A manifesto for art criticism is just another form of branding — and as fashionably fleeting — so I won't be giving you a twirl in the mirror here. What I will say is: criticism IS energy and something I FEEL is necessary for good and playful writing on art.
iamnotapainter is a space where I bring a little focus and structure to my critical writing and editing in the form of standalone projects.
JAMES MERRIGAN is an artist and art critic. For the past decade he has promoted and prompted art discourse and criticism in Ireland as a writer, editor and teacher. In 2010 he developed billionjournal.com, where he found the freedom to experiment with a more playful and polemical art criticism.
James was selected for EVA International Biennale of Visual Art (2014) as a fugitive art critic; he was Co-Editor of the printed quarterly on Irish art, Fugitive Papers; and was Guest-Editor of two issues of Visual Artists’ News Sheet in 2016. In 2011 he was awarded the inaugural Critical Writing Award by Visual Artists Ireland and Dublin City Council's The LAB. That same year he was selected for the FUTURES at the Royal Hibernian Academy. A book of his essays was published in 2013 titled Agents Of Subjectivism.
Recent projects include ‘Deep-Seated’ which took as its starting point the psychoanalytic promotion of the ‘talking cure’; and All or Nothing, a film that looks at the nature and nurture of painting. In April 2017 James launched Madder Lake, a limited edition publication that is a little naughty and scary and propagandises privacy. He curated PERIPHERIES 2017 at Gorey School of Art.
James is part-time co-ordinator and lecturer for the MPhil module Psychoanalysis and Art at Trinity College Dublin, and he tutors documentary filmmaking and portfolio preparation at Gorey School of Art. He is currently designing a Critical Writing & Thinking through Art course which he will deliver at Gorey School of Art in September 2017.
- (December 2016) – Shortlisted for the Reel Art Film Award (Scriptwriter and Subject)
- (Jan – May 2016) – Guest-Editor of Visual Artists’ News Sheet (VAN)
- (Apr – June 2016) – Creator and Co-Ordinator of Deep-Seated project (public talks)
- (Apr 2017) – Editor and Designer of limited run publication Madder Lake
- (2014 – 2015) HDip in Further Education Art Teaching, Waterford Institute of Technology.
- (2006 – 2008) Masters of Fine Art, National College of Art & Design, Dublin.
- (2000 – 2004) BA Fine Art, Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology, Dublin.
- (2012) ‘THELASTWORDSHOW’, The LAB, Dublin: (Curated by Sheena Barrett).
- (2012) ‘Low-Life Dramas (for Late-night radio)’, Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray: (Curated by Eilis Lavelle).
- (2011) ‘The Truth Spoken As Word’, Roscommon Arts Centre: (Curated by Patrick T. Murphy).
- (2010) ‘FONTS FOR TELEVISION’, off-site exhibition (Mermaid Arts Centre), UNBUILDING Project: (Curated by Eilis Lavelle, Cliodhna Shaffrey, Rosie Lynch).
- (2010) ‘it means...’, 126 Gallery, Galway.
- (2009) ‘Fedex Dorothy’, solo presentation, Birr Arts Festival, Masonic Hall: (Curated by Eilis Lavelle).
- (2009) ‘HARDWARE’, thisisnotashop, 26 Benburb Street, Dublin: (Curated by Jessamyn Fiore).
- (2008) ‘…Could we talk before and after… (Part 1)’, Queen Street Gallery, Belfast.
- (2014) – EVA International 2014, (selected by Basam El Baroni).
- (2011) – ‘FUTURES 11’ (selected by Patrick T. Murphy), Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA).
- (2011) – ‘So Long Roger Fenton...’, (Curated by Claire Feeley), September.
- (2011) – ‘Trompe Le Monde’, (Curated by Mary Conlon), Occupy Space, Limerick, February.
- (2010) – Invited artist ‘New Living Art’ (Curated by Claire Feeley), IMOCA, Dublin, July.
- (2010) – ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’, Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), January.
- (2009) – ‘PROJECTOR’, (Curated by Lee Welch), FOUR Gallery, Dublin. July.
- (2009) – ‘It Goes On’, (Curated by Rayne Booth), Temple Bar Gallery + Studio, June.
- (2016) – Arts Council Bursary Award.
- (2015) – Arts Council Project Award.
- (2014) – Arts Council Visual Art Bursary Award.
- (2011/12) – Arts Council Project Award.
- (2011) – Awarded inaugural Dublin City Council Arts Office / VAI Visual Arts Writing Award.
- (2010-11) – IRISH RESIDENTIAL STUDIO AWARD AT RED STABLES.
- (2010) – Arts Council Project Award as part of curated project – UNBUILDING – at Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray.
- (2010) – Selected for Shortlist by Jessamyn Fiore for ‘Future Generation Art Prize’.
- (2010) – Wicklow County Council Individual Bursary Award.
- (2008) – National College of Art & Design Graduate Studentship Award.
ART CRITICISM | ONLINE
- other glob blog (2017-ongoing) [see: iamnotapainter.com]
- Madder Lake Editions (2017-ongoing) [see: iamnotapainter.com]
- 2010 – 2017: 121+ reviews/articles published on [http://www.billionjournal.com]
- Nov, 2016 | 'The Ever Twinkling', audio piece for Critical Bastards Magazine, 'Work' Issue, 13. [https://criticalbastards.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/issue-13/]
- May, 2015 | Profile of Damien Flood’s solo exhibition Infinite Plane at Grey Noise, Dubai,
- May 25 – July 31, 2015. Sept, 2012 | review of eva International 2012: [http://circaartmagazine.website/]
- Sept, 2011 | ‘A Dual Take on James Coleman’s 2004-2011 a work-in-progress’, (with Michaële Cutaya): [http://circaartmagazine.website/]
- June, 2011 | ‘A Knowledge of Things Familiar’, David Beattie, Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Dublin: [http://aesthethica.com]
- Oct, 2010 | ‘Stupid Judgement’: [http://circaartmagazine.website/]
- Dec, 2009 | ‘So Is This’, Michael Snow, mother’s tankstation: [http://circaartmagazine.website/]
- Oct, 2009 | ‘The Politics of the Centre’, first published [http://circaartmagazine.website/]; then: [http://publicart.ie]
- June 2009. May, 2009 | ‘Why Ranciere? Why Not?’. [http://circaartmagazine.website/]
ART CRITICISM | IN PRINT
- FORTHCOMING | September 2017 | 'I am not Painter', Visual Artists’ News Sheet.
- FORTHCOMING | September 2017 | Review of Diana Copperwhite at Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin, Visual Artists’ News Sheet.
- ‘Believing is Seeing in the Round’,
- September 2017 | Review of Review of Jonathan Mayhew at Wexford Arts Centre, Visual Artists’ News Sheet.
- FORTHCOMING | ‘Believing is Seeing in the Round’, (commissioned essay by Susan MacWilliam).
- June, 2016 | ‘Bee Loud Glade’, commissioned essay on Mark Joyce’s ‘outdoor’ work for his artist publication.
- May, 2016 | ‘Where’s Our Marty Baron, Editorial Column, Visual Artists’ News Sheet.
- Mar, 2016 | ‘Situational Erotics’, feature on the absence of sex in art in Irish art scene, Visual Artists’ News Sheet.
- Mar, 2016 | ‘Sexting’, interview with artist Sarah Devereux, Visual Artists’ News Sheet.
- Sept, 2015 | ‘Experimental Decade’, feature on Dublin’s The LAB, Visual Artists’ News Sheet.
- Feb, 2015 | Review of Teresa Gillespie at Wexford Arts Centre, Visual Artists’ News Sheet.
- July, 2014 | ‘Helium for Lead’, report on discussion about painting, Lismore Castle Arts, Visual Artists’ News Sheet.
- Jan, 2014 | Review of Mark Durkan’s ‘I’m astonished, wall, that you haven't collapsed into ruins’, Visual Artists’ News Sheet.
- Oct, 2013 | ‘Hot-wired Perception’, commissioned essay for NEWS VIEWS, Fire Station Artists’ Studios, Dublin.
- Oct, 2013 | Afterworlds, Interview with painter Damien Flood, launch at Ormston house, Limerick.
- Sept, 2013 | Agents of Subjectivism, book of essays offset by writing residency at Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray.
- Sept, 2013 | ‘The Become and the Set-Fast’, essay commissioned by Gavin Murphy, artist catalogue: launch RHA, Dublin.
- Sept, 2012 | ‘Eithne Jordan’s Electric Tenebrism’, published by the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin.
- May, 2013 | ‘Inspired Not Hindered’, Visual Artists’ Newsletter.
- Aug, 2012 | ‘Charged and Ready...Clear!’, article for Fugitive Papers #2.
- Feb, 2012 | Review of ‘Wedding: Walker Evans Polaroid Project’, Andrea Rosen Gallery, NY, Aesthetica Magazine.
- Oct, 2011 | ‘The Corrupted Geologist and Awkward Coroner’, Damien Flood’s The Spectral Gallery, Green on Red Gallery.
- Dec, 2011 | ‘First name spelt with and O’, commissioned essay by The Lab, Dublin, for Orla Whelan.
- Oct, 2011 | Review of ‘Nor For Naught’ at mother’s tankstation, Aesthetica Magazine, London.
- Oct, 2011 | Review of ‘Mondegreen’ at Project Arts Centre, A-N Magazine, London.
- Sept, 2011 | ‘The New Collectivism: Art Making and Discourse in Dublin City’, Visual Artists’ News Sheet.
- June, 2011 | ‘To be – to see – to be seen’ (commissioned essay by Susan MacWilliam)
- Nov, 2010 | ‘Apostrophes Everywhere’, Occupy Paper, Issue #6, Limerick, p.21.
- (2017—) Designs and Delivers 'Critical Writing & Thinking' (Level 6) at Gorey School of Art
- (2012-present) Co-ordinator and Lecturer for MPhil module ‘Psychoanalysis and Art’, Trinity College Dublin.
- (2015-present) Teaches Documentary Filmmaking and Portfolio Preparation (Level 6) at Gorey School of Art, Wexford.
- (2009-2016) Guest lectured at Wexford Campus School of Art and Design; Dublin Institute of Art & Design; University of Ulster, Belfast; Limerick School of Art & Design; National College of Art and Design, Dublin.
- Facilitated several critical writing workshops, most recently at Gorey School of Art in August 2016.
PANELIST | TALKS
- FORTHCOMING | October 25, 2017 | Peer critique and conversation at VAI's painting focused event hosted by the RHA Art School.
- (2016) – ‘Sexuality, Identity & the State’ symposium, IMMA, Dublin.
- (2014)– ‘The Role of Painting in Contemporary Art Practice’ discussion at Lismore Castle Arts, Waterford.
- (2014) – ‘Art in a Time of transition’ 3rd VAI Get Together, IMMA, Dublin.
- (2012) – ‘The Subject of Online Art Writing and Criticism’ at the 1st VAI Get Together, Limerick.
- (2011) – ‘Art Criticism Now’ seminar at The LAB, Dublin.
- (2011) – A&E art criticism session at Monster Truck Gallery, Dublin.
- (2011) – ‘Artist as Critic’ seminar, organised by VAI, Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast.