IRISH-BORN born artist and course director for Fine Art at Coventry University, Brigid McLeer, proudly showcased her latest solo exhibition currently on display in the Lanchester Art Gallery.
The private viewing of ‘Isoli’ (Island) was attended by over 50 people and is the first in a series of exhibitions as part of the ‘Lanchester Gallery Projects’ (LGP) depicting the work of various artists.
McLeer hopes the all-new initiative – hosted by Coventry’s School of Art and Design in the Graham Sutherland Building – can succeed in “breaking down the barriers” she believes currently exists between the Art Department and the people of Coventry.
She said: “I am very, very keen that Coventry University’s art school, this gallery space and the work this space enables will begin to open itself up to Coventry city as a whole.
“I would hope people will come in and see this as a public arena within this otherwise semi-public space,” she revealed, adding: “This is
why my work partly flows down into the foyer of the Graham Sutherland Building.
“With previous exhibitions there was no through-flow, so for the public to get past those barriers and through the door, it needs to be suggested they are welcome and there is art to be viewed.”
At present, the series is wholly funded by CSAD, but despite not having approached any external body for monetary sponsorship, McLeer admitted that she “would be keen” to have the City Council on board.
“Of course, this will take time, but we hope the Lanchester Gallery Projects will start to communicate to the city, and also nationally to put this space on the artistic map,” she said.
Her exhibition explores the theme of ‘Contingency’ by bringing together for the first time a collection of recent, in progress and related work dating back to 1997.
Of the pieces on display, the most imposing is two 5’ 8” doors taken from a corten steel shipping container. This is one of McLeer’s most ambitious pieces of work to-date and required a mammoth effort to position it into place.
Representing a wall, ‘The Face of Another’ (2009) comprises of 16 pieces of hand-engraved sheet copper with each bearing a pattern of interconnecting ‘I’s, as taken from Kobo Abe’s 1964 novel, The Face of Another.
As it is a two-part piece of work, the other is an actual version of Abe’s novel with the letters on each page painstakingly removed, except for the letter I. This, in essence, is McLeer’s portrayal of removing the ‘domineering presence of the individuated and privileged I’.
Also on display is a collection of framed finger print drawings, each influenced by McLeer’s visit to Venice’s San Servolo Island (Isoli) back in September, 2007.
During her residency there, she made a number of these pieces with particular reference to those patients who had been involuntarily hospitalised at the former Veneto psychiatric institution, itself housed on the island.
What appeared to generate the greatest level of interest throughout the evening was a video recording called ‘Incontro’ (2007).The edited footage is 110 minutes in duration and shows McLeer drawing shapes and letters over the moving shadow cast by the sun shining through Servolo’s original hospital gate.
Graham Chorlton, also a senior lecturer in Fine Art at Coventry University was full of praise for her latest work. He said: “It is a varied exhibition in its beauty and its meaning.
“As you start to make sense of Brigid’s work and how each aspect relates to the other, you begin to appreciate her thinking. It really is quite poetic,” he added.
Public viewing of Brigid McLeer’s ‘Isoli’ exhibition will take place between the 9th to the 30th January, 2009. Car loan estimator for auto loans.