The Irish Contemporaries 1 - web

THE Irish Contemporaries Exhibition {i}

A group Visual Art and Film exhibition, including a Live Art performance by Francis Fay and music by Julie Bergman.

Held from 3-8th November at Building Bridges Art Exchange, Bergamot Station.

Location: Building Bridges Art Exchange, Unit F2, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, LA, CA. 90404 

Download the Exhibition Handout Here.

CIACLA - The Contemporary Irish Center Los Angeles, in partnership with MART Gallery & Studios Dublin, were proud to present The Irish Contemporaries {i}, curated by Ciara Scanlan and Matthew Nevin, showcasing contemporary artists living in the island of Ireland and Irish artists abroad, in Los Angeles. 

This, the first of two exhibitions in the series, took place 3-8th November 2022 at Building Bridges Art Exchange, located at the prestigious Bergamot Station Arts Centre in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California. 

The exhibition featured two short films by Eoin Heaney and Treasa O’Brien, a group exhibition of visual artwork by Alana Barton, Amna Walayat, Ashley B. Holmes, Austin Ivers, Barbara Healy, Catherine Mwase, Christopher Clery, Claire Prouvost, Elinor O'Donovan, Gráinne Bath Enright, Jennifer Trouton, Julian King, Kata Kukla, Rebecca Bradley, Sarah Edmondson, Scott O'Sullivan, Sheila Flaherty, The Ljilja, Vicki Davis, Tony O'Loughlin, all of whom work across four Artist Studios in Ireland: MART Studios, Sample Studios Cork, QSS Belfast and Limerick Printmakers, showcasing some of the most exciting artists working today in Ireland.

This exhibition was the first of two exhibitions that will showcase a multidisciplinary selection of Irish Contemporary Artists as part of CIACLA's ‘Fáilte’ series

This exhibition was been made possible with support from the Government of Ireland Emigrant Support Programme, Culture Ireland, California Arts Council, LA County Arts Commission, CIACLA, MART Gallery & Studios and Building Bridges Art Exchange.

Featured Artists / Filmmakers / Performers:

Alana Barton -

Alana is a visual artist from the North Coast of Ireland. Her paintings explore childhood and family relationships inspired by nostalgia and Renaissance paintings. The artwork combines figurative and abstract elements in a vibrant aesthetic to convey surreal dreamlike states and alternative realities. 

Amna walayat -

Amna Walayat is a Pakistani-born visual artist settled in Cork, Ireland after living six years in UK and France. She is M.A. Modern and Contemporary Art History Theory and Criticism from UCC (2016) and M.A. Fine Arts from University of Punjab (2002). She has worked with National Art Gallery as Programme Organisor and Lahore Arts Council as Curator in Pakistan.   She is a recipient of many awards from Arts Council Ireland Including Next Generation Award 2021. Amna Walayat is interested in hybrid culture through her personal experience as well as past and contemporary narratives of othering.  Her practice explores the imagery and techniques of traditional and neo-Indo-Persian miniature painting, expressing her work with her position as a migrant woman. Her recent projects include an investigation on abortion rights in a multicultural context and a response to the theme of feminism, displacement and citizenship. 

Ashley B. Holmes -

Ashley B. Holmes is a member of QSS studios in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Originally from the USA, she studied photography, printmaking and painting at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (Boston). This foundation was built upon with an MFA in painting at the University of Colorado (Boulder) and a Master of Art from the Chelsea College of Art and Design (London, UK).

Much of Holmes’ early work included sculpture and installation, most notably a series about ideal beauty making of monsters made out of Barbie dolls. Subsequently, her focus shifted towards paintings/drawings of houses with decorative patterns and dual façade houses. “I love the shapes of houses, Colonial, Craftsman, Victorian, Pennsylvania Dutch, these complex shapes inspire me to picture their foundation.  I imagine a counter shape that can balance and support the house above the ground.  A logical shape that is worthy of the heavy browed dormer windows and the wide smiling porches. These augmented houses can’t sit still in the landscape.  They travel through oceans, Bluetooth, rain, solar wind, iClouds, radio waves, encryption...”

Austin Ivers -

Austin make digital (durational and still) objects, film and installation work. His concerns have developed from looking at the intersection of popular culture and the distinctive visual culture which emerges at times of high public anxiety such as the Cold War, the Oil/Nuclear Crises of the 70’s and 80’s and any time of great technological innovation, acceleration and development. Recent solo shows include ‘The Earth Dies Screaming’ at 126 (2021) and ‘Threads’ (2020) a major commission for Galway City of Culture, which include a solo exhibition at The Dock. The commission was a consideration of the relationship between the aesthetic of power and the threat of nuclear annihilation. It included new film, installation and photography, mediating a parallel film programme which underpinned the context and subjects of the work and specially commissioned essays by writers Ian Maleney, Cathy Sweeney, Patrick McCabe and Joanne Laws. Work from this commissioned exhibition was purchased for the Arts Council Collection, and exhibited at The RHA.  CV Precis:  2021: ‘The Earth Dies Screaming’, 126 Galway 
2020: 'Threads', The Dock, Carrick on Shannon
 2020: ‘RHA Annual’ RHA, Dublin
 2018: Catalyst Arts Members Annual, Belfast 
2017: Participant in ‘Exquisite Corpse’, 126 
2015: ‘No Time For Hysteria’, group show, Burren College of Art. 
2014: Engage Studios Members Exhibition, 126 (curator)
 2014: ‘The End Of the World News’, One person show, Galway Arts Centre. 
2013: 126 Members Show, The Shed, Galway.
 2012: Selected Works, Kerry Film Festival, Tralee.
 11-15: ‘Imaginary Archive curated by Greg Sholette. Galway, Graz, Kiev, Philadelphia,      Friedrichshafen
2011: ‘On The Beach’, One person show, 126, Galway
 2010: ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’, RHA, Dublin
 2010: ‘Live8’, video and performance events, Galway, Limerick, Sligo.
 2006: ‘Tulca’, Galway.
 04-06: Established and co-curated 126, Galway Awards:  2021: Arts Council Agility Award 
 2022: Arts Council Visual Arts Bursary.

Barbara Healy -

Barbara Healy is a Visual Artist and former Advertising Art Director. She holds a BA Honours Degree in Fine Art Painting from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland (NCAD) and an MS.c in Creative Advertising from Technological University Dublin, Ireland (TUD). She works in Dublin and is a member of MART Gallery and Studios.  Healy’s work explores the intersection between capitalism and the environment. The process of entropy being at the core of her work, she is concerned with the impact of man-made processes on climate, landscapes and the future of the natural world.  ’Crux’ is a parodic fossil fuel brand, in which the tropes of advertisement are utilised as medium to unfold the reality behind fossil fuel industry ‘greenwashing’ campaigns. Healy’s practice is multidisciplinary in nature and is primarily informed by her Painting and Advertising backgrounds. She works in Paint, Print, Digital Media and Installation.

Catherine Mwase -

Catherine is an artist and lawyer living in Ireland. During her formative years, Catherine spent hours watching painters, sculptors, and craftsmen. This inspired Catherine to develop her creativity alongside her career as a lawyer. Catherine's primary medium is acrylic paints on canvas but she has explored other mediums including watercolours, spray paints, inks and fabrics. Catherine's previous exhibitions include: (1) Solo exhibitions: Awoken (2018), Just Love (2015), Art & Jazz (2014); and (2) Group exhibitions: Off The Wall (2019), A Touch Of Art (2013), Untold Gold (2012). 

Christopher Clery -

“I graduated in fine art printmaking and contemporary practice from Limerick school of art and design in 2019. I am currently a member of the Limerick Printmakers where I create work and enjoy being in the printmaking community. I explore my perception and understanding of sexuality, masculinity and the male gender within my work. I focus on etching, silkscreen, photography and collage processes. I express my own sexuality and idea of masculinity in my work and how it fits in the world. My practice is esoteric by nature and is inspired by depictions of religion, Greek art, culture, and mythology. I create imagery that is depicting male figures within tropical pastoral settings that have been corrupted and I have recently been exploring hellscape imagery and representation of sin and body/animal splicing to convey my outlook on queer life as a millennial .  "

Claire Prouvost -

Claire Prouvost is a French visual artist based in Dublin, Ireland. Her colourful, bold and minimal style is inspired by the cubist art movement. She loves to diversify her practice and work on a variety of mediums, from digital illustration, acrylic painting to large-scale murals and street art. She likes to explore the complexity of relationships and human interactions, telling stories through deconstructed figures, intuitive lines and expressive colourful shapes. Her art is celebrating diversity, inspired by feelings and everyday life."

Eoin Heaney

Eóin Heaney is an award winning filmmaker artist living and working in Dublin, Ireland. His work uses formal cinematic grammar, time and repetition to question our fragile relationships with representation and lived reality. His film work has been extensively exhibited in Irish and international film festivals and art spaces. Last Words was shortlisted for the 2016 Hennessy Portrait Prize and was displayed in the National Gallery of Ireland.

Elinor O'Donovan -

Elinor O’Donovan is a multidisciplinary artist based in Cork, Ireland.   Her practice references internet memes, cartoons, and film and tv tropes. Through playful sculpture, collage, drawing and installations, she teases out the ways that familiarity with common tropes in popular culture allows us to form cognitive shortcuts, influencing how we understand the world around us.  Drawing on theatre set-design, she examines the dichotomies of front-stage/back-stage, public/private space, and audience/performer. She often chooses to leave the raw materials of her work exposed, questioning what value remains when a work of art is sketchy and unformed.  O’Donovan received her BA from Edinburgh College of Art in 2019, and has since participated in residencies and exhibitions in Ireland, the UK and Europe. 

Francis Fay - 

Francis Fay is an Irish artist active on the domestic scene since 2012, and whose performance and curatorial projects have been presented nationwide at galleries, theatres, libraries and public spaces. Recent projects include 'Your Self-Made Super Human', his 2019 performance at Wexford Arts Centre. Francis's video trilogy, 'Queering the Landscape', developed at a Tyrone Guthrie Centre residency, premiered the same year at the 'Diffraction' screening,126 Gallery, Galway. In 2016, he was commissioned by Arts Council Ireland to perform at historic Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin in 'Future Histories', a response to the 1916 Rising. Co-founder and curator of, a platform building audiences and promoting Irish performance art, Francis was also co-director of the Dublin Live Art Festival 2015. He gives annual performance arts workshops to graduates of Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art and Design. The themes of his photographic montages include self portraiture and cityscapes, specifically that of the Dublin imaginary.

Gráinne Bath Enright -

Gráinne is an Irish Artist, Designer and Illustrator based in Dublin. Gráinne obtained a BA Hons Degree in ‘Design for Stage and Screen’ from IADT, Dún Laoghaire and worked in film and theatre before gradually gravitating towards her own fine art prints and illustration projects. With a love for hand drawn detail, her work is informed by story and symbolism. She now works from both her Dublin studio and on location.   Following her degree specialising in Production Design, Gráinne worked on over 20 productions such as The Wexford Opera, Facebook’s Summer Event and The National Wax Museum Plus. Gráinne has specialised in the design and illustration of large scale theatrical cloths and headed the Scenic Cloth Team for the much loved Gaiety Panto for a number of years.   Whilst working as a scenic artist, Gráinne continued to produce her own detailed works, realising her first collection of prints  inspired by wild things and sense of place in 2017. Gráinne’s transition from working in film and theatre to full-time artist and illustrator was gradual but inevitable, helped along by the events of 2020.  Included in the many illustration ventures Gráinne has worked on are projects for both Bicester and Kildare Villages, Laura Kennedy’s ‘Second Self’ podcast and Katie Kims new ‘Hour of the Ox’ album.  Gráinne’s fine art pieces have come to encompass her exploration of the natural world and urban environments with an enthusiasm for the connections we have to these places.​ She often takes her sketchbook outdoors; capturing buildings and the natural world on location which allows for a freedom in the drawing that cannot be captured in the studio. Inspired by history and folklore, the detailed marks invite you in to discover something new within the piece on each viewing.  In 2022, Gráinne exhibited for the first time at the ‘MART Studio Members Exhibition’ and at her first solo pop-up exhibition, ‘DWELLINGS’ at the Riverbank Arts Centre in Newbridge.  

Jennifer Trouton -

Jennifer Trouton is an Irish artist who works within the discipline of Painting. Formally her work appropriates the tropes of traditional still life painting to create contemporary representations that subtly express ideas around gender, class and identity within Irish history. Her work combines an interest in the mythological and historical with the personal stories and meta-narratives of women.   Trouton’s most recent body of work, One of Many, considers the women affected by societal and religious attempts to suppress reproductive rights in Ireland. Her large-scale installations combining paint, embroidery, historical artefacts and wallpapers, highlight how, regardless of continued attempts to reduce the influence and autonomy of women, women still accessed the tools necessary to control their own reproductive destinies. In many cases, they found the objects of their own emancipation in the domestic spaces to which they were assigned.   Since graduating from the University of Ulster in the mid-nineties Trouton’s work has been extensively exhibited both Nationally and Internationally. Throughout her career Trouton’s work has garnered numerous awards, including the Golden Fleece award in 2016, the Clare Morris Open Exhibition, Adjudicators Award, the RHA Annual Exhibition, Keating/McLaughlin award. RUA Tyrone Guthrie Residency Award. She has also been awarded Residencies in New York, Los Angeles, China, Canada and Ireland.  Trouton’s work is held in numerous public and private collections including the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Office of Public Works, Queens University Belfast, The University of Ulster, Belfast HSC Trust, ESB Ireland, Allianz Insurance, XL Insurance, N.I Department of Finance & Personnel and David Roberts Foundation London 

Julie Bergman -

Julie Bergman, a graduate of Berklee Music Online's Master Guitar Certificate program, worked with longtime friend Nancy Wilson (of Heart) to bring a collection of Julie's Irish tinged instrumental guitar compositions and their songwriting collaborations to life in the CD Undercover Guitar, with some help from Outlander TV series percussionist Bruce Carver and Berklee College of Music's Joe Musella.


Kata Kukla -

Kata Kukla is a Dublin-based multidisciplinary artist born in Poland. Her artistic practice spans the fields of painting, design and print. Kata’s work examines social construct, human identity, historical landscape combined with various motifs and symbolism.  She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Poland where she majored in painting and screen-printing. She has been exhibited regularly since 2010 in Europe and in America.


NEODES produces art images using computer 3D software. The images are sculpted/modelled and rendered digitally. The images form surreal takes on contemporary or historical figures and are intended to provide an oblique commentary on culture at large.

Rebecca Bradley -

Rebecca Bradley is an Irish artist living and working in Cork, Ireland.  Her painting practice explores ideas about landscape, abstraction and place-hood. Bradley works with paint and found materials to explore ideas about our encounters with landscape and place. Central to her exploration is a concern for space, light, mark making and the material substance of her subjects. The effects of erosion, accumulation, growth and recycling find expression in Bradley’s use of found materials such as grit, ash and sand with paint and mediums that render blobs of semi organic detritus and smooth veils of paint alongside one another. Recent work focuses on Edgelands, as places where the man-made and organic converge creating material & conceptual peculiarities for  interrogation in paint, sculpture and performance.  Bradley holds an MA (Art and Process) & BA Fine Art, Crawford College of Art, BA Sociology (Kingston University). She is a member of the Breaking Ground Performance Group & a board member of Sample-Studios. Exhibitions include: Earth Rising, Irish Museum Modern Art (IMMA) (2022),  Canvas and Clay, Lavit Gallery, Cork (2022), Sternview Annual, Cork, (2022), Breaking Cover Performance, IMMA (2021); We Only Have the Earth, A4 Sounds, Dublin, (2021), Slip Stream, MTU Gallery, Cork (2021); Evanescent, West Cork Arts Centre (2021), Rothko Art Centre Collection ,National Library, Latvia, (2020); Stories From Lismore & Beyond (2020); Athens Open, (2020); Rothko Painting Residency, Rothko Art Centre, Latvia (2019); This is A Painting Show, SternView,(2019); We Each have our own Landscape, Arthouse, London,(2019); Group show, Municipal Art Gallery of Piraeus, Athens (2018); Misc Arts, Romania (2018); Thresholds, Gonzo, Thessaloniki, (2018); Nostalgia, no.23, London, (2018); The More You See The less You Hold , Sternview, Cork,(2017);  Art Works, Visual, Carlow Arts Festival, (2016); Utopia Dystopia, Fringe Arts, Bath; Vestige of Place, Seamus Ennis Art Centre, Naul (2016). Her work is held in public and private collections in Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Switzerland, UK and USA. Recent acquisitions of her work have been made by the OPW State Art Collection and the Mark Rothko Art Centre, Daugavpils.  She was awarded the Arts Council Agility Award in 2021 and selected as artist in residence at the Mark Rothko Art Centre in Latvia in 2019.   

Sarah Edmondson -

Sarah Edmondson is a research-based, multi-disciplinary artist working in Dublin. She graduated from NCAD with an MFA in Fine Art, Sculpture and Expanded Practice, 2020. She also holds a BA (Hons) in Art and Design Education, 2012, and a BA (Hons) in the History of Art and Sociology, 2007. Her work is informed by her education and her dual role as an artist and art educator in society. She is, thus, interested in the evolution of knowledge and the impact photography and cinema have on our understanding of the universe. When displaying her work she appropriates the modes of mediation used by institutions and museums in order to challenge the hierarchical and patriarchal structures surrounding the acquisition of knowledge. This has led her to conduct performance lectures and create pseudoscientific zines. Her practice is founded in the new media and disciplines of the Fluxus artists and inspired by contemporary artists such as Hito Steyerl and Natascha Sadr Haghighian. Recent and upcoming exhibitions include [Hu]Manned Mission at Lumen Crypt Gallery, London, Oct 2021; Gormworm, Tapir Gallery, Berlin, Feb 2022; MIDDEN at Luan Gallery, Athlone, Oct - Nov 2022; LOOP film festival, Barcelona, Nov 2022; and Through Light and Shade, Source Arts Centre, Thurles, March 2023. Sarah is a recipient of an Arts Council Agility Award, 2021 and a Visual Arts Bursary Award, 2022.

Scott O'Sullivan -

Scott O'Sullivan is a visual artist from Cork, based in Dublin, Ireland. His work been described as symbolist and expressionist in style. A native of Youghal, Co. Cork, having moved to the Waterford countryside at the age of 12. His natural obsession with recording life in various forms developed at a very young age, lasting as a daily practice to this day. Primarily working in oil and encaustic, O'Sullivan's current focus being a series of large oil paintings. Developed through writing, recording, photography, notebook sketches, he will collect material to use as a foundation for larger projects. Usually consisting of a portrait, O'Sullivan's work often includes multiple references in relation to the subjects personality and life.

Sheila Flaherty -

Sheila is a hyperrealistic, contemporary, figurative artist. She is based in MART Studio’s Dublin, Ireland. She works primarily in the medium of oils.

The Ljilja

The Ljilja is a visual artist born in Croatia. She made her first debut in 2006 and since then her art has been shown in group and solo shows. Her work ranges from installations and paintings to photography and performance.  The Ljilja is an ongoing performance and photography project. In her work Ljilja is in a constant search for selfless, content and Ego free body. Her work can be described as a transformation through creativity, connecting all over with her primal “I”.  A body in which human soul live in a complete freedom stripped from all false teachings. A body which is “breaking down areas hardened by perspective of the Ego”. Primal body.   “As an artist my main aim is making the subconscious conscious and bringing it to the light. We live in an era where most of us are showing the best part of ourselves, the most beautiful parts (a wonderful Kingdom of Selfies), and I am showing those, hidden, dark, disturbing parts. By covering my face and hiding my identity, I become no one; and by becoming no one, I have become everyone. By disfiguring my face, covering my eyes I am allowing my Primordial Self to step out from the darkness. I am reconnecting all over again with my true Self.” – says the Ljilja.  She has exhibited and performed internationally including shows at Alte Münze, Berlin (2022); Mart Gallery, Dublin (2022); Ebensperger Gallery, Berlin (2021); Lethal Amounts Gallery, LA (2019); Body Art Ritual Festival, Berlin (2019); and Reykjavik International Film Festival, Reykjavik (2018). Her work has also been featured in Pornceptual Magazine, Bad Seed Zine, and Art Monday Magazine among others.  

Tony O'Loughlin

Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD)  1980- 2010 Professional Graphic designer  2010 Fulltime printmaker /artist   It comes as no surprise after working as a professional Graphic Designer for many years that it should influence my work as an artist/printmaker.  When I started as a full time artist/ printmaker it was like I was returning to a personal world I had put on hold for years. The freedom to think for myself and not for a client was overwhelming. Ideas long stored up in my head rushed to be free.  After a year or so of solitude I realised I needed to mix again with other artists, to have productive conversations and ideas. Joining Limerick Printmaker’s group and studio helped me tremendously, with group shows and collaborations. Having my first solo in 2017 was a great achievement. Since then I have had many collaborations and shown work internationally.  My practice explores the boundaries we create around ourselves. As long as I can remember I have always been aware of the way we treat each other and the environment. Fundamentally it’s an ambiguous attitude often mixed with a good portion of love and hate, it’s in our nature to be this way. The work randomly jumps between social and environmental issues, it depends on what strikes me at the time.  My observations allow me to transform my thoughts on this into the division of space that depicts mental and physical states.  I look to explore this spatial awareness by using semi abstract patterns and organic shapes as symbolic metaphors. I will use whatever I have at hand to develop an idea and often this dictated what medium I will work in. I have a preference for screen-printing as this is my favourite ‘hands on’ traditional method of working. As technology develops I have a great interest in the digital process and virtual artwork, being the future. Having said that, I am very conscious of not allowing the computer to do the thinking, I still want it to be just another tool.  Each piece of work I undertake often requires a new approach and medium. In the end, the work is always an emotional response.

Treasa O’Brien -

Treasa O'Brien (she/her) is a filmmaker, artist and writer. Her work has been awarded funding by Screen Ireland, The Arts Council of Ireland, Clare County Council, and The Goethe Institute. She is the Galway City awardee of Platform 31 in 2022, a bursary and mentorship scheme for 31 artists in Ireland. Thematically, her work explores cultural and personal memory, migration, identity, place, and motherhood, and is made from a consciously feminist/queer perspective. She holds a BA in Fine Art from LSAD, MA honours in Film Directing from Goldsmiths and a PhD in Film Practice at University of Westminster. Much of her formal education was undone when she participated in the Werner Herzog Rogue Film School. Her ‘hybrid’ feature film Town of Strangers - which like The Blow-in is also set in Gort - is released by IFI@Home in Ireland and is distributed by New Wave Films in the UK.

Vicki Davis -

Cork based Visual Artist, Vicki Davis, graduated from TUDublin on Sherkin Island with a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Art 2020. Graduating with First Class Honours Vicki's film installation Vort_i_city was shortlisted for the RDS Visual Art Award, 2020. Performance, film, socially engaged  installation and field sample created sound-scapes make up Vicki's artistic process, which in turn is generally informed by neuroscientific discoveries, cognitive decline, sociology and well-being.   Having previously studied Graphic Design and Digital Media in CSN, photography and film have followed her into her practice. Where most of her present film work is digital she recently began experimenting with analogue techniques, pinhole camera and 35mm film processing. Vicki has produced work for Cork Midsummer Festival with participatory  sculptural installation, Meatán, curated by Pluck Projects, Visual Arts Curators in Residence for Cork Midsummer Festival,2020/2021. Meatán focused on the well being of cattle during a time when the spotlight was shining on the agricultural industries culpability to the climate emergency.   Vicki was one of nine artists chosen to participate as community artist for In-house GROUND0 at The Guesthouse Projects, Cork for the year 2021- 2022. She currently holds a studio at Sample Studios and she is a professional member of Circus Factory Vicki's work has been supported by awards from Cork City Council Arts Office and the Arts Council of Ireland. Vicki has exhibited for Intertidal, Uillinn, West Cork Art Centre, 2020.Mental Health Awarness Day, 2021. Photographic work has been exhibited during Stories From Lismore and Beyond at Lismore Castle Arts, 2020.  Pitch'd, Circus Arts Festival,2019/2020. Sample Studios Member Summer Exhibition 2022.