Ciarán Óg Arnold in 'I went to the worst of bars hoping to get killed. but all I could do was to get drunk again' explores the post recession male landscape of his hometown, Ballinasloe, County Galway through a bleak (if accurate) depiction of pub and club life in a small town. After losing his job in Galway he found himself caught up in a barfly (the title of work is a line from a Bukowski poem) culture which many pubs in small towns in particular have that is almost exclusively male and populated by those that didn't have the money, opportunity or willpower to leave. Frustration, aggression and occasionally humour are evident in the photos. Bukowski, his lifestyle and the Irish drinking mythos are now considered very glamourous, mainly by those that never have experienced them but there is nothing glamourous about Arnold's work. As he pointed out in an interview: 'I think a lot of these guys want intimacy, but they can’t – or don’t know how to – get it. They’ve lost their jobs, or never had one to begin with, and there is a feeling that they are trapped and somehow worthless. At least, I sense that’s what they feel. The masculinity thing is definitely a big part of the work.' They exist in a vacuum which Arnold portrays very powerfully mixing pathos, desperation, humour and defiance to create a haunting body of work.
Ciarán Óg Arnold was born in 1977 in Ballinasloe, Co Galway and studied MFA Photography University of Ulster 2012. Exhibitions include: MidLand, Gallery of Photography 2008; An Irish View, Les Rencontres d’Arles 2009; Gallery of Photography Artist Award exhibition 2012. Publications/Press include: Source Photographic Review 2007 and 2012; Sean O’Hagan, The Guardian, April 2015; The British Journal of Photography, April 2015, The Royal Photographic Society, April 2015. Awards: Nominated, Gallery of Photography Artist Award 2012; First Book Award, MACK Books 2015