Wednesday 30 September 2020

Aos Dara - Umha Aois Exhibition

I previously discussed the Aos Dara/Umha Aois combined symposium in recent blogs here and here. For this year's symposium the artists were charged with being inspired by Tomnafinnoge Wood and working individually in their own studio, but it was really nice when all the work came together for an exhibition at The Courthouse Arts Centre, Tinahely, which is near to the forest. The symposium was organised by Niall O'Neill and Róisín Flood who also curated the exhibtion.

For this year's symposium, James Hayes decided to truly combine the spirit of both symposia - he participated in last year's first Aos Dara event, and has been involved with Umha Aois since 1995. He experimented with creating ink from oak galls, found in the forest, and created a video recording the process. In addition, he carved a piece of oak to create a woodblock whose image was that of oak leaves and galls and displayed a print created from that woodblock. Hayes also displayed "Gateway", the carvings he created at Tomnafinnoge on last year's symposium.

Maeve Hunter exhibited a number of felted items and photographs of the items interacting with the environment of the forest. I was particularly intrigued with a felted pair of shoes, which one could easily imagine wearing on a quiet stroll through the woods.

Of the various works I created (using a variety of materials: graphite, oilstick, watercolour, acrylic, etc.) I chose two of my favourites to frame for the exhibition. The acrylic collage "Saplings" is on the left in this picture and the graphite drawing "Lightning Tree" is on the right.

Holger Lonze has been involved with Umha Aois (Experimental Bronze Casting Symposium) for many years and displayed a bronze sculpture evocative of growth.

Dave Kinane, who has also been involved with Umha Aois for many years and was on last year's Aos Dara symposium, created works which again truly combined the spirit of both symposia. He created a bronze age toolkit with which to work two pieces of green wood from Tomnafinnoge into beautiful sculptural forms.

Kinane hafted bronze axe heads and chisels,  made on previous Umha Aois symposia, using ancient traditional techniques.

Niall O'Neill, who is one of several founders of Umha Aois and co-founder of Aos Dara with Róisín Flood, displayed a number of his smaller bronze sculptures in this exhibition. O'Neill is known for his large public sculptures and his large sculpture from last year's Aos Dara still stands at Tomnafinnoge Wood, along with work by Flood, Kinane and Conleth Gent. I blogged about last year's here and wrote about it for CIRCA magazine here.

On the Art Centre's stage, Conleth Gent displayed three sculptures made from wood found at Tomnafinnoge and an additional wooden sculpture which he modified purposely to belong with the group. To hear Gent, Hayes, Kinane, O.Neill and myself speaking about our work and O'Neill and Flood discussing the symposium, have a look at video made by The Courthouse Arts Centre in case the exhibition could not go ahead due to Coronavirus, here.

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