Stephen McKenna & Isabel Nolan, The air between things
OCT Boxes Art Museum, Shunde District, Guangzhou, China
15 May – 12 July 2019
b. 1974, Dublin, Ireland
Isabel Nolan has an expansive practice that incorporates sculptures, paintings, textile works, photographs, writing and works on paper. Her subject matter is similarly comprehensive, taking in cosmological phenomena, religious reliquaries, Greco-Roman sculptures and literary/historical figures, examining the behaviour of humans and animals alike. These diverse artistic investigations are driven by intensive research, but the end result is always deeply personal and subjective. In concert, her works give generous form to fundamental questions about the ways the world is made meaningful through human activity.
Recent exhibitions include The air between things, Stephen McKenna & Isabel Nolan, China OCT Boxes Art Museum, Shunde District, Guangzhou, China (2019); Ein Fuß in der Welt / One foot in the world, Kunstverein Langenhagen, Germany; Another View from Nowhen, London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE (2017–18); Curling up with reality, Grazer Kunstverein, Graz (2017–2018); Calling on Gravity, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2017); The weakened eye of day, which toured from the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2014) to Mercer Union, Toronto and CAG, Vancouver (2016); A Thing Is Mostly Space, Launch Pad New York (2015); The Model, Sligo (2011), travelling to the Musée d’art moderne de Saint Etienne, France (2012); The Return Gallery, Goethe-Institute Ireland, Dublin (2012–13); Gallery 2, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2008) and Project Arts Centre, Dublin (2005). In 2005, Nolan represented Ireland at the 51st Venice Biennale as part of a group exhibition, Ireland at Venice 2005.Download PDF
OCT Boxes Art Museum, Shunde District, Guangzhou, China
15 May – 12 July 2019
Kunstverein Langenhagen, Germany
30 August – 21 October 2018
Isabel Nolan One foot in the world is a solo exhibition of sculpture, textile, painting, photography and works on paper.
14 April — 8 July 2018
Sam Keogh & Isabel Nolan will both participate in the 38th EVA International, curated by Inti Guerrero.
Grazer Kunstverein, Graz, Austria
7 December 2017 – 18 February 2018
London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE
8 November 2017 – 3 June 2018
Isabel Nolan inaugurates the programme at the new London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE, 12 Walbrook, City of London.
Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin
28 July – 30 September 2017
Solo exhibition, comprising suspended and floor-based sculptures, portrait paintings, drawings, photographs and a rug.
Co-organised with Holly's Gallery
Park is an exhibition across two venues in Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
Artists: Liam Gillick, Callum Innes, Merlin James, Liu Ke, Isabel Nolan, Sean Scully, Liliane Tomasko, Zhou Li
Pallas Projects/Studios, Dublin
Selected by Brian Duggan, Sarah Glennie, Jenny Haughton & Declan Long. Artists include Aquinas, Callan Workhouse, Nina Canell & Robin Watkins, Dorothy Cross, Willie Doherty, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Fergus Feehily, FOUR, Anthony Haughey, Des Kenny, Patrick Jolley & Reynold Reynolds, Aileen Lambert, Clare Langan, The Metropolitan Complex, Michael McLoughlin, Isabel Nolan, Seamus Nolan, Emer O'Boyle, Margaret O' Brien, Deirdre O'Mahony.
29 July – 2 October 2016
Isabel Nolan's touring exhibition The weakened eye of day will visit Contemporary Art Gallery Vancouver in July.
12 February – 2 April 2016
Mercer Union, Toronto, ON, Canada
Isabel Nolan's solo exhibition The Weakened Eye of Day travels to Mercer Union, Toronto, from 12 February – 2 April.
Launch Pad New York, NY, USA
25 September – 4 October 2015
Launch Pad, the London based commissioning art series, will make its debut in New York City in September at the invitation of arts philanthropist Laura Taft Paulsen, with a newly commissioned sculpture by Dublin-based artist, Isabel Nolan.
Lofoten International Arts Festival, Jern & Bygg, Svolvær, Norway
28 August – 27 September 2015
Isabel Nolan will participate in Disappearing Acts, the main exhibition at Lofoten International Arts Festival (LIAF) in Norway.
NCAD Gallery, Dublin
20 November - 16 December 2014
Isabel Nolan and Jaki Irvine participate in PULL BITE RALLY, an exhibition and parallel events series to mark the Black Church Print Studio 'Process' project, with other artists including Brian Fay, Damien Flood, Jesse Jones and Sarah Pierce.
Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
7 June – 21 September 2014
The weakened eye of day, is a new body of work by Irish artist Isabel Nolan, conceived as a single project for IMMA. The exhibition explores how light manifests as a metaphor in our thoughts, obsessions and pursuits and includes text, sculpture, drawings and textiles. Nolan’s works begin with the close scrutiny of individual literary or artistic works, or evolve out of consciously erratic enquiries into the aesthetics of diverse fields, such as cosmology, humoral theory, and illuminated manuscripts.
Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda
29 April - 29 August 2014
‘Home is no longer a dwelling but the untold story of a life being lived.’
A large-scale group exhibition featuring works by Kathy Prendergast, William McKeown, Isabel Nolan, Siobhan Hapaska, and Dorothy Cross.
Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork
26 July - 3 November 2013
Lewis Glucksman Gallery, presents Modern Families, a group show of Irish and international artists which explores various types of 'family' relationships through art.
Isabel Nolan is amongst the artists in this exhibtion which opens Thursday 25 July and is co-curated by Chris Clarke and Matt Packer.
Palais de Tokyo, Paris
21/06/2013 - 09/09/2013
Curator, art critic and lecturer at the Sorbonne, Sinziana Ravini is known for her “exhibition-novels.” The Black Moon is «a film-exhibition» that presents an encounter between a man and a woman visiting an exhibition. Meanings suggested by the juxtaposition of works by diverse artists are meant to suggest a narrative. Thus the story of this relationship unfolds around the works, playing with love, art and life. While one searches only for a fleeting tryst, the other aspires to finding true love. Fleeting tryst or true love: which will triumph?
The Return Gallery, Goethe-Institut Irland, Dublin
16 November 2012 - 21 December 2012
In her exhibition "Unmade" which will be opened in the Goethe-Institut's Return Gallery on Thursday 15 November 2012 at 6pm, Isabel Nolan refers to documentary material from the Prinzhorn Collection in Heidelberg/Germany.
EVA International: A Heavy Duty Show on Limerick’s Industrial History
30 April 2018
"Ten installations haunt the dank warehouses of the Cleeve’s condensed milk factory, EVA’s largest venue on an extinct industrial site on the northern bank of the river Shannon. Broadly responding to failed narratives and ideologies of progress, the works resonate with their dilapidated surroundings. In Isabel Nolan’s 2018 installation, Section (Sun Comprehending Glass), architectural forms literally fold in on themselves. Three concentric chandelier-like sculptures diagonally overhang a factory floor. Dimly illuminated by one lightbulb and draped in undulating swathes of dip-dyed cotton, they take on the appearance of ornaments that have lost their function, affirmations of grandeur on the brink of collapse."—Mimi ChuVisit Website
25 April 2018
"As if entering a church, we fell silent observing Isabel Nolan’s delicate steel sculptures, draped with hand-dyed cotton sheets. Heavy and solemn, they hover like colorful creatures from outer space."—Sabrina MandaniciVisit Website
Calling on Gravity – Isabel Nolan
26 July 2017
If you find the work of Isabel Nolan strange, it’s possibly because she means it to be that way. “Just because the universe is probably real it doesn’t mean it’s not weird or puzzling to be here,” the artist says. Sculptures, paintings, drawings, photographs and a rug spread out, and are suspended in the gallery as Nolan gets to grips with matters of life and death. Don’t expect an easy explanation – her cast of characters range from philosopher and activist Simone Weil to fictional mob boss Tony Soprano – but instead give yourself up to the adventure of looking, and occasionally getting a fleeting burst of insight into existence.—Gemma TiptonVisit Website
10 shows to see this September
Isabel Nolan, CAG – Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, through 2 October
Isabel Nolan’s own previous literary sources include George Eliot, Hippocrates, John Donne and Shakespeare, and the Dublin-based artist’s recent body of work at CAG Vancouver, The weakened eye of day, spins off from Thomas Hardy’s fin de siècle poem ‘The Darkling Thrush’ (1900), whose ‘weakening eye of day’ apostrophises a wintry sun. From here the Irish artist considers light as metaphor; the sun as a symbol; and vast cosmological events, from the formation of the earth’s crust to the sun’s own eventual burnout. Nolan, heedless of outmoded formal distinctions, moves – in an evolved version of a 2014 show for the Irish Museum of Modern Art–from a huge textual scroll to small abstract paintings, sprouting plantlike sculptures to chromatic carpet-making, murals to steel sculpture, while sidestepping the hubristic notion that works in any media can truly reckon with the enormity of her subject matter. The work’s poetic spaciousness is a gift, though. In ‘The Darkling Thrush’, the narrator hears a thrush singing, out of ‘Some blessed hope, whereof he knew/And I was unaware’. Spend enough time in galleries, and you’ll know how the listener feels.
Isabel Nolan, Kerlin Gallery
28 May 2015
Following on from her exhibition ‘The Weakened Eye of Day’ at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) last summer, in which the artist tasked herself with compressing the past, present and future of the universe into just four small rooms, Isabel Nolan’s most recent body of work, shown at Kerlin, took on the challenge of addressing power, belief, death and the depredations of time.
- Gemma TiptonVisit Website
BEAUTIES UNINTENTIONAL, ACCIDENTAL ISABEL NOLAN An Answer About the Sky
7 October 2014
The narrative of An Answer, begins with myths of classical antiquity, moves towards Renaissance intellectual history, modernity, and, ends finally, with an apocalyptic time beyond our time where that dripping paint has become the form of trees and archways. The narrative “told” visually—each painting a variation on a single shared palette—is also “painted” in words with a narrative titled “One Sun So Hot” (2014), a series of six passages that surface at regular intervals throughout the exhibition.Visit Website
Isabel Nolan, Bent Knees are a Give
From bended knee comes Isabel Nolan’s most recent body of work. At Dublin’s Kerlin Gallery, this position between seating and standing is suggested in various depictions of John Donne, Lucretia, and Saint Jerome, in a polystyrene sculpture of a seated lion, and in a series of flags hung from bent poles.
- Isobel HarbisonDownload PDF Visit Website
Isabel Nolan, Unmade
For Unmade Isabel Nolan wrapped 144 steel pipes of different lengths in fabric of various colours (cool greys, black, lemon yellow) and patterns (meandering flowers, ticking). This is shown as a floor piece entitled Festina Lente Rug (all works 2012), but it allows for other configurations, too, some of them shown in seven black-and-white photographs along one wall.
- Tim StottDownload PDF
Isabel Nolan, On a Perilous Margin
1 March 2010
The title of ‘On a Perilous Margin’, Isabel Nolan’s second solo exhibition at Kerlin Gallery, is taken from a passage in George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1871–2) which advises that ethical decisions be guided by personal conscientiousness rather than blind servitude. Comprising almost 30 works in a variety of media, the liaisons between individual pieces were nothing if not unlawful – which is not to say that the exhibition was lawless. The young Irish artist’s craftsmanship was adept and consistently visible throughout. Indeed, at the centre of ‘On a Perilous Margin’ lay an implicit and genuine harmony.
- Isobel HarbisonDownload PDF Visit Website
Isabel Nolan, This time I promise to be more careful
There is more than a hint of the adolescent bedroom to Isabel Nolan’s work, but for the Irish artist the bedroom is a space that opens up directly onto the universe, negating the need for jet propulsion and spacesuits, or the manly evils of the military-industrial complex, in her exploration of the hallucinatory enormous and angrily complex.
- Luke ClancyDownload PDF