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'Slabs' Opens at The Complex

The Complex presents ‘Slabs’, a solo exhibition by Austin Hearne.

On Friday November 12th, ‘Slabs’ opened in The Ground Floor Gallery. The exhibition is the fourth in The Complex’s programme for 2021 entitled “Nature echoes Reality, Artifice echoes Fiction'', where artists are invited to consider the gallery’s architecture and context when creating new works. Thank you to Jameson who sponsored our bar on opening night, and to everyone who joined us for the launch.

Austin Hearne is part of The Complex family. He’s been a studio artist with us since 2019, and our relationship long predates his tenancy.

Austin’s first collaboration with us was back in 2016 for the group exhibition ‘Still’, in our Little Green Street main space. ‘Still’ invited each artist to explore their own practice, investigating the territory of the human condition, and how we navigate our way through life. In September 2020, Austin was joined by Ann Ensor for a two-hander called ‘Ceremony’, which opened in The Ground Floor Gallery on Culture Night. ‘Ceremony’ fused Austin’s family business experience of painter/decorator techniques with his use of religious symbolism and imagery. In May 2021, Satin Shadow (Austin Hearne and Glenn McQuaid’s queer goth band) were invited to perform as part of ‘Portico Online’. An online program that accompanied the exhibition ‘Portico’, featuring works by Mark Swords and Tanad Williams at The Complex.

For The Complex, this collaboration on ‘Slabs’ is quite different to what we’ve seen from Hearne before. It is the presentation of a collection of the artists photographs, an archive accumulated over 20 years. The religious imagery and painter/decorator motifs we’ve become familiar with in his work remain, but a deeply personal element is present here.

In Austin’s words, 'Slabs' is “A memory bank where some thoughts, traumas, situations, people are remembered, truths rewritten or buried. I question if this project is autobiographical? Flitting from the personal to the political, from self-reflection, family portraits to snarling, snarky piss-takes of an organisation I despise. Maybe it's an exercise in making sense of the world, my world, a world lived through the many ages of photographic practice. A world as a gay boy/man, a queer person living through an age where the Catholic Church has lost some of its grip, kicking and screaming its way through two tumultuous referendums that sought to govern lives, loves and bodies.”

Considering works for Slabs, a slideshow’, shot and edited by Jenny Keogh is a video-based work by Austin Hearne that gives an alternative viewpoint of his archive. Developed for web-based engagement, to precede, or proceed, the physical exhibition.

'Slabs' continues until Thursday the 25th of November and will open from 10AM-5PM on weekdays, 12-5PM on Saturday, and is closed on Sundays. Booking is not necessary, and masks are essential.

The Complex Gallery Programme is proudly sponsored by The Arts Council of Ireland.



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