Ireland beckons tourists with its near-mythic rural beauty, even in post-Celtic Tiger, previous economically robust times. To many outside the island, Ireland’s identity continues to be entrenched in the romantic vision of idyllic, rustic people and places. Tourists are fed photos of bucolic green fields, stone walls, ruins, grazing beasts and cottages that perpetuate practices of the picturesque, which pushes the real, contemporary experience of Irish life out of view. Defying the inherent natural beauty of Ireland, Irish photographers embrace the challenge of representing a new, emboldened Irish identity through quizzical, charming, daring and truthful photography.

This exhibition presents exciting new work by cutting-edge Irish artists, created with critical intelligence, a keen sense of history, compositional vigor, and lively humor still deeply embedded in place.  Each artist grapples with the challenge of visually defining a landscape that retains many features of Ireland’s agrarian past, even its sectarian conflict, as well as more modern concerns of turbulent economic forces, farming methods, European Union regulations, real estate development, and lifestyle choices which effect Ireland’s rural experience and urban challenges.

Playing between the lines of picturesque and practical, Jill Quigley’s Rural Fluorescent series actively engages the abandoned, overlooked and unexciting, caught in the drama of the unexpected. Questioning the notions of beauty associated with representing landscape, Miriam O’Connor intercedes through whimsical display of the domestic, while David Farrell disrupts through digging into the dark history contained in the land. Paul Gaffney descends deep into the dark forest, entry to a hidden current of a Gothic underworld, mysterious and myopic, both beautiful and dangerous. Similarly, plunged into Paul Coyle’s painterly Lovely Water series, the viewer bounces on the waves, there in the same spot, Dublin’s famous Forty Foot cove, witness to change in light and form.  Anthony Haughey and Martin Cregg explore the sublime and beautiful potential of abandoned relics of Celtic Tiger overdevelopment. Two more photographers consider the living and working potential of everday alternatives created by women running farms in Anna Rackard’s Farmers and by new age, utopian seeking commune in the West of Ireland in Ruby Wallis’ Unfixed Landscape. The Irish picturesque, under the postcolonial critique, is associated with domination and control by outsiders. By  contrast, this exhibition celebrates Irish artists’ experience of their own land and their inventive approaches to picturing place.

Post-Picturesque: Photographing Ireland is a generous gift from Carleton College, curated by Carleton’s Perlman Teaching Museum Director Laurel Bradley, and introduces the following artists to American audiences, many for the first time:  Gary Coyle, Jill Quigley, Anna Rackard, Martin Cregg, David Farrell, Paul Gaffney, Anthony Haughey, Miriam O’Connor, and Ruby Wallis.  Rochester Art Center coordinating curator was Sheila Dickinson.

This exhibition has been made possible by support from the City of Rochester, the McKnight Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, Mayo Clinic, Culture Ireland, and the Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment, and is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts & cultural heritage fund. Additional funding for this exhibition comes from dedicated community members: Brian Austin and John Knudsen, Lucy and Mark Bahn, Brian and Stephanie Childs, Dr. Mark Davis, The Folpe Family, The Irish Families of Rochester, Todd Milbrandt and Mary Beth Magyar, Burton and Judy Onofrio, Joel Pieper Fine Art, Paul and Maggie Scanlon. 


Creating a personal narrative: This two-part workshop will explore how artists use photography to create a personal narrative. By using the exhibition as a touchstone to explore thematic and compositional strategies, attendees will practice methods that push beyond the selfie and into the territory of personal vision.
Instructor: Suzanne Szucs

Suzanne is an artist, writer and educator living and working in Rochester, MN. A recipient of numerous grants and awards, she has shown her work widely and teaches in the Art + Design department at Rochester Community and Technical College.

Session 1 | July 14, 2017 6-8pm

Session 1 will use the exhibition to discuss concepts of subject/content/form, and explore compositional and camera strategies. Assignments will be given to help provoke the creative-making process.
Session 2 | July 28, 2017 6-8pm

Session 2 participants will share their work through an online forum, discuss and practice critique strategies and next steps for emerging projects. Technical questions will be addressed as they emerge.
Details: Participants will use the digital camera of their choosing – DSLR, mirrorless, point & shoot, or smartphone. Participants will be asked to upload their work to a photo sharing site (Flickr free account) before session 2.

Session 1 | July 14, 2017 6-8pm
Session 2 | July 28, 2017 6-8pm
$10 per session, $18 for both

Register online HERE