Dominique Crowley: Monstrorum


Ashford Gallery sponsored by CURATOR Paints
11 Jan, 2024 - 11 Feb, 2024

This new body of work by Dominique Crowley, Monstrorum, is set in a fictional museum space and presents an alternative natural history.

Artworks are available to view and purchase on our viewing room here

Crowley’s new body of work has been informed by researching Renaissance and Enlightenment descriptions of the natural world, particularly the Marsh Library’s extensive collection of writings by Italian natural scientist, Ulisse Aldrovandi. His depictions of monsters within a systematic taxonomic classification of animal and plant groupings, have been of particular interest to Crowley. Early natural science appears as a curious blend of objective descriptions and, as in Aldrovandi’s writings, a collation of earlier cultural depictions and references to philosophy and mythology.

By including mythological creatures amongst the display, it proposes that knowledge starts with the unknown and with an embrace of possibilities. Modelled closely on Dublin’s own Natural History Museum, itself a jewel box of Victorian nature on display, this exhibition presents natural science as perceived in the 1500’s but viewed in the present.

Through a series of paintings, mainly in oil and resin on wood panels, Crowley explores the display of nature in cabinets of curiosity, early encyclopaedias and museums; the ordering and organisation of nature and the original drivers of natural science, namely epiricism driven through exploration, colonialism and resource extraction. Paintings depict full size vitrines and display cabinets filled with taxidermy and wet specimens. Bordering on the macabre, there is a tension between this subject matter and the manner in which the paintings are rendered. Bright saturated candy-coloured displays and light refractions are heightened by the slick glass-like reflective resin finish.

As Crowley says “These ‘screen’ paintings are firmly set in the present but ask that we look back to look forward. Thinking both about the edge of knowledge, and how early s cience originated, may open up new ways of considering how new knowledge is created. It adds another voice calling for a reorientation in the way humans live with nature amid the crises of climate change and inequality.’

Artist Biography:

Born in Benghazi, Libya to an Irish father and Maltese mother, and currently based in Dublin, Crowley obtained a BFA from Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto (2017) and an MFA in Art in the Contemporary World from Ireland’s National College of Art and Design (2020).

Her interest in the environment has been a continuous thread running through her previous career in Public Health Medicine to her current artistic practice which explores and maps our collective relationship with nature.

Crowley has won numerous awards including a National RDS Visual Arts Graduate Award (2020) with a residency in the Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts, Royal College of Physicians Prize shortlist at the RHA Annual Exhibition (2020), Outstanding Artist prize in the Royal Ulster Academy Annual Exhibition (2020), A Draoicht Emerging Artist Prize (2022), The inaugural RHA James O Nolan Emerging Artist Prize (2022), Irish Arts council funding (2022 and 2023) and a Marsh Library Maddocks Research Fellowship (2023)


01. Dominique Crowley, Installation view of ‘Monstrorum’

02.  Dominique Crowley, Cephalopods Polyptych, 2022, Oil, paper stickers and acrylic resin on brace wood panels, 8o x 80cm, Image courtesy of the artist.

03.  Dominique Crowley, Arcadian Sunset, Diptych, oil, acrylic ink and acrylic resin on braced wood panels.

04. Dominique Crowley, Harpie, oil, paper, printer ink and acrylic resin on braced wood panel.

All photography: Kate Bowe O’Brien


  • Date:

    11 Jan, 2024 - 11 Feb, 2024
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