14.09. - 12.10.2016
Opening - 14.09.2016, 5 - 9 pm
A few years back, walking along Killiney Beach on the sea on the east coast of her native Ireland Laura Buckley came across a rusting sign. It faced out to sea, a warning of some kind to ships. It called out to seafarers to look at it, to take heed; at the same time its message was stay away, go away. It attracted, it repelled.
A large concertinaed dial-like mirror sculpture, onto which a new video is projected twice, doubling the image, is shown alongside two print works, the latter made through the artist’s long-running investigation into the compositional possibilities of scanner technology. Taken as a body of work in dialogue, ATTRACT/REPEL explores ideas of emotional, psychological or temperamental duality. Buckley invokes notions of seduction and calm, anxiety and aggression, simultaneously, reflective of our ability to ‘multitask’ states of psychological being. Produced as two chapters, which feature further scanned and distorted imagery (filmed from the computer screen) as well more conventional video footage made by the artist, the viewer is presented with two successive portraits of these opposing feelings. In one, signaled through various seductive motifs of wellbeing and relaxation – close-up camera pans of smoothies being mixed, evocative details of health spas and swimming pools, the spray of a shower glinting in the light – a feeling of calm is artfully calibrated. A soundtrack produced by the artist, with the assistance of her young daughter, works towards this. The mirrored surface of the sculpture both holds and reflects the imagery; we become bathed in it, soaked in its balm. Five minutes in however, the tone changes; the next, darker, chapter arrives. Gone is the safety Buckley has lulled us into, to be replaced by something angrier; images and sounds that gnaw at the viewer, seeking to discompose us. The projection strobes, the electronic noise beats down on our head. The reflective quality of the sculpture’s mirrored surface no longer aids a sense of security, but distorts perception, throws us, confuses us.
Laura Buckley, ATTRACT/REPEL, 2016, HD Projection, mirrored sculpture, sound, dimensions variable
The two prints reflect similar binary notions. The first features a peacock feather that has been scanned during the day, a distortion occurring to the image as Buckley moved the object during the operation. White light fills the rest of the space around the feather, around this symbol of showmanship. The second print is an image of the bed of the home scanner Buckley has used for the past 6 years, this time used after dark had fallen. Within the black monochromatic outcome the only discernable detailing are the scratches – the inward scars of life – that the scanner has suffered to its glass plate in the course of its many years use within the artist’s practice.
Buckley has often previously prescribed an overriding mood to her solo exhibitions or projects. The artist might decide to invoke a moment of euphoria through her audio-visual sculptural installations, or otherwise a pervasive melancholia will hang through the works. For ATTRACT/REPEL however the works seek to seduce us, to turn us away; we enjoy and suffer simultaneously.
Text by Oliver Basciano