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The ladder
is always there

8 Dec 2023 –
3 Feb 2024
at Draíocht 

Curated by S/TAC
Photo Credit: Declan Murphy Lighthouse

Shell/Ter Artist Collective (S/TAC): Diana Copperwhite, Allyson Keehan, Niamh McGuinne, Sharon Murphy, Geraldine O’Neill in association with ten emerging artists; Maya Brezing, Matthew Coll, Karen Ebbs, Spencer Glover, Ami Jackson, Mary Martin, Fiach McGuinne, Sorcha McNamara, Eileen Leonard Sealy and Catherine Ward.

The exhibition’s title, the ladder is always there, is from the poem ‘Diving into the Wreck’ by the feminist American poet Adrienne Rich who conjures the image of a woman preparing for a deep-sea scuba dive to explore a shipwreck. The ladder can be understood as both an object and as a metaphor for support and movement, always there.

The main focus of this exhibition is to highlight the role of an artist collective as a form of support for early career artists and to encourage collective action through art. It presents new works by recent graduates alongside more established artists in drawing, painting and its expanded forms — photography, print, film, installation — which take inspiration from or which reference painting, both materially and conceptually.

Opening by Christine Kennedy, Senior Curator/Head of Collections at IMMA.

︎Draiocht website


Shell/Ter Artists Collective S/TAC at National Gallery of Ireland | Film 2023

Special thanks:
Lore Films 



Shelter Prints and Drawings Gallery, National Gallery of Ireland.
8 July–12 November 2023


16 works from the National Collection
16 works from Shell/Ter Artist Collective S/TAC (Diana Copperwhite, Allyson Keehan, Niamh McGuinne, Sharon Murphy, Geraldine O’Neill)
5 works from invited artists:Tom Hunter (UK), Gulsun Karamustafa (Turkey) Sharon Kelly (NI), Daniel Pitín (Czech Rep), Lilane Tomosko (Hungary/Switzerland)

Installation  photography by Declan Murphy
1. Detail from The Clothesline by S/TAC
2. White carousel with Drawing, 2022
3. Detail The 12th House, curtain/carousel installation, 2023
4. Interval, 2015  


Centre Culturel Irlandais, Open Studio
Paris Sept–Oct 2023

Sharon Murphy is a lens-based artist whose work investigates the boundaries between the seen/unseen, fictive / real, conscious / (sub)liminal. Drawing on a background in theatre and informed by concepts in magic realism and psychoanalysis, recurring motifs in her work include: theatre curtains; carousels; performative sites; embodied / disembodied staged spaces.  

During her residency she will develop a series of photographs based on Parisian Carousels and other sites of performance, using as a starting point Freud’s notion of the uncanny: that class of terrifying which leads back to something long known to us, once very familiar

Open Studios at CCI 15th Sept 2023

Irish Arts Review Autumn 2023
Volume 40. Number 3

but here alone
Stephanie McBride looks at Sharon Murphy’s latest photographic series, which is informed by magic realism.

“The term ‘magic realism’, which originated in the field of art criticism in the 1930s, is a slippery one. It describes how dual realities, including magical elements, coexist to challeng an audience’s perceptions. In Angela Carter’s 1984 novel Nights at the Circus, for example, when a lavish setting is seen in the ‘cold light of early dawn’, readers learn that ‘the luxury… had been nothing but illusion, created by the candles of midnight’. Magic realism also informs ‘but here alone’, Dublin-based artist Sharon Murphy’s work in progress about the real and imaginary in Parisian carousels. The project arises from what she describes as a ‘longstanding interest in staged spaces and the performative in photography’.”

︎Irish Arts Review

© Sharon Murphy 2023