Perambulatory Rhetorics

New work by Victoria Smith and Lisa Sweeney
The Niland Gallery, Merchants Road, Galway City
November 26th – December 10th

‘The Paths taken by strollers consist of a series of turnings and returning that can be likened to “turns of phrase” or “stylistic devices”. A perambulatory rhetoric does exist. The art of “turning” a phrase has its counterpart in the art of “turning” course. As with everyday language, this art entails and combines both styles and usages…Spatial practices also correspond to manipulations of the fundamental elements of a constructed order; like rhetorical tropes, they are divergent from a kind of “Literal” meaning defined by the urban system.’

– Michel de Certeau, Other People: Ethnography and Social Practice

The Niland Gallery presents Perambulatory Rhetorics, an exhibition featuring a new body of work by two local artists from Engage Studios and Artspace in Galway, Lisa Sweeney and Victoria Smith. Perambulatory Rhetorics is an exhibition that focuses on spatiality, structure, space, the snapshot and how as two artists- Smith and Sweeney walk, observe and meander through the ‘city’ which has made an extended trajectory in the creation of two intertwined spatial installations within the raw structural space of the Niland Gallery.

The artists’ practices within Perambulatory Rhetorics considers architecture, space, the walk to and from the studio, conversation and dialogue, the psycho geography of a social public space, planning, personal journeys, the captured snapshot, the happened upon object, drawing, technology, a sense of time, place and the individual memories of journey’s taken and future journeys to come.

Perambulatory Rhetorics takes as its starting point the text ‘Walking the City’ by Michel de Certeau in which he considers the uses to which social representation and modes of social behaviour are put by individuals and the group. He describes the tactics of the ordinary person for reclaiming autonomy from the all pervasive forces of commerce, politics and culture. In understanding the public meaning of ingeniously defended private meanings de Certeau draws on an immense theoretical literature. The Practice of Everyday Life takes a turning point away from the producer(writer, scientist and city planner) and the product (book, discourse, city street) to the consumer (reader and pedestrian) De Certeau acts very much like his own ordinary hero, manipulating, elaborating and unveiling the scientific autonomy that he denies yet requires.

Perambulatory Rhetorics is a conceptual construct that Smith and Sweeney’s research and investigations into ways in which users commonly assumed to be passive are guided by
established rules of operation. By means of inquiry and hypotheses that indicate pathways for further research into the notion of the trajectory. This traces out the ruses of other interests and desires that are neither determined nor captured by the system. This goal is achieved in the everyday practice of being an artist; the artist who grasps the material of these practices but not their form. It is a statistical inquiry into the breakdown of efficacious meanderings into units. Sweeney and Smith have reorganised their results of this analysis laid out by de Certeau according to their own artistic codes. Trajectory suggests a movement involving a plane projectory, a flattening out into a transcription, a graph, a line which can be revealed as trace acts. These universal analyses of writers and artists are believed to be traced back to nothing more that the expression of the local and the exotic experience as is the case in these two artists investigations into spatial cultures. Only in this local network of labour, recreation and culture can one grasp how, within a grid of socio-economic constraints these pursuits unfailingly establish relational tactics (a struggle for life), artistic creation (an aesthetic) and autonomous initiative (an ethic) as described by de Certeau

The ordinary activity of working and walking within a city and in the studio comes to light in the Niland Gallery. This exhibition is an analysis in leading the audience, the readers of the show to uncover for themselves their own situations, their own tactics, their position in relation to this response, their own creations in front of each individual and collective practice in Perambulatory Rhetorics.

Lisa Sweeney is a member of Artspace Studios, Galway. She completed a BFA in GMIT in 2003. Since graduating she has held a number of solo shows throughout Ireland and exhibited in France, Norway and Sweden. Some recent projects include Interstice 2011, an Artspace Studios project at Supermarket Artist-led Art Fair in Stockholm, Outside:Insight 2011, sculpture exhibition in Brigits Garden, Galway and Collective Consciousness 2011, Artspace Studios group show in the Galway Arts Centre. Her practise includes drawing, painting, mixed media installation and structural work

Victoria Smith makes work that is about the tangible site, mundane reality and the recreation of a readymade reality. Her practice explores themes of the fragmented urban and rural site, domesticity, connections, memory, loss and identity. Smith is an artist, writer, curator, and teacher. She has completed her MA, Art in the Contemporary World, at NCAD, Arts Administration and Cultural Policy at Goldsmiths College and the Hdip, BFA at Crawford College Cork. She is the current chairperson on the board of 126 artist led space and a member of Engage studios, Galway. Smith has taught and exhibited extensively in Ireland, England, Africa, America, and Europe. Recent shows include Spectrum of Activity curated by Padraic Moore and Ian McInerny, the Black Mariah gallery, Cork; In_Flux Artist led fair, Occupy Space, Limerick; Culture Night, Engage Studios Galway(2011); Galway Arts Centre, Fundraiser group show(2010):Land, Harold’s Cross Gallery, Dublin, Ireland(2007); Illusion Art Gallery, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates(2004); The Discerning Eye, Pall Mall Galleries, London, UK.

The Niland Gallery is an Engage Art Studios project and is made possible by the generous support of the Niland family and the Arts Council. The Niland Gallery is open Fri – Sat from 12 until 5pm or by appointment and is located on Merchants Road, Galway.

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