Green on Red Gallery


Caroline McCarthy

  • 24 Jun - 06 Aug 2011

Arrangements, an exhibition especially conceived by Caroline McCarthy for the Green On Red Gallery on Lombard Street East, Dublin 2, opens to the public on Friday June 24. While the artist has shown a number of individual works at the gallery in the past, it is her first solo show at Green On Red Gallery and her first solo show in Ireland since the AIB Award-winning exhibition in Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 in 2002.

McCarthy has consistently used the visual codes of product range and presentation to examine processes of production and consumption, and no more so than in the current exhibition. What is remarkable about Caroline McCarthy’s practice is the manner in which the most ordinary and least noteworthy material is employed to reveal so much about ourselves, our society and our value systems. Even as we gaze at these unremarkable but very familiar source materials we struggle to feel at ease. What we are faced with instead is nothing short of an epistemological challenge.

As suggested by the artist’s title for the show, it is how things are presented which is key to understanding its content. In Shelf Arrangement No.1 the artist puts on display a full range of a particular brand of veneered shelving. It is, she tells us, the first of 720 different possible arrangements or configurations of the shelves based on the 6 available finishes, where the shelving is supported here on cast bronze, limited edition wall brackets with accompanying limited edition screws. In a humorous inversion of the world as we know it, the art material, Piero-Manzoni like, supports the support. No doubt a more fundamental point is being made here about the consumption of art, market forces, authorship and subject-hood. Surely many of the processes of choice that are made in an art gallery, exercising one’s value judgements in terms of taste and aesthetics, are made only to a different degree on a daily basis elsewhere.

The fil d’Ariane that threads the whole of Arrangements together is Group Coordination, a site-specific drawing made from plastic drinking straws, variably taken from a range of four colours. Circumnavigating the viewer’s route around the gallery, the straws only reach a consensus of colour when they alight on, and find common ground with, an assemblage of red objects. The same drinking straws reappear in a series of ink drawings, serving as both subject and operational device to create, destroy and recreate anonymous identities in 8 mesmerizing portrait silhouettes, Head / Broken Head. It is not for the first time that the artist has rendered with virtuoso accuracy a likeness of a traditional subject through unconventional means. Reclining Nude (2010) exhibited in Renewing, (December 2010, Green On Red Gallery) was constructed from dots, individually cut from a plastic bag and then assembled according to systems used in mass printing. What is called into question here is not the artist’s skill, but the viewer’s expectations.

Arrangements presents a body of new work which considers the idea of 'the range' and its association with a constant appetite for change, re-invention and individual expression as promoted though consumer culture. Drawing on readily available product ranges, such as shelving, drinking straws and furniture, Arrangements explores ideas of the unique and the mass-produced, of difference and sameness, generated through familiar conventions of production and presentation.

This new body of work by Caroline McCarthy is featured in an article by Sue Hubbard in the current edition (Summer, 2011) of The Irish Arts Review. For further information on this or next exhibitions at Green On Red Gallery, please do not hesitate to contact Jerome or Mary at 01.6713414 or



  • For more information or purchase enquiries contact the gallery.

More Information

  • For more information or purchase enquiries contact the gallery.
  • Spring (2011)
  • Two colour screen print on fabriano paper, Edition of 30, 60 x 45cm
Spring (2011)
Head / Broken Head (2011)
Head / Broken Head (2011)
Detail from 'Head / Broken Head' (2011)
Pine, white, walnut, beech, maple, oak: Shelf Arrangement no.1 of 720 variations (2011)
Group Coordination (red) (2011)
Installation view of Arrangements

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