Wednesday 1 December 2021

Double Estate at the Pearse Museum, Dublin

On a cold but dry Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago, I made my way to Rathfarnham for the specific purpose of seeing a couple of exhibitions at two OPW museums that are near to each other. I previously blogged about the Mary Ruth Walsh exhibition at Rathfarnham Castle here, but on the way to the castle, I first visited the Pearse Museum. Please note that due to covid protocols one must phone first and specify the time of a visit. I had seen pictures of the exhibition in a recent issue of VAN, the Visual Artists Ireland newsletter, and was intrigued enough that I wanted to see the work IRL (in real life).

Though it is impossible not to be overwhelmed by Janet Mullarney's sculptural work hanging in the middle of the first room, the set-up also forced me to carefully wend my way around the perimeter of the room to look at works individually (taking care not to step backwards!).

From across the room I recognised a colourful carborundum print by Michael Cullen (lower right). Once I discovered what the title of the piece was, the image took form in my own memory - Caravaggio's Taking of Christ can be seen in the National Gallery.

The work in Double Estate is put together by curator Davey Moor from the OPW (Office of Public Works) art collection. A poem by Emily Dickenson inspires the show and the reasoning behind the amalgamation of these disparate works. Dickenson refers to the body and the soul in her poem, and Moor latches on to these concepts as his curatorial premise. Moor's essay, along with an essay by Brian Crowley (collections curator) are printed within Oonagh Young's beautifully designed full colour exhibition catalogue.

It was good to see the Pearse brothers represented in a contemporary exhibition at this location. William Pearse, Patrick's artist brother is represented by two pieces of sculpture (not in any of these photos, but in the catalogue) and Patrick himself appears in a 1944 lithographic portrait by Sean O'Sullivan.

The second room of the exhibition contained larger wall works and several sculptures but again was dominated by a mixed media floor piece.

I particularly liked this large drawing/painting/sculpture, Boy, by David Quinn.

The exhibition has been on show in the Pearse Museum for awhile now, but it finishes at the end of the year so there are only a few weeks left to have a look! 

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