Itsa Collective

Galway Centre for Creative Arts and Media

By Michaƫle Cutaya

Itsa collective: Jackie Burke, Jason Dunne, Phill Foley, Martin Reid and Peter Sherry.

It is easy to dismiss the appeal of collectives as a strategic ploy to further individual careers, but one may yet be lured by its multiple actualisations. Here from painting – a medium often perceived as collaborative-light – are five graduates who came together through the need to discuss and contextualise their practice. They were meeting and organising talks for two years before they designated themselves as a collective – with a non-committal, possibly parodic name to eschew identitarianism.

For this show, along with their single presentations, they co-curated a room with a non-assigned selection of works, and a photocopier in pride of place inviting the visitor to reproduce the exhibited works. If their collaborative output lacked the formal concentration of their individual efforts, the release from the constraints of authorship enabled a freer interplay between works, mediums, concepts and context.

They set up another room for discussion with a public talk scheduled with students from the philosophy department at NUIG. Whilst embedded in larger ethical and practical considerations about collectives, the dynamic between discursive, collaborative and individual practices of Itsa collective has produced some of the most exciting and accomplished artworks presented in GMIT this year.