Wednesday 26 July 2023

Pearse Museum at St Enda's Park

Early June seems a long time ago now, especially as the promise of summer then has been superseded by the chilly, rainy days of July. When I visited The Pearse Museum and St Enda's Park in early June the timing was perfect. The day was glorious!

After walking around the park and spending some time in the musem, I walked over to the central fountain again to view the encircling walkway. This path, conceived by sculptor, Stephen Burke, consist of the words to  Patrick Pearse’s poem,  The Wayfarer, carved into stones surrounding the fountain.

From an upstairs window of the museum I had viewed this sculpture and wanted to take a closer look while I was in the park. I was amazed to find the two pieces that I had thought were ceramic, were in fact entirely carved from wood!

 Two Brothers  ia a sculpture by Liam O’Neill and is a wonderful reflection of Patrick Pearse and his brother William, who founded the Gaelic League school at St Enda's in the early twentieth century.

Wednesday 19 July 2023

Martin McCann at Rathfarnham Castle

I had really wanted to see Wabi Sabi: the Beauty of Insignificance, an exhibition of paintings and prints by Martin McCann, but couldn't seem to fit it in to my schedule, so I was so glad that the exhibition was extended and I made it to Rathfarnham Castle on the very final day! I love seeing the very different ways that artists respond to the castle and how their work is set up in the gallery spaces of The Dining Room, The Saloon and The Pistol Loop Room. I discuss my own exhibition there last year in numerous posts, just search this blog for Memory Is My Homeland for virtual tours and the work as it progressed.

I think the work is fabulous but recognise that my pictures don’t do justice to the layering and textures. The largest paintings were in The Dining Room. 

 It was lovely to meet Martin at the Castle too, as he was on hand to talk about the work and answer questions. 

Infirmary Road, mixed media on cradled wood panel, 100 cm square

Martin set up all his midsize/smaller works in The Saloon, which allowed for more intimate looking.

A Not So Distant Shore, mixed media on cradled wood panel, 40 cm square 

Aerial #4, mixed media on cradled wood panel, 28 cm square

As I had done for my exhibition, Martin used the much smaller Pistol Loop Room to display all his prints. Gelli monoprint collages were the ideal medium to complement the layering and textures in McCann's paintings.

Wednesday 12 July 2023

Moon jars at Rathfarnham Castle

While I was at Rathfarnham Castle a couple of weekends ago I decided to have another look at the basement gallery that has been exhibiting work from the International Academy of Ceramics pieces in the State collection. Entering the first room of this gallery, I was delighted to see a collection of moon jars by Geoffrey Healy. 

The jars are large and with a beautiful form.

Geoffrey Healy is a ceramic artist based in County Wicklow. I have seen a lot of his work over the years and recently heard wonderful things about his abilities from other potters who are doing some technical training with him.

The next gallery contained work that I had previously seen - and blogged about here - but it I enjoyed having another gander.

Mark St John Ellis of nagOffsite has recently redesigned/recurated the work and I noticed some new pieces that hadn't been included before, keeping the exhibition fresh for repeat visitors like me. I particularly like the way these pieces are embedded in the architecture of the former basement kitchen.

I am sure this porcelain piece, which resembles a carved rock, was a new addition to the exhibition as I have no memory of seeing it before!

Wednesday 5 July 2023

Eamon Colman at Butler Gallery

The Place of the Hooded Crow, Dreams of Coal provided a wonderful backdrop for a brilliant artist talk/discussion between artist Eamon Colman and the director of Butler Gallery, Anna O'Sullivan. The event took place in the midst of Eamon's latest exhibition, Twenty Eight Acres, at Butler Gallery till the end of the month (July 2023).

Since I wanted to see the show and couldn't get to Eamon's launch a couple of weeks ago, the talk was the perfect excuse to make the road trip to Kilkenny a reality. The conversation was great – frank discussions of the autobiography of abstract art, the gestures of mark making, colour, the importance of feeling, seeing vs looking, and everything else that interests artists and non-artists alike! Afterwards I was able to look around the gallery at the work.

Echo from Time was the largest piece in the exhibition at approximately 3m x 3m ; this piece was begun in 2017 and completed in 2023. While I have been familiar with Eamon's work for over 30 years, it is always a joy to see he and his work can still surprise me. 

There were several diptychs and Eamon revealed how they evolved. Certainly both the fragility and the resilience of the handmade paper mirrors that of the human body. On close inspection the viewer can see how each half of the diptych yearns to get closer to the other half; there is both a gentleness and a strength in the materials. Colman's vibrant marks and gorgeous colour are simply teeming with life; energy abounds!

The Wind Had a Skin on It, mixed media on paper, diptych, framed size 101 x 251 x 5.5 cm. 2019-2023

For this exhibition, filmmaker Kevin Hughes followed Eamon working in his studio and on his walks of the 28 acres (an old mining site that has been wildly rejunevated by nature). The film A man - A place was showing in The Digital Gallery upstairs, so I saw part before and part after the talk. Even though I have known Eamon since 1988 the film offered insights into his process that were never articulated to me before.

Apple Howling, mixed media on paper, framed size 76 x 96 x 5.5 cm, 2020-2023

At one point during the artist talk, Eamon spoke about how titling a work offered the viewer a path into the abstract work and yet each work was also open to the viewer's own interpretive response. I agree wholeheartedly with the use of a title and how it can also be an integral part of the visual work's storytelling.

The Miners Nest Sits Precariously Above the Imagination, mixed media on paper, framed size 76 x 96 x 5.5 cm.2019-2023