Beasts of England, Beasts of Ireland - VISUAL

VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art &
The George Bernard Shaw Theatre

Beasts of England, Beasts of Ireland

Curated by Stephen Brandes

07 Jun - 08 Sept 2013 |

Ben Long (UK), Djordje Ozbolt (Serb/UK), Polly Morgan (UK), Francis Upritchard (NZ/UK), Dan Hays (UK), Yuriy Norshteyn (Rus) and from Ireland, Stephen McKenna, Garrett Phelan, Isabel Nolan, Alex Rose and Martin Healy

Since Aesop, and indeed further back into history, human values have been projected onto animals as a vehicle for exploring our relationships with one-another and the world around us. This exhibition considers some of the ways animals have been deployed symbolically within contemporary art practice.

The exhibition borrows its title from Old Major’s anthem in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, a prime example of an allegorical tale, where human politics are conveyed through animal characters.
UK artist Ben Long’s nine-meter high sculpture of a rearing horse fashioned from aluminium scaffolding will take centre stage in the Main Gallery.

Visual Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow Arts Festival (Eigse 2013) and the Carlow Local Authorities Arts Office co-present this exhibition exploring the symbolic, metaphorical and emotive value of animals with a selection of contemporary Irish and international artists.

Over the Summer months, a number of artist engagement workshops, talks, masterclasses and public interviews will take place.
Stephen Brandes is a practicing artist, based in Co Cork. Born in Wolverhampton, UK, he moved to Ireland in 1993. In 2005, he co-represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale and has since continued to show his work both nationally and internationally. Stephen has curated several exhibitions, most notably ‘Superbia’, Ballymun, Dublin, 2002; ‘Traffic’, by Jennifer & Kevin McCoy, Visualize Carlow, 2009 and ‘When Flanders Failed’, RHA Gallery, Dublin, 2011 with Matt Packer.


A panel discussion with artists Polly Morgan, Dan Hayes, Alex Rose, Stephen McKenna, Garrett Phelan, Isabel Nolan, Martin Healy and curator Stephen Brandes will take place on Friday 7th June at 5pm in VISUAL. Stephen Brandes will give a curator's tour of this show in the Main Gallery on Saturday 8th June at 12pm.

Family Art Workshops, based on this exhibition, are facilitated by an artist. These are ideal for 7-12 year olds with parents present (€3 per person).

WIRE SCULPTURE (horses, monkeys, dogs and birds) Sunday 9th June at 2pm.

FELT BADGE MAKING (animal shapes and forms) Sunday 16th June at 2pm.

ANIMAL SHADOW PUPPETS (create and take part in an animal puppet show) Sunday 25th August at 2pm.