fair is foul & foul is fair

November 9-December 15, 2019
Curated by Dr. Tina Kinsella

Aideen Berry, Not to be Known, 2015.

Aideen Barry, not to be known, gorgon, 2015. Performative film, 5 min. 30 sec. single channel with sound. Courtesy of the artist.

Alice Maher, Vox Hybrida 1, 2018

Alice Maher, Vox Hybrida 1, 2018. Wood relief, hand tinted, 48 x 32 in. Courtesy of the artist.

“Fair is foul and foul is fair” as claimed by the witches in Macbeth describes a world where nothing—no message, no deed—is ethically clear. In Shakespeare’s fair/foul world, evil walks abroad in the guise of good, and all expectations are confounded and confused. 

In this double exhibition by Alice Maher and Aideen Barry, tropes of what could be considered fair and foul morph into unrecognizable, interchangeable and above all, challenging artworks. Both artists engage at the fault lines of artmaking where sociocultural movements, media, imagery, and language overlap and collapse in order to animate new, personal ways of communicating this semiotic conundrum. Both also bring an individual, stinging humour and critique to their investigations of hybridity, carnality, and social politics in historical time.  In her film works, Barry explores concepts of the Uncanny and the monstrous feminine where she finds foundational substrata reflective of her own lived experience. The human-animal-machine becomes, for her, a vehicle of an anxious interrogation of the boundaries of the psyche. Equally, Maher’s hand finished woodblock prints and hand pressed sculptures advance her continued questioning of the phenomenon of the material present. Her hybridized images and objects expose phenomenological questions and excitations inherent in the body, and its psycho-dramatic task of being human. The focus of both artists on the interchangeabilities of fairness and foulness is played out in this exhibition with a fascinating and urgent energy.

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