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  -    -    -    -  MART AWARDS SHOW 2024



Catherine Togher ward (Fingal)

Conor O’Brien (Crawford Graduate)

Roisín McGuigan (Firestation art studios)

Curated by Ciara Scanlan

Exhibition Runs Aug 3-17th | Open Wed-Sat 1-6pm

Opening Reception Saturday 3rd August 2024 at 1pm.

The MART Gallery, 190A Rathmines Road Lower. – map link

This annual exhibition aims to provide a showcase and support opportunity to artists whose work is both engaging and experimental. The exhibition presents artists selected through partnerships; Catherine Togher Ward was selected from the MART & Fingal Arts Office Graduate Award and successfully received a one year studio at MART Studios alongside curatorial and financial support for the exhibition and Roisín McGuigan was selected from Fire Station Artists’ Studios Digital Media Award and Conor O’Brien a recent graduate of MTU Crawford College of Art & Design.

Artist Bios and statements:

Roisín McGuigan

Roisín McGuigan’s practice is an auto-ethnographic reflection on place, phenomena, and the reverberations of growing up near the Northern Irish border and explores its contemporary relevance via research, memory and anecdote through a multi-disciplinary practice of visual art and writing.


McGuigan is a graduate of NCAD, Burren College of Art, and Turps Art School, London. She has received numerous grants and bursaries from The Arts Council, Dublin City Council, Kerry County Council and Creative Ireland, and was awarded the inaugural Graphic Studio Dublin Expanded Print Residency in 2022 and a Fire Station Artists’ Studios’ Sculpture Practice Award in 2023. McGuigan was also recently awarded the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) Derry-Londonderry’s Reciprocal Residency at Kaunas Artists’ House in Lithuania for 2024. 


Her work has previously featured in galleries at home and abroad including VISUAL Carlow, Rua Red, Crawford Municipal Gallery of Art, Hun Gallery, New York, Rugby Art Gallery & Museum, UK, and in Matera, Italy as part of the European City of Culture 2019. Upcoming exhibitions for 2024 include MART, Dublin and CCA Derry-Londonderry.

Conor O’Brien: 

My work explores the relationship between marginalised queer bodies and the alien other of science fiction, pulling on representations of the incomprehensible.

Trans and genderqueer bodies are being weaponised politically by right wing movements worldwide. The discussion around trans identity in the media, which largely seems to ignore or underrepresent trans voices, has reduced the issue to ‘us’ and ‘them’. This dehumanises and alienates trans people, who instead become a thing to be feared rather than individuals to be understood.

My paintings act as a first contact between the viewer and an alien body. The biomorphic creations I refer to as Visitors pull on life native to earth such as fungi or marine life, informing the viewer that they are more like us than we might initially think. Fungi, due to their relationship with death and decay, are seen as unnerving or something to be feared: slowly encroaching, invading your space, like the mould on your walls. However, this invalidates their invaluable participation in the creation of new life and the crucial role that fungi play in sustaining human existence. The amalgam bodies that emerge in my paintings include limbs and visceral forms reminiscent of genitalia and internal organs. They don’t resolve into coherent bodies – they appear to fluctuate, never resting, ever growing.

My Visitors are flamboyantly coloured, overly sweet, loud and assertive. As trans and genderqueer people, we do not need to justify our existence or identity to anyone. By merely existing we challenge and dismantle preconceived notions of gender. This may frighten, disturb or enrage people who refuse to recognise us. Similarly, my Visitors may evoke such a reaction, but to me they are beautiful and aspirational, defiantly and boldly themselves which cannot be ignored and is a joyous expression of the queer body.


Catherine Togher-Ward

Artist Statement:

In Pursuit of the Moon is an evolving body of work by artist Catherine Togher-Ward.

Informed by themes of beauty, desire and transformation this project aims to investigate our nature through its exploration of the tumultuous relationships between moth, man and moon in a continuous cycle of obsession, pursuit and destruction.

As the moth flits between worlds with its paper wings, in constant pursuit of otherworldly beauty, it reflects our own nature while tied to us through the commonality of insatiable desire. As we breed, boil and discard in the pursuit of silk, a species of moth is created that is unable to see the light of the moon or lift itself off of this earth in its pursuit.

The process of this project’s production involves the hand raising of over 500 wax moths on soft ground copper plates. On these plates the moths lived out their entire lives with each movement from larva to moth leaving a unique impression in the ground. These markings were then etched and printed, capturing their metamorphosis in paper and ink. Displayed alongside these etchings is a series of post mortem photographic portraits of the moths, suspended in time in their endless pursuit.

Catherine Togher-Ward

Catherine Togher-Ward is an interdisciplinary Fingal-based artist who specialises in paint and

expanded printmaking.

She has been a resident in Ardgillan Studios since 2021 where she worked collaboratively to co-found Ardgillan Gallery before returning to NCAD to complete her degree in Fine Art Print. It was at this time that she initiated the production of her evolving body of work, In Pursuit of the Moon.

Following the display of this body of work at the 2023 NCAD Graduate Exhibition, Catherine Togher-Ward was granted the Fingal Arts Office & MART Gallery and Studios Graduate Award.

She later returned to Ardgillan Gallery to curate the Winter Exhibition in November 2023 as well as exhibit alongside Maya Brezing and Emma Scully in April 2024 in their show Flesh and Roots.

Since receiving the Graduate Award in January 2024 Catherine Togher-Ward has been a resident in MART Studios as well as a recent member of Black Church Print Studio.