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24 Nov 2015

Steve Maher : The Melody is the Message

Photo credit - Steve Maher -

Produced during residency exchange Askeaton Contemporary Arts, Limerick, Ireland and Tottenham Hale International Studios, London, England.

The Melody is The Message
Steve Maher


Opening Reception on
December 14th 2015 from 6-9pm On view through January 8th, 2016


stevemaherart [at] gmail [dot] com

The Church Gallery, Limerick School of Art and Design
Clare Street Campus
Limerick City

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The Church Gallery
Limerick School of Art and Design, Clare Street Campus, Limerick City, Ireland

Opening Reception on December 14th 2015 from 6-9pm
On view through January 8th, 2016

The Melody is the Message focuses on the relationship between dominant ideologies and subjugation, music and the communities which orientate themselves around it. Music is versatile, capable of being both a catalyst for emancipation and a tool for manipulation. Music is an innate aspect of the human condition, isolated communities around the world have created music in some shape or form, some historical anthropologists have proposed that music presupposes even what we loosely define as human. This offers much insight into music's compelling abilities.

Music is always a commentary on society – Frank Zappa

It was once believed that music was the universal force which underpinned existence, the distance between known astral bodies were thought to resonate at frequencies akin to the seven notes found in conventional western scales. Considering our contemporary narrowed understanding of space and time what music offers is an incredibly confined and limited experience yet in its infinite recombination it is paradoxically nuanced and varied, this is to say nothing about the impact it has on society, it has played a part in the collapse of empires and the oppression of billions. Generations of men and women have both danced to life and marched to their deaths with music encouraging each respective step. Music is not something that we have created it is something that has happened to us.

Maher's work makes use of music, its rituals, its communities and its cultural artifacts as material, reflecting not about music itself but what music makes. Christian rock, Johannes Kelper's Harmonices Mundi, the theory of ex-corporation and the Klingon Language are just some of the varied reference points from which the work is inspired. The Melody is the Message explores the creative practice of music from beyond its own limitation, looking instead at the impact the activity and it's appreciation has on the world around it.

Steve Maher is a visual and relational Irish artist based between Limerick, Ireland and Helsinki, Finland. In 2014 Maher won the Kieran Meagher Legacy Award from the Limerick City of Culture 2014, The Melody is the Message has been produced with support offered by this Award. Maher's projects have been featured across Europe and North America as part of International Biennales, art festivals and residencies. Notable recent exhibitions and events include include Aabenraa Artweek(Aabenraa, Denmark and Flensburg, Germany), Incubarte 7 (Valencia), Strobe Network - Flux Factory (New York) and Gaming the System (Helsinki). Maher is the current International Artist in Residence at THIS (Tottenham Hale International Studios) Tottenham, London as part of a residency exchange with Askeaton Contemporary Arts, Limerick, Ireland. In 2016 Maher's work focusing on the history of broadcasting in Ireland, Calling Athlone, will featured as part of the global exhibition model Project Anywhere.

Paul Tarpey is a senior lecturer and course leader of photography and lens based media in the Limerick School of Art and Design. His curatorial and art projects that are based in Limerick often feature popular music and collections of vernacular material. This work is designed to investigate and archive the many subcultural interventions which exist as understated histories for the city. His event Making The Cut (1966 – 1973) was performed for the biennale EVA international in 2014. This collaborative event explored the legacy of generational resistance held in the history of Limericks beat bands and was the basis for the Lyric FM documentary Grannies Intentions and Generational Resistance which was nominated for a PPI award in 2015. Curatorial work for the arts council for the exhibition Into The Light ( LCGA 2013) investigated the contribution made to the national collection by Irish artists who sought to introduce the international counter culture nationally through a combination of fine art and popular music in the late 1960's.

In Memory of Kieran Meagher.