artists & participants

press release

The collections of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon were both established with the aim of providing practical support for contemporary artists in the north and south of Ireland . This primary connection to artists has remained a defining feature of the two collections, and sets them apart from other public collections. The commitment to directly supporting artists' practice ensured that both collections were predominantly formed from a contemporary perspective rather than by retrospective decisions of quality made with the luxury of hindsight. Some of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland's most recent acquisitions were made directly from arts schools, which demonstrates a continuing bold institutional commitment to emergent talent. Consequently the strengths of these collections do not lie in their ability to present a linear survey of Irish twentieth-century art, but in the history they represent of contemporary responses to art production over the last 50 years.

Curator Sarah Glennie approached the exhibition through the framework offered by the distinct qualities of the collections, namely, a commitment to artists and an inherent relationship to contemporary art production. This led to an invitation to four artists living and working in Ireland to make individual selections from the collections that were informed by their positions as contributors to current visual culture in Ireland.

The artist selectors, Susan MacWilliam, Isabel Nolan, Dan Shipsides and Joe Walker were asked to consider the collections from a position of justified subjectivity and were not charged with responsibility to represent any themes or histories of Irish art. What has emerged from this process is a selection based upon a real engagement with the works themselves, rather than any intention to represent certain artists or art practices.


Four Now:
A joint exhibition from the collections of the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland
Kurator Sarah Glennie

mit Susan MacWilliam, Isabel Nolan, Dan Shipsides, Joe Walker