If the body is also a concern in Arianna Garcia-Fialdini’s work it is as an absence Her artistic practice is bound up with her social and political concern with the situation of her birthplace Ciudad Juarez in Mexico. More specifically with the femicide that has been taking place there for years unheeded by authorities. She empathizes with associations of mother and families of the missing/murdered, mostly young, women. The subtitle of her show clearly states her intent ‘Awareness for injustice in Ciudad Juarez’. For her MFA exhibition, she has developed a body of work around this thematic through popular art forms such as graffiti and murals. Since the art forms she uses are sited, her work is shown into what was her studio, next to the main exhibition space – incidentally giving us an idea of the space available to MFA students to work in at the Burren College of Art.

She is presenting a series of virtuoso murals using allegories and symbols to transmit empathy and understanding to- wards the victims and their family. Throughout the murals and the series of stenciled graffiti, pink crosses are recurrent. The painting of pink crosses on telephone poles is a strategy originating by a family organisation ‘voices without echo’ to give visibility to the missing women. Thus the crosses that we would spontaneously associate either with Christianity or death become a stand in for the absent bodies. In her blog [2] Garcia-Fialdini wonders about how to disseminate her stencils into the streets, thus recasting the present work not as an end in itself but as a potential to be realised. This change in emphasis dispels the incongruity of looking at these sited works eloquently evoking the Mexican tragedy – the 32 x 11 feet mural Femicide as Plague for instance – while standing in a college exhibition space in rural Ireland. In turn the BCA is recast as a haven to regroup forces.

The body we return to in Haynes Goodsell’s photographs is an idealized one: in fact it is the body we know from the polished imagery used in the fashion magazines. The high level of mastery displayed in the photographs is questioned through a series of displacements: Haynes Goodsell the photograph is also Huigneiider the model for instance. His work is shown over the three floors of the 16th century Newtown castle that opposes the roughness of the stonewalls to the gloss of the images. Opening our journey on the ground floor is a Helmut Newton photo machine that proposes the audience to become their own model/photographer in a fashion shoot.

Commenting on the series Huigneiider with Tree, which can be accessed through an interactive screen on the top floor, Patrick Murphy pointed to the space of the absent logo as a possible articulation of the photographs’ composition. The title also suggests the genre of the still-life, which were traditionally associated with vanities, while the pastoralism of the trees – barely more than bushes – fields, and meadows is not the usual epic foil for masculinity and suggests a less domineering relationship to nature. These shifts create a mirroring effect further explored in the installation occupying the second floor Narcissus Pool. In the darkened domed-ceiling room a series of Huigneiider black and white photographs are projected onto a chrome dome set on the floor, which reflects them back onto the ceiling. A slow zooming in and out movement of the projection creates a rippling water-like effect over the stones. It is a seductive set up offering a fitting image to the looped projections of narcissism.

A pool is a fitting image to end a review began by an immer- sion. Although it also has an undergraduate studying abroad programme, the Burren College of Art has certainly found an appropriate operating mode with the MFA. The intensity and focus offered by the college may be somewhat overwhelming for undergraduate students, but is a valuable opportunity for artists who have already developed a practice and wish to push it further.


[1]    Eimear McKeith wrote an extensive article on the College ‘To the Waters and the Wild: the Buren College of Art’, in Circa 121, Autumn 2007, p.64-3. [http://www.recirca.com/backissues/c121/index.shtml]

[2]    [http://www.garfiart.com/] [http://angelalynnbodyart.weebly.com/] [http://www.haynesgoodsell.com/]




Angelalynn Dunlop – Arianna Garcia-Fialdini – Haynes Goodsell

Graduate MFA Show

Burren College of Art

April 14 - 29, 2012



LEFT: Arianna Garcia-Fialdini, Protest n0. 2

RIGHT: Haynes Goodsell, Huigneiider

Courtesy of the artists.

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