Network Contact at Gallery Interlude, December 14 – 17th

Network Contact

Our 5th, and last show in Gallery Interlude for 2018 is Network Contact, a group show of works on paper, predominantly drawing, by 16 artists of Contact Studios. The artists span the 21 year period since Contact was established, and highlights the diversity of approaches and mediums employed by these talented individuals.

The night will kick off at 7pm as usual, and given the time of year, we will serve mulled wine to our guests.

Coincidentally, December 14th marks the first day of Lucky Lane’s (our hosts) fifth anniversary of opening, so we’ll also have a rather special launch, with music and fun, and some fundraising for good local causes.

Network Contact Artists: Kathleen Bartlett, Julie Brazil, Ann Daly, Michael Delohery, Carl Doran, Maurice Foley, Declan Greene, Seán Healy, Luci Lane, Laura MacMorrow, Hugh McMahon, Anne Marie Morrin, Gerry O’Mahony, Ciarán O’Sullivan, Nuala O’Sullivan, Isabella Walsh

Isabella Walsh – Transmitter/Receiver [I caught your radio waves] at Gallery Interlude, November 2-5 2018


It’s one of the privileges of having a hand in running a gallery that you get to facilitate, see and promote the work of artists you admire and would like to see represented more widely. Friday November 2nd is another such occasion, when we unveil Isabella Walsh’s multi – disciplinary show, Transmitter/Receiver [I caught your radio waves].

Isabella has been an integral part of Contact Studios since she joined a number of years ago, while also being a key member of the Gallery Interlude project for which I’m very grateful, and is an all round superstar. The show is choc full of several different drawing approaches – pen and ink, multi media and paintings, all revolving around the Castleconnell, Co. Limerick landscape, which has been her home for many years.

Having seen the layout for the show I’m fierce excited to see how it works in the ‘Interlude space, and indeed, I think the audience reaction will be great!

As always, a sincere thank you to Mark and Dave of Lucky Lane, Isabella, Ciaran Nash for the (super) poster design, Kevin O’Keefe of The Bigger Picture Framing Centre, and The Glen Tavern, where we will attend after.

Below is a snippet from ‘Bella’s statement, and do come along should ye be about!

‘This body of work is about relationships -physical, emotional and temporal. It began with my consideration of my relationship to this landscape, a place I have known my whole life and will soon be leaving. Since April 2018 this pair of towers, their relationship to each other and to the landscape surrounding, became the focus of my observation on daily walks in the area. In particular how they appear to change depending on my perspective. These changes are documented through plein air painting, drawing and photography. Through this sustained process of observation I have contemplated all of my close relationships: with other people; myself; and this place’, Isabella Walsh.

Inauguration into The National Self Portrait Collection

Self Portrait 2017

It was a case of a great day had by all last October 12th, with the official unveiling of the 2017 and 2018 additions to the National Self Portrait Collection, at the Bourn Vincent Gallery in the University Of Limerick. The great and the good, and 14 of 20 artists attended, and were fed and watered while receiving insights from the podium into each work.

Many well wishers attended (including my parents), and I must express my gratitude to all who made the effort to attend, and the kind words.

My especial thanks to Yvonne Davis of the Bourn Vincent for all her work and assistance, and indeed, to the board members for inviting me to participate.

As always, my thanks to Declan Greene – unsurpassed Fine Art Photographer, and fine Painter – for the great documentation of the work.

For the benefit of any viewer of the collage piece, below is the script from the catalogue:

‘At Home, New Road, Thomondgate, with my Friends (l-r) Cáit (RIP), Squeal(er), Mandy & Mindy, 2017, Collage on Board, 47x60cm

‘At Home…’ portrays a typical evening at my house in New Road, where I have lived for over ten years.
It is a fairly faithful recreation of my sitting room, containing depictions of myself, with back to the viewer, watching snooker (which I love!), with my three cat friends, Squealer (Matriarch), and two daughters Mandy (Tabby Cat), and Mindy, in their respective seated positions. At the back door, seated on a wheelie bin outside, is a representation of my long lost friend, and mother to Squeal’, Cáit, who’s disappearance prompted me to begin my Cats’ Tales series in an effort to preserve her memory. (Keen-eyed viewers will also spot a mouse!)
As an artist I tend to collect other artworks from artists I respect and admire, and some of these are referenced in the work – (l-r) Kevin O’ Keefe Daffodil Study, Michael Delohery Refusal to Play, Broken Dreams (by myself), two pieces by Laura McMorrow, Ciarán O’Sullivan Apprehension, and a ceramic vase by Clare Butler. My own two illustrated books are also referenced laying on a chair – Mathilda & the Belligerent Blackbird (yellow cover), and Skippy’s Tale (purple cover).
There are various references to my own personal preferences and lifestyle also – a Golden Virginia pack, a stainless steel coffee pot I bought in Centra many years back (and is unbreakable!), a wooden inlaid box depicting two cats
my parents bought me as a gift from Italy, and a humorous ashtray my Mother brought back for me from Las Vegas which reads Carl’s Butts.
Also pictured are two musical instruments, a ukulele and a shaker (on the armrest) referencing my time playing music with Luggage Doors Operating.
The piece is made entirely of collage, small pieces of magazines cut up to create a painting type effect – a process/technique I call Aesthetic Collage.

Narrating ‘The Pilgrim’ for Latitudes at Askeaton Contemporary Arts 2018

Franciscan Abbey, Askeaton courtesy Askeaton Contemporary Arts

Had a ball lending my vocal ‘talents’ to Latitudes’ Max and Mariana for their sound project for Askeaton Contemporary Arts (ACA) 2018. Sometimes it’s best to leave the synopsis making to the experts, so the following text is directly from ACA. The link below will lead directly to the 12 minute or so tale – do enjoy, it’s a real swashbuckling adventure!!!

‘In case you might have missed this incredible sound work by curatorial duo Latitudes (Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna) on our annual open day for Welcome to the Neighbourhood, have a listen here

“The Pilgrim” by Tim Kelly. Read by Carl Doran. Published in Askeaton-Balysteen Community News, Summer 1984. This is a story of young love, of a clandestine marriage of a jealous father. It is the tale which involves an Italian, and a Spaniard, and a morbid blood-hunt that links Barcelona with Askeaton. And of murder – of cruel, bloody murder. The dramatic narrative brings to life a cryptic inscription in the cloister of Askeaton’s Friary that reads “Beneath lies the Pilgrim’s body, who died January 17, 1784”.

“The Pilgrim” was Latitudes’ contribution to the Askeaton Contemporary Arts 2018 residency “Welcome to the Neighbourhood”. It is a starting point rather than a conclusion. A textual splinter that is now pointing us towards future research around the navigators, pirates, traders, religions, and economies which linked Ireland with the Atlantic and western-Mediterranean sea-lanes during the last centuries.

Observances by Nuala O’Sullivan at Gallery Interlude, September 21 2018, 7-9pm.


As part of my own, and Contact Studios’ mission to highlight the lack of Cultural spaces and resources in Limerick, and to bring the best of Limerick based artists to the public, we will present Nuala O’Sullivan’s exquisite suite of paintings in our popup gallery in Lucky Lane, Catherine St. this Friday.

It’s an absolute pleasure to bring these works to the public’s attention, and to hopefully bring greater recognition to a Contact stalwart, who has given so freely of her time to promote and maintain the cause of local artists, and indeed the mental health services through our previous work with Art-in-Mind, and latterly Le Chéile.

Personally, I have mixed feelings around the concept of Culture Night. On one hand it is a great opportunity for the public to see the arts, but on the other it gives a false impression that the Arts are thriving, and reinforces the idea that cultural practitioners can survive on publicity alone!

Expect some musings on this topic on the night.

Also a special shout-out to Mark and Dave (and Steve!) from Lucky Lane without which we couldn’t do this project, and our sponsors Kevin O’Keefe of The Bigger Picture Framing Centre, and of course Ger Callinan and the team from The Glen Tavern.

Paradigm Shift opening
Paradigm Shift opening

Pictured above are (l-r) myself, Deputy Mayor for Limerick Jerry O’Dea, and artist Gerry O’Mahony at his opening in Gallery Interlude.

We had a great launch for our second show, and delighted that Jerry, a councilor who has been extremely supportive of our group could come along. We also appreciated his vocal support for Limerick becoming a real city of culture in practice, from the ground up – go raibh míle maith agat!



Paradigm Shift – paintings by Gerry O’Mahony at Gallery Interlude, Friday August 10 7-9pm, Saturday 11th 11-3pm

Paradigm Shift by Gerry O'Mahony
Paradigm Shift by Gerry O’Mahony

It’s a great privilege for myself and the Gallery Interlude team, to play host to Gerry O’Mahony. His work is at once recognisable for its over-layering, deft application of paint and oil pastel/bars, and glass-like surface.

Gerry was, of course, a member of Contact Studios for many years, and made a significant contribution to the running of the studios, and thereby has impacted significantly on the local and national scene. Below are some biographical notes for the interested reader:

‘Gerry O’Mahony, a graduate of LSAD Limerick, has lived in Ireland, Israel and Malawi. On returning to Ireland he became a member of one of Limerick’s first artist collectives (All + 10 sorts) and exhibited at length with the group. He has exhibited both nationally and internationally and his work is part of private and public collections in Ireland and abroad, including Limerick County and City Councils, Government buildings, Dublin, and Berlaymont Buildings, Brussels.’

Expect a great crowd, a great show, and some great craic, followed by a few bevvies in The Glen Tavern, one of our sponsors. Our thanks also to Kevin O’Keefe of The Bigger Picture Framing Centre for his continued support!


‘The Stonebreakers’ new commission launched at Askeaton Contemporary Arts Festival, July 18 2018

Stonebreakers polaroid July 18 2018
Stonebreakers polaroid July 18 2018

I was honoured and excited to be part of the Welcome to the Neighborhood program of events, the 13th iteration of the Askeaton Contemporary Arts (ACA) Festival as curated by Michele Horrigan.

In association with ACA and working closely with the Office of Public Works (OPW), I have commenced a project entitled ‘The Stonebreakers’ exploring the day-to-day activities of the OPW workers on the site of Desmond Castle in Askeaton town. The project will see me embedded on various days over the course of perhaps 9-12 months on site, documenting the various activities undertaken through drawing.

Similar to my War Journal Project (see projects section of my website), my aim will be to push my drawing skills to capture an alternative take, and to more clearly understand how the Castle and OPW ecology works.

I intend to produce a publication, more than likely a comic to educate the public young to old on what goes on in stabilising and re-imagining the castle’s structure, and perhaps some larger illustrated panels referring to tools of the trade. We will also host another couple of informal public progress reports and information events over the lifetime of the project.

What are They Building Over There?, the title of the ACA event served as an information lunch for the general public, and my thanks to all who attended and made it happen.

Especial thanks to Joe & Edward (OPW), masons who gave a very informative talk and questions and answer session, and to Billy Foley (OPW) for his support,  and as always my thanks to ACA, and The Arts Council.

Further progress will be reported here in the future!

Cats solo show & Gallery Interlude Launch, 7-9pm June 22nd, Lucky Lane, Limerick

Excitement is building around the city and the studio as we prepare to launch Gallery Interlude. A partnership between Contact Studios and Lucky Lane, with the aim to provide a venue to exhibit works by Contact Studios members, and to draw attention to the lack of exhibition opportunities and cultural resources, we will operate at 6 week intervals. The first show is scheduled for 7-9pm, Friday June 22, and will be on view the following day also between 11am and 3pm.

'I, Squeal', oil on board, Carl Doran
‘I, Squeal’, oil on board, Carl Doran

Simply entitled ‘Cats’, I will present a solo exhibit consisting of 6 oil paintings, and 3 charcoal drawings, studies of my feline friends Squealer (pictured), Mindy & Mandy. The majority have been completed in the last few months, during my time in Wickham St. Studios, and have a playful, direct style, which I hope will be enjoyed by the public. It’s my first solo painting show in over 3 years, so there is some trepidation on my part, but sure that’s only normal.

A big shout out to Mark and Dave of Lucky Lane with whom I’ll collaborate. Their indoor market captures the essence of Old Limerick, and they, like myself are very keen on the idea of making the city viable as a living entity, and as a location that embraces and fosters the Arts.

A big shout out also to our other partners, The Bigger Picture Framing Centre, and the Glen Tavern, local businesses who will provide additional help and support to the project.

I’ll follow this post with an update on how things went, but do come along!!



Joining the gilded halls of Wickham Street Studios

studio in Wickham Jan 18
studio in Wickham Jan 18

Thrilled to be accommodated in the ranks of Wickham St Studios in Limerick, where I moved into in the second week or so of the New Year. With all the upset and tumult of closing Contact Studios last year, and concentrating on trying to keep it open, it was hard to keep creative. It’s a great relief therefore to just get in and draw, paint, think, have tea (or coffee!) and be among like minded individuals.

My sincere thanks to everyone involved, and I hope 2018 is an improvement on the last.

There are deeds afoot in train for this year, details of which to follow, but for now Happy New Year to all!!

Skippy’s Tale Launch, Chimera Gallery, Mullingar 6pm Friday December 8

Skippy peculiar walk
Skippy peculiar walk

I am honoured, as ever, to be in the company of the irrepressible Dave O’Shea, Commander in Chief of the Chimera Gallery, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath Friday December 8.

The occasion is my Hometown launch of Skippy’s Tale, and Dave has repeated his courtesy of two years ago (for Mathilda’s Tale), facilitating and hosting said launch.

As a story, and a project that has taken almost 3 years to realise, it is absolutely fantastic for me to be able to showcase my work to my Family, Friends, and the local audience where my journey started.

Sincere thanks to Dave, Mullingar, and my Family and Friends, hope to see ye there!!