Émile Crowther and Hannah Ní Mhaonaigh


Émile Crowther and Hannah Ní Mhaonaigh first collaborated in 2014 after meeting in Bristol, and have influenced each other's practices ever since. ‘Horses’ is a culmination of their intertwined visual storytelling and the symbolism of the horse that has continuously presented within both their work. 

Horses, figures in mythology, storytelling, spirituality and a symbol of luck, have always been present in Irish culture. In both artist's work the constant need to look back to look forward is essential. Both needing to work directly with their hands with final outcomes unexpected, this show sits somewhere between control and circumstance. Reflecting on the parallels and layers of what makes a person, what an individual can strive for, destiny and the energy of the underdog. Crowther and Ní Mhaonaigh find respite and joy in happenstance and revel in these alignments in what could be seen as either coincidence or fate.


Émile Crowther
plays with the boundaries of analogue and digital still and moving images, offering ‘capsule’ moments through abstraction. ‘capsule’ moments through abstraction. The reality of the work holds elements of chance and serendipity by using temperamental materials, tools and techniques. He does not intend to mislead the viewer into believing that a reality or a direct truth has been observed, but instead to offer new interpretation. Pushing and pulling both subjects and mediums through processes while working with limitations of space and equipment, or lack thereof, encouraging boundaries to form slowly and to mean something more. 

Hannah Ní Mhaonaig
h creates paintings on linen and on various surfaces including found objects. The titling of her work is an essential part of Ní Mhaonaigh's process, which she considers as an attempt to grab hold of these abstracted elements by the tufts of their tails. The repetitive practice of overpainting and paring back leads to an experimental yet determined fuinneamh (energy) in her finished pieces, the ones that managed to make it. These abstract forms become almost an excavation of fictional artefacts or remains. Natural shapes become abstract symbols unearthed as parts, sections, and unknowingly pieces of the artist herself,  harking back to something more primitive, something from the earth, the roots of things.

The exhibition is accompanied by a limited-edition zine produced by the artists and designed by Pure Designs, exclusively available at Mermaid Arts Centre.