How is the art market and what should you see and buy this season? Tara Murphy of Solomon Fine Art, Dublin 2 shares her tips …
Best exhibition you’ve seen this year?
Eamon Colman’s “Twenty Eight Acres” solo exhibition at the Butler Gallery in Kilkenny this summer. The 15 brightly coloured works on display were Eamon’s joyous response to the evolving ecology and landscape of a former 17th-century iron ore mine in nearby Castlecomer. It was great to see some really large scale works up close and the accompanying documentary (beautifully filmed and directed by Kevin Hughes) tracked Eamon’s regular walks through the 28 acres whilst highlighting his personal environmental and ecological concerns. The film was also a super insight into Eamon’s painting technique – particularly the way he makes his own paper and pigments and how he both builds and erodes the surface of his paintings. I brought my kids along and they were absolutely captivated.
Must sees this autumn …
I am really looking forward to seeing the “Lavery. On Location” exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland. As a former UCD Art History graduate I’m really curious to see a big retrospective type collection of his plein air paintings. Lavery travelled so much during his career, it will be really interesting to see how he responded to the varied landscapes and civilisations vis-à-vis his colour palette and technique.
What’s happening at Solomon Fine Art?
I am very excited to be hosting an exhibition of sculpture by Corban Walker (until October 28). Formerly based in New York, Corban has returned to settle in Cork and has been working on a couple of really big projects over the past year. Corban’s practice always relates to perceptions of scale and architectural constructs. His local, cultural, and specific philosophies of scale are fundamental to how he defines and develops his work, creating new means for viewers to interact and navigate their surroundings. Contrasting his own personal experience with other people’s belief of what is considered a ‘correct proportion and measure’, through a minimalist approach he aims to introduce new ideas to our environment through his own perception of scale, known as “corbanscale”. Fittingly, the show was opened by the fabulous access and disability activist Sinead Burke. If I had money to spend this autumn I would definitely buy one of Corban Walker’s aluminium constructs. I have been coveting one for many years!
How is the art market?
We have thankfully been really busy with plenty of near-sell out shows. I’m still not sure exactly why, but I feel that during the pandemic, with no travel or social events to distract us, people turned to art to bring joy into their lives. And that trend has not appeared to dissipate as far as I can see. I keep an eye on the auction market and as always, the ‘good’ quality paintings and sculptures always fetch a premium, so it just goes to show that if you buy wisely you have a better chance of the work appreciating in value. There’s no point buying a poor example by a great artist – you need to buy the best work in an exhibition. And there is always at least one show-stopper! So it very much pays to subscribe to gallery mailing lists and get in early before opening night to snatch up the best ones.
What are people spending money on?
We’ve had a good run on sculpture this summer and with three back-to-back sculpture exhibitions coming up in our autumn/winter schedule we would expect that run to continue. Here at Solomon we are known for championing and exhibiting three dimensional work, so we always have a really good, wide range of works in bronze, stone and other media to choose from. Sculpture is also a really excellent and safe option for a birthday gift or corporate presentations, particularly if you are not 100 per cent sure of their tastes and likes.
Most excited about …
The recently-established Irish Contemporary Art Gallery Association – CAGA – is launching a new annual Dublin Gallery Weekend event which will debut on November 10-12. All ten member galleries will be presenting important exhibitions, accompanied by a series of social events, walking tours, artists talks and discussions around the subject of art collecting, chaired by former National Gallery of Ireland Director Sean Rainbird. CAGA’s aim is to highlight the strength and breadth of the visual arts here in Ireland and we hope this initiative will develop and grow into one of the highlights of the national and international culture calendar, similar in scope to the London and Berlin Gallery Weekends.
The Solomon Gallery’s Dublin Gallery Weekend offering is a free exhibition of new sculpture by the internationally renowned Cork-based artist Eilis O’Connell. Eilis and Dr Riann Coulter will also be giving a talk in the gallery on Sunday, November 12; www.solomonfineart.ie.