Excerpt from Fragmenting the Mould a catalogue essay for Material Worlds: Contemporary Sculpture from Ireland and the UK
In the construction of his often small and understated sculptures, Niall de Buitléar uses a remarkable variety of insignificant and overlooked objects and materials. Among others, these have included sheets of cardboard, paper straws, plastic cables and ties, plastic crates, burnt matchsticks and till rolls. Many of these objects are found by the artist while walking in the city, gathered from an infinite supply of urban detritus. The use of such apparent debris lends an ephemeral quality or experimental appearance to his work, one that suggests an accidental or investigational approach to the production of studio prototypes. However, this is balanced by de Buitléar's highly deliberate and meticulous approach to the execution of each sculpture. Most are constructed from serial components and form complex structures, similar, the artist notes, to the way an organism is made up of individual cells. In this sense his work develops of the post-minimal aesthetic introduced by artists such as Eva Hesse and Richard Tuttle. Indeed, his sculptures achieve an unexpected elegance and formal beauty, allowing them to transcend the nature of their material construction. As a result, his work invokes unexpected and surprising associations with natural, biomorphic, geological and architectural structures.
Donal Maguire, Centre for the Study of Irish Art, National Gallery of Ireland
Material Worlds: Contemporary Sculpture from the UK and Ireland was a group exhibition held at the F.E. McWilliam Gallery and Studio in Banbridge, N.Ireland in 2010.