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Isabel Nolan

Isabel Nolan has an expansive practice that incorporates sculptures, paintings, textile works, photographs, writing and works on paper. Her subject matter is similarly comprehensive, taking in cosmological phenomena, religious reliquaries, Greco-Roman sculptures and literary/historical figures, examining the behaviour of humans and animals alike. These diverse artistic investigations are driven by intensive research, but the end result is always deeply personal and subjective. Exploring the “intimacy of materiality”, Nolan’s work ranges from the architectural – steel sculptures that frame or obstruct our path – to small handmade objects in clay, hand-tufted wool rugs illuminated with striking cosmic imagery, to drawings and paintings using humble gouache or colouring pencils. In concert, they feel equally enchanted by and afraid of the world around us, expressing humanity’s fear of mortality and deep need for connection as well as its startling achievements in art and thought. Driven by “the calamity, the weirdness, horror, brevity and wonder of existing alongside billions of other preoccupied humans”, her works give generous form to fundamental questions about the ways the chaos of the world is made beautiful or given meaning through human activity.

In late 2020, Launchpad and Kerlin Gallery published ‘Curling up with reality’, bringing together a decade of Nolan’s work including significant exhibitions and 20 of the artist’s writings.

 

Isabel Nolan lives and works in Dublin.

Selected Works

Selected Works Thumbnails

Isabel Nolan
When the sky above will not be named, 2021
hand-tufted 100% New Zealand Wool, 12 mm pile
292 x 538.5 cm / 115 x 212 in   

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Isabel Nolan 
View (with eyes closed), 2020
waterbased oil on canvas, hand-gilded 24 carat gold and painted clay frame
60 x 60 x 4.5 cm / 23.6 x 23.6 x 1.8 in 
62.5 x 62.5 x 4.9 cm / 24.6 x 24.6 x 1.9 in framed
 

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Isabel Nolan 
Miracle wave, 2698 C.E., 2020
hand-tufted 100% New Zealand Wool, 15mm pile
300 x 200 cm / 118.1 x 78.7 in   

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Isabel Nolan 
Tender Beams, 2019
waterbased oil on canvas, hand-gilded 24 carat gold and painted clay frame
60 x 50 cm / 23.6 x 19.7 in   
62.5 x 52.2 x 4.9 cm / 24.6 x 20.6 x 1.9 in framed
Collection of Trinity College Dublin

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A kind of bright glory

Isabel Nolan
A kind of bright glory, 2019
Hand-tufted 100% New Zealand Wool, 15mm pile
304 x 212 cm / 119.7 x 83.5 in   

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Isabel Nolan 
Section, 2018
stainless steel and enamel paint, edition of 2
321 x 321 x 1.5 cm / 126.4 x 126.4 x .6 in 

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Isabel Nolan 
Löwenmensch - spanning earth and sky for forty thousand years, 2018
hand-tufted 100% New Zealand Wool, 15mm pile
320 x 120 cm / 126 x 47.2 in   

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Isabel Nolan 
Partial eclipse, 2017
mild steel, paint, fabric and dye
diameter 145 x 72.5 cm / 57.1 x 28.5 in  

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Isabel Nolan 
Thorn-Puller, 2017
archival pigment print, framed with clarity glass, edition of 3 +1AP + Ex
69.5 x 39 cm / 27.4 x 15.4 in  
80 x 49 x 3.5 cm / 31.5 x 19.3 x 1.4 in framed

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A fixture for a solar storm, 1859 2016

Isabel Nolan 
The Light Poured Out Of You, 2016
mild steel, paint, fabric and dye
134 x 3 cm / 52.8 x 1.2 in diameter of largest ring 

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Isabel Nolan 
Fresh disorder diminishing energy, 2015
cotton and powder-coated mild steel flag pole
285 x 232 x 120 cm / 112.2 x 91.3 x 47.2 in 

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2014 Somewhere between Andromeda and Vulpecula: Sky Atlas

Isabel Nolan 
The Barely Perceptible Vibration of Everything, 2017
hand-tufted 100% New Zealand Wool, 15mm pile
256 x 1945 cm / 100.8 x 765.7 in   
Collection of TATE Gallery, London

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Isabel Nolan 
An answer about visible light, 2014
mild steel, wire, mesh, plaster bandage, jesmonite and paint
57 x 64 x 50 cm / 22.4 x 25.2 x 19.7 in 

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Isabel Nolan 
The weakening eye of day, 2014
mild steel, wadding, wood, thread
227 x 218 x 377 cm / 89.4 x 85.8 x 148.4 in
Collection of Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin

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Isabel Nolan 
Under a bounded sky and a solitary sun: an illuminated rug arranged to accommodate a medieval mind, 2013
hand-tufted 100% New Zealand Wool, 15mm Pile
700 x 200 x 3 cm / 275.6 x 78.7 x 1.2 in 
Collection of Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, Abu Dhabi

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Isabel Nolan
When the sky above will not be named, 2021
hand-tufted 100% New Zealand Wool, 12 mm pile
292 x 538.5 cm / 115 x 212 in   

Isabel Nolan 
View (with eyes closed), 2020
waterbased oil on canvas, hand-gilded 24 carat gold and painted clay frame
60 x 60 x 4.5 cm / 23.6 x 23.6 x 1.8 in 
62.5 x 62.5 x 4.9 cm / 24.6 x 24.6 x 1.9 in framed
 

Isabel Nolan 
Miracle wave, 2698 C.E., 2020
hand-tufted 100% New Zealand Wool, 15mm pile
300 x 200 cm / 118.1 x 78.7 in   

Isabel Nolan 
Tender Beams, 2019
waterbased oil on canvas, hand-gilded 24 carat gold and painted clay frame
60 x 50 cm / 23.6 x 19.7 in   
62.5 x 52.2 x 4.9 cm / 24.6 x 20.6 x 1.9 in framed
Collection of Trinity College Dublin

A kind of bright glory

Isabel Nolan
A kind of bright glory, 2019
Hand-tufted 100% New Zealand Wool, 15mm pile
304 x 212 cm / 119.7 x 83.5 in   

Isabel Nolan 
Section, 2018
stainless steel and enamel paint, edition of 2
321 x 321 x 1.5 cm / 126.4 x 126.4 x .6 in 

Isabel Nolan 
Löwenmensch - spanning earth and sky for forty thousand years, 2018
hand-tufted 100% New Zealand Wool, 15mm pile
320 x 120 cm / 126 x 47.2 in   

Isabel Nolan 
Partial eclipse, 2017
mild steel, paint, fabric and dye
diameter 145 x 72.5 cm / 57.1 x 28.5 in  

Isabel Nolan 
Thorn-Puller, 2017
archival pigment print, framed with clarity glass, edition of 3 +1AP + Ex
69.5 x 39 cm / 27.4 x 15.4 in  
80 x 49 x 3.5 cm / 31.5 x 19.3 x 1.4 in framed

A fixture for a solar storm, 1859 2016

Isabel Nolan 
The Light Poured Out Of You, 2016
mild steel, paint, fabric and dye
134 x 3 cm / 52.8 x 1.2 in diameter of largest ring 

Isabel Nolan 
Fresh disorder diminishing energy, 2015
cotton and powder-coated mild steel flag pole
285 x 232 x 120 cm / 112.2 x 91.3 x 47.2 in 

2014 Somewhere between Andromeda and Vulpecula: Sky Atlas

Isabel Nolan 
The Barely Perceptible Vibration of Everything, 2017
hand-tufted 100% New Zealand Wool, 15mm pile
256 x 1945 cm / 100.8 x 765.7 in   
Collection of TATE Gallery, London

Isabel Nolan 
An answer about visible light, 2014
mild steel, wire, mesh, plaster bandage, jesmonite and paint
57 x 64 x 50 cm / 22.4 x 25.2 x 19.7 in 

Isabel Nolan 
The weakening eye of day, 2014
mild steel, wadding, wood, thread
227 x 218 x 377 cm / 89.4 x 85.8 x 148.4 in
Collection of Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin

Isabel Nolan 
Under a bounded sky and a solitary sun: an illuminated rug arranged to accommodate a medieval mind, 2013
hand-tufted 100% New Zealand Wool, 15mm Pile
700 x 200 x 3 cm / 275.6 x 78.7 x 1.2 in 
Collection of Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, Abu Dhabi

biog 1

A hole into the future, Musée d’art moderne de Saint Etienne, France, 2012

Isabel Nolan has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; Mercer Union, Toronto; London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE, London; Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin; IMMA, Dublin; Kunstverein Graz, Austria; Kunstverein Langenhagen, Germany and Musée d’art moderne de Saint Etienne, France. Her work has also been exhibited at Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Salzburger Kunstverein; Centre of Contemporary Art, Geneva; Artspace, Sydney; Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh; Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh; Daejeon Museum of Art, South Korea and Beijing Art Museum of the Imperial City, Beijing. 

biog 2

Venice Biennale, 2005

Nolan has participated in international group exhibitions and biennales including the Irish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale; Lofoten International Arts Festival (LIAF); Mediations Biennale, Poznan; Yugoslav Biennale of Young Artists, Vršac, Serbia; Glasgow International and EVA International Limerick.

Exhibitions

Exhibitions Thumbnails

Isabel Nolan
Calling on Gravity, 2017
Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin

Isabel Nolan
EVA International, 2018
Limerick, Ireland

Isabel Nolan
Curling up with reality, 2017
Grazer Kunstverein, Graz

Isabel Nolan
Another View from Nowhen, 2017
London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE, London

Isabel Nolan
Lofoten International Arts Festival (LIAF), 2015
Svolvær, Norway

Isabel Nolan
The weakened eye of day, 2014-2016
Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG), Vancouver
Mercer Union, Toronto

Isabel Nolan
Calling on Gravity, 2017
Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin

Isabel Nolan
EVA International, 2018
Limerick, Ireland

Isabel Nolan
Curling up with reality, 2017
Grazer Kunstverein, Graz

Isabel Nolan
Another View from Nowhen, 2017
London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE, London

Isabel Nolan
Lofoten International Arts Festival (LIAF), 2015
Svolvær, Norway

Isabel Nolan
The weakened eye of day, 2014-2016
Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG), Vancouver
Mercer Union, Toronto