There are multiple benefits to visiting art galleries – from seeing art in different mediums to supporting your community and its creative initiatives. A recent report suggests that looking at art and interpreting what you see is good for your memory too. Of course, a gallery visit gives you more to talk about. There’s plenty of visual stimulation and conversation starters this month in the following exhibitions …
Anne Yeats: The Everyday Fantastic, National Gallery of Ireland
Anne Yeats, chief designer for the Abbey Theatre, worked in oils and designed for theatre and publication. The daughter of WB Yeats, she was raised within the culture of the Irish Gaelic Revival and was founding member of Aosdána. She managed the Yeats family archive and donated part of it to the National Gallery of Ireland in 1996. Her own archives and sketchbooks were donated to the Gallery by her brother Michael in 2002. This new exhibition explores themes in the Yeats’s work such as “Fantastic Animals”, “Fine Art Print” and “Backstage Theatre”. Curator Donal Maguire, explains: “Anne Yeats was born into the most celebrated family of the Irish Celtic Revival. However, her own artistic development reflected a broader interest in modern art and design. This is represented most personally and intimately in her archive – one of the most extensive and splendid artists’ archives at the National Gallery. We hope that visitors will enjoy exploring this diverse selection of works, which provide an unparalleled insight into the creative processes and imagination of this dynamic and innovative figure in Irish art and design.” The exhibition runs until October 9, 2022; www.nationalgallery.ie.
Tissot’s Mysterious Irish Muse: New Acquisitions, Ulster Museum
A striking portrait by French artist, James (Jacques) Joseph Tissot (1836 – 1902), from the estate of Dr John Newton, has been allocated to National Museums NI. The painting is on display at the Ulster Museum in “Tissot’s Mysterious Irish Muse: New Acquisitions” exhibition. “Quiet’s” subject, Kathleen Newton, was the inspiration for some of Tissot’s most famous paintings and he frequently celebrated her Irish ancestry, titling one painting Mavoureen (Irish for “my beloved”) and another La Belle Irlandaise (“the beautiful Irish girl”). Born in Agra, India, to Irish parents, Kathleen Newton’s story involves an arranged marriage, seduction, single motherhood and life in London as Tissot’s mistress and muse. In this portrait, Kathleen is depicted as an elegant young woman, looking up from her book with an air of self-confidence and independence. She is seated with her niece in the sunlit garden of Tissot’s house in St John’s Wood. The painting is displayed alongside other drawings and portraits by Rossetti, Lavery and Orphan in which women appear as muse, society beauty or living a more fragile existence on the margins of society; www.nmni.com.
Gyre, Eoghan McGrath, The Kildare Gallery
The Kildare Gallery, housed in the Stewarts House in Carton House, specialises in contemporary figurative painting and sculpture. This month it is presenting “Gyre” by artist, Eoghan McGrath. The Kilkenny-based artist is a self taught painter who previously studied medicine and his new exhibition is a meditation on the human body and its relationship to time; www.KildareGallery.ie.
Field of Vision, botanical treasures in focus, Yanny Petters, Olivier Cornet Gallery
“For almost two years we have had to look at our surroundings in a new way, our field of vision being reduced due to the world wide Covid-19 pandemic. Through my love of Irish wild plants I often gather drawings for my work from far afield, but this time I have seized upon this opportunity to explore those wild plants that are closest to me in my garden. When we look at our immediate surroundings we don’t have to go far to find wonderful and fascinating habitats, delicate ecosystems which sustain life. Through my exhibition I continue to raise awareness of our botanical cohabitants, some of which we need for food and medicine, and all of which form a valuable symbiotic relationship between each other, pollinator insects, birds, animals and ourselves,” explains Yanny Petters of her exhibition. This will include 70 small verre eglomisé paintings of spring, summer and autumn flowers like bramble, rowans and hawthorn proportionally similar in shape to glass slides used in old-fashioned microscopes. The paintings are presented in groups of three reflecting the season, their habitat or their relationship with each other, capturing their delightful vivacity. The exhibition opens on Sunday, October 10, with a special guest speaker – Janet McLean, curator at The National Gallery of Ireland. It runs until November 6. The exhibition is also available to view on the gallery’s 3D virtual space. www.oliviercornetgallery.com
Sarah Walker, Walter Leonard Cole, Oliver Sears Gallery
From October 12 until November 12, Oliver Sears Gallery is launching a new exhibition of paintings by Dublin-born artist, Sarah Walker. Accompanied by an illustrated book, the exhibition narrates the story of the artist’s maternal grandfather, Walter Leonard Cole, TD and Alderman, and of his home in Mountjoy Square, an underground meeting place for the Dáil and Treaty negotiations in early 1920s Dublin.
During the War of Independence, the house was constantly raided in search of arms and documents and was once set on fire. Intertwined with this dramatic history, we learn about Leonard’s friendship with Christina Swanzy, the widow of Sean Connolly, Abbey actor, Captain of the Irish Citizen Army and the first person to fire a shot in the Easter Rising. (He was fatally wounded by a sniper the same day).
The paintings are rendered in small scale canvases; flat blocks of colour construct the rooms of the house and thick impasto fill them with furnishings. Beyond the keyhole view of a handful of protagonists during the momentous birth of the nation, Walker’s exhibition is also a story of women and the kindnesses of men, told by women through the last century in Ireland; www.oliversearsgallery.com.
Patrick Scott: meditations and Edith Somerville: observations, Crawford Art Gallery
Curated by Michael Waldron, this is the first time the Gallery will show all of its Scott and Somerville works together. This year is the centenary of the late Patrick Scott (1921-2014), one of Ireland’s most celebrated abstract artists. Having spent 15 years working as an architect, Scott’s compositions often incorporated geometry and design. He represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale (1960) and, although ostensibly abstract, his works ranged from the nuclear protest of “Diptych”, a 1960s “Device” painting, to his harmonious “Gold Paintings” that reveal his interest in Zen Buddhism.
“Edith Somerville: observations” will mark the recent acquisition of an ink study for The Goose Girl (1888), one of her much loved paintings. Born on the island of Corfu, Somerville (1858-1949) was an Irish writer, farmer, organist, hunts woman, and suffragist. Although she is best known for her writing partnership with her cousin Violet Martin – Somerville & Ross – she was also a talented artist with a keen eye for observation. During the 1870s and 1880s, she studied in London, Düsseldorf, and Paris. This exhibition offers a glimpse into Somerville’s world and the connections between her drawings, paintings, and writings. The exhibition runs until December 5; www.crawfordartgallery.ie.
Host, The Dean Art Studio, Dublin & The Vaults Artists Studio, Belfast
There’s still time to see this exhibition in which eight artists in Dublin and Belfast interrogate one theme. Starting from a single sentiment, “host”, the work in the exhibition includes meditations on our relationships with the natural world, with places and traditions, with architecture, with each other, and with our own thoughts and emotions. Participating artists include Monika Crowley, Margot Galvin, Dan Henson, Mary O Connor, Alana Barton, Jonathan Brennan, Tim Millen and Esther O’Kelly. The exhibition at The Dean Arts Studios, 39 Harcourt Street, runs until until October 9. In Belfast, the exhibition is at The Vaults Artists’ Studios as part of the Belfast International Arts Festival and opens on October 14 until October 24. The exhibition is free, however time slots may be booked in advance through Eventbrite. Follow @host.8 on Instagram.
Dublin, Then & Now, Arnotts
Arnotts has partnered with the (cult) Instagram photography account @Dublin_Archive1 to launch “Dublin, Then & Now”, an in-store exhibition which launches on October 6. Located at The Gallery on Second Level at Arnotts, the exhibition will present cityscapes, landscapes and portraits capturing Dublin in recent and rare old times. The images on display include Twiggy’s visit to the store in the 1960s, the papal visit to Ireland in 1979, the Millennium Clock being restored on the River Liffey in 1996 and the last granite slab being laid during the pedestrianisation of Grafton Street in 1971. In addition there is a range of tote bags, mugs and T-shirts to purchase as keepsakes of the exhibition; www.arnotts.ie.
The end of a/sure beginning, Gabhann Dunne, Molesworth Gallery
This is Gabhann Dunne’s third solo exhibition at the Molesworth Gallery which opens on October 7 – October 29. Defined by its limpid colour palette and poetic qualities, his artworks depict topographical features, figures, buildings and animals. Dunne’s work is informed by a broad spectrum of authors, social commentators and ecologists, such as John Gray, Mark Rowlands and Emma Marris. While some of his work seems prescient and ominous it also demonstrates Dunne’s compassion and humour; www.molesworthgallery.com.
The Constructed Sublime, Angela Fewer, Lavit Gallery
Angela Fewer only paints subjects she knows very well and for the last 30 years she has spent every summer on Heir Island in West Cork, where she has a small studio. However during lockdown the situation changed and she could not travel. Fewer, who lives in Glanmire, on the outskirts of Cork, watched the light and shadow filter through the trees surrounding her home. The exhibition, therefore, consists of two bodies of work – sea and shore, shadows and trees. Fewer worked for many years as an architect both in Ireland and abroad, before obtaining an Honours degree in Fine Art from the Crawford College of Art Cork. She uses her experience as an architect to explore issues such as space, structure and pattern in her work; colour provides the emotional aspect of the work. Opening this weekend at Lavit Gallery, Clarke’s Bridge, Cork, the exhibition continues until Saturday, October 16; www.lavitgallery.com.
How to Resist A State of Forgetfulness, Sarah Long, SO Fine Art Editions
Opening on October 9, Sarah Long’s solo exhibition “How to Resist A State of Forgetfulness” references art critic John Berger’s essay which considers whether nature can be “read” as a text or language through the process of drawing and engagement. Inspired by these ideals, Long’s work delves into the relationship between language and the landscape, combining painting, drawing and mark-making to create intriguing works that both examine and play with natural forms. The exhibition closes on November 6; www.sofinearteditions.com.
Silence, Graphic Studio Gallery, Dublin
Inspired by the Tate Modern’s Rothko Room, “Silence” at the Graphic Studio Gallery, Dublin features work from 27 Irish and European artists including Ciaran Lennon, Felim Egan, Maria Simmonds Gooding, Ronnie Hughes and Catriona Leahy. The works which are evocative of silence, stillness and reflection also represent the diversity of printmaking including etching, screen-print, woodblock, lithography, photopolymer gravure, digital print, carborundum and monotype. “Many of the works are emotionally powerful and elicit a feeling of contemplation, of reflection and transcendence. We hope that people who visit the show will feel encouraged to let that feeling of silence rest within them. If one takes the time to immerse themselves fully in the experience of looking it can be meditative because you are only focusing on what is in front of you and are being fully present,” says Peter Brennan, Gallery Director. “Silence” runs until October 23, from 11am-5pm each Tuesday to Sunday at Graphic Studio Gallery, Cope Street, Dublin 2; www.graphicstudiodublin.com.
Margaret Egan, The Rhythm of our World 2021, Solomon Fine Art
Egan describes the work in this exhibition as a documentary on life during the pandemic and a contemplation on the different aspects of our lives which have been highlighted. For the artist these highlights include having time to appreciate and absorb our environment – “the importance of nature, our wonderful landscape, seascape and what joy, beauty, comfort and hope it brings”. The exhibition continues until Saturday, October 23; www.solomonfineart.ie.
Mimesis, Elaine Hoey, Solstice Arts Centre
Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, Co Meath is presenting a solo exhibition of new and recent work by Irish artist Elaine Hoey, which includes video, installation, CGI digital avatar performance, expanded digital paintings and an experimental virtual reality work-in-progress. In this new body of work Hoey explores a contemporary interpretation of an ancient concept by Plato, Mimesis. Hoey examines the nature of human behaviour at times of crisis, drawing from theories such as mimetic crowd contagion, mirror neurons, mimicry, simulation and affective contagion. Her work also investigates new technologies such as facial capture, 3D scanning and virtual reality, developing works that examine the digital human, avatar performance nature, reality and simulation. The exhibition runs until November 5; www.solsticeartscentre.ie.
A Mobile Living Thing, Brian Fay, dlr Lexicon
Brian Fay is an artist and Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Technological University Dublin. Using drawing he examines the materiality of pre-existing artworks and objects to consider our complex relationships to time. The focus of this solo exhibition is Fay’s response to four small paintings by Irish artist Mainie Jellett in the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Collection. These works on paper by Jellet, from 1932 to 1939, mark a change in her artwork from abstraction to a return to more naturalistic forms of painting. Fay has made a series of new drawings that respond to the physical properties of these works as they slowly age, and to the life of Jellett herself. Together they can be seen as a reflection on time, both clock time and our own lived time. The title of the exhibition “A mobile living thing” comes from Jellett’s writings on the making of painting – Fay uses it to consider these four paintings as having a life and afterlife of their own. The exhibition is at the Municipal Gallery, dlr Lexicon, Dún Laoghaire until December 5; www.dlrcoco.ie/arts.
Stepping Through the Gate: Inside Ireland’s Walled Gardens, Irish Georgian Society
The Irish Georgian Society has nominated 2021 as the ”Year of the Country House Garden” during which it will be celebrating 400 years of Irish gardens and designed landscapes. As part of this celebration the society is hosting an exhibition in the City Assembly House featuring 50 specially commissioned paintings of Irish walled gardens by four leading artists. Curated by Robert O’Byrne, former vice-President of the IGS, all four artists are active gardeners and are people who understand plants. Alison Rosse and her husband inherited responsibility for one of Ireland’s finest demesnes at Birr Castle which includes superlative walled gardens laid out by his late parents. Lesley Fennell can take credit for creating a truly lovely garden at Burtown, Co Kildare (pictured). Together with her two sisters, at Tourin, Co Waterford, Andrea Jameson ensures that the walled garden remains as productive as ever, while Maria Levinge, having moved house a few years ago, embarked on establishing a new garden in Co Wexford. The exhibition runs until November 26, admission is free; www.igs.ie.
Light and Language, Nancy Holt with AK Burns, Matthew Day Jackson, Dennis McNulty, Charlotte Moth, and Katie Paterson, Lismore Castle Arts
Nancy Holt (1938 – 2014) was a key member of the Earth, Land and Conceptual art movements and for five decades she asked questions about how we understand our place in the world, investigating what art can be and where it can be found. The exhibition “Light and Language,” curated by Lisa Le Feuvre, invited artists AK Burns, Matthew Day Jackson, Dennis McNulty, Charlotte Moth and Katie Paterson to explore ideas of light and language alongside works by Nancy Holt. This expansive exhibition stretches from Lismore Castle’s gallery spaces, through the castle gardens and into the town of Lismore. Central to the exhibition are 15 works by Holt ranging from concrete poetry to photographic experiments and her innovative room-sized installation “Electrical System” (1982), formed of over 100 glowing lightbulbs – an example of Holt’s “system sculptures”. The five artists joining Holt ask questions about perception and the way we might understand our place in the world. Working with sound, sculpture, performance, words and light, each artist has chosen works for the exhibition they feel resonate with Holt’s ideas and artworks. The exhibition runs until October 10; www.lismorecastlearts.ie.
Swimming a Long Way Together, Vanessa Daws, Dublin, Cork, Galway & Donaghadee
This joyful and ambitious aquatic project by artist Vanessa Daws, draws inspiration from 20th century pioneer swimmer Mercedes Gleitze. In 1930 Mercedes performed an “endurance swim” in Cork at the Eglinton Baths (since closed), where she swam for 30 hours continuously. There were large crowds of spectators; some say 4,500 people visited the Eglinton Baths over that time. There was continuous music and entertainment on the pool deck, people would read to Mercedes as she swam, and she would sign autographs. Running until summer 2022 “Swimming A Long Way Together” is unfolding as a series of large-scale, live, immersive, multi-disciplinary events and exhibitions in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Donaghdee. These communal moments will retell some of Gleitze’s story and reflect on contemporary experiences of swimming – as a practice of endurance, for wellbeing and as a collective social pastime. Daws herself is not only a visual artist but a long-distance swimmer living in Dublin, who has undertaken pioneering swims, including the 22km length of Lough Mask in Co Galway. Swimming, journey, encounter, conversation and Daws’s first hand swimming experiences are the starting points for her works, a process she describes as “psychoswimography” a watery drifting and re-imaging of place; www.swimmingalongwaytogether.com.
The 191st Annual Exhibition, RHA
A high point in Ireland’s cultural calendar, the annual RHA exhibition offers a chance to peruse award-winning art as well as provide investment opportunities for first time and experience buyers alike. This year, the RHA saw a total of 3,900 works of art submitted from which, following a rigorous two rounds of selection, 323 works were accepted and are currently exhibited throughout all gallery spaces at the RHA. The 191st exhibition includes work by 391 artists working in paint, sculpture, drawing, print, photography and architecture. With a generous prize fund of over €70,000 (the largest artistic prize fund in Ireland), the 21 winners were announced on Saturday, September 25. For all the prize winners read this post; www.rhagallery.ie.
Shadows Falling, Ken Browne, The Doorway Gallery
“With this new collection it was important for me to limit the palette and to return to mark making, a process which I have always loved since I started my journey as an artist,” says Browne. “I directed myself towards the abstract style of painting, however, still maintaining that feel of the Irish landscape, as I will always be a landscape painter.” If Browne mixes acrylic paint and charcoal and uses a limited palette of grey, black, blue and white, the overriding emotions evoked are of calmness and tranquility. There is a “Meet and Greet” with Browne on Saturday, October 9 from 12 – 4pm at The Doorway Gallery. To book a slot and get a more personalised art opening contact the gallery. The exhibition runs until October 28; www.thedoorwaygallery.com.
Shoreline, Stephanie Sloan, Wilton Gallery
Following on from her successful debut solo exhibition “Coastal”, Sloan explores ways of creating simple imagery through standard colours and lines in “Shoreline.” Clearly influenced by the simplicity and colour of Matisse and Hockney, Sloan has played with the idea of paring back the form to its essentials. Plein air sketching allowed her to experience the sun-bleached textures of the shoreline and it made her explore and work with four colourways. The intense depth of colour is a consequence of the hand printing process, which also adds character. The final images appears simple, yet on closer inspection, each image is a complex composition that plays on light and shadow. The works are bright, vibrant, yet calm, balanced both in tone and harmony. www.wiltongallery.ie
Picturing People, National Gallery of Ireland
“Picturing People” focuses on humanity and the everyday, from O’Connell Bridge to Croagh Patrick, with works by photographers including Dorothea Lange, Father Francis Browne and Inge Morath. It includes works that depict urban and rural life, as well as individuals from different communities, cultures and backgrounds. Exhibition curator Sarah McAuliffe explains: “As the Gallery’s collection continues to expand, we’re delighted to present over 70 artworks – many newly acquired – to the public in this exhibition. Picturing People offers something for everyone and my hope for those visiting the exhibition is that they will feel a sense of warmth and joy as they move through the exhibition space.” The exhibition closes on December 5; www.nationalgallery.ie.
The German School, Goethe-Institut Dublin
To mark the 60th anniversary of Goethe-Institut in Ireland a special anniversary programme of events will run this month including musical performances, film screenings, language taster courses and a series of exhibitions. These open on October 6 with an exhibition of the renowned German academy of fine arts in Frankfurt am Main, the Städelschule. Entitled “The German School”, the collaboration presents the work of 24 students of the academy’s film class, who come from five continents. Against the backdrop of more than 18 months of Covid-related restrictions, the artworks reflect and explore the desire among young artists to connect with others internationally. Also included in the Goethe-Institut’s visual arts programme is a collaboration with the Hugh Lane Gallery, which – through an exhibition, film screenings, talks and lectures – focuses on the influential German artist, Joseph Beuys; www.goethe.de/ireland60.
Graft: A collaboration between the Glucksman Gallery and National Sculpture Factory
Graft features five unique, site specific pieces of artwork, created by five different artists selected by the Glucksman and the National Sculpture Factory. It aims to be a blueprint for villages, towns and cities aiming to transform, disrupt and celebrate the existing built environment. Five contemporary artists were commissioned to create temporary installations in Cork city centre. The artists, Vanessa Donoso López (pictured), Linda Quinlan, Bríd Murphy, Adam Gibney and Seoidín O’Sullivan, have been working on the site-specific artworks which will remain on view until November 1; www.glucksman.org and
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