Myself and the ‘Interlude Team are super excited to host the indomitable Declan Greene this week, with his exceptional suite of paintings on display in the Treaty City opening at 7pm this Friday.
I have waxed lyrical before on this site about my adventures going out painting in Doonass in Co. Clare with Declan, and indeed about his prowess and uber professionalism in documenting my own and others’ artworks.
Now, we finally get a chance to see his paintings and ideas in person.
‘Slowing Down’ will showcase a series of these plein-air works – effectively paintings that are made on the spot, along with more abstract musings which these previous works have inspired.
It’s an incisive and I think educational approach to our gallery format, displaying in a visual, but not overly literal way how the artistic process works – often meandering, and rarely linear.
Do feel free and welcome to attend what will be our penultimate show of 2019 – tá fáilte róibh!
We’re on the road again, with Contact Studios. This time willingly, of course, as we set sail for the extraordinary medieval walled town of Kilmallock in Co. Limerick.
Eight of us Contact Studios’ members (see poster above) will travel to Friarsgate Theatre for a consecutive year. We very much enjoyed our last exhibition in the venue (see previous post), and we have very much enjoyed working with Caoimhe Reidy and the most hospitable team.
Having just installed it earlier today with Nuala O’Sullivan, I have to say it is looking exceptionally good – even excluding my own work!
As a group of artists with a common ambition – to secure decent premises for artists to work in, in the city of Limerick, we share common values.
Though we are currently ‘on the road’ – as regards lacking premises, we continue to work towards a goal of establishing a new studio space – not just for ourselves, but for the city, and all potential practitioners that will come along, given the chance.
Do come along should you be in the general direction tomorrow evening – it’ll be great. Or sure if not, the show will continue for the month more or less.
Another year, another Culture Night. Another year and event to print numerous brochures, t-shirts and balloons to inform the public that culture is intrinsic to, and of immense importance to Irish society , and just as importantly, to reassure everyone that those of us in the cultural sector are being ‘looked after’, much as a kind Aunt (or Granny!) might look after a stray.
What’s wrong with this picture? In my own, and many other practitioners’ opinions, practically everything.
Speaking in terms of my own adopted home of The Treaty City, the message rings hollow. With a population of circa 100,000 in the urban area, we have approximately 30 (!) studio spaces, no commercial gallery (bar our own Interlude) and despite numerous cultural strategies being funded and completed, we are yet to see a real effort to engage with artists/groups to conceive a way for our situation to progress.
It seems to me that this is a disservice to both practitioners and the public. Artists are denied a way to make a living and the opportunity to create and display work, while the public, who pay handsomely to both local and national government, are being shortchanged in the manner in which their hard earned taxes are being spent, by not having these funds being used in a constructive and fruitful manner.
So what do we as artists do in the face of this?
We do of course, host an exhibition on the night, and bring these questions to the fore.
ASK NOT WHAT CULTURE CAN DO FOR YOU, BUT WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR CULTURE, a new work by Contact stalworths Michele Horrigan and Seán Lynch may go some way to analysing and expressing the futility of spin and ‘appearances’ when approaching culture. As a starting point to the work they reference another Contact Studios’ Alumnus’ writings – ‘The Urban Site’ by Ramon Kassam.
The Interlude Team are very excited to see how the night goes, and we are delighted to see that once again, our one-shot format has helped to foster another creative vision to bring to our city.
As always, I will post an update of the night, and hope to see as many as possible there. I would sincerely like to add my thanks to our friends in Lucky Lane (and indeed sponsors The Glen Tavern and Artmad) for their support in bringing the best of independent and relevant visual art to Limerick.
Had a nice day (between showers and gusts) in Askeaton making some new drawings for my Stonebreakers project. I have concentrated my efforts before this mostly on the routines and tasks carried out by the masons, G.O.’s (General Operatives), scaffolders and carpenters on the actual Desond Castle site – now I am beginning the conclusion of sorts to the task.
Though there will remain an element of looking at the lads at work, and trying to educate myself in their work, my aim now is to work from mainly outside, capturing how the site is viewed (visible) from around the town of Askeaton itself.
The 2 drawings above were from across the Diver Deel behind the Civic Trust, and thankfully are relatively successful drawings to begin a new A3 sketchbook. Hopefully we will have a locational sense of all the components that make up the site by the end.
Old habits die hard though, and I did manage to make a brief gestural drawing of Billy, site foreman, digging to check what kind of foundations underpin the Gate Lodge.
For our 5th show of 2019 we were absolutely delighted to host Contact Studios’ Alumnus Ciarán O’Sullivan. I have the honour of knowing Ciarán since we both joined 2nd year Painting in Limerick School of Art, in the old Bruce House building, graduating in 1998.
As can be seen from the poster above, Ciarán’s work distinctively crosses, re-crosses and ultimately dissolves the lines between abstraction and representation. I noted on the night how his work developed from a hard style of Abstract Expressionism back then to his more recent (last 10 years or so) works which have combined this with portraiture of family and friends, images captured at unguarded/candid moments.
Many years ago we used to live opposite Mark Sheehan of Lucky Lane, our hosts and patrons for our Interlude project, and have been great friends since then, and there was great sport (see above image!) at the opening. There was a fantastic turnout, and myself, Isabella Walsh and Ciaran Nash of the ‘Lude team were thoroughly satisfied with the reception for the work, and indeed another creative use of our ‘one – shot’ exhibition format.
We also would like to welcome new sponsors Art Mad/Normoyle &Frawley Framing, who are generously giving purchasers of works from our shows 15% off framing services.
Our thanks as always to all in Lucky Lane, The Glen Tavern and Art Mad, and of course to the daoine uaisle who attended – go raibh míle míle!
Next up, Seán Lynch and Michele Horrigan on Culture Night September 20th – expect some cages to be rattled!
Marking a year and a week to the day to the first ‘Interlude show, the team were delighted to host another unique show, composed of Painterly Interventions, artist made scratch-cards, a brand new website created for the show, and an opportunity for members of the public (and our team!), to try out Letterpress printmaking.
The artist in question was none other than Seán ‘Rusty’ Healy, who in his own words at the opening, stressed he was down in Limerick to support us, the arts community, and the Limerick community at large.
The Letterpress printing had been in the pipeline for some time, with a fact finding visit/tutorial by ‘Interlude member Isabella Walsh, who also officiated on the night in that capacity. It was most enjoyable, and educational, and with each donation to the project, patrons also received a limited edition scratchcard featuring Royal heads over Treaty city landmarks – sabháiste!
Our sincere thanks to Seán, Lucky Lane, The Glen Tavern and also to The Bigger Picture’s Kevin O’Keefe for his sponsorship over the last year, which unfortunately will be the last time in his case.
And of course go raibh míle míle to the public for your continued support!
We will return August 9th for a show by Louth’s finest, Ciarán O’Sullivan.
A pair of Peregrine Falcons have been scanning the castle for the last number of years for a safe and suitable nesting site, according to Foreman Billy Foley. From quite a distance below I tried to capture the (substantially smaller) male, keeping a keen eye on the chicks. A little later the female returned, amid the ‘squeaky wheel’ call. They are welcome visitors!
The work continues on site, be it maintenance with DJ keeping the lawns manicured, and Billy showing the wood/timber expert around, assessing how solid and safe these aspects are all round the complex.
It was a real treat to see inside the Gate Lodge – the building displays characteristics from many building periods, and the river Deel flows right under its floorboards!
A great and enjoyable day of chat, learning and drawing!
What a way to end the weekend at KFest! Above, a bad photo from the immense crowd attending the wrap up/ closing ceremony, which also featured the announcement of the Finalists, and ultimate winner of The Screaming Pope Prize, Galway based Tom Mc Clean.
I had a very engaging day before in Killorglin, investigating a myriad of artworks by near 100 artists. It was super to get a chance to talk to artists, many of them recent graduates about their work, techniques and practices – and I learned a lot myself too. The in depth conversations with Neil of the Festival Committee, and Seán Kissane of IMMA on the judging panel were also a highlight, and there were many contenders.
Kudos to the festival committee, and indeed the whole town for its openness, respect and indeed love for the event. Myself and all the guests were treated royally, and I am especially indebted to Neil Browne and Tricia O’Connor for their dedication to ensuring this, and for the incisive nature of our conversations.
KFest has many parallels with artist led initiatives around the country, not least with Askeaton Contemporary Art, and our own Contact Studios’ initiatives including Gallery Interlude – bringing art directly to the community in a relevant and inclusive manner. It’s all the more impressive given the limited budget – I sincerely hope funding is increased in coming years!
I’m super happy to see my old friend Dave O’Shea of The Chimera Gallery in Mullingar is hosting Tom’s work this weekend also, the only pity being I can’t attend. Best of luck to all!
It’s an honour for me to be asked to be a member of the panel for The Screaming Pope Prize, as part of KFest 2019, in Killorglin, Co. Kerry.
It was my pleasure to speak on behalf of Askeaton Contemporary Arts at a VAI event in 2017 at the KFest, and I was impressed with the dedication and vision of Neil Browne, Tricia O’Connor and many others to invigorating a town through direct action.
The prize itself for the award is 1000€, and four finalists will also receive a cash prize – fantastic for any artist!
At the end of the day, we all need to show our work to as wide and diverse an audience as possible, and KFest delivers on all levels.
Should ye find yourselves hungry for culture this June Bank Holiday, I highly recommend a visit to this fabulous Kerry Jewel!
It was our great pleasure to host our friend and colleague Julie Brazil at ‘Interlude last April 5th. It was also a treat to provide a platform for her first solo in the Treaty City, and met with a great reception.
Like the above piece, the works were small in scale, collage, painting and drawing merging to create tension filled works of beauty.
Myself, Ciaran Nash and Isabella Walsh of the Gallery Interlude team wish her every success in the future, and look forward to seeing the next Julie Brazil opus in the near future!