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Redhouse Irish: Galway Arts Centre returns a second year

Sabina Mac Mahon, "The Levitation of St. Joseph of Cupertino" (2010), photograph on archival paper, unique, 33.75 x 24.5cm. (c) Sabina Mac Mahon, courtesy of Redhouse, used with permission.

On a blistering cold night late last January, fuelled by food from Kitty Hoynes and live music, Redhouse got started on an early St. Patrick's Day celebration with the raucous, crowded opening of "Inishlacken: The Last Parish," a group exhibition of 23 of the more than 50 artists who had gathered since 2001 for an annual summer residency on Inishlacken, an island off the west coast of Ireland near Galway. Co-curated by the painter Rosie McGurran, founder of the Inishlacken summer residency, and Maeve Mulrennan, visual arts officer at the Galway Arts Centre, this was the first North American showing of the new Inishlacken work. Neither narrowly sentimental nor sunk in the Troubles, this fresh and often startling work done in a range of media revealed artists seeking something pristine in the West's ancient, expansive landscape, a means of reinvention after history's upheavals -- much like that of Americans who went West seeking renewal after this nation's Civil War. Besides the enthusiastic support of Central New York's large Irish-American community, the Inishlacken opening drew visitors from as far away as Philadelphia and one 93-year-old Inishlacken native who travelled from southern Ontario.

Now Redhouse has brought Galway Arts Centre's Maeve Mulrennan back a second time. Mulrennan has been in town since late Monday, supervising the installation of a new group exhibition titled "{un}familiar," which includes video, painting, drawing, collage and sculpture by Michelle Browne, Benjamin de Burca, Cecilia Danell, Vera Klute, Sabina Mac Mahon, and Julia Pallone. This is the premiere of "{un}familiar," which will open in June in the Galway Arts Centre. Last night's reception coincided with Th3, Syracuse's city-wide monthly arts night, and also included Mulrennan's gallery talk and Andy Blaikie's performance downstairs of Mark Clare's dramatic piece, "The World Could Wait No Longer."

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