The centrepiece of Niamh O’Malley’s exhibition is a video entitled Nephin that has a tantalising, elusive quality depicting a circuitous never-ending journey. Filmed in black-and-white it depicts a silent journey through countryside as viewed from the passenger window of a travelling car. The camera maintains a constant view through hedgerows and flickering branches across fields towards the looming Nephin mountain. This is deliberately maintained as a constant focal point. The hill appears to have a magnetic, hypnotic quality on the viewer with a hint of something eerie about it. This elicits an elusive queasy feeling – that of slowly nearing the mountain but never being able to actually get there. It evokes that frustrating sensation in dreams of running but never reaching your destination as it steadfastly maintains a constant distance from you.
The subtle domination of a persons psyche by a lone mountain is reminiscent of the quest by Richard Dreyfuss’ to Devils Tower in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind as he seeks answers to inexplicable phenomena.
The video Glasshouse also shot in black-and white has a looping, spliced, sliding-doors format that has a beguiling feeling of alternately hiding and exposing the viewer. The slow tracking nature of the images plays with flatness, motion and depth of field. We are not quite sure if we are viewing or being viewed – of what is real and unreal.
The remaining forms scattered throughout the large gallery space merely hint at parts of structures – frames, doorways, windows and screens – without exerting the magnetism of the stronger video works.
Continues at the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College until 25th February 2015.