Alice Maher

Alice Maher

IMMA — Irish Museum of Modern Art

Alice Maher, Cassandra’s Necklace, 2012. Film still. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Vivienne Dick.

October 16, 2012

Alice Maher

6 October 2012–3 February 2013

Irish Museum of Modern Art – IMMA at NCH
Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2, Ireland

T +353 1 612 9900
info [​at​]

Becoming is a major mid-career retrospective of the work of leading Irish artist Alice Maher. The exhibition charts the development of Maher’s practice over 25 years, from her early drawings, paintings and sculptural works, to a new film work specially commissioned by IMMA for the exhibition. The title points to the evolutionary processes which are at the heart of many of Maher’s individual works and which inform her entire practice. The layered history of the Earlsfort Terrace building, as a university and a former seat of government, and its labyrinthine nature have also influenced the presentation of the exhibition, with works from different periods occupying the same spaces, creating new associations and illuminating recurring themes.

Becoming illustrates the particular philosophical arena in which Maher places her oeuvre, where things are constantly in flux or are caught at a moment of metamorphosis. Through painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, photography and video and digital technology, she uncovers ever more complex readings of the world around and within us. The exhibition includes two new works: Cassandra’s Necklace (2012), a major film work inspired by a script sent to the artist by the award-winning Irish writer Anne Enright and a site-specific installation L’Université (2012), which addresses the history of Earlsfort Terrace as a place of learning. Cell, Maher’s iconic ball of thorns first shown in Kilmainham Jail in 1991, is being re-staged.

Born in 1956, Alice Maher studied at the University of Limerick and the Crawford College of Art, Cork. She was awarded a Master’s degree in Fine Art from the University of Ulster and shortly after a Fulbright Scholarship to San Francisco Art Institute. She has exhibited widely in Ireland, England and the United States, and represented Ireland in the 22nd São Paolo Bienal. In 2008, the David Nolan Gallery in New York hosted a solo exhibition of new drawings and sculptures titled Hypnerotomachia. In 2007, a large survey show of her work, Natural Artifice, was held at the Brighton and Hove Museums. Also in that year she completed a major drawing installation, The Night Garden, for the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin. Earlier exhibitions include: Orsola, an installation at the Oratorio di San Lodovico, Venice, 2006; Rood at the Green on Red Gallery, Dublin, 2005; Portraits at Purdy Hicks Gallery, London, 2003; Gorget at the David Nolan Gallery, New York, 2000; Knot at Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Dublin, 1999; Swimmers at Le Credac Centre d’Art, Ivry-sur-Seine, 1996; and Familiar at the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, 1994. Maher’s work can be seen in significant international collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Fogg Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; the British Museum, London; the Hammond Museum, Los Angeles; and the Pompidou centre, Paris.

The exhibition is curated by Seán Kissane, Curator: Exhibitions, IMMA.
Alice Maher is represented by the Green on Red Gallery Dublin, Purdy Hicks Gallery London and David Nolan Gallery New York.

Winter Lecture 2012
Thursday 12 December, 6pm, Lecture Room, IMMA @ NCH
As part of the established IMMA Winter Lecture series which has featured prominent Irish and international artists, Alice Maher presents an illustrated talk on her mid-career retrospective Becoming. Admission is free but booking online is essential at

A fully-illustrated catalogue, published by IMMA and distributed by D.A.P. New York, accompanies the exhibition, with texts by Dr Penelope Curtis, Director of Tate Britain; Booker Prize-winning author, Anne Enright; Dr Ed Krčma, Lecturer Modern and Contemporary Art, UCC; Dr David Lloyd, Professor of English at the University of Southern California; Dr Catherine Morris, Cultural Coordinator, Trinity College Dublin and National Library of Ireland; and curator of the exhibition Seán Kissane. Buy online at

Admission is free.



Alice Maher at Irish Museum of Modern Art
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October 16, 2012

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