Aideen Barry

Featured Artist

Aideen Barry

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Image: Aerosol, Single Channel digital video with sound, 2016.


The common denominator of my work is an attempt to deal with anxiety. I treat nervousness as a kind of ridiculous exaggeration, discussing the intensely personal to the quotidian. Often my means of expression are interchangeable, manifesting in film, video, performance, sculpture, installation, drawing and sound art. My recent solo survey show at the RHA demonstrated how I interchange with these approaches to media. I try to employ visual trickery or mirage to generate a sense of "cognitive dissonance" when experiencing my work. The viewer experiences the work in a paradoxical fashion: attracted and yet repelled, some times I let my penchant for hammer horror loose in the video works.


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Image: Not to be Known or Named, Single Channel digital video with sound, 5' 34"  loop, 2015

My film work consists primarily of staged vignettes featuring versions of myself. These insistent, wordless narratives are often quite odd in places and can make you laugh when you really are not supposed too, or are you? I am committed to engaging everybody in the work, so audiences of all ages can get some kind of reading of it. It speaks to that something slightly manic in all of us: that little bit that might just flip. My work observes moments of human behaviour under extreme psychological stress, and how one can sometimes experience disassociation as a protection mechanism, appearing to watch our own actions as if from afar, going through the motions in a disengaged way, when life gets too much. I tend to engage with the instance where something can be familiar, yet foreign at the same time, questioning an idea of phenomenology and resulting in situations of the uncomfortably strange and threatening.


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Image: Brittlefield, Installation of Architectural Designed Forms with Video Work house inside in each Shard. For Brittlefield, A solo survey of the work of Aideen Barry, at The Royal Hibernian Academy, 07.07.16- 21.08.16, 14 ft x 30 ft variable, 2016 

Currently my interest lies creating these architecturally monumental works or situations where by the viewer has to physically engage in the enacting/interacting of the work. Often this acts as an invitation to step privately into my parallel universe, in which objects have a life of their own, space is malleable and time can bend, flip and snap abruptly. Much of my work is about the body as a site of conflict and difficulty, this is often referencing the contentious issues around bodily autonomy, and as an Irish women without the ability to access full unrestricted reproductive choice. The main protagonist is my body and myself, using this as both a canvas/armature and tool in the creation of the work.


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Image: Meditations on Being Volcanic, Single Channel digital video with sound, 4' loop, 2015.

Routed in my practice is an interest in das unheimlich: the work often references this interest in direct and indirect ways. The Gothic is often employed as a McGuffin, after Hitchcock, sometimes its overtly almost gothic kitch and then other times, its subtle nearly invisible reference to Irish Gothic legacies of La Fanu, Stoker and Poe. These comments are a tool in expressing human behaviour in the strange area between amusement and discomfort; creating balance and tension in an in-between space.

Aideen Barry is an Irish artist with a national and international profile. She is currently Artist in Residence at the Irish Museum of Modern Art until the end of  2016. IMMA recently commissioned a performative work from Barry, in response to The Passion of Carol Rama, in July of this year. The artist 's works are in permanent collections at the Arts Council of Ireland, Art Omi Collection ( New York), NUIG Collection, Dublin City Council, Trinity College Dublin, the OPW and at the Centre de Art Contemporary, Malaga ESP. Awards include The Vermont Studio Centre Fellowship 2017, Modern Ireland in 100 artworks award 2016, and the 2017 Lexicon DLR Gallery Commissioned Solo, The Arts Council Bursary Award 2010,2012,2014,2016, Project New Work Awards 2008,2010 and in 2010 she was shortlisted for the prestigious AIB Prize. Upcoming solos include Block 336 in London in 2017, FACEBOOK HQ 2016/2017 and  MARFA Contemporary in 2018. Barry lectures at Limerick School of Art and Design.

All images copyright Aideen Barry.