Layers beneath the iceberg’s surface

Irish Times Review, by Aidan Dunne, 2 April 2005

Cian Donnelly and Joanna Kidney, Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast until May 6.

In the Fenderesky’s Gallery 2, Joanna Kidney’s work accumulates myriad details to produce an harmonious composite. This speaking place comprises 123 tiny constituent panels arranged in a loose, lens shaped pattern. She refers to the experience of noticing the ‘tiny tales and fragments’ of nature while staying at Annaghmakerrig. Hence the evocation of numerous small shapes and events. Each panel is inscribed in an informal, understated way. The marks suggest such things as the movement of insects through the air, or the shimmer of a spider’s web: small, insignificant details, it is true, in the general scheme of things.

Kidney is not even slightly sentimental about all this material, it should be said, and she has made a lovely piece of contemplative work. The same format is applied to her Winter Lifeforce, composed of a group of 23 monotypes, and, it, too, is outstanding. Her method is perhaps mroe problematic on individually larger pieces, but in finding a way to evoke subtle, ephemeral traces against clamness, she has done extremely well.

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