Brighten up darker days with a visit to one of these exhibitions …
Annika Berglund: Interlocked, Olivier Cornet Gallery
Covid-19 has changed many aspects of our lives; “This new reality led me to focus my practice on the immediate and the simple; the square in which I felt confined, also protected me, the circle – the nurturing bubble, but also the sinister round spiky shape of the corona virus” says artist Annika Berglund, who uses these motifs in textiles and fibre arts in her latest exhibition. “In creating this new series, fluffy wisps of wool and soft sheets of Mulberry paper are put loosely together, wetted down with soapy water and agitated to create a very strong fabric of interlocked fibres. The mulberry and wool fibres, through soap, water, rubbing and being knocked around, create connections that hold them together so tightly they can no longer be pulled apart and they become a unified whole. Cohesion through adversity, if you will…” Opening on Sunday, November 14 at Olivier Cornet Gallery until December 3, the exhibition is also available to view in the gallery’s 3D virtual space. At 3 Great Denmark Street, Dublin 1; www.olivercornetgallery.com.
Ciarán Murphy: Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, Butler Gallery
Born in Mayo, Ciarán Murphy lives and works in Kilkenny. His enigmatic, melancholic paintings in oil and watercolour depict animals and nature scenes as well as more figurative forms. In his new exhibition, Murphy’s images are derived from photographs and are more abstract, suspended in a dislocated space. His canvases seem to distance viewers with their seeming simplicity of technique, their muted colour palette, and a particular washed-out quality. This touring exhibition, curated by Patrick Murphy of RHA Gallery, is also travelling to Niland Gallery, Sligo. Murphy’s exhibition begins on November 27 and runs until January 9. Currently on at Butler Gallery is The Still Life Paintings of Blaise Smith which finishes on November 14; At Evans Home, John’s Quay, Kilkenny; www.butlergallery.ie.
Lavinia Fontana, The National Gallery of Ireland
Following an 18-month conservation project, Lavinia Fontana’s celebrated painting The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon has just been unveiled at the National Gallery of Ireland. Part of Ireland’s national collection, it is the largest surviving painting by one of the most renowned woman artists of the Renaissance. The conservation treatment of The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon (supported by Bank of America) addressed structural issues as well as aesthetic ones. Research into the artist’s materials and techniques revealed fascinating details about the painting and its production. Cracking and instability in the over 400-year-old structure has been arrested so that the painting can be safely displayed and enjoyed for generations to come. After the painstaking removal of layers of dull and yellow varnish, many previously obscured details were uncovered during the conservation treatment. This included an inscription, dated 1599, on the base of an ornamental clock held by one of the figures in the composition. Scientific analysis has identified the pigments Fontana used and given new insights into her workshop practice. Do pop in and take a look at the painting, a preview of the exhibition “Lavinia Fontana: Trailblazer, Rule Breaker” which will open the Gallery’s Beit Wing in May 2023. Exploring the artist’s extraordinary life through her paintings and drawings, it will be the first monographic exhibition of Fontana’s work in over two decades;
Colin Davidson: Silent Testimony, Ulster Museum
Colin Davidson worked in partnership with cross-community victims’ support group WAVE to create the exhibition, which explores the theme of suffering and loss through The Troubles. The exhibition features 18 large-scale portraits, of which Davidson says, “Silent Testimony reveals the individual and collective suffering of these 18 people in a way that words cannot. All ostensibly have different identities but are bound by a unique and shared experience of loss. When creating the portraits, I wanted to convey each first and foremost as a human being who had suffered as a result of the conflict in Northern Ireland and to silently articulate that experience.” The exhibition is part of National Museums NI’s “100 Years Forward” programme which marks the centenaries of Partition and the creation of Northern Ireland. The exhibition will run until January 2022. Admission is free; www.nmni.com/um.
John Fitzgerald: Moving Through, Wilton Gallery
One of Ireland’s leading contemporary equine, sporting and portrait artists, this exhibition brings together over 20 years of painting experience. In addition, new works explore the use of light and dark and Fitzgerald extends his colour palette in paint by using indigo, violet and burnt sienna to create striking images. Fitzgerald has also produced evocative bronze sculptures using the lost wax process at the Cast Foundry, Dublin. “My great hope is that my work makes people experience a truly special feeling that only they can explain. To be able to paint is a privilege, to be able to paint the horse is a blessing that I’m privileged to share.” If you are visiting the Wilton Gallery, 55 Glasthule Road, Sandycove, it is also hosting Bonhams Ireland representative Kieran on Friday, November 12, who will offer free valuation advice on selling art and collectibles through Bonhams’ international salerooms; www.wiltongallery.ie.
Maighread Tobin: Common Thread, The Lavit Gallery
This body of work was created over the past two-and-a-half years, and while abstract in expression, it represents an ongoing dialogue Tobin has with the natural world. Recently Tobin spent a couple of months traveling in South America and the Galapagos Islands – and much of the work comes from being immersed in the landscapes and gardens of these places in addition to her own garden and the countryside around her. Tobin works slowly building up layers of gesso and paint then stripping and sanding back in a repeated process to expose the underlying surface detail and pattern. The resulting work often reveals a complex history both on and beneath the surface. “Common Thread” will be exhibited until November 13, at Wandesford Quay, Clarke’s Bridge, Cork; www.lavitgallery.com.
Isabel Nolan: Spaced Out, Kerlin Gallery
Isabel Nolan’s work incorporates sculptures, paintings, textile works, photographs, writing and works on paper. She is driven by “the calamity, the weirdness, horror, brevity and wonder of existing alongside billions of other preoccupied humans”, and her works pose fundamental questions about how the world is made beautiful or given meaning through human activity. “Spaced Out” will comprise of a selection of new water-based oil paintings and two immersive hand-tufted wool works. Included in the exhibition is “When the sky above will not be named” (pictured) which depicts the disintegration of the sun in a celebration of colour spanning over five metres. “Spaced out” will be at the Kerlin Gallery from November 26 – January 15, Anne’s Lane, Dublin 2; www.kerlingallery.com.
Sarah Walker: Walter Leonard Cole, 3 Mountjoy Square, Oliver Sears Gallery
Working from her studio in Castletownbere, on the Beara Peninsula in West Cork, Walker’s latest exhibition is about her maternal grandfather, Walter Leonard Cole, who was an alderman and politician. In his house, at 3 Mountjoy Square, Dublin, he sheltered Sinn Féin leaders on the run and hosted sessions of the dáil after its suppression on 10 September 1919. Later he sheltered Jewish refugees from Germany on their way to the USA during the 1930s. The exhibition offers a “through the keyhole” glimpse of his home on Mountjoy Square and incorporates some of Walker’s memories too. At Oliver Sears Gallery, 33 Fitzwilliam Street Upper, Dublin 2; www.oliversearsgallery.com.
Niall Naessens: The Wanderer, SO Fine Art Editions
Niall Naessens has been living in and depicting the West Kerry landscape for some time. He relies less on direct observation, rather inventing moments in time and presenting pictures pieced together from references and memory. With a nod to Romanticism, Naessens has borrowed Casper David Freidrich’s Wanderer, as a symbol of our curiosity about the physical world. In this way, Naessens has developed the idea of the protagonist in a (magic realist) landscape where various characters populate his work with their contemporary stories. Following his successful solo show at the National Gallery of Ireland in 2018 “Good Morning Mister Turner – Niall Naessens and JMW Turner”, “The Wanderer” combines the ordinary and the extraordinary in a new series of landscape drawings and etchings, proving Naessens as a highly skilled draughtsman and printmaker. The exhibition runs from November 13 – December 4 at SO Fine Art Editions, Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, Dublin 2; www.sofinearteditions.co.
Cléa van der Grijn: Shift, Solomon Fine Art
Running until November 20, the Sligo-based artist, filmmaker and writer Cléa van der Grijn’s latest exhibition “Shift” is inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice and Wonderland. Uncoordinated compositions focus on ideas around personality disorders, addiction and recovery. Do pick up a copy of THE GLOSS this week to find out about Cléa van der Grijn’s latest film and collaboration with Irish designer Natalie B Coleman. At Solomon Fine Art, Balfe Street, Dublin 2; www.solomonfineart.com.
Look out for “Living Canvas” a digital installation of public art on giant screens launching on November 12 at Wilton Park, off Baggot Street, and at the Tropical Fruit Warehouse on Sir Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin. The custom designed screens will debut the works of leading Irish and international artists, following two years of collaborating with Irish creative production studio, Algorithm, and in partnership with leading cultural institutions the Royal Hibernian Academy and the Museum of Literature Ireland. Niall Gaffney, CEO, IPUT Real Estate explains: “Dublin is defined by the Liffey and the canals, and the first exhibition at Wilton Park, entitled ‘Something in the Water,’ is a tribute to the Grand Canal, its unique culture and the writers it inspired including Patrick Kavanagh, Eavan Boland, Mary Lavin and Flann O’Brien. Featured artists include Anna Lawlor, Cian McKenna, Cormac Murray, Kev Freeney, Paper Panther, Roman Hill, Ross Ryder and Sergey Maslov. “Tropical Fruit Warehouse premiers with ‘Where Glass Meets Water’, an artwork created by Algorithm that explores the story of Dublin, a city shaped by the majestic River Liffey. The artwork is made up of four distinct sections, each one exploring a different strand of the Tropical Fruit Warehouse’s story and set to the enduring rhythm of the city, rising and falling with the tides.”
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