Ashford-in-conversation with Dominique Crowley and Paolo Viscardi


Ashford Gallery sponsored by CURATOR Paints
On 7 Feb, 2024

Join us for an insightful evening at the RHA on 07 February, when we will welcome artist Dominique Crowley and Keeper of Natural History at the National Museum of Ireland, Paolo Viscardi for a discussion about many of the works and themes in Crowley's current exhibition 'Monstrorum'

This is a free event.

Booking is required with the booking link below. 

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

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.

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.

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 empiricism driven through exploration, colonialism and resource extraction.

Speaker Biographies:

Born in Benghazi, Libya to an Irish father and Maltese mother, and currently based in Dublin, Dominique 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.

Paolo Viscardi is Keeper of Natural History at the National Museum of Ireland, with previous curatorial roles in the UK at the Grant Museum of Zoology and the Horniman Museum & Gardens. He has over 20 years’ experience of working with natural history collections to support research, teaching and public engagement. His research has included the thefts of rhino horn, errors in measuring bones, and how ‘mummified mermaids’ were really made.

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    7 Feb, 2024
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