Éanna Mac Cana: Aoife Shanahan

Aoife Shanahan’s OXYgen

Warning of the destructive turmoil after euphoria. Suspicious of the deceptive device. Aoife Shanahan eliminates the camera and presents simply the destructive capabilities of the on-going Opioid crisis through 5 Oxycontin® encoded photograms.

Instantly, we are whisked away to a cosmic realm. With Seascape #1 the curving white mass echoes that of a lunar surface. Heaped, poisonous lines of white form a crowd then specks of white erupt outwards – will they return back or will they drift off into a dark abyss? A faint but flat lifeline splits the print in Folded Paper Cascade #1, tension strengthens in Folded Paper Cascade #2 with an anticipation for the white to disperse… waiting for an end or a new beginning? Containing the bearish dips and bullish highs of a dual axis graph, this piece is statistical in demeanour. A two-pronged thematic approach unfolds; black and white, light and dark, life and death; two extremes battle each other.

Some frames are claustrophobic, ravaged by and saturated in scars. Lines Diptych is aggressively organised, ghostly shapes breeze through the cracks whilst there is a slight out of sync repetition, a failure to be the last perhaps? Each shape fizzles out sharply and suddenly, affecting the next in some way or another. Despite the suggestion of depth these works may give, they are of wallpaper texture. Inked into the skin of the work, these Oxycontin® markings cannot be eradicated.

If one stands back and takes a look at one piece to the next, Shanahan swings the work from vacuums of space to scenes of desperation for breath and balance. In Satellite Grid, a menacing white suffocates black for the first time. Things seem too unstable to reach a middle ground, so we wait for a response from the other side.

Written by Éanna Mac Cana

Éanna Mac Cana is a filmmaker and artist living and working in Belfast.

Writer links: Website