In this exciting new exhibition at the Gallery of Photography, three emerging photographers reveal the dark exoticism, the formal beauty and the mystery of Ireland’s midlands.
With work that has not been shown before in this country, Ciaran Óg Arnold, Martin Cregg and Michael Snoek explore the physical, social and psychological landscapes of Ireland’s forgotten heartland.
The exhibition, curated by Tanya Kiang, brings together work in three different photographic languages. Working within the modernist tradition, Martin Cregg focusses on new housing, roads and industrial estates in and around his home county of Roscommon. His project, still a work-in-progress, situates the midlands at the frontier of the struggle over Irish identity, portraying a landscape torn between the rural and the urban.
Ciaran Óg Arnold sees beyond the familiar in his hometown of Ballinasloe. In psychologically charged landscapes and street scenes, this market town is tenderly evoked as an exotic location, a soulful place of despair as well as hope.
Arnold’s darkly expressionist work contrasts with Michael Snoek’s deceptively simple black and white studies of markings painted by farmers on silage bales in the midlands and beyond. Through Snoek’s patient lens, the markings are transformed into wondrous and rare calligrams. The series pays homage to their starkly graphic, and ultimately mysterious minimalism, and restores to them their enigmatic beauty.
About the photographers
Ciaran Óg Arnold (b. 1977, Ballinasloe) studied film and photography at NUI Galway and at Griffith College, Dublin. This is his first exhibition.
Martin Cregg (b. 1976, Roscommon) studied photography and fine art at IADT Dun Laoghaire. He has exhibited in Photospace (New Zealand) and RHA (Dublin). He is currently teaching photography at St. Kevin’s College, Dublin.
Michael Snoek (b. 1946, Elmshorn, Germany), a trained geophysicist, his photographs have been exhibited in Brussels, Liimerick, La Spezia, Dublin and Cologne. His most recent exhibition was a solo show at the Wexford Arts Centre. His publications include Feldzeichen (Cologne, 2004) and Deconstruction (La Spezia, 2005).