In Alice Maher’s new watercolour series, The Glorious Maid of the Charnel House, internal and external worlds interface, co-exist and self generate. Maher’s reference points include art history, mythic narrative and medical textbooks, as her shape shifting maids call down and mischievously intervene with the often problematic history of visual representation of the feminine throughout all of these fields. The inner and the outer body unfolds and enfolds simultaneously and human, animal and vegetal intermingle and overlap in intense hybrid forms.
The Glorious Maid of the Charnel House of the exhibition title, is a defiant looking adolescent who stands guard over this visceral liquid universe, her innards extruded through her head to spill around her like the abundant locks of Rapunzel.
‘Distilling and braiding a representational web between Hieronymus Bosch and Leonora Carrington’s fantastical subject-object-animal-vegetal transfigurations, Maher’s mutating maids are excessively, incongruently and defiantly within processes of becoming and change’. (Tina Kinsella ’this is the fluid in which we meet each other: on Alice Maher’s recent drawings’ 2016)
These enigmatic maids push, pull, carry, sprout, seep, multiply, extrude, propagate and gratify themselves, all the while retaining an ethereal calm; serene inhabitants of this Irish artist’s ever generative imagination.
Alice Maher is one of Ireland's foremost contemporary artists. Her first major solo show was at the Douglas Hyde Gallery Dublin in 1994. That same year she represented Ireland at the Sao Paolo Biennale. Maher continued to exhibit consistently in group and solo exhibitions and in 2012 the Irish Museum of Modern Art presented a retrospective of her work, Becoming, which included many iconic works as well as a newly commissioned film and a monograph. Maher is currently showing at EVA International (2016) with a two-screen film, Cassandra’s Necklace (2). Her work is held in many Irish and international collections including The British Museum; The Neuberger Museum, New York; The Hammond Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; MoMA, New York; The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; The Georges Pompidou Centre, Paris