Sign up to our newsletter

Find about what we're up to with regular updates
sign up now!


Less + More Exhibition


As Year of Design 2015 draws to a close, Oonagh Young is pleased to present an exhibition of work that seeks to investigate the fluidity between contemporary art practice and design, and to question existing categorisations that could arguably be considered obsolete within a gallery context.

From the beginning, De Stijl, the Bauhaus and even the Russian Constructivists incorporated design, craft and architecture within their remit. So the threat which these disciplines posed to fine art could be controlled – which was crucial given how they were viewed as flamboyant and as the very antithesis of avant-garde seriousness.(1)

Yet an artist like Matisse dealt with the threat of design (décor) to art by working in both fields and was often invited to submit designs to Parisian design houses. His work was flexible enough to take inspiration from different disciplines and strong enough to stimulate it. By comparison, Alex Coles argues in his essay that explores art’s romance with design, that most ‘design-artists today attempt to erase boundaries, while at the same time flaunting their works’ conceptual underpinnings to ensure arts safe distance from mere design.’(2)

Less + More combines three different art and design practitioners who work in various fields from jewellery and porcelain making to architecture. Each has been commissioned to make a new multiple for this exhibition which will be shown alongside earlier works in the gallery.

Fiona Mulholland initially trained in metal and jewellery and went on to work in sculpture and create several large scale public artworks. In her sculptural works she uses appropriated objects and universal symbols in order to investigate repetitive cycles, drawing on patterns in social and psychological behaviour. John Rainey combines new digital technologies (3D scanning, 3D printing) with traditional ceramic materials and processes, creating work in the area of figurative ceramics, influenced by the virtual nature of our communication. A2 architects is an innovative and award-winning architectural practice responsible for the design of Oonagh Young Gallery in 2008. They worked closely with Paul Fitzpatrick (Fitzpatrick & Henry) to create a pinwheel scaffold that would replace the ‘plinth’ and challenge typical modes of display within the gallery context.

This convergence of contemporary art and design in Less + More is an attempt to acknowledge materiality through the object itself but also to question the function of representation and utility by challenging the conventions of both disciplines. In the words of Frank Lloyd Wright: Less is only more where more is no good.


Opening Hours for duration of the exhibition:

11am – 1pm & 2pm – 5pm, Wednesday – Friday or by appointment

Closed for Christmas from Dec 23rd – Jan 4th, 2016.

Exhibition runs until 29th January, 2016


1 James Joyce Street, Dublin 1, Ireland
Tel: +353 1 8558600


Fiona Mulholland has worked in the creative sector for over 20 years. She has a Masters from the Royal College of Art in London and has participated in numerous exhibitions both nationally and internationally. She is currently based at the Leitrim Sculpture Centre in the North West of Ireland.

John Rainey graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2012 with an MA Ceramics and Glass. His work is held in public and private collections in the UK, Ireland and Hong Kong and he recently showed with Marsden Woo Gallery, London.

A2 Architects work on a broad range of projects in the public and private realms. Current clients include Upstart, the Office of Public Works, Department of Social Protection, Department of Foreign Affairs, The Courts Service and Dublin City Council. Most recently the practice, in collaboration with the artist, John Gerrard, was nominated for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2015 for Pulp Press, Kistefos, Norway.


1. Art Décor Alex Coles on art’s romance with design Art Monthly 253: February 2002