This review first appeared in the Sunday Times Culture magazine on 15 Jan 2017.
Nag (New Art Gallery) consists of two small rooms tucked away discreetly in the basement of the Cross Gallery on Francis Street. It's presided over by the tall and elegant Mark St. John Ellis, late of the RHA, and its mission is to bring us art that is refined in terms of execution and finish and that combines the functional and non-functional. Its current show certainly meets these criteria by juxtaposing the delicately beautiful paintings of Kohei Nakata (who studied at NCAD) and the sturdy raku of Masashi Suzuki. Raku refers to the bowls and other vessels associated with the Japanese tea ceremony. Nag represents a number of Japanese artists and they will continue to feature in its future programmes. The inner gallery contains more of Nakata's restrained paintings (on layers of gauze) and a variety of elegant bowls and sculpture by other artists. There's also a dark dramatic work by the Belfast artist Ian Charlesworth. This was created using smoke on gesso and plywood - an idea he picked up from the ceilings of UVF clubs in Belfast.
tel: 01 4738978
John P. O'Sullivan