Exhibition of Photographs
1983 until 2015
Currated by Anna O’Sullivan, Director of the Butler Gallery
Butler Gallery, the Parade, Kilkenny, Ireland
Photographs, 1983-2014 – Gypsy Ray
Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, butlergallery.com
(go to program 50/interview at 17:50 minutes)
IRISH TIMES REVIEW, JULY 9, 2015
Artist, photographer and teacher Gypsy Ray was born in Illinois, and has worked extensively in the US. She has also spent time in Ireland from the 1980s and, since 2000, has lived in rural Co Kilkenny. In an era of digital technology, when photographic images have never been so easy, numerous and throwaway, Ray’s work is something of a corrective, making a case for the considered image, whether achieved with a camera or through drawing.
Ray’s black-and-white portrait photographs are exceptional for her evident empathy. Simply put, she responds incredibly warmly to people. Her subjects include many individuals you might or might not recognise, artists and writers such as Adrienne Rich, Dervla Murphy, William Rubel, Alan Counihan and Patrick O’Connor. There are also people we are unlikely to know at all but quickly feel that we do. Ray gives her subjects a chance to be themselves, and generally they respond well to that, be they children, young students at San Francisco Middle School or workers in the midst of their labour.
The all-plastic Holga box camera was launched in the early 1980s. Its limitations – including blurred edges and uneven lighting effects – have endeared it to many photographers, including Ray. She employs it for landscapes. Some are included in the show and gathered in the publication The Poetry of Place, with a text by Butler director Anna O’Sullivan. The photographs are dreamy, muted and as O’Sullivan observes mostly offer us “passageways into nature”. Metaphorically rich, they offer us a series of thresholds, leaving us poised on the edge. The edge of what? Of the realm of the unconscious, perhaps; the unknown, the infinite. Until June 21st, butlergallery.com
First published: Tue, Jun 9, 2015, 04:00
Aiden Dunne, Art Critic for the Irish Times Newspaper