Ireland at Venice 2022: Niamh O'Malley GATHER

2022 Selection

Designed by Alex Synge at Alex Synge

Artist: Niamh O'Malley

Curator: Temple Bar Gallery + Studios

Curatorial Team: Clíodhna Shaffrey & Michael Hill

Commissioner: Culture Ireland

Photographer: Ros Kavanagh

Web Development: Estd

Categories: Website / Identity / Print / Exhibition

Industry: Cultural

Tags: Contemporary art / Visual art / Event / Art


Ireland at Venice 2022, the national representation of Ireland at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia presented Gather by artist Niamh O'Malley. Gather was curated by the Temple Bar Gallery + Studios Curatorial Team, Clíodhna Shaffrey & Michael Hill.

Niamh O’Malley’s sculpture and moving image works hold us in the space for which they are made. Using steel, limestone, wood, and glass, she shapes and assembles objects to create a purposeful landscape of forms. Sculptures tall and free-standing, ground-bearing and cantilevered, with paced and looped moving image, inhabit and animate.

The exhibition was a call to gather. It invited movement and communality. It was both lure and demand, for touch, encounter, and occupancy. It drew attention to its location towards the end of the length of the Arsenale; a place of thresholds, windows, glass, holes, drains, vents, and a glimmer of water and daylight. O’Malley’s sculptures gestured towards enabling, offering protection, conveying sensations of touch, and more – of grabbing, holding, caressing surfaces, offering a moment of tether and precarious poise.

The visual identity was created in close collaboration with the artist and curators. Early on, the shade of light yellow became a central backdrop to the identity, and provided a thread that carried through website, print and social media. A type treatment was developed that was sympathetic to both the work and the space it occupied; an emphasis on verticality, a balance of solid forms, with some tapering, delicate and fragile ones. An alternate uppercase 'A' with a rounded top echoed the rounded arches of the exhibition space, while the triangular 'A' form mimicked the leaning forms – with support systems dominating in significant amount of O'Malley's work.

Surface texture, and overlapping, transparent forms also recur; a texture of static noise was introduced to the website background, suggesting the sparkling crystalline look of stone.

An exhibition guide was created as a tearaway block that could exist in the space as something of a sculptural element – and one that would diminish in presence over time until a new block was introduced.

The Vent image became as synonymous with the exhibition as the shade of yellow – it adorned a bull-bleed printed tote bag that acted as a calling card in Venice during opening week – a call to gather.