The Best Exhibitions To See This Month - The Gloss Magazine

The Best Exhibitions To See This Month

Whether you love photography, portraiture, abstract art or sculpture, there is plenty to inspire in this month’s round-up of must-see exhibitions …

Influence and Identity, IMMA

This exhibition of 20th-century portrait photography, which opens on Friday, May 26, comprises 83 artworks by portraitists such as Antony Armstrong-Jones, Richard Avedon, Yousuf Karsh and Gisèle Freund, as well as renowned photographers Berenice Abbott, Imogen Cunningham, Garry Winogrand and Brassaï. This exhibition, loaned through the Bank of America, also pays homage to some of the most recognisable activists, politicians, changemakers and creatives of our time. Many of the subjects are notable figures from culture and politics, such as Elizabeth Taylor, Miles Davis, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Tecumseh Deerfoot Cook, Winston Churchill and Richard Nixon.

Arbour Essences in Anthropocene Dublin, The Olivier Cornet Gallery, Dublin

“Trees have always fascinated artists, and are often one of the first subjects children paint or draw, so they could perhaps be dismissed as a cliché topic for art. However, new discoveries about trees, and new ways of thinking about their value to humans, collectively and as individuals, perhaps offer new paths to their artistic representation,” says Paddy Woodworth who co-curated this new exhibition with Olivier Cornet which features new work by gallery artists Annika Berglund, Hugh Cummins, Eoin Mac Lochlainn and Yanny Petters. In addition there is a small selection of works by Belvedere College’s art students.

Beautiful Decay, Melissa O’Donnell, Solomon Fine Art

Melissa O’Donnell’s first solo show at Solomon Fine Art runs until May 27 and presents paintings which offer a contemporary take on botanical art while paying tribute to past masters and historical depictions of this genre. Listing the Surrealists as an important influence on her work, O’Donnell employs similar techniques such as automatic drawing and free-form mark making as she strives to tap into the subconscious and transport herself and subsequently the viewer into a familiar yet somewhat unexpected atmosphere.

See the pictures from the launch here

Counterpunch, Sharon Kelly, National Stadium Gym, Dublin 8

This new exhibition made with women boxers from Dublin’s north inner city, by artist Sharon Kelly, opens on Thursday, May 25 (until June 5) at the National Stadium Gym, Dublin 8.  Sharon has been inspired by sport since 2013. Together with three young boxers at Corinthians Boxing Club, Eve Woods, Nicole O’Sullivan and Yasmin Meredith and their coach Colin Byrne, Sharon looked at how women deal with the specific challenges of boxing, requiring both physical and mental resilience. The exhibition is a multimedia installation that includes sculptures, drawing and video. Whether you’re a sports fan, an art aficionado or have a general interest, members of the public are invited to come along to Counterpunch on Saturday May 27 and Wednesday, May 31 at 2pm for a tour of the exhibition and special edition of Dublin City Council Culture Company’s  “Culture Club” – a series of hosted talks and tours that introduce and encourage people to connect with the cultural spaces of the city.  Tickets are free and will be available to book seven days before the event from

Charcoalogy, Gerard Byrne, Gerard Byrne Studio, Dublin 6

“Charcoalogy”, is an exhibition of over 40 large scale charcoal drawings by Gerard Byrne, the opening of which coincides with National Drawing Day on May 20. Celebrating the tradition of artistic draughtsmanship, the collection comprises a series of cityscape sketches, depicting scenes of Dublin, Paris, London, Brighton and Singapore. “Charcoalogy” centres on the evocative spontaneity, complex perspectives, and dynamic interplay of light and shade so characteristic of Byrne’s en plein air works. The exhibition runs until June 17 at The Gerard Byrne Studio, 15 Chelmsford Road, Ranelagh, Dublin 6;

Lavinia Fontana: Trailblazer, Rule Breaker, National Gallery of Ireland

A must-visit is this exhibition on the late 16th-century Bolognese artist Lavinia Fontana, widely considered to be the first woman artist to achieve professional success beyond the confines of a court or a convent. See more at While you are at the gallery, make sure you also see one of its latest acquisitions La Vie des Champs (pictured) by Paul Cézanne. The painting was completed in 1877 in Cézanne’s native Provence. It depicts a vibrant, imaginary landscape with a woman carrying a water jug on her head in the centre. La vie des champs is on display in Rooms 1-5 of the National Gallery of Ireland’s Millennium Wing. Entry to the national collection is free.

Art and Soul, Castlemartyr Resort, Cork

Works by Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst and Francis Bacon will be staged at the Castlemartyr Resort, Cork as part of the a special art and sculpture fair called “Art and Soul”, hosted by Gormleys. This free event runs from May 27- June 18, and will feature 80 large sculptures and installations set throughout the 220-acre grounds of the 17th-century manor estate. Leading Irish sculptors Patrick O’Reilly, Ian Pollock, Bob Quinn, Sandra Bell, Eamonn Ceannt, John Fitzgerald, Anthony Scott and Orla De Brí will also participate. The hotel’s interior will display 100 artworks by some of the world’s best-known artists, including Roy Lichtenstein and Banksy together with Irish artists Martin Mooney, Maser, Peter Monaghan, Gordon Harris, and Stephen Forbes. All of artworks will be for sale, with prices ranging from €1,000 up to €450,000. During the event, open daily from 11am-7pm, there will be a programme of artists’ talks and daily guided tours.

New Paintings, Charles Tyrell, Taylor Gallery, Dublin

At the base of all Charles Tyrell’s work, there has been a grid of some sort. In this new exhibition, Tyrell lets the grid be the focal point. “A breakthrough came when I started building grids in an unstructured way: placing squares and rectilinear shapes randomly on a field, either floating singly or in small groupings – all independent entities. I would then start the process of connecting and pulling these into an ordered grid. In doing this, distortions occur as the grid establishes itself. I became fascinated with these emerging images whose existence was the result of a collection of random events. These are images over which I have little control. This idea is fundamental to my way of working. It suits my desire to allow the painting to have autonomy. I don’t want to dominate the process, I want a partnership.” The exhibition runs from May 19-June 10 at The Molesworth Gallery, 16 Kildare Street, Dublin 2;

Ways of Seeing: The album of Francis Edmund Currey, Lismore Castle Arts, Co Waterford

The 1850s were a transitional decade for photography and a space where wealthy amateurs often shaped and informed its direction. Experimenting within its technical constraints, Frances Edmund Currey, land agent for the 6th Duke of Devonshire’s Irish properties, constructed a multi-layered chronicle of life in and around Lismore Castle. This new exhibition, which will run until July 16, encompasses personal memoir, social history, documentary record and artistic ambition. Focussing on photographic albums held by the Chatsworth Trust, curator Sarah McDonald evaluates Currey’s differing relationships to the medium and his rising significance as one of Ireland’s pioneering photographers. The exhibition opens on May 20 at Lismore Castle Arts in tandem with a contemporary photographic exhibition, “This Rural”, curated by Miriam O’Connor and Paul McAree;

Thrum, Ronnie Hughes, The Molesworth Gallery

The works of abstract artist Ronnie Hughes are defined by their complex technical skill and lightness of touch. “My role is to steer and nuance their evolution,” he says, “to balance the elements and, just as often, to disrupt them resulting in the emergence of waves, nebulae, constellations, lattice structures and fields.” The works in his new exhibition at The Molesworth Gallery, 16 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2, which runs until June 15, are more optically charged and multi-dimensional. What appears to be random or chaotic is revealed to have a hidden template, structure or pattern. ”I’m interested in exposing these unseen forces,” he says, “the things that lie beneath appearance. The physical act of making a painting is for me an act of discovery, a quest to extract a veiled or hidden reality. I try to make paintings that reward careful looking and that encourage contemplation.”

The Pisreóg Project: Axis Ballymun, Dublin

Ireland’s first-ever national art project designed, led and spear-headed by members of the Travelling community, was opened by President Michael D Higgins at the Axis Ballymun, who said, “The distinctive history, identity and tradition of Irish Travellers is woven deeply into the story and culture of Ireland, and it has made a significant and positive contribution. For many years, Travellers were a welcome sight in Irish communities offering their skills, in the rearing and selling of horses, mending and restoring objects and bringing to our doors a range of beautifully crafted objects, such as lace, or paper flowers… we owe a special debt to these communities, these custodians of Irish heritage. The Pisreóg Project is a true reflection of Irish Traveller stories, led by Travellers – the experts of their own heritage and lived experience. There is still much to be done to enable and support full societal participation by this a group of citizens who are too often excluded – The Pisreóg Project gives me hope, and heart that these stories are being honoured and heard. I commend St Margarets, Axis and the National Museum in holding space for this work to emerge from the community and for the community”. The Pisreóg Project has seen Traveller beoirs/women in Ballymun collect and document the traditions, folklore, practices and customs within the community – seven commissioned artists then responded to the collected materials in their own art form. These works will be exhibited in Axis’ Gallery in May and will then form part of the collection of the National Museum of Ireland, as an example of community curated work.

Repeating Song, Aleana Egan, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin

Across painting and sculptural arrangements, the works in Aleana Egan’s Repeating Song exhibition seeks to convey an “ambient space in which to convey sensations through looking”. Traces of interactions and experience are harvested and expressed through material objects, colour, and form, presenting a rhythmic installation rooted in the blending of inchoate interior visions and sources from the world at large. Primarily in muted tones of blues and browns, the paintings are populated by fragmentary shapes that grasp at images as if retrieving memories imprinted deep in the psychic landscape. The exhibition runs until May 27.

Reverspective, Patrick Hughes, Gormleys

Celebrated British artist Patrick Hughes, whose perspective-bending art has earned him an honorary science doctorate in the field of neurology, has unveiled his first major exhibition in Ireland. This runs until June 4 at Gormleys Dublin, 27 Frederick Street Dublin 2, and features works valued up to €150,000. Hughes’ Reverspective paintings are an optical illusion on a three-dimensional surface, where the parts of the picture which seem farthest away are actually, physically, the nearest. The effect of his work is akin to looking down a corridor as the painting moves and shifts relative to the observer.

The RHA Annual Exhibition, RHA Gallery, Dublin

This year, The RHA Gallery, on Ely Place, marks its 200th year with a host of celebrations to commemorate two centuries of promoting and showcasing contemporary Irish art.  Led by contemporary Irish artist Dr Abigail O’Brien PRHA, who is the first female President of the Academy, the bicentennial year will be marked by a wide range of exciting and historic events including a specially-commissioned book and a commemorative stamp by An Post.

Ireland’s largest and longest running open submission exhibition of visual arts, The RHA Annual Exhibition, will open on Monday, May 22, displaying painting, drawing, print, sculpture, photography and architectural models, at a wide range of price points. For more information on the RHA Gallery’s bicentennial celebrations and upcoming events visit their website at

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