Take time out from seasonal stress to enjoy these exhibitions by Irish artists, which may also provide inspiration for some Christmas presents – at surprisingly affordable prices …
1. The Irish Aesthete: Ten Years in the Making, The Irish Architectural Archive, Dublin 2
Marking ten years of Robert O’Byrne’s influential blog, The Irish Aesthete, this photographic exhibition opens on Thursday, December 1 with guest speaker Dr Edward McParland at The Irish Architectural Archive, 45 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.
O’Byrne is best known for his specialist interest in historic houses and gardens in Ireland and the exhibition includes a selection of his photographs that have been illustrating his blog. What is remarkable about these pictures is that having never owned a camera, from the beginning O’Byrne used his mobile phone, teaching himself how to make good pictures to hold the attention of his many fans. Since then, his photographs have received widespread acclaim and appeared on book covers, in magazine and newspaper articles and on many other sites. The exhibition continues until December 22, after which O’Byrne will donate all his photographs to the Archive which now numbers more than 30,000 images; www.iarc.ie. @theirishaesthete
2. The Zurich Portrait Prize Shortlist, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin 2
From hundreds of entries, the shortlists of this year’s Zurich Portrait Prize and Zurich Young Portrait Prize have gone on display in the Portrait Gallery. Twenty-six artists, working across a variety of media, have made it through to the final stage of the Zurich Portrait Prize, while 20 young artists aged between four and 18 years old have been shortlisted for the Zurich Young Portrait Prize. The winner of the Zurich Portrait Prize will receive a cash prize of €15,000 and will be commissioned to create a work for the national portrait collection, for which they will be awarded a further €5,000. Two additional awards of €1,500 will be given to highly commended works. Judges for this year’s prize are artists Diana Copperwhite and Nick Miller, and Anna O’Sullivan, Director of the Butler Gallery, Kilkenny. The exhibition will run until April 2, 2023; www.nationalgallery.ie.
3. Christmas Stocking Fillers, The Doorway Gallery, 24 South Frederick Street, Dublin 2
One of my favourite shows of the year, this exhibition of some 232 items combines both figurative and colourful paintings on a small scale; all are selling for under €500. This means it’s a great opportunity to build an art collection from a favourite artist – those in The Doorway Gallery’s stable include Lucy Doyle, Alison Dickson, Joseph Dawson, Ross Stewart and Anne McNulty among others. The exhibition opens on December 3 from 2-5pm; www.thedoorwaygallery.com.
4. Ad Astra: New Work by Peter Burns, Claremorris Gallery, Co Mayo
Peter Burns is one Irish artist to watch. During the pandemic, he was commissioned by a high-profile American collector to create nine enormous paintings, which will be exhibited in the Royal Hibernian Academy in February 2023. Alongside this commission, Burns also found the time to create the “Ad Astra” series of paintings which is currently on show at Claremorris Gallery. “Ad Astra” means ‘to the stars through hardship’, and reflects Burns’ interest in sci-fi, art history, myths, and legends. While some artworks are small in scale, all 20 pieces are illustrated with exotic and brilliantly coloured landscapes. They also have a dislocation of scale, where the miniature human figures seem lost and homeless. The exhibition runs until December 10, from 1 – 6pm, Wednesday to Saturday or by appointment; www.claremorrisgallery.ie.
5. Revenants, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin 2
“Revenants”, an exhibition by Irish artist Kevin Mooney, opens on Thursday, December 1 featuring a cross-section of key works made between 2016 and 2022. The exhibition reflects Mooney’s ongoing commitment to creating a “speculative art history”, one which imagines the “lost” art of an Irish diaspora. He believes as a colonised nation, there are large gaps in the record of our art history caused by poverty, famine and mass migration. “Revenants” marks these gaps as a traumatic break and a reverberant event in the Irish psyche. Through a distinctive approach to figuration that draws on sources as varied as Vincent Van Gogh, Irish mythology and 1980s horror films, Mooney’s work reconsiders these gaps as a mutant absurdist folklore, and, in the process opens up questions about cultural influence and transformation. The exhibition runs until January 2023; www.imma.ie.
6. On The Grand Canal, Graphic Studio Gallery, Cope Street, Dublin 2
For generations, the Grand Canal has inspired artists and writers, marking the boundary of Dublin City, passing Ballsbridge, Ranelagh, Rathmines, Harold’s Cross, and Crumlin. Through Ringsend, and to the Grand Canal Dock and the Irish Sea, the canal banks are home to close knit communities, new developments, shaded walks, bridges, and locks. In a new exhibition at Graphic Studio Gallery, “On the Grand Canal”, the visitor can imagine the Canal through the eyes of 32 artists including Ed Miliano, Ailbhe Barret, Cristina Ciampaglione, Daniel Lipstein, Michael Timmins, Monika Crowley, Vaida Varnagine and Oona Hyland. Each limited-edition print is priced at €220 unframed, and €330 framed. The exhibition, presented in partnership with IPUT Real Estate, opens on December 3 and runs until January 21; www.graphicstudiodublin.com.
7. Welcome Home by Grif at Guinness Storehouse, St James’s Gate, Dublin 8
Featuring multimedia immersive installations created by Dublin-born award-winning artist GRIF (aka Shane Griffin), visitors can expect a huge Christmas tree installation in the Guinness Storehouse atrium measuring 16-metres tall, a cinematic film inspired by a Guinness pint, and large bespoke prints created exclusively by GRIF for the home of Guinness. Afterwards take in the views of Dublin’s winter skyline and toast the holidays in the Gravity Bar and enjoy entertainment and festive fayre across all seven floors. “Welcome Home” at the Guinness Storehouse and the GRIF installation is included in each experience ticket. To book visit www.guinness-storehouse.com.
8. Living Canvas, Wilton Park, Dublin 2
Ending a successful year-long presentation of cutting-edge digital art on Europe’s largest digital art screen, the new Living Canvas winter programme includes work by the renowned duo, Sofia Crespo and Feileacan McCormick, who work together as Entangled Others. Their beautiful piece “Sediment Nodes”, pictured, explores what lies beneath even the quietest of waters, a perfect placement on the banks of Dublin’s Grand Canal. Other artists whose work will be featured this month are Elaine Hoey’s “Bone of What Absent Thing” – a contemporary retelling of the myth of Medusa, through the words of leading feminists, past and present, in a work of generative artificial intelligence. In a tribute to the season and the winter solstice, Padraig Cunningham’s “Felsentor” is a haunting evocation of light in darkness, while emerging animators, Marta Sniezek and Christian Spurling’s “Small Hours” captures the small moments that lift our days out of the everyday. Do make sure you stop and look up at these inspiring artworks.
9. Second Home: An Appreciation of the Extraordinary Life and Work of Veronica Bolay RHA, The Linenhall Arts Centre, Belfast
Born in war torn Germany in 1941 and having survived the Holocaust, Veronica Bolay and her husband moved to Ireland in 1971. She fell in love with Co Mayo, the inspiration for many of her paintings and bought a house there, immersing herself fully in the local artistic community and serving on the board of the Linenhall Arts Centre for many years. This retrospective exhibition is an opportunity to celebrate Bolay’s life and work, in a space and place very dear to her heart. In the course of her career, Bolay carved an illustrious reputation throughout Europe and won many prestigious awards including the Maurice McGonigal prize, the Keating McLoughlin medal, the James Adams Salesroom award and the Liam Walsh award; www.thelinenhall.com.
10. 2012-2022, a decade of exhibitions, Olivier Cornet Gallery, Dublin 1
From its first gallery space in the Wooden Building in Temple Bar, through a tenure at 5 Cavendish Row, to its current location at 3 Great Denmark Street, the Olivier Cornet gallery has had the pleasure of hosting many solo and thematic art exhibitions. Its anniversary group show will feature works by established artists such as Claire Halpin, Eoin Mac Lochlainn (pictured), Miriam McConnon and Yanny Petters. “2012-2022…” will also reflect on the ways in which art can help us ask relevant questions, meditate on the state of affairs in the current epoch, empathise with – and relate to – each other and negotiate our way forward in these challenging times. For the launch, on December 15, Mary Pavlides, chairwoman of the Contemporary Irish Art Society, will chat with Olivier about the gallery’s first decade and the works he has chosen for this exhibition. The exhibition will run until February 15 2023; www.oliviercornetgallery.com.
11. Winter Print Show, Hang Tough Contemporary, Exchequer Street, Dublin 2
This year marks the second instalment of Hang Tough Edition’s “Winter Print Show”. This group show features exclusive limited edition prints from 50 emerging and established visual artists – both Ireland-based and international – who were selected from its 2022 Open Call competition. This year’s selection of prints offers an eclectic range of themes, styles and genres from artists practising in paint, photography, illustration and 3D works, which means there is something for all tastes and creative leanings; www.hangtough.ie.
12. “Maybe”, Pat Harris, Taylor Galleries, Dublin 2
Dublin-born Pat Harris lives and works between Tielrode, Belgium and Co Mayo. He is constantly inspired by flowers and landscapes though he is not directly concerned with the objects he paints. His paintings are built up in layers, over time – in some cases weeks, in others months, in a few cases a year or more. They are an attempt not just to paint a rock, a stack or flower but also the space and time they occupy, the light that makes them visible, as such they are beautiful and fragile at the same time. The exhibition runs until December 10; www.taylorgalleries.ie.
13. The Music Box, Sample-Studios, Cork
Artists Anne Cleary and Denis Connolly have been working with the Cork Youth Orchestra and Sample-Studios in Cork to produce a work of art using innovative motion capture technology to track the complex movements of the hands of musicians as they practice their art. “The Music Box” turns musicians’ movements into luminous dots that dance in time to the music, describing the movements with loops and whirls. The artwork, presented in the Lord Mayor’s Pavilion in Fitzgerald Park, opens on December 9 until January 21. Anne Cleary explains, “The lyrical movements of musicians has been an evolving theme in our work for many years. We have dreamed of composing a full orchestra entirely made of dots to make these movements visible to others.” www.sample-studios.com