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Mary McIntyre

Places We Think We Know

This exhibition marks the first major solo presentation in Scotland by Irish artist Mary McIntyre, debuting a new body of work commissioned for DCA.

McIntyre has explored different types of ‘space’ in her work in myriad ways over the past two decades, and these investigations often focus on photographic depictions of places that have been forgotten or overlooked. The images she makes are frequently imbued with a psychological charge, hinting at traces of recent human presence and activity in evocative landscapes or interiors.

McIntyre is also interested in how a photograph occupies a gallery space as a physical object, and how the environment surrounding the image might inform how a work is experienced. She uses sculptural installation as a means of activating the rooms that her photographs inhabit, and in doing so makes a viewer more aware of the act of ‘looking’.

Notions of interior space (both physical and psychological) have long reverberated throughout McIntyre’s practice, and in her new body of work for DCA, she presents a viewer with images of quiet interiors; rooms which at first appear to be empty and unremarkable. Upon closer inspection, however, they slowly reveal a rich tapestry of traces and associations — frayed and discoloured carpet tiles, stained walls, makeshift partitions, and disturbed dust and detritus all speak of previous occupation by unknown inhabitants.

Accompanying these works, the artist will construct a series of large-scale installations that intersect the gallery space in different ways to create bespoke environments from which to consider each image. With every step taken through these installations, a viewer becomes aware of their own body moving towards the photograph in order to view it, and the experience of looking at the artwork is intensified in a multi-sensory way by the colours, textures, objects and sounds that McIntyre has chosen to surround the image with.

Recently, McIntyre has become increasingly engaged in collaborative and cross-disciplinary practice, in particular as the founder of the electronic record label TONN recordings, and this exhibition at DCA will also debut a new suite of modular synth compositions by Sean McBride of Martial Canterel made in response to the artist’s photographs. This musical element of the project will be audible in the gallery at different times of the day, further enriching the experience of moving through the exhibition and engaging with McIntyre’s new work.

About the artist

Mary McIntyre was born in Northern Ireland where she lives and works. She graduated from the University of Ulster, Belfast (MFA), where she is now a Reader in Fine Art. Her work has been previously exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2005, the Helsinki Photography Biennial; The Courtauld Institute, London; The MAC, Belfast; Visual, Carlow; Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. 

Her work is held in institutional and private collections including the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, the Arts Council of England, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Ulster Museum.

She is founder of the electronic record label, TONN Recordings and its sister label New Sinister. 

DCA's 2021 Exhibitions Programme has been supported by the William Syson Foundation