I was delighted this week to have my work on The Spark. The Spark promotes Irish arts and culture and has a a lot on the site covering visual art such as painting, illustration, film and photography and they promote dance, music and poetry. They contacted me during the first week of the Pallas show and asked if I'd like to have some of my work on the site, there's a little about me and the work and 4 images of my work.
I'm delighted to have 2 paintings in the Hermione Exhibition at Alexandra College in Dublin. The exhibition is curated by Aisling Prior, opens tomorrow night, March 6th at 6:30pm and runs until March 15th. The opening is followed by The Hermione Lecture which will be given by Una Sealy RHA at 8pm.
One of the 2 paintings I have on show - He Sat Listening to the Songs, Oil on Canvas, 22cm x 18
The exhibition is open from 11am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 1pm to 5pm Saturday and Sunday. There's 63 of us exhibiting in the show, I wasn't able to upload the invite but here's a link to the website for some information on the exhibition - The Hermione Exhibition and Lecture
I have a new solo exhibition opening next Wednesday February 7th at Pallas Projects in Dublin. The title of the show is Between the Hawthorns andits in the same style as the previous body of work but with several new characters introduced. Some of these are completely new, others were referenced in the last body of work through the use of hoodies and hats. The reason for the title is because of the old Irish belief that the hawthorn tree is a meeting place for fairies and to disturb one would bring about bad fortune
To Do No Harm but to Show Favour. My interpretation of the Fear Dearg or Red Man, referenced in the last series as a hat has finally been given a body.
The backgrounds to the paintings are still dark and gloomy but instead of the completely black backgrounds of the Dock Leaf paintings I have started using more detailed backdrops and during the photography process stopped setting up the shots in such a way that they deliberately filled the background with shadow.
The official opening is at 6pm to 8 and it's up then until the 17th. I'm hoping to show between 11 and 13 paintings, the work is still small scale, I think the largest is 36cm x 31cm, but I don't want to have it overcrowded either because I like a fair amount space around each painting.
I have 3 small paintings going on show at the end of the month in Dublin. I'm delighted to be involved in a new arts festival titled Soul Noir Festival of the Dark Arts. The festival is being setup by friend and artist Sinead Keogh and the theme is Gothic, macabre and "the other". The opening is on Halloween night and it runs until the 2nd of November. You can see from the website the work of the associated artists and there was an open call out too which received a huge response.
The space is an old building on North Great Georges Street that was built in the 1760's and is perfect for the theme. Sinead has set up a Fund It campaign to help with the costs of the festival, if you want to support her you can do that here. The campaign runs for just under 2 more days, it ends at 4:30 on Monday, October 10th.
Last month Laois County Council awarded me the Arts Act Grant. I was delighted to receive the funding because it will be going towards a new solo exhibition I have scheduled for February 2018 at Pallas Project Space in Dublin. I think it's nailed down now and the dates are from the 5th to the 18th. I'll be in on the 5th and 6th installing, I think Pallas have their shows opening on Wednesdays mostly so that will be the 7th, it runs then until the 17th with the de-installation on the 18th.
The new work is following the same theme and style as the Beneath the Dock Leaf series but I have new characters and mythological figures in the paintings. Some are figures that I referenced with hats or hoodies such as the Fear Dearg, but are now in the form of actual people.
One of the new paintings. I have no title for it yet, it's oil on canvas and is 21cm x 18cm
I've started making new props for the characters too and remaking some of the older ones in the hopes they will be more lightweight and stronger. The clover that I made for the leprechaun in the previous series of work is more or less destroyed and it was never built to last, it was heavy and awkward to wear especially when running around in a dark room trying to switch between posing and set the camera.
I finished up in Abbeyleix Further Education and Training Centre this week after a residency lasting just under 3 months. The original plan was to play around with some animation but after the first 2 weeks my laptop closed down and wouldn't turn back on, the timing wasn't a huge issue though because I was due to start working with the Level 5 students as their work experience module started and ran for another 2 weeks.
I really enjoyed the fortnight teaching, I had to write up a brief and the students worked from that. They were very easy to work with and are a really, really strong group technically. The work being produced over the 2 weeks was a high standard and they gave excellent presentations both at the halfway point and at the end of the module. There was also a huge variation in the work across the group, the brief linked to my my own practice in terms of making prop's and using them to create scenes as source material for paintings but some people concentrated on the prop building and refining it to a point where it served as a finished piece without anything else. Other's worked on drawings, paintings, illustration and photography working from the models that they had made. Some of the work can be seen on the Art Department's Instagram
I started my second month of the residency after the teaching and decided with the laptop gone I was going to try some printmaking. I never really gave it a proper try before, I did a tiny bit of carborundum printing back in first year in Galway and I think maybe monoprint when I was a student in Abbeyleix in 2006. Drypoint was where I started just taking an old sheep skull as a starting point, it was really to try and get use to the process of scratching into the perspex plate. I was kind of happy with the results as a first drypoint print. There were a number of problems with it, I think on one of the attempts I wiped away too much ink and on the other not enough. I don't think I scratched deep enough into the plate either so I'm not sure if it was able to hold enough ink or not. With these plates only being trials I didn't worry about dampening the paper either, I would do that for the next attempt.
The first 2 drypoint prints
I started a painting back in early January and I wasn't happy with it so the the next drypoint print would be a way of recycling that and I ended up using the remains of the painting itself to test glazes. I actually used a lot of images from previous work just so I could jump right into the process of printing but these test pieces won't ever be exhibited, so aside from social media and my blog they won't be seen beyond rough documentation.
The painting that was the source of some test prints
I started using linocut in the middle of working with the drypoint. I was using the softer blue lino and hacked through it a couple of times so I want to try using the tougher grey lino and hopefully I can avoid cutting through it. Again I used the painting above to start with and the result is below, there were a few issues to iron out too. One was the application of the ink, I applied far too much on the first print, not enough on the next few and I think the last two or three I was happy with. I think with the first couple I probably didn't roll the ink out enough before putting it on the lino. I wanted to just get going with it so it was slightly rushed.
First attempts at linocut
Overall I was happy enough with these first few attempts at the prints. I was trying to make them with a similar aesthetic to my paintings or see if I could, I think this is something I would try to avoid with the linoprints. It might work with the drypoint process. I used stronger paper and dampened it for the piece at the end of this post and felt the result worked out pretty well.
Second attempt, reusing the image of a drawing I had for Birr Arts Festival last year
From here I'm back working on a new body of paintings based on the same them of folklore and mythology, I'm hoping to keep the prints going too. Jackie, Edel and Jock asked if I would work with them to curate the Level 5 artists' graduate show in The Dunamaise Arts Centre. I haven't any exhibitions lined up this year but I have two solo exhibitions scheduled for 2018. I need to just finalize things for one in February that's going to be in Pallas Projects, Dublin and the other is down for April in Birr Arts Centre. I just wanted to say a massive thanks to Jackie Edel and Jock for having me back for the residency and for the chance to work with them and the artists studying in Abbeyleix.
The last drypoint on the residency and a small mark-making sample