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A look back...
It's been an exciting year here at CIRCA. Our publishing schedule got busier. We launched a new website. We kept busy on social media. And while stressing and sweating over our latest Arts Council application (fingers crossed), we had a good hard look at what we've been up to. It's been a tough year. Tougher still, we forced our editors to pick three pieces to look back on.

Image above: Locky Morris Stop Lookin’ at Photographs! (2016), image courtesy of Simon Mills, for the Naughton Gallery at Queen’s Belfast.
Choose for yourself
Michaële Cutaya revisits recent pieces
Susan Thomson’s writings are always a festival of insights and ideas spellbindingly weaved through with connections to films, literature and philosophy.
Get your own insights
Cac O’Day’s incisive and precise prose brings together the polemical and the poetical, and perhaps nowhere more pointedly than in this take on Brian Maguire’s Aleppo Paintings.
Read it. Live it. Love it.
Since his first contribution to CIRCA in 2016, it has been a pleasure to follow Philip Kavanagh and see his writing keeps its promises while gaining in confidence. 
Hear what Philip thinks...
Marian Lovett goes abroad and way back
Regretfully, I did not get the opportunity to visit Glasgow International this year.  However, Gianna Tasha Tomasso's overview of the citywide exhibition was both vivid and expansive, so much so  that on rereading her account I felt like I really had been there,  because I had visualized so many of the artworks and  installations and even their whereabouts from my first reading of her piece. The report resonated all the more as it was written just before the horrendous fire which destroyed for the second time the Glasgow School of Art.
Visit Glasgow
I love it when a writer teaches me a new word so I was 'sold' when Niamh McCooey's review of work suite by Aine McBride used the word  'skeuomorpic' to describe the  'melee of mundanity' that  prevailed  in this show. While McCooey's focus is the seemingly austere sculpture of Aine McBride, her astute observations of the superficiality and contradictions of the art fair, and its habituees,  also added to this piece. McCooey's writing is always confident  inventive and memorable.
See skeuomorpic in action
And, in the last week, looking back at some of the earliest submissions for the This Matters Now series I am still in awe of the compacted intensity expressed, in less than four hundred words, by Kevin Breathnach in his appraisal of the photographs of Samuel Laurence Cunmane at the Douglas Hyde Gallery in the Summer of 2016.  
Breathnach's piece is the epitome of how the active eye can conjure up something animate from something else that is entirely not. His description of a bag of grass where he likens it to 'a dog sprawling on the lawn... slouching forward and spilling out over itself'is a case in point. This is superb, crystalline, writing which set a standard for the series.  
Go way back
Chris Hayes wishes he wrote these
Artist Amanda Dunsmore's poignant portraits of Northern Irish political leaders touches on an important and troubled history. A history that author, playwright, and filmmaker Laurence McKeown has lived as an IRA political prisoner in Long Kesh 1976-1992, surviving 70 days on hunger strike in 1981. 
Experience it for yourself
Walshe is a writer I simply cannot read enough of. Here, the careful and considered writing brings a dense attention and energy to the artist and the artwork; the tense atmosphere, the complexity of the material arrangements, and the relationship between it all.
Not convinced?
I was particularly moved by how Cahill questions the standard review format in a way that reflects the performance itself. This kind of reciprocal relationship between art and criticism is a driving force between the best examples of both.
But don't question the click
And before you go... did you have a personal favourite? Let us know on social media!
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