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Motivational Deficit

Motivational Deficit...     
November 14 – January 17, 2015

Michelle Browne; Brian Duggan; Anthony Haughey; Aaron Lawless;
Orla McHardy; Eoin McHugh; David Sherry; Sonia Shiel.

Motivational Deficit... at the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork (November 14, 2014 – January 17, 2015), features the work of eight contemporary Irish artists, whom within their art-making practice have marked the pervasive nature of how recession and austerity has crept, and sometimes smashed, into our lives.

The works in the exhibition, created within the last five years, offer an antidote to the phenomenon of motivational deficit[1]- the perceived public disaffection with political and social engagement - where society's relationship with the governmental policies that controls contemporary society is perceived as externally binding not internally compelling.

Aaron Lawless’ works are playful experiments of authorship and authority exhibited as installations or as sculptural entities. Focusing on the disparity in paid employment, with especial regard to the arts sector, Lawless has created a contemporary monolith that mirrors and buffers the individual, echoing society's prevalent income inequality.  David Sherry’s audio What’s it All About (I love those paintings) offers his perspective of the perception, expectations and realities of professional art practice, whilst the satirical Great Meals I never had provides a stark overview of the austerity and financial implications for Generation Y. Similarly, Orla McHardy’s interests lie in making films that ‘are whittled down to their most reduced, articulate and potent’ and Good Friday, shows a mechanical made-in-China toy horse, bound by its own limitations, to endlessly trot and stumble around the crude tethering pole of boom and bust.

Anthony Haughey's Settlement marks an all too familiar blot on present day Ireland with discarded building sites but also asks of the potential of what could be. The answer could be  the lugubrious vision of Brian Duggan's The Measure. The video offers a warning shot to our relationship to the incredible speed and domination of real-time technology and the propaganda created by the media which can be said to reproduce all of the characteristics of occupation, both physically and mentally[2]Sonia Shiel's evocative installation Catalogue of the Sea attempts to audit the uncontainable and uncompromising, whilst the epic Consent Volenti is a visual redaction of the legal notion of inherent risk and fictive imagery, thereby further extending the realm of truth and authenticity. Shiel's works are an uncomfortable reminder of the prevalence of the growing tension between the individual and the social, exemplifying the dissonance and underlying disquiet with the status quo. Eoin McHugh offers an alluring but fragile societal foundation whilst Michelle Browne’s video and installation examine the determinants of risk and its often irrepressible ease into failure. 

Motivational Deficit...comes together at a time when according to government and market led sources, supported by the media, Ireland is on the cusp of new economic growth. The works in the exhibition can be viewed as a set of markers which are both a critical response and a reminder in considering how to move forward from the particular set of socio-economic circumstances Ireland currently resides. Motivational Deficit... also asks if there is appetite to reconsider the overall system to prompt what lessons can we bring forward to quell the acceleration, crash and systemic failures of the Celtic Tiger and beyond...

Photography: Jed Niezgoda

Exhibit A:

Cristin Leach Hughes  Sunday times

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