Violence and bloodshed exploded during Ireland's three-decade fight (from the late-1960s to 1998) between Catholics and Protestants over Irish land, but they are now finding a way to peace -- as American University Museum's "Resolutions: New Art From Northern Ireland" shows.
Museum director and exhibit curator Jack Rasmussen traveled to Belfast, north Ireland's major city, to put together an exhibit showing that, as he says, "times have changed." There he found the "old" -- earlier dark and threatening murals painted on the outside of Belfast's walls -- and "new" lighter art with which younger artists, who all grew up during unsettled times, attempt to resolve the older and current political issues. The exhibit was an ambitious task. Several of the artists -- such as Willie Doherty, Sharon Kelly and Paul Seawright -- movingly recall older times in their art. But others, such as Sara Greavu, Carbon Design (Michael Hogg and Philip Napier) and Brendan Jamison express
what Mr. Rasmussen calls "the present resolutions."
For example, consider Mr. Doherty's creepy night photographs that demonstrate the old philosophical battles continue.
The catalog text tells that Mr. Doherty emerged from his childhood with haunting, fearful memories. They continue in his present work titled "Extracts From a File," shot at night in Berlin, with only a few barely lighted buildings emerging. Humor comes into play with Mr. Jamison's "Helicopter," an awkward, brilliant-yellow, wool sculpture. Here, the artist takes what's usually a weapon of war and makes it a benign domestic implement. The show could be said to show the many faces of Northern Ireland, and a fascinating group they are.
WHAT: "Resolutions: New Art From Northern Ireland"
WHERE: American University Museum at the Katzen, Ward Circle at the corner of Massachusetts and Nebraska avenues Northwest
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, closed Mondays, through July 29, 2007