Niamh O’Malley

Gather, Niamh O’Malley

Gather, Niamh O’MalleyGather
Niamh O’Malley
Temple Bar Gallery + Studios

Texts by  Brian Dillon, Lizzie Lloyd, and Eimear McBride
Designed by Alex Synge


Edition of 1000
182 pages
170 x 235 mm
ISBN 9781399918756



And as matter makes matter and space makes space, I am a room and bear a room, just the same, whether you are looking or not. —Eimear McBride

Niamh O’Malley’s sculpture and moving image works hold us in the space for which they are made. Using steel, limestone, wood, and glass, she shapes and assembles objects to create a purposeful landscape of forms. Sculptures tall and free-standing, ground-bearing and cantilevered, with paced and looped moving image, inhabit and animate.

On the floor lie undulating limestone forms punctured by deep cuts and reminiscent of drains or the harsh fissures in weathered, sedimentary rock. There are hints at functional objects and familiar structures; architecture’s shadow. Shelter invites us to stand under its awning and look up into a fan of leaf-embossed translucent glass. Vent fills an entire LED screen, concentrated on a loop of flapping louvers, opening, closing, in and out. Breathing.

Time and again, support systems dominate, becoming a part of, not just a means of displaying work. An outsize shelf carries an assemblage of coloured glass and concertinaed metal. A tangle of wooden contours are suspended via a steel rod. These are surfaces, and this is an exhibition, where one part depends on the other, filtering light, bearing weight, and holding together a system of planes and shapes. O’Malley’s works, writes Lizzie Lloyd, “are replete with edges that outline, overlap, and neighbour other edges. Their meeting points accentuate buffed, pitted, powdered, and polished surfaces over which our eye catches and slips.”

This exhibition is a call to gather. It invites movement and communality. It is both lure and demand, for touch, encounter, and occupancy. It draws attention to its location towards the end of the length of the Arsenale; a place of thresholds, windows, glass, holes, drains, vents, and a glimmer of water and daylight. O’Malley’s sculptures gesture towards enabling, offering protection, conveying sensations of touch, and more—of grabbing, holding, caressing surfaces, offering a moment of tether and precarious poise.

About the Artist
Born Co Mayo, Ireland, Niamh O’Malley currently lives and works in Dublin, Ireland.

‘Niamh O’Malley’s artwork reveals a profound appreciation for the act of trying. Trying to catch a certain slant of light, trying to prove a pattern or uncover a composition, trying to fathom a mountain, trying to hold time still. Working with the moving image, mark making and sculptural materials such as glass and wood, O’Malley’s work attempts to contain and reflect the weight and wonder of the world in its becoming. It is the act of trying, in the face of predictable failure, that gives way to conviction and a sense of hope within the artist’s work. Full of reflection, both literal and metaphorical, filled with absence and framed by negative space, O’Malley’s work asserts something unstoppable about the human spirit, something that neither distance nor death can extinguish’ Exhibition text by Kate Strain, Grazer Kunstverein, 2018

About the Publisher 
Temple Bar Gallery + Studios is a leading artists’ studio complex and contemporary art gallery in Dublin City Centre. Established by artists in 1983, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios was one of the first DIY artist-led initiatives in Ireland.

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