We are solitary.

20 November - 28 November 2020

NCAD MFA Show 2020

We are solitary.

20 - 27 November 2020

We are solitary. We can delude ourselves about this and act as if it were not true. That is all. But how much better it is to recognize that we are alone; yes, even to begin from this realization. We must accept our reality as vastly as we possibly can; everything, even the unprecedented, must be possible within it. This is, in the end, the only kind of courage that is required of us: the courage to face the strangest, most unusual, most inexplicable experiences that can meet us.

Rainer Maria Rilke, Borgeby gard, Fladie, Sweden, 12th August 1904

We are solitary. presents the work of 12 artists whose works reflect an array of approaches that characterises our cultural moment at the crux of this most unusual time in history. The artists in this exhibition represent a wide variety of styles and impulses, with each dealing with a spectrum of issues ranging from the personal to the community at large, delving into the past by looking at aspects of colonialism and ‘alien’ tree species to playing with our perception of reality by creating fictional worlds that reflect the one we live in now. Through connotations and associations, suggesting to the viewer the transient nature of our existence. These works are contemplative and assertive with moments of lightness and humour.

The exhibition includes works by Kitsch Doom, Maree Egan, Louis Haugh, Vanessa Jones, Lisa Karnauke, Ann-Marie Kirwan, James Leonard, Martyna Lebryk, Bara Palcik, Eve Parnell, Bettina Saroyan and guest Lee Welch.

Organised by National College of Art & Design, MFA Fine Art programme and Rua Red.

Curatorial assistance by Lee Welch.

Take a virtual tour of We are solitary.

'We are solitary' Exhibition Map

'We are solitary' Exhibition Guide

We are solitary. live walkthrough

'We are solitary.' - Artist biographies and descriptions of work

Eamon Maxwell responds to 'We are solitary.' at Rua Red


Artist Talk with Lee Welch

Artist Talk with Martyna Lebryk

Artist Talk with Maree Egan

Artist Talk with Ann-Marie Kirwan

Artist Talk with Lisa Karnauke

Artist Talk with Vanessa Jones

Artist Talk with Kitsch Doom

Zoom Artist Talk with Bara Palcik and Kitsch Doom

Live Artist Talk with Eve Parnell & Suzie Q aka Kitsch Doom


Kitsch Doom
Kitsch Doom is an award winning visual artist and filmmaker based in Dublin, Ireland. With a background in fine art printmaking, performance, photography and video Kitsch combines elements of fine art and media. Kitsch graduated with a first class honours in BA Fine Art and Visual Culture in 2019 and is currently pursuing their MFA in Fine Art Media at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin.

Kitsch recently won 4 awards for Best Experimental Film in New York Film Awards, Los Angeles Film Awards, Festigious Los Angeles and FilmCon for their recent video performance The Clothes Wear You (2020). Kitsch has also exhibited work both nationally and internationally and is represented by Stoney Road Press. Notable exhibitions include #ICPConcerned at the International Centre of Photography New York City, Ink Miami, London Original Print Fair, The RHA 190th Annual Exhibition and Galway International Arts Festival where they were awarded with the NUI Galway Purchase Prize. Kitsch’s work has been collected by NUI Galway, The United Arts Club and other private collections.

Maree Egan
Maree Egan is a multimedia artist working with photography, video and sound installation who is currently pursuing an MFA in Media at NCAD, Dublin. Originally from East Galway but is Dublin based Egan completed their BA in Photographic Media from Griffith College Dublin in 2018. Much of Egans practice is informed by lived experience and my research-based work deals with themes such as memory and time. The work explores the multi-faceted nature of memory over time particularly the existing duality between presence/reminiscence and absence/oblivescence.

Louis Haugh
Louis Haugh is a multi-media artist currently pursuing an MFA in Fine Art at NCAD. Haugh's practice encompasses photography, video, sound, text and installation. Haugh is currently researching the history and provenance of non-native conifer trees and commercial forestry in Ireland. Specifically, looking at Ireland’s colonial history as a key factor in the introduction of ‘alien’ tree species. Using photography and lens media as core components of Haugh's practice, he studyies the Irish landscape within two overlapping frameworks; our identity as a post-colonial nation state and our current position within a globalised society.

Haugh is interested in subverting the politics of photographic representation as a foundation to the work he makes. Deconstructing ideas of place, identity, class and temporality is important to him as a visual artist. Therefore these are often common threads connecting the work he makes.

Vanessa Jones
Vanessa Jones is primarily a figurative painter whose practice explores themes around the feminine, Eastern and Western art traditions and the repetition of historical and cultural imagery. Her paintings often bring contradictory ideas that exist within herself and the world at large. Using self-portraiture to address themes around isolation, confinement, protection, danger and the relationship between nature and culture, ultimately, her self-portrait deals with the quiet assertion in the power of the feminine and the strength in its potential to be dangerous.

Born in Tennessee, USA, Dublin-based artist Vanessa Jones received her BA in Fine Arts and Art History in 2003 from the George Washington University in Washington DC, where she was the recipient of the Presidential Art Scholarship from 1999-2003. She has worked at the Frick Collection in New York and in the Public Affairs and Development departments at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). Currently on a career break from IMMA, she has been working towards completing her MFA at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. In December 2019, she was the recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Award for emerging representational artists.

Lisa Karnauke
Lisa Karnauke is a visual artist based in Kiel, Germany. Generally, she is working in the mediums of installation, intervention and conceptual framing. At the time being, she is especially interested in expectations and judgments on artworks based on an established framework of language shaped by institutions and some sort of a pop-modern insatiability untermining western culture. Often, her works are meant as subtle, slightly provocative and humorous comments within the context of their display.

In 2020, Lisa was an Erasmus student at Dublin´s NCAD. Having finished her Bachelor degree in Fine Arts with the additional subject of Philosophy in 2019, she is currently studying Sculpture and Conceptual Art (MFA) under Elisabeth Wagner at the Muthesius School of Fine Arts. She is part of the artist collective Atelier Umraum (Kiel) and took part in the Prima Kunst e.V. from 2016 to 2019.

Ann-Marie Kirwan
Ann-Marie’s work is inspired by the association between visual art and touchable sculptures. Arte povera a radical art movement from the late 1960’s to 1970’s whose artists explored a range of unconventional processes and non traditional everyday materials. Working with found objects, wax, latex, and mixed media as an alternate means of conveying and exploring the relationship between material language, emotional memory touch and smell. Observing the viewer’s connection with the artwork.

A member and a volunteer at Butler Gallery Kilkenny since 2015. She participated in the Waterford Institute of Technology 4th Year Art & Design Degree show May 2019, and received the National Sculpture Factory / Waterford Institute of Technology 4th Year Degree Show Award.

James Lenoard
"Both paintings were inspired by the group of clients I had the pleasure of working with at Rua Red. Through our conversions, painting together and interactions they came with an idea for a name for a painting. As we only had another half day the following day I decided to bring in some canvas aprons. I asked the clients to start mark marking on the aprons. I also explained that as we could not finish the work this day upon completion of this this piece we would do something with canvas aprons. We had an hour left so I explained I would create a big piece of work and include the aprons. As I was in college I told them I would include the aprons in this work. I asked them to come up with their original idea, something around nature, we had little time so they began to paint flowers and colors of nature. I eventually got two pieces finished while doing my first-year masters using the aprons and different medias. I had an intention to get the group back together at Rua Red and all was agreed then the lockdown occurred. So, I finished both and these are the ones I am submitting. What I found on the 12ft x 5ft was an inscription of a piece of text called Summer Breeze, this text is on one of the aprons and so the name was decided by one of the clients even before the work had begun. From this name I had been given a concept for a piece of wonder. The name has created my connection with this wonderful group. So, I feel truly grateful and filled gratitude. Thanks to all for accepting me warts and all."

Martyna Lebryk
Martyna Lebryk is a visual artist currently completing an MFA program in the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. Her practice involves painting, drawing and installation. The main themes in Martyna’s work include social agency, body politics and spectacle. She investigates these topics by focusing her research on images of protests from around the world.

Bara Palcik
Bara Palcik is currently finishing an MFA in Fine Art at NCAD. She received her BA in Fine Arts at DIT. She has received the A4 Sounds DIT Graduate Award, the Multi-Media Fine Art Award, and her work was long-listed for the RDS Visual Arts Award 2018. Her works have been exhibited in Drogheda, Cork, Dublin, London, Barcelona, Paphos, and Rajastan.

Eve Parnell
Eve Parnell is a graduate of the National College of Art and Design. Following her degree, Eve completed an artist’s residency in Sicily. She exhibits widely across Europe. Earlier this year Parnell curated the Three Person Show titled Fáinleog; in the Irish Cultural Centre London, Hammersmith 31st January - 7th March. In 2018 her sculpture of a Garden Slug was selected for the Royal Academy’s 250th Summer Show, London and her drawing of a Tuna Fish was a favourite in the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Show, Mall Galleries, London. In 2019 her expressive work was selected by The Society of Graphic Fine Art for inclusion in their Annual Exhibition Draw 19: 1919 – 2019, Menier Gallery, Southwark, London 22nd October - 2nd November. Invited to exhibit in the annual Festival Bassano in Teverina, Italy, a three day event celebrating Irish Art, Poetry, Music and Dance, 21 - 23rd June. With her Solo Exhibition in the KungerKeiz Gallery, Berlin, Germany, 2nd November – 1st December 2019 Eve has already achieved a wide audience. Her work is in the Collections of the Pontifical Council for Culture in the Vatican City, the Armed Forces of Malta and HRH The Prince of Wales, plus numerous private collections.

Bettina Saroyan
Bettina Saroyan was raised in France, but started studying in Belgium and Romania before completing her Masters Degree in Ireland. Insatiable touche à tout, she experimented costume and fashion design, performance, ceramics, coding and has some serious weaving skills. She has a particular inclination for computers, fabrics and garish colors. Don't think those are related? Well in Saroyan's head they surely are and that's her quest to make this strange mix blossom in front of your eyes...

Lee Welch

Lee Welch (IRL/USA) completed an MFA at the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam and gained his BFA from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. He was recently awarded a residency at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. Welch’s work has been featured in numerous institutions including Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University; Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC), León, Spain and Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp. His paintings are in private and public collections such as Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane and the OPW - State Art Collection. Lee Welch is represented by Berlin Opticians Gallery, Dublin.