girls girls girls

Sian Costello  Wishful Self-Portrait III  2020oil on canvas paper 21 x 29cm

The late Louise Bourgeois could hardly be described as a ‘girl’. Nevertheless, work by the acclaimed French artist is included in an exhibition entitled ‘girls girls girls’, on show at Lismore Castle Arts in the grounds of the Duke of Devonshire’s Lismore Castle in Co Waterford.

This group show is curated by fashion designer Simone Rocha and is part of a contemporary art programme at the castle. As the title indicates, the nineteen artists on display are all female, and include both international and Irish names. Rocha chose the title because she ‘liked the idea of it being tongue-in-cheek and slightly provocative’. She says, ‘I wanted to invite a group of artists who inspire, challenge and engage with femininity and its subversive characteristics, reflecting a female viewpoint today. There is a contrast of forms and media – art, sculpture and photography – and I am interested in exploring how the works engage with each other.’

Cassi Namoda

In addition to Bourgeois, the international participants include American conceptual photographer Cindy Sherman, Mozambique-born painter and performance artist Cassi Namoda and Chinese photographer Luo Yang. Irish artists include Dorothy Cross, Genieve Figgis and Sian Costello. At twenty-three, Roscommon-born Costello is the youngest in the exhibition. A multidisciplinary artist, her previous work has drawn inspiration from Greek mythology and Dutch Golden Age art (see IAR Autumn 2020, ‘New generation graduates’).

Costello’s suite of paintings in the show, entitled Wishful Self-Portrait I, II and III, are a response to works by the American artist John Singer Sargent. ‘I was delighted when I saw the list I was exhibiting with,’ Costello says. ‘It’s such an unbelievable honour to have my work hanging alongside these artists, some of whom I studied in college.’

The exhibition ‘girls girls girls’ runs until the end of October.

Rose Comiskey