JIM RICKS



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Thank You For Your Submission
Leixlip Library, Co. Kildare
April 2014

I asked the Leixlip Library for a gallery plan in late 2012, in 2013 they responded with an offer to exhibit in the space.

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Years of struggle to find his place within the structures of the Irish Arts establishment has been transformed into a series of thought provoking works in this exhibition by Jim Ricks at the Leixlip Library in April, 2014.

Through this compact, pleasantly arranged and textured mix of imagery, text, and interactive technologies, we gain insight into the artist’s process and response to exclusion by this community. To wit: surveying us uncomfortably as we entered, was a crisp, enlarged portrait of Aidan Dunne, visual arts critic for the Irish Times; dots-per-inch gatekeeper par excellence. The message is clear: gaining his endorsement ensures entry.

Once we brave this looming countenance, we enter the gallery proper. Small and contained within one room, the rest of the work neatly offers to share its intimacy with us. Resting on the floor, ripe with the promise of wrapping us in it’s warmth, we see a tapestry with the familiar logo of the Arts Council of Ireland woven into it. Curiously, part of the graphic includes the words, ‘Exclusion zone = text content of the corporate mark’, taken from the council’s instructions for use of same, something our artist obviously found ironic. Raising our gaze to a well-lit wall, we circumvent the tapestry and encounter a series of expertly composed, printed Instagram ‘portraits’ of intercom calling plates of various arts organizations. These are well established boundaries.

We are deflected to the adjacent wall, which presents us with two framed letters from significant cultural institutions, thanking the artist for his submission, while politely informing him of his failure. The letters were aptly sandwiched between two pieces of glass, and appear to float elusively in their frames. Probably my favourite, were the QR codes tucked away in a corner. When you scan one with your smart phone, it takes you to a site where you can 1) watch a ‘Vine’ – looped 7 second video – where you are ever walking towards the front entrance of IMMA, ever returning to where you began, and 2) listen to a series of recorded answering machine messages from various arts offices throughout Ireland. Finally, a vinyl text applied to the next wall poses the question, ‘What’s the difference between an arts officer and a shopping trolley?’

The tension between persistence and failure, optimism and rejection, were cleverly encapsulated with humour, irony, and elegance within the small, welcoming gallery in Leixlip, just outside the exclusion zone, in County Kildare.

Gwen Fagan
May, 2014

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L: Mondrian; R: Malevich


Malevich