gallery wall facing Thomas Street. The text is a list of modernist works of art in response to Walker's seminal publication 'Modern Art in Ireland' (1997). The project draws unpon the tension between the development of new modes of art making and contemporary exhibition conditions. What you will see in the Gallery window is a reference to art historicism what you will not see are the works which have informed this process.
** A new addition to the project, AIB Art Collection has kindly loaned works of Nano Reid, Anne Madden and Norah McGuinness currently on view in the Gallery foyer from 9th September 2013.

In 2012, NIVAL were fortunate to be awarded a grant from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht under the recently launched Philanthropy Initiative to undertake a comprehensive survey of the Dorothy Walker Archive. The result of the project is an online catalogue specifically devoted to the archive available at www.nival.ie. The catalogue provides the public for the first time with an introduction to the extent and scope of the collection and the far-reaching impact of a lifetime of more adventurous thinking.


The National Irish Visual Arts Library gratefully acknowledges the generous support of philanthropic donors to the Dorothy Walker project and also wishes to thank the following persons for their generous contribution to the exhibition: Rayne Booth, Sabina MacMahon, Padraic E. Moore, Mickey Smyth.

'more adventurous thinking...' is curated by Donna Romano and Anne Kelly. The Dorothy Walker Online Catalogue Project was carried out by Katie Blackwood and Roisin Sheridan of NIVAL.

For further information contact:                                                                                
Anne Kelly, NCAD Gallery Curatorial Coordinator, +353 (0)1 6364390, gallery@staff.ncad.ie
Donna Romano, NCAD Acting Librarian, +353 (0)1 6364360, romanod@staff.ncad.ie

The National College of Art and Design Gallery, 100 Thomas Street, Dublin 8.

For the duration of the NCAD graduate exhibition NCAD Gallery will open 10am-5pm Monday - Saturday, and 2-5pm Sunday 23rd June 2013.
From Monday 24th June - Friday 20th September NCAD Gallery opening hours are 1pm-5pm, Monday-Friday.

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