Inspiring culture seekers since 1943, the Butler Gallery is a not-for-profit organisation located in the former kitchens of Kilkenny Castle. The gallery is free of charge and open to the public seven days a week, all year round.
Butler Gallery actively promotes and affirms the value of the arts to society through a diverse programme of exhibitions, a significant permanent collection, and active and innovative education initiatives for family, school, youth and adult audiences.
They offer their visitors excellent contemporary exhibitions, which reflect the constantly changing nature of visual art practice. Providing a platform for the best of Irish art today and demonstrating a strong commitment to presenting the work of artists of international repute, they aim to stimulate, inspire and challenge their audience.
* In 2008, the gallery was awarded Museum Accreditation from the Heritage Council of Ireland for excellence in Caring for Collections, Museum Management and Exhibition, Education and Visitor Services.
‘Modern Experiments’ Kilkenny-Bound
‘Susan MacWilliam: Modern Experiments’ Exhibition Opens at Butler Gallery Saturday 28th October
Until 17 December 2017
After a record-breaking two-year run, Modern Experiments – the largest and most comprehensive exhibition of contemporary artist Susan MacWilliam’s work – is to conclude its Irish tour with a seven-week show at the Butler Gallery in Kilkenny.
The ground-breaking Modern Experiments exhibition, which provides audiences with the opportunity to see and experience a collection of 28 of Susan’s most compelling works together in one location for the first time, will open at the prestigious Kilkenny gallery on Saturday 28th of October where it will run until Sunday 17th December 2017.
Using anecdote, reconstruction, forms of portraiture and detailed editing, Modern Experiments presents key pieces from Susan’s award-winning career, with a focus on works created from 1998 when she began working with video. Idiosyncratic installations and videos lead the viewer through histories of spiritualism and psychical research, providing a thoroughly thought-provoking and immersive experience.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s exhibition launch, Susan MacWilliam, said:
"I am looking forward to returning to Butler Gallery, where I previously exhibited in 2002 with my solo show, On The Eye.
“Modern Experiments explores ideas and narratives of vision and perception, of reality and illusion, and of the paranormal and super-sensory and I look forward to my work reaching new audiences and new eyes.”
The work presented in Modern Experiments forms a unique and significant body of material exploring peripheral subjects, and those that are beyond mainstream scientific and psychological study. Highlights include ‘F-L-A-M-M-A-R-I-O-N’ which sees poltergeist investigator, William Roll, and writer, Ciaran Carson, contemplate ectoplasmic manifestations, and ‘The Last Person’ where the séance-room phenomena of Helen Duncan, the last person tried under the British Witchcraft Act, are restaged.
Anna O’Sullivan, Director and Chief Curator, said:
“The Butler Gallery is the perfect venue to host the Modern Experiments exhibition, which promises to deliver an exceptional and memorable visitor experience.
“We have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the exhibit to the Butler Gallery and are delighted to be the final host in its tour across Ireland.
“There is a thriving cultural community here in Kilkenny, which provides an ideal base for promoting the works of Irish and emerging artists. We hope that by facilitating this outstanding body of work that both our locals and visitors to the area will be inspired to delve more deeply into a fascinating range of subject areas.”
Modern Experiments is supported by a major touring grant awarded through a joint initiative by the Arts Council / An Chomahirle Ealaíon and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. A publication documenting Modern Experiments and including essays by leading scholars is being developed, and will provide a detailed overview of MacWilliam’s practice.
Born in Belfast in 1969 Susan MacWilliam lives and works in Belfast and in Dublin, where she is a lecturer at the National College of Art and Design. In 2009 she represented Northern Ireland at the 53rd Venice Biennale. She was awarded a Derry City of Culture Commission in 2013, and was winner of the Ormeau Baths Gallery Perspective Award, 2003. Other awards include EV+A, Limerick, 1999, 2001, 2005, and Claremorris Open, 2007.
In 1999 Susan was shortlisted for the IMMA Glen Dimplex Artists Award. She has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally with solo shows in Belfast, Dublin, London, Manchester, Derby, New York, Winnipeg and Victoria, B.C. She is represented by CONNERSMITH, Washington, DC.
The Butler Gallery opens from Monday to Saturday, from 10:00am to 4:30pm. For more information, visit www.butlergallery.com or phone 056 776 1106 or visit Facebook and Twitter @butlergallery.
With thanks to the Arts Council for essential annual funding and to the OPW, Department of Social Protection, The Heritage Council and Kilkenny Local Authorities for additional assistance