Acton to Cork

    Glass bowl on ground

    Acton to Cork

    a London Irish Childhood, by Marcella Reardon

    In this unusual and captivating show, the artist shares with us a visual revisitation of some of her experiences and emotions as a child of Irish immigrant parents, first living in Acton and later, in Ireland on her family's return to live there, in the aftermath of the Bloody Sunday massacre.

    Optimism and understanding light up this exhibition, because, despite dealing with some profoundly difficult experiences of emigration, racism and poor housing, and relocation back to Ireland, with concomitant feelings of dislocation and not fully belonging in either place, Marcella's visual review and synthesis of these memories and experiences, her meticulous assembly and her exhilarating use of colour, mean we can appreciate the possibilities of reviewing our human experiences, in the artist's own words of "not disavowing our past", but being able to put it into context, and understand what is true or life-affirming, and revising our opinions of what we may have been taught or taken as given, in whatever context: educational, religious, moral or familial.

    perfume bottle & flowers

    For example, the pleasingly disruptive punctuation of the red button in Chanel reminds the viewer that the object is no longer viewed in its original context and is perhaps there to invite us to understand we are looking an old memory in a new time. The apparently floating yellow flower (bottom right) reminds us of the ephemeral nature of life and the passage of time.

    It is interesting that in revisiting her memories by placing familiar objects from her childhood in a new context, that of the grounds of Co. Monahan's Tyrone Guthrie Centre, which provides residencies for artists from both sides of the Irish border, Marcella has been freed up both to celebrate and to question the past.

    toy typewriter


    In Write, we can again enjoy the disruption of the fallen orange leaf against the toy typewriter's keys, and the carefully placed sequin, and the ephemeral shadow cast by tree branches on the glass table on which the toy stands.


    You'll be glad you didn't miss this show.



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