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Isabel Nolan

Isabel Nolan has an expansive practice that incorporates sculptures, paintings, textile works, photographs, writing and works on paper. Her subject matter is similarly comprehensive, taking in cosmological phenomena, religious reliquaries, Greco-Roman sculptures and literary/historical figures, examining the behaviour of humans and animals alike. These diverse artistic investigations are driven by intensive research, but the end result is always deeply personal and subjective. In concert, her works give generous form to fundamental questions about the ways the world is made meaningful through human activity.

Recent large-scale sculptures in particular have demonstrated an extraordinary capacity to realise in elaborate form the uncertainties of the questing, subjective consciousness. Such works often have the appearance of grand metallic doodles – line drawings that might imply efforts towards rational modeling or more impulsive sketching, but that are rendered dramatically, imposingly real. Regularly complementing such sculptural endeavors in Nolan’s art are wall hangings, paintings and works on paper that carefully ‘domesticate’ the elaborate strangeness of the sculptures, but that also have their own beautifully inscrutable integrity.

Current and upcoming exhibitions include EVA International, Limerick (biennial exhibition, 14 April – 8 July 2018); Kerlin Gallery, Dublin (group exhibition, 3 May – 21 June 2018); Kunstverein Langenhagen, Germany and San Antonio Museum of Art, Texas (both solo exhibitions, 2018).

Recent solo exhibitions include Another View from Nowhen, London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE (2017–2018); Grazer Kunstverein, Graz (2017–2018); Calling on Gravity, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2017); The weakened eye of day, which toured from the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2014) to Mercer Union, Toronto and CAG, Vancouver (2016); A Thing Is Mostly Space, Launch Pad New York (2015); The Model, Sligo (2011), travelling to the Musée d’art moderne de Saint Etienne, France (2012); The Return Gallery, Goethe-Institut Irland, Dublin (2012–13); Gallery 2, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2008) and Project Arts Centre, Dublin (2005). In 2005, Nolan represented Ireland at the 51st Venice Biennale as part of a group exhibition, Ireland at Venice 2005. She was elected to Aosdána in 2018.


Last Updated: June 2018


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