“For years I saw them only as a tremor at the edge of vision”
J.A. Baker, The Peregrine
This multi-media exhibition, entitled The Augury, expanded on some of the principal concerns that have emerged in Martin Healy’s practice in recent times. The works in the exhibition attempted to explore our tenuous and conflicted relationship with the natural world and in particular how this reflects on the various symbolic uses of the animal in culture.
Focusing most conspicuously on birds of prey the works examined the iconographic and symbolic significance of this animal, while also alluding to the transcendent or mystical associations it conjures. Making reference to The Peregrine, J.A. Baker’s canon of nature writing, the works reject familiar representations of nature, resisting associations with the sublime or the pictorial; here the birds are presented as distant, unknowable and fundamentally alien.
Spanning a range of media, the works also ruminated on the forms of transformation the bird undergoes in culture more generally. At times an object of symbolic political power, it is also regarded as a symbol of ecosystem health and by contrast, at its most quotidian, as a symbolic object of consumption – each transformation a facet of ‘nature’ we reshape for the purposes of capital. Underpinned with an atmosphere of environmental anxiety, the works in the exhibition questioned the underlying concept of dominion, which has until now, defined humankind’s relationship to the other inhabitants of the planet.
About the Artist
Martin Healy lives and works in Dublin. He works predominantly through the mediums of photography, video and installation and his works have been shown widely both nationally and internationally. He received a B.A. in 1996 and an M.A. in 2000 from Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork. He has been the recipient of many distinguished residency programmes in Helsinki, Paris, Scotland and New York. Solo exhibitions include: A moment twice lived, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, 2016; Terrain, Galway Arts Centre, 2015 (as part of the Galway International Arts Festival); Aether, Oonagh Young Gallery, Dublin, 2014; The Future Perfect, Rubicon Projects, Brussels, 2013; Last Man, Crawford Art Gallery (screening room), Cork, 2012; The Inhabitant, Temple Bar Gallery and studios, Dublin, 2011; Facsimile, Lismore Castle Arts, St Carthage Hall, 2011.
Group exhibitions include: Traces, Kasteel Wijlre, Netherlands, 2018; Double Take, The Glucksman Gallery, Cork, 2018; The Crawford at the Castle, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, 2017; Aesthetica Short Film Festival, York, UK, 2016; Crash Visors, Rua Red, Dublin, 2016; Tulca festival of visual arts, Galway, 2015; Dead Eye, Rua Red, Dublin, 2015; Cosmic Dust, Visual Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow, 2015; Transit and Transport (screening), Fact, Liverpool, 2014; Island: New Art from Ireland, Galleria Civica Di Modena, 2013; Still Light, Gallery Augusta, Suomenlinna, Helsinki, 2013; Beasts of England, Beasts of Ireland, Visual, Carlow, 2013; Fata Morgana, Catalyst Arts, Belfast, 2012; Cutting a Door, Eastlinks Gallery, Shanghai, 2012; Here’s the Tender Coming, Pallas Projects, Dublin, 2011; Its all true, Morono Kiang Gallery, Los Angeles, 2011; Terminal Convention, Cork Airport / Static Gallery, Liverpool, 2011.
Thanks to National Museum of Ireland – Natural History.