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‘Review: Fionna Barber’s Art in Ireland Since 1910’, Artefact: The Journal of the Irish Association of Art Historians, Issue 6, 2013.

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‘Review: Fionna Barber’s Art in Ireland Since 1910’, Artefact: The Journal of the Irish Association of Art Historians, Issue 6, 2013.
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  Kate Antosik-Parsons  Artefact: The Journal of the Irish Association of Art Historians Issue 6, 2013.Book Review: Fionna Barber   Art in Ireland since 1910 Reaktion Books, 2013, 318 a!esI"B#: $%81%80230368Fionna Barber&s  Art in Ireland since 1910  is an a'bitious stu() t*at tra+es t*e(eveo'ent o Iris* 'o(ern art a!ainst t*e ba+k(ro o t*e tu'utuous oiti+a,e+ono'i+ an( so+ia +*an!es t*at o++urre( over t*e +ourse o t*e twentiet* +entur).ver t*e ast (e+a(e or so, s+*oars o art *istor) an( +utura stu(ies *ave e'barke(on a nu'ber o resear+* ro/e+ts to re+over an( reassess t*e +ontributions o t*evisua arts in Irean(. A nu'ber o tets su+* as  Eire/Ireland Special Issue Visual Arts 1$$$, Third Text  : Special Issue Ireland   200, t*e se+ia se+tion on Iris* Art4istories o t*e  Journal of Art Historiograph 2013 a++ount or t*ese a+tivities."i'iar), t*e'ati+ anes *e( at t*e Annua 5oneren+e o t*e Asso+iation o Art4istorians K, in+u(in! one +o-or!anise( b) Barber in 200$, as we as a nu'ber o ot*er +oneren+es an( s)'osia, rovi(e( ator's or s+*oars en!a!e( wit*'et*o(oo!i+a aroa+*es an( +riti+a ra'eworks ike *istorio!ra*), 7aris',e'inis', s)+*oana)sis, se'ioti+s an( ost+ooniais' in t*e stu() o Iris* art*istor).  Art in Ireland since 1910  is a ti'e) ubi+ation t*at a++or(in!) ree+ts t*esestrate!i+ aroa+*es to t*e visua arts in Irean( a(otin! a ost+oonia an( e'inist erse+tive t*rou!*out. enerous) iustrate(, wit* 222 o t*e tota 266 iustrationsrero(u+e( in +oour, it is +o'ose( o eeven +*ronoo!i+a +*aters, ea+* rou!*)sannin! a (e+a(e. 9*is book is ai'e( at bot* !enera an( a+a(e'i+ au(ien+es, rovi(in! a broa( intro(u+tion to visua art in Irean( or t*e 'ore +asua rea(er,w*ie resonatin! wit* t*ose workin! at t*e interse+tions o Iris* *istor), +uturastu(ies an( art *istor). 9*e oiti+a +*ronoo!) o Irean( 1$00-2010 rovi(e( as auseu reeren+e at t*e ront o t*e book, inoints t*e 'a/or events t*at ra'e t*e(eveo'ent o 'o(ern art in Irean(. 9*e 'otivation or t*is resear+* is o+ate( int*e voi( et b) ".B. Kenne()&s  Irish Art and !odernis"# 1$$0%19&0  1$$1 an(orot*) ;aker&s  !odern Art in Ireland   1$$%, w*i+* unti now *ave been t*e two'ost +o're*ensive surve) tets on t*e sub/e+t. Barber ar!ues or t*e +riti+a  i'ortan+e o evauatin! t*e ()na'i+s between nation an( 'o(ernit) in s*ain! artin twentiet*-+entur) Irean(. In (oin! so, s*e robe'atises t*e estabis*e( 'eta-narratives o 'o(ern art b) o+usin! on t*e +oni+t in #ort*ern Irean(, t*e roe o wo'en artists an( t*e i'a+t o ar!e-s+ae e'i!ration, +onten(in! t*at 'o(ernit)ree+te( in Iris* art is <a (istin+tive eerien+e o 'o(ernit) un(a'enta) (ierentro' t*at ive( out wit*in +entres o +utura an( oiti+a ower.& 5onse=uent) b)o+usin! on t*e erio( ro' 1$10 to t*e en( to t*e e+ono'i+ roserit) o t*e 5eti+9i!er, t*is tet rovi(es a uer a++ount or t*e i'ortan+e o art in reation to t*e oiti+a, e+ono'i+ an( so+ia or+es t*at s+ute( 'o(ern Irean(. 9*e book irst) a((resses *ow Iris* nationais' visuaise( t*e reations*i between nation an( i(entit), an( t*e ee+ts t*is *a( on art ro(u+tion. Barber oersres* erse+tives on t*e oiti+a an( +utura a+tivities o +ertain artists, +onten(in!t*at art ro(u+tion s*ou( not be evauate( in isoation, but or t*e wa)s in w*i+* it broa() 'irrors t*e +on+erns o a +onservative so+iet) on t*e brink o i'en(in!+*an!e. 9*e brie +o'arative ana)sis between ra+e 4enr)&s A+*i i'a!er) wit*t*at o *usban( Pau&s estabis*es a sense o *ow reresentations o t*e ;est *ave been +o-ote( into t*e *e!e'oni+, 'as+uine (is+ourse t*at i'a!ines t*e Iris* nation.9*is +areu attention to !en(er t*rou!*out t*e book )ie(s new an( ri+*un(erstan(in!s o t*e si!nii+an+e o t*ese visuaisations. Furt*er'ore, aon!si(e t*ea'iiar i!ures o 4enr), ;iia' ren, >o*n ?aver) an( "ean Keatin!, are t*eoten-'ar!inaise( +ontributions o 5onstan+e 7arkiewi+@, Kat*een Fo, ra+eior( an( stea "oo'ons. 9*e tension between +entre an( 'ar!in is revisite(t*rou!*out t*e tet in subte but innovative wa)s, or instan+e, teasin! out t*e+o'eities o 7ainie >eett as a ivota i!ure or Iris* 'o(ernis' reveas t*at *er avant-!ar(e strate!ies retaine( tra+es o <se-+ons+ious ri'itivis'& enabin!+onne+tions wit* bot* 'o(ern art an( t*e i+ono!ra*) o t*e ;est. 9*is tet e'barks on t*e (ii+ut task o rovi(in! new ase+ts t*ei+ono!ra*) o t*e ;est an( its reation to 'o(ernit), as it is a arti+uar) we-tro((en t*e'e t*at to (ate *as re+eive( 'u+* +riti+a attention ro' various s+*oars.4owever, b) +o'arin! t*e ;est to t*e oiti+a (iver!en+e between #ort*ern an("out*ern Irean(, Barber 'akes a +onvin+in! +ase or ura un(erstan(in!s o 'o(ernit) b) wa) o !eo!ra*i+a o+ation. A++or(in!), t*e oiti+a an( so+iasituation in #ort*ern Irean( is a 'a/or t*e'e t*rou!*out t*e book rovi(in! urt*er insi!*t into t*e 'utii+ities o 'o(ernit) an( 'o(ern art on t*e isan( o Irean(.  Barber observes t*e <et*i+s o Protestantis'& in t*e work o so'e #ort*ern artists int*e 1$30s t*ou!* 'ore +ou( be sai( as to *ow t*e se+ii+s o Protestantis' transateinto t*e visua s*ere. >o*n 4ewitt e'er!es as a ivota i!ure or *is suort o  #ort*ern artists, ese+ia) *is roe in ai(in! t*e or'ation o t*e s*ort-ive( ster nit, t*e ai's o w*i+* <were 'ore ra(i+a t*an an) ot*er art in Irean( at t*at ti'e&.9*e rai( !rowt* in *eav) in(ustries (ue to t*e outbreak o ;or( ;ar II an( t*ese+ii+ event o t*e Beast Bit@ 1$1 *a( a rooun( ae+t on #ort*ern artists.9*at 5oin 7i((eton an( #evie >o*nson aroa+*e( t*eir resonses to su+* eventst*rou!* t*e visua an!ua!e o "urreais' (e'onstrates t*e ran!e o avant-!ar(estrate!ies e'o)e( b) t*ese artists. 7eanw*ie, t*rou!* t*e neutrait) an( se-i'ose( isoation o t*e Iris* Free "tate, 5at*oi+is' an( 'o(ernis' were at o((swit* one anot*er, ea(in! Barber to ar!ue t*at t*e <ossibiities or oiti+ara(i+ais', a re+urrent eature o uroean avant-!ar(is', *a( aso been +o-ote( b)t*e nationaist *e!e'on)&. 9*e 'ention o airine Canston, a so'ew*at eusive artistai!ne( wit* t*e internationa ;*ite "ta! rou, is a re'in(er t*at Canston, ikeot*ers en!a!e( wit* avant-!ar(e art ra+ti+es in Irean(, re'ain ir') on t*e eri*er) o (o'inant narratives o Iris* art *istor).iasora an( t*e +utura ro(u+tion o Iris* artists abroa( is anot*er ke)t*e'e t*at sura+es in t*is book, t*ou!* not unsurrisin!) as 'i!ration was an(re'ains toi+a in evauations o s*itin! ()na'i+s in twentiet*-+entur) Irean(.9*ou!* t*e 'obiit) o artists in t*e earier art o t*e +entur) 'eant t*at 'an) weretravein! abroa( to un(ertake urt*er trainin!, Barber i(entiies t*e erio( ro' t*e'i(-1$0s onwar( as a ti'e w*en t*e 'ove'ent o artists a+ross bor(ers +*aen!e(ubin an( Beast as t*e +entres o t*e Iris* art wor(. ;it* t*is +o'es a (uaarti+uation or (oube awareness o <*ere& an( <t*ere&, reresente( visua) an(eerien+e( ersona), as eature in t*e work o a (isarate !rou o artists su+* as7ar) "wan@), 9on) &7ae), erar( ion, F.. 7+;iia' an( ;iia' "+ott.uait) is aso si'utaneous) 'anieste( in w*at Barber i(entiies as t*e+ontra(i+tions o 'o(ern art !roun(e( in a +uture steee( in ')t*i+ an( ro'anti+notions o tra(ition, one w*i+* s*e ersuasive) ar!ues +o'i+ates w*at it is to be<Iris* an( 'o(ern&. A si'iar tension is reveae( w*en ar!uin! or a nuan+e(un(erstan(in! o t*e +o'eities o Iris* i(entit) wit* re!ar( to in+u(in! an artistike Fran+is Ba+on in t*e narratives t*at s*ae t*e (eveo'ent o Iris* art. A+o'arison o t*e work o Brian &o*ert) an( ?ouis e Bro+=u), bot* o w*o'   ro(u+e( a ar!e bo() o work outsi(e Irean(, +ontributes to new un(erstan(in!s o t*e si!nii+an+e o <(iasori+ (istan+e& on t*eir visua ro(u+tion.Barber&s observations on t*e reations*i between visua art an( t*e oiti+aan( so+ia strie o t*e erio( known as t*e 9roubes 1$6$-1$$ are +ru+ia toun(erstan(in! t*e see'in!) eri*era in Iris* art. "*e insists t*at t*e +oni+t wasnot 'ere sub/e+t 'atter, but a ive( reait) t*at er'eate( t*e ever)(a) eisten+e o artists, as re!uar bo'b s+ares t*reatene( *)si+a an( s)+*oo!i+a we bein! w*iet*e a+tua (estru+tion o !aeries an( stu(ios b) bo'bs resute( in (ii+ut e+ono'i++ir+u'stan+es. In site o t*e stru+ture i'e'ente( on #ort*ern reations b) t*eownin! "treet e+aration 1$$3 an( t*e oo( Fri(a) A!ree'ent 1$$8, t*einterse+tion between ower, sa+e an( visuait) re'aine( an i'ortant ais or  #ort*ern artists su+* as ;iie o*ert), Ci+tor "oan, Rita u), P*ii #aier an("an(ra >o*nston. As wit* an) book t*at ai's to a++ount or se+ii+ (eveo'ents t*rou!*out a+ertain ti'e ra'e, t*ere so'e o'issions, or ea'e #i!e Roe an( An(re "tittsee' arti+uar) strikin! !iven t*at eror'an+es ike Roe&s The 'ope that (inds)s !a*es The" +ree 1$86 an( "titt&s (estru+tive  Art is ,ot a !irror It-s a +uc*ing  Ha""er   1$%8, a'on!st ot*er ear) eror'an+e works, e'bra+e( avant-!ar(e!estures o <ost'o(ern& art an( subse=uent) inuen+e( 'an) +onte'orar) Iris* eror'an+e artists. 9*e use o ter's ike <Bau(eairean 'o(ernit)& 'entione( in assin! severa ti'es t*rou!*out t*e book, resu'e a +ertain eve o t*eoreti+aawareness about 'o(ernit) an( its +on(itions a'on!st rea(ers*i, an( s*ou( bees*e( out or t*ose not a'iiar wit* t*e +on+et. 9*ose a'iiar wit* Barber&ss+*oars*i   wi be aware o t*e e'inist +o''it'ent t*at un(erins *er work. ;*iea +earer t*eoreti+a !roun(in! o *er e'inist strate!ies wou( be 'ost we+o'e, one+an *ar() in( aut wit* t*e inte!rate( !en(er ana)sis t*at is woven t*rou!*out t*etet wit* arti+uar inesse. 7oreover, Barber ri!*tu) raises a nu'ber o +ore issuesabout t*e +ontributions o wo'en to Iris* +uture over t*e +ourse o t*e twentiet*+entur) an( t*e o+us on wo'en artists in t*e 1$80s an( ear) 1$$0s is ese+ia)stron!. vera Barber&s ai' o rea(in! t*e (eveo'ent o 'o(ern art as bein!s*ae( b) an( reson(in! to t*e ()na'i+s o t*e or+es o +utura +*an!e in Irean(is ar!e) su++essu. B) +onsi(erin! t*e reations*i between er+eive( +entre an(t*e 'ar!ins,  Art in Ireland since 1910  troubes resu'e( +ertainties in Iris* art w*ie  oerin! ri+*) nuan+e( insi!*ts an( oenin! u urt*er avenues or utureinvesti!ations.
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