Oct 29 2008
Another advantage of having a theatre and gallery on our doorstep is in having access to some excellent exhibitions to attend. Photographer Fred Reilly has been invited to exhibit his work, Depopulation, in the BrightLife Gallery above Greystones Theatre. I was fortunate to be able to attend the opening on October 16th.
Depopulation documents the effect of BSE on the lives of an Irish farming family. Up to May 2004, BSE cases reached 1,397 in total. The panic and culling destroyed the livelihoods of so many farmers and families across Ireland and the UK. Reilly’s work attempts to portray their sense of loss by examining the immediate aftermath of the disease – the empty barns and unused farms. The work is positioned within the genre of contemporary documentary photography. Though much of the work is haunting, particularly in Reilly’s use of the long exposure to create ghostlike images, much of the work lacks a punch without the accompanying story. Perhaps this is true of a lot of photography, but I feel that Reilly’s work though visually impressive failed to hit his desired note. As with all art, this is of course open to debate.
For a stimulating exploration of a time that caused so much heartache to so many in this country, I would urge you to check out this exhibition. It runs until the 31st of November in the BrightLife Gallery.