press release

ArtSway presents Based on a True Story, an exhibition featuring artists whose work explores the varying levels of reality and fiction that shapes and informs our collective experiences and shared histories.

A common definition of the term ‘Based on a True Story’ is a cinematic one – a catchall subtitle that precedes the opening credits of, for example, a biographical film. It is a title that, although referring to ‘actual events’, subtly suggests that these so-called ‘based on’ events are being manipulated purely for enhanced dramatic effect. Similarly, in political circles and the media (particularly newspapers), an equivalent term to ‘Based on a True Story’ is the modern day concept and usage of ‘spin’ – the perceived massaging of information and facts for political advantage.

The artists selected for Based on a True Story all, in essence, re-analyze commonplace events, ideas and encounters as experienced through everyday political and media influence. Often venturing into areas of underlying unease at the random acts of violence, faith, and love that characterize our everyday experiences – random acts that are often hidden away as 'background noise' in life, at the edges of our perceptions – the artists featured in Based on a True Story present works that re-interpret and re-contextualize our collective understanding of, and relationship to, the world around us.

Emily Allchurch’s light box photographs are inspired by the works of old masters, such as the Italian etcher Piranesi. Allchurch uses an original work as a guide, photographing elements of cities such as London, then collages the photographs into a facsimile of her source image, usually with a contemporary twist. Ronnie Close uses film and photographic works to explore the formation of historical narratives, focusing on the 1981 Irish Republican Hunger Strikes in Northern Ireland. Close’s work examines the complex relationship between myth versus historical truth and one’s reading of political events. The films of Andrew Cross focus on the specific nature of an ‘event’ as defined by ‘live’ or recorded musical performance. Cross is interested in the experience of these events and how they are mediated through memory and the manner of their recording. Michelle Deignan's films are concerned with the complexities of the mediation of our experiences, culture and politics. Her works examine the representation of facts and fictions, drawing on a wide range of interests such political ideologies and autobiography.

Sarah Dobai engages a tradition of realism concerned with contemporary lived reality through her exploration of the social, physical and psychic relations between subjects and spaces. Staging scenarios rather than portraits, Dobai teases out a web of links between an event, developed in dialogue with a site, and the actions or inaction of figures located therein. Rachel Goodyear’s drawings present captured moments where characters exist in the absence of social etiquette. All of her works share a common language delivering ambiguous tales of fears and desires through an imagined world between awake and dream. Visually, the collages of Jock Mooney are inspired by a combined obsession for Japanese prints, 1960s underground comics and the Italian Gialli genre of filmmaking. His wreath-like collages are inspired by the world around us, inspirations we notice, perhaps, only fleetingly. In the work of Kirk Palmer the contemplative nature of the artist’s gaze teases out nuances in subject matter, lending the work a poetic quality. Palmer is intrigued by what lies on the threshold of our awareness – that which we intuit or experience momentarily. His photographs and films often explore the notion that traces of the past, whether actual, merely imagined, or remembered, somehow remain manifest in the present.

Based on a True Story

Künstler: Emily Allchurch, Ronnie Close, Andrew Cross, Michelle Deignan, Sarah Dobai, Rachel Goodyear, Jock Mooney, Kirk Palmer