Test Space Progress

Scaffold and vacuum cleaner peacefully co-exist after a successful de-install in The Permanent Collection Room.

Hard to believe I have been in residence in Limerick City Gallery for 7 weeks now. Before a catchup though I must give a special shout-out to my good friend Seán Healy, Contact Studios Alumnus, Gallery Interlude exhibitor, and fine artist and man. He has been extremely generous with his time and expertise, making and upkeeping my website over the years. It has been a great outlet for my musings – and a place to highlight my art and practice. A big míle míle maith agat mo cháirde!

Limerick Artists Book Expo 2021 with wall of drawings in background.

We kicked off Limerick Artists Book Expo 2021 this Monday 22, bringing the best of Limerick City & County into the gallery for the public to read and marvel at. My aim is to highlight the wealth and diversity of talent of the artists making such wonderful, accessible works, while informing people where they can purchase them, at local outlets, or directly from the artists themselves.

The expo features Lotte Bender, Pat Collins, Pat Corcoran, Tom Fitzgerald, Helena Grimes, Gavin Hogg , Michele Horrigan, Seán Lynch, Hugh MacMahon, Brian MacMahon, Clara McSweeney, Liz Ryan, John Shinnors and my own 2 books. My thanks to the artists for kindly lending me their books for the project, and sure you wouldn’t know, it might sew the seeds for something more substantial in the future.

Myself (l), Mark Sheehan (centre), Úna McCarthy (r) Director LCGA – photo courtesy Declan Greene).

As part of the Test Space Residency, I have been facilitated by the gallery to progress an animation of my book, Skippy’s Tale. It’s very exciting, and I am delighted to be collaborating on the project with Declan Greene – Photographer and painter and lead Animator on the project, and my Gallery Interlude collaborator and master musician Mark Sheehan. It’s based on a story board I made while based at the Cahill May Roberts building – recently demolished – simple drawings that Declan is making sense of, while Mark is laying down original music to imbue colour and mood. I’m providing voiceover, with a new script, and early versions are already amazing! Above photo is a meeting we had this week with the Director of LCGA Úna McCarthy, where we shared our first ‘rushes’. If we have it finished by year’s end we’d be doing well – it’s a long process, but I feel very rewarding and educational for us all.

Front desk, LCGA, pen and white paint pen on grey paper.

All the while I have been busy creating my visual love letter to the Carnegie Building, as the gallery is also known. New drawings are made each day, moving my chair around from upstairs, around the mezzanine, down the stairs, the foyer, the South Gallery, The Permanent Collection Room, The Hub and the main gallery. While there ‘incidental’ details are shown – aspects of Mark Garry’s fine show, musical recordings, and the occasional member of the invigilating team are captured. It is all part of the process of asserting my belief in the value of the subjective, fallible art of drawing as record, and has been of great value in developing and refreshing my own practice.

I would like to sincerely thank Úna, Siobhán, Sara, Brendan, Philip, Emily, Brendan, Steve, Yvonne and John for their many kindnesses, and for this amazing opportunity!