Amanda Coogan | MASER
Curated by Matthew Nevin
June – September 2019 – CIACLA, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, Los Angeles.
A summer programme promoting a multidisciplinary series of exhibitions and events of contemporary Irish culture.
During the summer of 2019 the MART Directors and team launched CIACLA – The Contemporary Irish Arts Centre Los Angeles pilot program; which included 27 Events to over 4000 Visitors, featured in 28 Press Outlets to over 5 million people. We collaborated with 110 artists and participants living in the USA and 50 living in Ireland, partnering with 11 Supporting organisations and 16 local program partners.
The groundwork for CIACLA – The Contemporary Irish Arts Centre Los Angeles was established in 2011 when Matthew Nevin & Ciara Scanlan of MART Gallery & Studios began to curate exhibitions annually in Los Angeles, promoting leading Irish Contemporary Artists.
In 2019, following eight years of exhibitions and events through local partnerships in Los Angeles, the pair launched a pilot venue for CIACLA, which promoted contemporary Irish culture through a multidisciplinary summer program at Bergamot Station, Santa Monica.
This exciting program which showcased a need for a dedicated Irish arts venue in LA and was made possible with thanks to our new members and supporters, The MART Gallery & Studios, Culture Ireland, the Government of Ireland’s Emigrant Support Programme and Santa Monica City.
CIACLA promotes Contemporary Irish Culture and supports local diverse communities through a multidisciplinary programme in collaboration with local and international cultural partnerships. CIACLA is focused on developing a creative platform to support and challenge artists as a means of promoting creative innovation and collaborative initiatives in Los Angeles. CIACLA is a non-profit 501(c)(3).
View CIACLA’s Summer Catalogue here
Two Main Exhibitions by Amanda Coogan and MASER were showcased at the center.
In The Ladder Is Always There, internationally renowned Irish performance artist, Amanda Coogan, will create an immersive site specific installation alongside a series of live performances.
Continuing her explorations of embodiment and liveness, Coogan’s installation hangs over the gallery of CIACLA. Audience walk into and stand underneath its groaning presence. First commissioned by MOCA Jacksonville in response to a hand painted dress by Mark Chagall for Stravinsky’s Firebird suite. Made of fabric the colour of the artist’s skin, the sculpture hangs entangled in peaks and troughs calling to mind a landscape, a seascape or an extension of the body. A ladder, suspended from the ceiling at an unattainable height, is always there; a metonym for the potential of movement and change. Through a series of live performances the installation will shapeshift. Performers will move the membrane of the sculpture, lowering and raising its peaks; shifting perspectives.
As with much of Coogan’s work the installation is visually stunning and carries with it poetic resonances. The activities of the silent bodies of the performers rearranging the installation suggest multi resonant layers of meaning. Their gestures, based on Irish Sign Language alongside the pulsating soundtrack – relating to the Adrienne Rich poem, Diving into the Wreck, pour further rich sources to the work. The Ladder is Always There speaks to a metaphorical journey in which Coogan and by extension, the other performers, dive into or work to overcome an obstacle.
The first iteration of The Ladder is Always was commissioned by and exhibited at the Museum Of Contemporary Art Jacksonville in 2018/2019. We show it here at CIACLA with special thanks to Caitlin Doherty.
For the exhibition ‘Mirror Door’ at CIACLA, Maser will transform the main exhibition space into a fully immersive hand-crafted installation. Taking inspiration from one of the great natural beauties of Ireland – Glendalough Valley in County Wicklow – the installation will reinvent the valley’s expansive landscape for visitors to the gallery.
On a daily basis in Ireland, hundreds of locals and tourists travel to Glendalough to marvel at its rugged landscape and to trek its journey. It is a place of rural beauty and a place that deeply resonates with the artist.
Through Maser’s signature use of vibrant colours, flowing patterns and playful shapes, the installation at CIACLA will pay homage to the valley’s breathtaking views, and will play on the idea of differing perspectives and organised view-points. The artist will construct a platform in the centre of gallery for visitors to stand upon and become fully immersed in the abstracted landscape.
Having lived in Arkansas for many years, Maser has a close relationship with the United States – while also holding his Irish roots close to his heart. He travelled extensively around the globe, yet the Irish landscape is a place that distinctly evokes a sense of home for the artist and is strongly rooted in his identity. With the installation at CIACLA, Maser strives to create an inclusive and authentic experience for visitors to engage with his representation of contemporary Ireland.