If the fashion world is increasingly inspired by artists and galleries as settings for their designs, it’s time to stay ahead of the trend. Here are the top exhibitions to be seen at this month or peruse during the bank holiday weekend …
Daniel O’Neill, Romanticism & Friendships, The Farmleigh Gallery, Dublin
Opening on Saturday, March 12 is the first retrospective of Belfast-born Daniel O’Neill’s work in 70 years. The exhibition is curated by art historian Karen Reihill, who published a monograph to mark the centenary of O’Neill’s birth in 2020. As well as work by O’Neill, there are numerous paintings by his friends and fellow artists Gerard Dillon, Colin Middleton, George Campbell, Arthur Armstrong and Nano Reid. Mainly donated from private collections, this is an opportunity to see works which have been unseen in 50 or 60 years. Admission to the exhibition is free with ample free parking on the estate – an undiscovered hidden Dublin gem with grounds and gardens to explore before a coffee in the Boathouse overlooking the lake; www.farmleigh.ie.
Angela Gilmour and Beth Jones, Shadow Forests, Sample-Studios, Cork
Shadow Forests is a multi-media, immersive exhibition that explores climate change, through a focus on forests. The artists conducted field research with the help of supporting scientists in four ancient forest locations: New York’s Cairo and Gilboa fossil forests, Svalbard’s tropical forests in the High Arctic, and the submerged glacial woodland of The Gearagh in Cork. As artist Angela Gilmour explains “These forests are gone, leaving shadowy traces of what they once were. The artists provide an introduction to the science behind the demise of these woodlands, their historic impact on the planet’s carbon, and the need to preserve today’s remaining forested environments for the future.” Beth Jones is an American author, journalist, digital storyteller and educator based in Boston. Her digital stories explore human engagement with extreme situations and environments including the climate crisis and trauma. “Shadow Forests” is on from March 16 to April 23; www.sample-studios.com.
Smart Ris, The Drip, The Horse, Dublin
The latest addition to Dublin’s art scene is The Horse, a new gallery and project space founded by artist Matthew Wilkinson and located at Bethesda Place, Dublin 1. This month, the gallery is presenting a new body of work by the prominent Italian, Los Angeles-based, graffiti artist Smart Ris. A member of the infamous New York Rockin’ It Suckers graffiti crew, Smart Ris has been making work for over 30 years and has collaborated with some of the leading names on the scene including Chris Eillis ‘Daze’, Todd James ‘Reas’ and Stephen Powers ‘Espo’. The exhibition marks a departure for Ris, he has created a series of “Drip” paintings made on location at the gallery. Speaking about the exhibition, gallery curator Matthew Wilkinson explains: “The paintings are rooted in that childhood memory of the studio floor, the compositions produced are investigations into the states that accompany the action surrounding a night of writing illegally. The night sky, the stars, the lines that are produced by the spray can.” The exhibition is on until March 17; www.thehorsedublin.xyz.
Mark Francis, Echo Vision, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin
Filled with a sense of movement and energy, Mark Francis’s paintings combine electric colour contrasts with dynamic patterns and precise brushwork. Francis’s longstanding fascination and engagement with science provides inspiration from the cosmic terrains of astronomy, to the minute and molecular concerns of mycology. This exhibition will bring together paintings from the 1990s as well as his latest body of work, which takes inspiration from the early grid paintings; www.kerlingallery.com.
Giles Norman, Thailand, Giles Norman Studio, Kinsale
Irish landscape photographer Giles Norman is launching a new collection of images, inspired by a three-week holiday in Thailand in February 2020, just before the pandemic. This is a vast collection of nearly 100 black and white photographs, capturing his travels to locations including Bangkok and Tubkaek beach. Says Norman, “This collection is a real mix: there are seascapes and urban scenes and graphic abstracts. And that was the pure joy of this trip – it wasn’t just one thing. I got to experience the tranquil beauty of the Andaman Sea aboard a longtail boat and then trail through the vibrant streets of Bangkok on foot. And Thailand itself is such a blend of shapes and textures from the smooth lines of bamboo stilts to the craggy islands on the horizon. Thailand is a photographer’s paradise.” The collection is available to view online and at his Kinsale-based gallery; www.gilesnorman.com.
You Say You Love Me But You Don’t Even Know Me, Little Museum of Dublin
This exhibition features a selection of artefacts on loan from National Museums NI permanent collection, and will run until June 6, and offers the infamous quirkiness for which the Little Museum is renowned. Visitors can expect everything from a meteorite to a Philip Treacy Hat and a Spitting Image puppet of Gerry Adams! The common thread is about facilitating cultural understanding using familiar and unfamiliar aspects of Northern Irish culture to explore and consider shared, and differing, perspectives; www.littlemuseum.ie.
Eamon Colman, Thinking Like a Mountain, Solomon Fine Art, Dublin
One of Ireland’s most important contemporary painters, Eamon Colman presents a range of paintings and works on paper which capture sights and stories connected to the Irish landscape, layering ideas as he does materials to form vibrant and dynamic compositions. The exhibition runs until April 2 after which will be the Solomon’s exciting Spring Group Show; www.solomonfineart.ie.
Vicky Smith, The Cold Bark Against My Back, Olivier Cornet Gallery, Dublin
The starting point for this new body of work is Smith’s fascination with stories of women in the media concerning attacks, catastrophe, conflict, depression, desperation, domestic acts, loss, love, moving on, murder, resilience, survival and willpower. She is intrigued by how certain mass media stories about women resonate. For her, women’s stories interconnect like the branches of a tree or a woven tapestry or the thread count in a blanket. Smith appropriates photographs meshing them into paint, readymade sculptures and annotated sketchbook drawings and collages. The exhibition will run until April 3 and can be viewed in the gallery’s online virtual space; www.oliviercornetgallery.com.
Eoin Francis McCormack, It’s Not Dark Yet, So Fine Art Editions, Dublin
Launching this Saturday, March 12 until April 9, Eoin Francis McCormack’s new exhibition is a show in two halves. Black and white works on paper represent notions of industry, cityscapes and steam engines, while the larger work on canvas is more vibrant in colour and speaks to the viewer about the beauty of the natural world. The work is fundamentally abstract in nature; this new series is the most conceptually representational work McCormack has made to date; www.sofinearteditions.com.
Tim Goulding, Music, Lavit Gallery, Wandesford Quay, Clarke’s Bridge, Cork
This exhibition of new work has just opened at Lavit Gallery and continues until April 2. Goulding explains, “The idea of staves forms the basic structure for this series of paintings. Then the backing singers make their entrance against the orchestration which is indicated in the form of the lighter coloured compartments. The soloists arrive singing their lead notes, these are the solid colours. The palette was inspired by the hillside colours in spring and also by burnt toast. These are of course very theoretical musings as the principal impetus is to make a satisfactory painting and explore new pastures, one leading to another. I feel that this series takes a bow to the abstract painters of the early 20th century – Klee, Miro, Mondrian and the Futurists. To quote Joan Miró: “I try to apply colours like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.” www.lavitgallery.com
Paul Hallahan, Words as colour not language, Hang Tough Contemporary, Dublin
“The themes in my exhibition ‘Words as colour not language’, look at organic matter within our landscape, our relationship to the dense woodlands and crevices, especially woodlands near the west coast of Ireland, South Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo,” explains Hallahan. “Previous interests in my works have looked to ideas of the larger landscape such as horizons in urban settings and our relationship to the rising and setting sun within the built environment. This new exhibition will encircle a work titled “Lotus”, a large dense painting made with organic matter and magnetic fields in mind. The exhibition will present works that I have worked on throughout 2020 and 2021, most never seen before but all made during my transition from urban to country living. Since moving to south Donegal I have been able to explore the landscape like I never could while based in a city and this has allowed me to investigate ideas within the grime and ever changing undergrowth seen throughout the countryside and especially the coastal woods and valleys where I am currently based.” www.hangtough.ie
Young Gainsborough: Rediscovered Landscape Drawings, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin
25 landscape drawings from the Royal Collection – recently attributed to English artist Thomas Gainsborough – are on display for the first time in Ireland. Produced in the late 1740s when Gainsborough was in his early 20s, the drawings offer an intimate glimpse into the early career of this master of portraiture and landscape artist. To place the works in context, the exhibition will feature other paintings and drawings from Gainsborough’s early years, along with works by the Dutch landscape painters who influenced him. Anne Hodge, curator of the exhibition, comments: “The 25 drawings at the heart of this exhibition represent an exciting new addition to Thomas Gainsborough’s known oeuvre. Rediscovered recently within the Royal Collection at Windsor, they give a sense of Gainsborough’s youthful enthusiasm for nature. The chalk drawings have an immediacy that allows us to imagine the young artist, sitting on a sandy bank, quickly sketching the trees and vistas near his home in rural Suffolk. The exhibition provides a rare opportunity for us to see his early drawings beside the famous landscape painting Cornard Wood that they inspired.” The exhibition will run until June 12 with a programme of events to complement the exhibition; www.nationalgallery.ie.
The Narrow Gate of the Here-and-Now, IMMA, Dublin
The Narrow Gate of the Here-and-Now is IMMA’s 30th birthday exhibition. Presented in four Chapters, each one explores the past three decades through different thematic approaches – Queer Embodiment; The Anthropocene; Social Fabric and Protest and Conflict. This exhibition showcases the significance of the IMMA Collection, presenting more than 200 artworks across four exhibitions. An extensive programme of talks, performances and events delves deeper into the themes arising from each chapter. Other significant highlights include the return of IMMA Outdoors presenting new artist commissions by Navine G Khan-Dossos and Em’kal Eyongakpa; a four-day Eco Event celebrating people, place and planet; and an international research conference, examining the thematic of Self-Determination, presented as part of Ireland’s Decade of Centenaries Programme; www.imma.ie.
AND … Incognito Art Sale, for Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation
Ireland’s biggest online art sale in aid of Jack & Jill’s Children’s Foundation goes live on March 31 and is an opportunity to own a mini masterpiece by some leading contemporary artists including Peter Curling, Ange Bell, Adrian + Shane, Martin Gale, Maria Levinge, Helen Steele, Sylvia Parkinson-Brown, Martin Mooney, Bridget Flinn, and Robert Ballagh. Now in its sixth year, with over 1,500 artists taking part, not just from Ireland but internationally, the €60 price for each postcard-sized artwork supports the work of the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation and translates into home nursing care hours for 412 children with highly complex medical conditions around the country, including end-of-life care. For the buyer, of course, this may also be a very shrewd investment decision too! I’ll have further updates on the artwork later in the month, but to find out more visit www.incognito.ie.
Main featured image: Rianna + Nina AW22.
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