One Hundred and one Hosannas for Architecture

Shane O’Toole
Gandon Editions, 2017
unnumbered h/b
€20.00 ISBN: 978-1-910140-14-7

Deirdre Conroy

Designed in the style of a missal, this slim volume features some public worship of Ireland and Europe’s architectural achievements but does not overlook the sins committed in the name of ‘planning’.

As an architectural critic, O’Toole wrote many of his essays on Irish architecture in a global context, during the period 1999 to 2016. 101 essays are devoted to diverse topics including Calatrava’s bridges, the Palestinian Museum, Letterfrack Furniture College, the National Gallery Millennium Wing, Eileen Gray’s E1027, Ian Ritchie’s Spire, Bilbao and the Venice Biennale. In short, O’Toole embraces a vast body of historic, ecclesiastical and modernist dominant aspects of our built environment. Among many great names he reviews the work of 19th-century Waterford architect, John Roberts, Sam Stephenson, Ronnie Tallon and commiserates on our loss of a golf club to be designed by Mies van der Rohe in the 1930s. While today, 1980s and 1990s office blocks are being demolished all over the city, it is the architecture of Georgian Dublin that stands the test of time and classically defines the image of the capital.

O’Toole opens with a homily to our 18th century starchitect, James Gandon, whose monumental buildings include the Customs House, adaptation of Bank of Ireland College Green, original Four Courts and still standing, the Bencher’s Dining Room at King’s Inns. In a bold and informed style, O’Toole cuts through the romance of historic design and the formality of what Goethe termed ‘frozen music’ to bring the reader a pithy, controversial look at the wallpaper that surrounds us.

Andy Devane, whose centenary is approaching, is eulogised by O’Toole for his spirituality, humanity and his enigmatic approach to life and work. He was one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s disciples and they remained friends, Devane’s most famous buildings include Stephen’s Court, doomed demesne of Anglo Irish Bank and the landscaped AIB edifice at Ballsbridge. He abandoned his practice at Robinson Keefe and Devane in the early 1980s to work in Calcutta with Mother Teresa for nearly 20 years and that is where he died in 2000.

O’Toole brings a good story into each review. Take the Eurocampus in Clonskeagh, for example, which was started in 1952 under the Save the German Children Society, and which fostered hundreds of German orphans in Ireland after the war. A2 Architects designed this new concept, before the banks knocked the entire architectural profession and construction industry off a cliff. The combined French Lycée and German Schule is described by O’Toole as ’sophisticated, well-proportioned and elegantly simple,’ highlighting the architects’ potential for designing better Irish schools. Architecture is always political, Ireland’s time is now. This is a perfect little travel companion.

Deirdre Conroy is an architectural historian and barrister.

Vox Hiberniæ

From the Summer 2017 edition

Putting Irish arts in context has been a principal aim of our collecting mission at the John J Burns Library, Boston, writes Christian Dupont

Among the insights gained from the collaborative challenge posed by the Royal Irish Academy and The Irish Times to represent ‘Modern Ireland in 100 Artworks’ is that for some years during the century that followed 1916 there was an abundance of art and literature from which the judges were at pains to choose their representative selections, while for others they were hard-pressed to find suitable candidates from either discipline. The goal, according to the editors of the resulting catalogue, had been to ‘assemble a cumulative sense of an evolving creative culture, which in turn mirrored the modernisation of the State.’ Instead, the project brought to light gaps and discontinuities. As Fintan O’Toole explained in his editorial note: ‘rather than a supportive relationship between artists and the state, this work reveals a case of artists challenging and upsetting the community and the community, in turn, looking warily at artists.’

This dynamic tension, which O’Toole claims ‘is what makes Irish art, at its best, so edgy, so embattled and so vital,’ points to a need for social and historical context to fully appreciate visual and literary expressions – a truism, perhaps, but perhaps truer for Irish artists than for others.

Putting Irish arts in context has been a principal aim of our collecting mission at the John J Burns Library for rare books, special collections and archives at Boston College. It has also been reflected in exhibitions of Irish art organized by our campus partner, the McMullen Museum of Art. These have included, among others: ‘The Arts and Crafts Movement: Making It Irish’ (2016), ‘Rural Ireland: The Inside Story’ (2012), and ‘Re/Dressing Cathleen: Contemporary Works from Irish Women Artists’ (1997).

Putting arts in context involves not only collecting artworks, but collecting around them. It means taking an archival approach, acquiring evidence of process and not just product. Preliminary sketches, manuscript drafts, correspondence, books and printed ephemera, photographs and recordings, and other documents serve to ‘frame’ an artwork and help us to ‘see’ it, much the way a decorative frame trains our gaze on a painting hung on the walls of a gallery.

To take one set of examples from our collections, we may turn to our holdings pertaining to Mayo-born stained glass artist and illustrator Richard King (1907-1974). King is not as well known as his mentor, Harry Clarke, whose Dublin studios he managed for a time after Clarke’s death before opening his own in 1940 and working as chief illustrator for the nationalist-leaning Capuchin Annual. Reflecting the ethos of the era, King extended the range of Clarke’s Arts and Crafts style and pushed it towards Art Deco.

The style shift is evident in the series of postage stamps King created for the Irish government beginning in 1933. His designs for four airmail stamps produced in 1948/1949 feature the angel Victor, messenger of St Patrick, carrying the Voice of Ireland (Vox Hiberniæ) over historical landmarks from each of Ireland’s four provinces.

King sent a first day of issue cover with all four stamps to Boston College’s chief librarian, Terrence L Connolly, SJ, on 4 April 1949, noting that it would be the last time ‘Éire’ would appear on a stamp. Meanwhile, Connolly’s newly appointed curator for Irish special collections, Robert Emmet biographer Helen Landreth, was preparing to open an exhibition titled ‘Toward an Irish Republic, 1948-1949.’

Connolly evidently admired King’s work, for he had commissioned him to design a bookplate for a large collection of Irish books and manuscripts that the university had received in 1946 through a bequest from Boston attorney John T Hughes, an ardent Republican and friend of Éamon de Valera. Especially rich in historical and political materials, the gift helped set a direction for future Irish collecting by the college library.

Commenting on his conception of the windows, King remarked: ‘when the idea of introducing stained glass into the library was first proposed, I thought it would be a good idea to give visual expression to the fundamental ideals of Ireland’s temperament, as expressed in her literature from the earliest time.’

To give the growing Irish special collections their own form of independence, Connolly repurposed a classroom on the main floor of the library as an office space for Landreth and outfitted it with glass-panelled walnut bookcases. The James Jeffrey Roche Room had been named in honor of one of Boston’s most prominent Irish figures. Roche was a poet, journalist, diplomat and biographer of the Fenian activist John Boyle O’Reilly, whom he succeeded as editor of The Pilot, which later became the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston.

In 1951, Connolly commissioned King to design three stained glass windows for the room. To display ‘the kinship between the pagan myths and the Christian truths,’ King chose to depict the Celtic god Lugh crushing the head of the evil one-eyed monster Balor, juxtaposing him with an image of Christ triumphing over Satan. For the third window, he portrayed a monastic scribe at work under the watchful guidance of angelic spirits. King also drew a pastel portrait of Roche and painted a watercolor of his birthplace in Mountmellick, County Laois. Both were presented to the library as gifts by the Éire Society of Boston and added to the room.

Commenting on his conception of the windows, King remarked: ‘when the idea of introducing stained glass into the library was first proposed, I thought it would be a good idea to give visual expression to the fundamental ideals of Ireland’s temperament, as expressed in her literature from the earliest time.’ In addition to the artworks themselves, the correspondence, design sketches and proofs, and contemporary newspaper and magazine articles preserved in the Burns Library archives reflect the nationalist sentiment in Irish art that flourished around the establishment of the Republic and its contemporary resonance among the Irish of Boston.

Christian Dupont is Burns Librarian and Associate University Librarian for Special Collections.

Auction Preview: Morgan O’Driscoll
4 December 2017

George Campbell has been a slightly neglected figure in Irish art. Rebuffs from establishment critics, rows with influential dealers, and snootiness about his self-taught origins all played a part. The Spanish thought enough of him to make him a Knight Commander of Spain and, rather bizarrely, named a roundabout after him in Malaga. He had a long and productive career and is a hardy perennial on the Irish auction scene where his dark, quasi-cubist works achieve steady rather than spectacular prices. His more colourful (both as painter and person) friend Gerard Dillon is inclined to do much better. Campbell spent a lot of his career in Spain and his output can be divided into Spanish and Irish phases. His Irish work focused on the West of Ireland and he produced many fine pieces inspired by that area – Roundstone in particular. His Spanish work is more colourful and more dense and cubist. It frequently featured musical instruments – he was an accomplished musician. Artist’s Studio is not a typical work but is fascinating in its cubist jumble of artistic and domestic trappings. There’s a white chair in the foreground, a blue scarf, palette and brushes, and a watchful owl in the background. One’s eye is drawn to a strange toothed image on the left foreground of the canvas – it suggests some unsettling presence that is observing proceedings. The colourful elements and the crescent moon suggest a Spanish location. This will feature in Morgan O’Driscoll’s 4 December auction and is guiding at €6,000-€9,000. The same auction will feature a major work by Walter Osborne, Rags, Bottles and Bones which is bound to attract a lot of attention.

Damien Flood and those tax exemptions

ONCE upon a time, the sky was the limit for tax exemptions for artists and the likes of Bono and the boys enjoyed tax-free incomes to beat the band. There was no ceiling on the exemptions prior to 2011 when, like everything else, the limit came crashing down to €40,000p.a. Since 2014 the tax exemption has been capped at €50,000pa which nevertheless is better than nothing to the younger writer, composer, playwright, sculptor or artists who can produce ‘original and creative work which is generally recognised as having cultural or artistic merit.’ And it was good to see from the latest Revenue list of individuals who received a favourable ‘determination’ since 1 January 2017, that there were no less than eighty painters included in the total 222 approved in all the five categories. So who are these young artists who are now availing of the modest exemption on offer through Section 195 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997?

Philip Anderson, Laurent Baheux, Louise Barrett, Martin Becket, Joanne Bolger, Tatiana Bondarea, Joanne Cartwright and Eoin Cassidy are the top ten names of painters in alphabetical order. Not all very familiar names but down the line the name of Damien Flood jumps out.

It was good to see from the latest Revenue list of individuals who received a favourable ‘determination’ since 1 January 2017, that there were no less than eighty painters

Flood is an interesting NCAD graduate (2008) whose work is grounded in early writings on philosophy, theology, alchemy and the natural sciences. Over the last few years he has produced three publications (in effect exhibition catalogues) with different art writers including James Merrigan, Saskia Vermeulen and Mary Conlon. In Dublin he is represented by the Green on Red gallery but he has also managed to get his work exhibited in the US, Berlin, Paris and London and until 12 September this year has a solo show at Stephane Simoens Gallery at 8300 Knokke-Zout, in Belgium. In 2014 he was the recipient of the Elizabeth Fitzpatrick Travel Bursary administered by the RHA. Obviously young Damien knows how to get around.

He is also a fan of Francis Bacon but an unusual influence quoted is that of the late Norbert Schwontkowski. ‘He has been a big influence on my earlier works and is always lurking in my brush strokes’ Flood says. Looks like Damien will need to get that tax limit raised again in the near future.

John Mulcahy, Editor of the Irish Arts Review

Auction Preview: deVeres 21 November 2017

De Veres Irish Art auction on 21 November will include Fields in Arles an attractive painting by Camille Souter. It was originally bought by Sir Basil Goulding (confirmed by a label verso) who was a significant figure in the development of her career. His early faith in her work was influential in building her reputation and in enabling her to make a living. ‘He was a lovely man’ she recalled with feeling when I mentioned his name in conversation a few years ago. She remembered his first visit to her studio in the gate lodge of Charleville House in Enniskerry in the early 1960s. He ‘humbly’ scrutinised the work and ended up buying ‘quite a few’ pieces. As he was writing the cheque, she was so broke that she asked ‘do you think I could have ten shillings of it in money’. More significantly he ensured through his art world connections that her work was bought by institutions such as the Hugh Lane Gallery and later by the Arts Council and Trinity College Dublin. Those early works all went for a guinea. Fields in Arles was painted in 1963 shortly after she moved to Calary in Wicklow where she spent a settled and contented period before the premature death of her husband Frank Morris. Despite her well-documented penury she managed to travel a fair bit and there are a number of her works that reference Italy especially and occasionally France. Garrett Cormican’s superb biography and catalogue of her work lists this work as first shown in her ‘Two Painters’ exhibition in 1965. The homage to Van Gogh is implicit in this gloriously shimmering painting. The golden light suggests the corn and sunflowers of summer in Provence. An ideal painting to light up a winter’s evening in Ireland. The guide price is €20,000 to €25,000.

Barrie Cooke – Adam’s 31 May

One of the highlights of this year’s auction scene was the sale of Gillian Bowler’s collection at Adam’s at the end of May. Bowler was far more than a society belle or a clever business person. She was an intelligent and well-read woman with an astute eye for art. She was also very influential in the early days of IMMA – her close friendship with Charles Haughey can’t have harmed the growth of that institution. Her collection included work by Jack Yeats, Lavery, le Brocquy and a particularly good nude by Patrick Collins. Another nude (Blue Nude) by Barrie Cooke also attracted a lot of attention. Nudes generally don’t do that well at auction, perhaps because the average wife of a male art collector can hardly be expected to encourage the charms of another woman being on prominent display in the home. It’s no surprise therefore that this Renoireqsue work was in the hands of a female collector. Cooke is an erratic painter but when he is good he is very, very, good and this was probably one of the best nudes of his I’ve seen. The fact that it was shown at his major retrospective in 1992 in The Hague suggests that the artist also rated it. It has a compositional inevitability about it. In its presence you are reminded of the old adage about great art having wholeness, harmony and radiance. This flowing and glowing work certainly does not lack in the latter regard. The NGI is said to have acquired another nude by Cooke, Big Hot Tub, which had been featured in an exhibition at Oliver Sears Gallery and listed at €30,000. Perhaps the NGI paid less, but the Cooke nude shown here went for the very reasonable price of €17,000.

Image: Barrie Cooke (1931-2014) Blue Nude oil on canvas 105x120cm

Autumn 2017 Edition

Highlights from the Autumn 2017 edition
NCAD’s great opportunity
The physical condition of the whole NCAD campus is so poor that there is a danger of a patchwork solution being implemented argues John Mulcahy

Eithne Jordan: Inside & Out
Eithne Jordan talks to Brian McAvera about the influence of German and French culture on her artistic practice
All the world's a stage
This year’s graduates in performance, fashion, film, photography, architecture and textiles, are introduced by Gerry Walker
David Farrell: Beyond the surface
Stephanie McBride offers an insight into award-winning photographer David Farrell’s seemingly innocent landscapes
Gaia’s Garden
Mark Ewart follows the international career of Linda Brunker whose work brings her to France, China and the USA
Chapter and verse at Jerpoint Abbey
Peter Harbison looks back to the Synod of Cashel and Ráith Bresail, which had far-reaching consequences for monastic foundations such as Jerpoint Abbey
Barrie Cooke at Adam's
One of the highlights of this year’s auction scene was the sale of Gillian Bowler’s collection at Adam’s at the end of May
Limerick: Sense of place
At the Limerick City Gallery of Art Elizabeth Magill has her first major Irish exhibition in ten years.

Atlas of the Irish Revolution

John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy John Borgonovo (eds)
Cork University Press, 2017
pp 984 fully illustrated h/b
€59.00 ISBN: 9781782051176
Reviewed by Mic Moroney

Midway through the ‘decade of centenaries’, the words ‘republican’ and ‘revisionist’ were again traded as expletives at July’s West Cork History Festival which, focusing on the local War of Independence, saw Professor David Fitzpatrick claim the ‘so-called’ Irish Republic as merely a marketing slogan to win American approval at the Paris Peace Conference. Eoghan Harris revisited Peter Hart’s thesis of the IRA’s Bandon Valley killings of thirteen Protestants in April 1922 as indicative of their longstanding sectarian war. Yet UCC’s Andy Bielenberg’s exhaustive Fatality Register which, though showing Cork as the most violent county with 528 (almost 23% of island-wide) fatalities, reveals no evidence of any IRA sectarian policy.

Bielenberg and Fitzpatrick both contribute to Atlas of the Irish Revolution, a 5-kilogramme 964-page tome from Cork University Press that looks to become another benchmark reference, like their 2012 Atlas of the Great Irish Famine which sold over 20,000 copies. Four years in gestation, it will arrive in every Irish public library, underwritten by Brian McCarthy’s Killorglin-based financial services company Fexco.

Previously unpublished photographs (many breathtaking, some grisly) join psychedelic Celtic artefacts

Edited by geographer John Crowley, cartographer Mike Murphy and historians Donal Ó Drisceoil and John Borgonovo, it glowers with art by Sarah Cecilia Harrison, Lavery, Orpen, Yeats, Sarah Purser and Keating; and recent works by Mick O’Dea and Hughie O’Donoghue. Previously unpublished photographs (many breathtaking, some grisly) join psychedelic Celtic artefacts (a 1932 Saorstát Eireann Official Handbook) alongside over 300 original GIS maps unveiling startling geographical patterns from new data: battle maps, rebels’ meandering life-maps; maps of IRA structure down to 1,900 local companies; or ITGWU branches spreading like a rash of red measles.

Essayists from Willie Smyth to Roy Foster and Catriona Crowe constantly re-prism these years across multiple perspectives, with CUP’s radical tone surfacing in pieces by Brian Hanley or Ó Drisceoil’s on the short-lived Irish soviets. There is much internationalist emphasis, not least Kate O’Malley on Irish influences on anti-colonial movements in Egypt, Algeria, Ghana and Indonesia. Indian nationalists (such as VV Giri, later Indian President) liaised with Irish rebels even in 1916 Dublin. Bengalis involved in the 1930 Chittagong Uprising eschewed Gandhi’s pacifism for the ‘Irish technique of resistance’, emulating tactics from Dan Breen’s My Fight for Irish Freedom; while Tom Barry’s Guerilla Days in Ireland was cited by Menachem Begin, Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, Mao, Võ Nguyên Giáp and Georgios Grivas.

Yet another exhilarating CUP Gesamtkunstwerk of historical geography.

Mic Moroney is an independent writer, researcher and journalist.

All the world’s a stage

New from the Autumn 2017 edition

Art graduate exhibitions are similar to the theatre; the players are expected to hit their marks and know their lines, writes Gerry Walker in his appraisal of the class of 2017

Art College Graduate Exhibitions operate in the realm of theatre. The main players are twice subjected to critical appraisal. Once by a coterie of examiners, then by a judgemental public who also demand evidence of high achievement, if not excellence. The initial appraisal is conducted through a composite medium of Edu-speak and Art-speak and is largely incomprehensible to all who are external to the examination process – hence the ubiquitous but useful inclusion of individual mission statements for the benefit of the general public accompanying most graduate displays.

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Beyond the surface

New from the Autumn 2017 edition

Stephanie McBride examines the aesthetic of photographer David Farrell whose method of revisiting his subjects and themes allows for a sustained critical engagement

Despite or even because of its democratic reach, photography often has a slippery status as the poor relation of the visual arts. But significant initiatives that recognise and support photography in Ireland include special commissions for photography and the Curtin O’Donoghue prize – of which David Farrell was twice winner in 2012 and in 2016. His While a Building Sleeps was also featured in the 2006 Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland’s special photography commission, The Bank, alongside work by Michael Boran and Michael Durand.

Among the many powerful images in that project, Farrell’s startling photograph of the Central Bank’s deserted boardroom is an outstanding play of light and reflections, like a ghostly powerful presence over the night-time city (Fig 9). Shot within the opulent glass cathedral of finance, this prophetic image carries Farrell’s metaphoric signature and links through to his sustained engagement with rural landscapes. The Central Bank’s recent relocation to the site of the former Anglo-Irish Bank in Dublin’s former docklands has attracted much comment; Farrell, painter Brian Maguire and others have suggested that the building should have been left as a shell, Ozymandias-like, a monument to hubris and the fallout from unregulated speculation. But the newly clad edifice has covered up – literally and symbolically – the spectral shape of the toxic bank’s unfinished building. Such erasures of history and memory are central to Farrell’s vision, in his archival excavation and reflexive commentary on contemporary Ireland.

One direct consequence of the banking collapse and the vestiges of the Celtic Tiger’s demise was a plethora of unfinished housing schemes that blight the Irish landscape, which Farrell and others have photographed. His ‘An Archaeology of the Present’ captures these ruins and wastelands for future excavation as it were, as history in the making. In The Waterways, Keshcarrigan (2012) (Fig 8), the entire image resonates with a biblical, apocalyptic energy: a rough stony foreground and three solid concrete columns lead the eye into an unfinished estate of gaping holes, abandoned and desolate houses, more columns and half-dug foundations under a menacing sky.

Farrell’s practice of cool/late photography has a further, more nuanced edge in that many of his projects are ongoing, extending well beyond publication of the initial work. His interest in ’elusive rather than decisive moments’ is at the core of one of his best-known series, Innocent Landscapes. Here he photographed – and keeps returning to – the ’sites of the disappeared’: the bogs and fields where bodies are said to have been buried by the IRA during the Troubles. Farrell sees the bog as ‘a memory bank, the witness of history and trauma’.

In Innocent Landscapes his framing upturns expectations: it prompts a gradual realisation that, in an otherwise picturesque image of Templetown beach, we are seeing a crime scene, as we register the police tape marking off parcels of land. Similarly, Achill Henge (2014) is at first glance a traditional West of Ireland landscape, emblematic of the idyllic pastoral (Fig 1). Then the eye is drawn to a huge man-made structure jutting up from the land – literally a monumental response by one local citizen to the Celtic Tiger’s failures. The official desire for selective amnesia is no longer tenable when ordinary people and photography confront these follies of global and local excess.

The official desire for selective amnesia is no longer tenable when ordinary people and photography confront and continually bring us back to those follies of global and local excess

Given Farrell’s emphasis on memory and history, his collaboration with the RHA as part of the 1916 commemorations was especially incisive. National commemorations usually tend to steer or corral public responses into a consensus about political and economic aims, boiling them down into an intellectual and moral unity and ironing out any troubling contested elements in the subsequent festivals of flag-waving and ribbon-cutting. In the RHA show and catalogue of Farrell’s thirty-year project of published and previously unpublished work – called Before During After … Almost – the very title words defy closure or anchorage. Farrell’s deliberate stylistic mix and the absence of captions works as an antidote to a classic overarching narrative ‘evenness’ or oversimplified resolution.

Images from his archive also slip fixed historical moorings. Visual echoes and repeating tropes give a sense of a circular narrative of failed, ragged or uncertain change, of fading remnants of previously powerful institutions, of repeated and latent tensions. These images include Orristown (2000) part of the ‘Innocent Landscape’ series (Fig 4), with its verdant vortex drawing all into it; or Dublin (2015), showing a painted flat white roundabout with arrow signs in an endless circular pattern; and Kilmainham (2004) – a name resonant in national memories, in which an ivy growing in rough ground has been cut back, yet traces of former growth are still visible on the green corrugated fencing, worn and etched into the grooves of the fence (Fig 3). Ghostly branchworks, suggesting a nuanced metaphor for Irish experiences in what Farrell has called a ’failed Republic’ where craven piety, acquisitiveness, unfettered greed continue to play out in the ruts of history.

It would be misleading to read Farrell’s work as darkly pessimistic throughout. His visual narratives probe and question rather than crudely define. In Port Laoise (2010) (Fig 5), a small window hosts a tricolour and a cheerful clutch of balloons in a makeshift shrine to some Irish celebration or other. In Farrell’s photographic vision, this quirky window display suggests just how tentative, contingent and indeterminate Irish identity is. It is as authentic as the Boy, sometime in the early 90s with his serious, face-painted Batman mask (Fig 6)

Nature with its vast timescales begins to lay claim, repair and transform the devastation wrought by human activity and violence

Farrell’s images of landscapes, upturned and excavated in a search for missing bodies, are sites that, through his continual return, see a renewal of growth. Nature with its vast timescales begins to lay claim, repair and transform the devastation wrought by human activity and violence. In what Farrell calls his small acts of memory, some form of future becomes visible.

Farrell’s engagement with the landscape as witness to and bearer of the ravages of history and humanity extends to his current work (originally part of the Landscape at Risk project) at the Lido di Ostia (Fig 7). Once the ancient port of Rome, Ostia is now a neglected, marginalised suburb, whose inhabitants feel written off ‘in the Shithole of Satan’, and which he refracts through his expressive, political lens. In this Anthropocene age, despite columns of data and directives, people and places are increasingly silenced, neglected or ignored. Farrell’s images remind us of this with a disturbing eloquence. Never was it more urgent.

Stephanie McBride is a writer and critic.