Exhibition support for Willie Doherty: Requisite Distance was provided by the Contemporary Art Fund through a bequest from the estate of Brooke Aldridge in honor of Cindy and Howard Rachofsky and through the gifts of an anonymous donor, Arlene and John Dayton, Laura and Walter Elcock, Amy and Vernon Faulconer, Kenny Goss and George Michael, Nancy and Tim Hanley, Marguerite S. Hoffman, Suzanne and Patrick McGee, Allen and Kelli Questrom, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Deedie and Rusty Rose, Gayle and Paul Stoffel, and Sharon and Michael Young.
This exhibition was number 53 in the Dallas Museum of Art's Concentrations series, support for which is provided by the Donor Circle membership program through leadership gifts of Gail B. and Dan W. Cook III, Claire Dewar, Nancy and Tim Hanley, Marguerite Steed Hoffman, Caren Prothro, and Cindy and Howard Rachofsky. Air transportation provided by American Airlines.
Marguerite and Robert Hoffman Galleries
Dallas Museum of Art
Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre
Dame (Fall 2010)
On May 24, the Dallas Museum of Art will premier Willie Doherty: Requisite Distance, an exhibition of works by one of the most important artists to emerge from Northern Ireland in the past three decades, and a two-time nominee for the Tate's Turner Prize. The exhibition, described by the New York Times as "one of those little gems of a show,... an original curatorial effort presenting a body of new work by a major artist," brings together for the first time Doherty's "Ghost Story" - a tensely beautiful fifteen-minute media work based on landscape and memory, recently acquired for the DMA's collections - and a selection of eleven powerful photographs of the Irish and Northern Irish landscape from teh 1990s.
Willie Doherty's interest in the Irish ghost story, as well as being born and raised in Northern Ireland during the time of the Troubles, informs the background for his video installation in this exhibition. "Ghost Story" powerfully evokes a mind at work trying to recall unsettling things, and the impact troubling memories have on the present day. Through a mesmerizing series of vivid imagery - including a lonely forest path with an ever-receding vanishing point, a darkened city underpass with a mysterious figure, and a pair of eyes perhaps looking to the past or the future - Doherty has created a masterful cinematic tale of quiet suspense whose evocative text (written by Doherty himself) is narrated by the renowned Irish actor Stephen Rea. "Ghost Story" was critically acclaimed when it appeared at the 2007 Venice Biennale, where Doherty represented Northern Ireland, and the Dallas Museum of Art is the only American museum to have acquired it for its collection.
"Ghost Story" is paired with eleven large-scale color photographs from the 1990s that depict the famed Irish landscape as a site of barriers and roadblocks set amidst lyrical beauty. Created well before "Ghost Story," Doherty's photographs from the 1990s act as precursors and complements to the video work and provide further evidence of the sense of quiet unease unique to his art. Together, these works offer a compelling comparison between how our vision and thought process still and moving images, and will provide an intensely absorbing experience of an undeniably beautiful yet still little understood landscape.
Willie Doherty: Requisite Distance is organized by the Dallas Museum of Art and is accompanied by a 96-page, full-color catalogue published and distributed through Yale University Press. It includes an essay on the artist's work by Charles Wylie; a brief biography by Erin Murphy; extensive stills from "Ghost Story" and its complete text; and reproductions of all eleven photographs.
The Dallas Museum of Art is supported, in part, by the generosity of DMA Members and donors, the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, and the Texas Commission on the Arts.