Dublin People

Young local artist accepted into acclaimed exhibition

Méabh Hennelly with her piece,'When She Photographs Him No. 1’

A young Southside artist is set to exhibit her work in a highly renowned exhibition opening later this month.

Méabh Hennelly, from Stillorgan, was selected through an open submission process to exhibit her photographic artwork in the prestigious 191st Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) Annual Exhibition, Ireland’s largest and longest running exhibition of visual art.

The show, running this year from September 27 to October 30, attracts large critical and public audiences, with sales upwards of €500,000 in 2020.

Méabh’s piece ‘When She Photographs Him, no.1’ has been selected to be part of this year’s RHA Annual show.

Méabh Hennelly with her piece,’When She Photographs Him No. 1’

The artwork refers to the idea of a woman as the photographer and a man as her subject, inverting the age-old trope of the male artist and his female muse.

Taking inspiration from photo books such as ‘What She Wants: Women Artists Look at Men’ by Naomi Salaman (1994), she takes a considered, sensitive approach to this dynamic and the inherent power balance that exists between the photographer and the photographed.

This series takes a reflective approach to a long-standing preoccupation with the human figure in visual art.

The images were shot in extreme low light conditions, capturing outlines and glimpses of a male body.

Inspired by collage art, historically an analogue medium, she took that style into a digital format and deconstructed my images, pushing them visually by altering the colour and opacity as well as cutting and cropping to create an atmosphere and mood in the photographs that are suggestive of warmth, intimacy and eroticism.

The way the model was shot, the angle, his poses suggest a closeness, a sensuality, a comfort with the photographer.

Méabh Hennelly is a media artist based in Dublin, currently completing a BA in Fine Art Media in the National College of Art & Design (NCAD).

Méabh makes her art largely through 2D mediums, such as photography and video as well as web-art.

She has had her work shown in Pallas Projects/Studios, Dublin 8, in August 2021, the Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda having been shortlisted for its inaugural open submission/Janet Mullarney Prize 2020 and the 8th Annual Signal Open Exhibition in the Signal Arts Centre, Bray in August 2020.

Méabh attended secondary school in Newpark Comprehensive School and went on to study sociology and politics in University College Dublin.

She says she decided to take time away from UCD as she was feeling unsure as to whether or not it was actually what she wanted.

Not sure what to do next, but feeling drawn to art, she attended the Liberties College, Dublin, studying ‘Art and Craft in Professional Practice’.

This gave her the foundation to then apply and be accepted into NCAD, where she specialises in media art and is now a final year student.

‘When She Photographs Him, no.1’ is available to purchase as a Limited Edition print through her website, www.meabhhennelly.com, along with artwork from her ‘When She Photographs Him’ series.

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