The Workers | Michelle Browne, Gareth Kennedy, Elaine Reynolds

Image 1: Fuzzy Aggregates. Video still. Elaine Reynolds, 2014. Image 2: Bogbutters – Bellanagare, Co. Roscommon, discovered 1961; Gneeveguilla, Co. Kerry buried 2011. Gareth Kennedy, 2012. Image 3: Risk. Michelle Browne, 2011. Image – Science Gallery

The Workers, an exhibition by Michelle Browne, Gareth Kennedy and Elaine Reynolds. Each of these artists have participated on Art@Work, a collaborative, residential art project that was initiated by Roscommon Arts Office to bring artists and their processes closer to the public through the production of works motivated by the materials and practices of businesses located in the County and has supported over 60 artists working in over 40 businesses.

This exhibition features recent works by past participants of Art@Work, Michelle Browne, Gareth Kennedy & Elaine Reynolds and explores how their practice has developed since their residency.

Created during a residency at Leitrim Sculpture Centre, Michelle Browne’s two channel film Risk engages with the risk takers in society who invested their lives and family’s future in property and precarious business transactions. In this piece the artist situates herself and a number of wealthy men around a poker table and proceeds to query, question and interrogate their working practices and decision making when risk is involved. Concerned with the physical and emotional response to risk, Michelle deftly asks the questions society has failed to, leading to responses and reflective conversations that perhaps say more than the participants intended.

Gareth Kennedy’s IKEA Butter Churn for Gneeveguilla considers traditional working processes and relationships to work. As part of a public art commission in 2011, Kennedy created a fictional custom or folk rite for the village of Gneeveguilla (pop. 500), Co. Kerry, Ireland. Over the Summer of 2011 Gareth worked with the people of Gneeveguilla to develop and enact an invented tradition for the village. Drawing on local knowledge and skills around butter production, each inhabitant of the town was invited to participate in the creation of a large pat of butter that was then packed in a “firkin” handcrafted from IKEA products. The butter churn crafted by inhabitants of Gneeveguilla will be exhibited in Roscommon Arts Centre along with a Super8 film that documented the process, borrowing from the style of the television series Hands produced during the late 1970’s and ran until the early 80’s.

On first viewing of the video Fuzzy Aggregates by Elaine Reynolds, we appear to be presented with a personal account of migration from rural Ireland, but sadly it brings together the voices of multiple migrant workers seeking their fortune in isolated, barren, mining regions of Western Australia working in harsh and physically difficult conditions. Footage of family and friend’s experiences working the mines are merged with and subsumed into recollections by complete strangers in similar situations that are reappropriated from YouTube, reflecting current global networks of exchange and how labour flows in the market economy.



Linda Shevlin has curated, facilitated and managed both large and small-scale visual arts projects including the 53rd Venice Biennale where she was project manager for the representative artists Gareth Kennedy & Sarah Browne and is Tulca Festival curator for 2018.

In 2017 she was the invited curator for the Hennessy Art Fund, purchasing new works for the IMMA collection and also curated the visual art programme for Bealtaine Festival 2017/2018 where she developed projects, commissions, residencies & exhibitions. with numerous Irish artists including Vivienne Dick, Kathy Prendergast, Kevin Gaffney, Pauline Cummins and Frances Mezzetti.

In 2016 she curated Radical Actions at RMIT Galleries, Melbourne as part of Culture Ireland’s 2016 International Programme ‘I Am Ireland’. The exhibition featured works by Duncan Campbell, Jesse Jones, Kennedy Browne and Seamus Nolan.

Other recent independent curatorial projects include Americana: Future Rural featuring John Gerrard (IE), Brian Duggan (IE), Kim Shively (USA) and M12 Studio (USA) at The Dock, Leitrim and Amharc Fhine Gall X commissioning Ella de Búrca, Ruth Clinton and Niamh Morriarty.

She has been awarded the Arts Council of Ireland’s Visual Arts Curatorial Residency award for three consecutive years (2013 – 2016) and in that time has produced a series of events and exhibitions in County Roscommon including newly commissioned works by Maria McKinney (IE) and Sean Lynch (IE); public art projects by Sean Rafferty (AUS), Ruth E. Lyons (IE) and Deirdre O’Mahony (IE), exhibitions by Martin Parr (UK), Duncan Campbell (IE) & Eamon O’Kane (IE) and a symposium titled The Workers with contributions from Adam Sutherland of Grizedale Arts (UK) & M12 Collective (USA) among others.

Shevlin is currently curator in residence with Roscommon Arts Centre & Solstice Arts Centre.


Linda Shevlin
Tivanagh School
Co. Roscommon
+353 86 605 2571
+353  71 966 4606