Born Donegal, 1987, lives and works in Berlin
Áine Mac Giolla BhrÍde utilises the ‘aesthetic’ prompts and signifiers of the familiar yet sterile habitats of office receptions, waiting rooms, airport terminals, and bank lobbies to construct their complex sculptural language. Employing a range of typically mundane construction materials (plywood, corkboard, concrete, tiling, steel), forms to which we have become desensitised to in the ‘real world’ are appropriated to reflect a new understanding of the values of everyday existence. Mac Giolla Bhríde’s works indicatively hold a resemblance to furniture: chairs, tables, shelving or common architectural features, but without obvious functionality; their reductively processed forms create a minimalism that is acutely ambiguous. Mac Giolla BhrÍde’s sculptures resolves this concept of prosaic ‘practicality’ by the refusal to sensationalise their subjects, metaphorically transcending their designated purpose and intended limitations, and taking reassurance in objects and materials existing for their own inherent value, rather than a perceived use. Incorporating elements of flat-pack and modular furniture that has become essential to our transitory lifestyles, Mac Giolla BhrÍde’s constructions and temporary or site-specific interventions, further reflect the constantly changing urban landscape of our cities, megalopolises and the way we navigate their infrastructures.
Áine Mac Giolla BhrÍde graduated from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, in 2016 and, since then, their work has been included in several projects: Habitat HQ, a 2017 site responsive installation solo project organised by the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, in which the artist created an immersive sculptural environment within the brutalist concourse of Trinity College’s Arts Building; most notably, Mac Giolla Bhríde was one of the artists selected for the Platform Commissions programme for the 39th EVA International – Ireland’s Biennial of Contemporary Art held in Limerick, Ireland. Augmenting the 19th-century architecture of Limerick’s Sailor’s Home, they presented and/or land in September 2020 as part of Phase 1 of the Biennial. Mac Giolla Bhríde’s first solo exhibition, work suite, took place at mother’s tankstation, Dublin in February 2018. Their second solo exhibition, ~ set opened at mother’s tankstation, London in May 2019 and in October 2021, they held their third solo exhibition point of fold with mother’s tankstation, Dublin. Other recent exhibitions include: Contemporary Donegal – Myrid Carten, Áine McBride, Cliodhna Timoney at Glebe Gallery, Co. Donegal (2022), A DIFFERENT HORIZON, Lismore Castle Arts, Co. Waterford (2022), From Here to There, The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2021), UNCANNY, a Two-person exhibition with Nicolas Bourthoumieux, 10N, Brussels (2021) , …and the days run away like wild horses over the hills…, Scoil Lorcáin, Dublin (2019). Mac Giolla Bhríde is the recipient of the Arts Council of Ireland’s Next Generation Award 2017, Visual Arts Bursary Award (2019, 2020), and has been selected for residencies at FLACC, Genk in Belgium (2019) and Fire Station Artists’ Studios in Dublin (2018 – 2020).