Charles Tyrrell
New Large Scale Works
May 13-July 2

Charles Tyrell

Crawford Art Gallery is pleased to present 'New Large Scale Works'
by Charles Tyrrell, in partnership with Solstice Arts Centre

Having spent his formative years in Meath, Charles Tyrrell has lived and worked in the Beara Peninsula for nearly twenty years and this new body of work celebrates the artist's strong connections with Meath and Cork.

Patrick Murphy has commented that for nearly 30 years now, critics have from time to time sought, without success, to root Tyrrell's abstraction into his West Cork landscape. At times, Tyrrell seems to admit some oblique reference but then squeezes out any iota of that possibility. If this present suite of paintings has any such reference it is not to the topographical but the tectonic [1].

Tyrrell's abstract canvases juxtapose meditative qualities alongside a darker underbelly in which the layers of paint, often scraped back and reapplied, invites yet rebuffs, the viewer from gaining evidence of what lies beneath. Each work that Tyrrell creates organically from his previous canvas engenders a narrative or conversation between the compositions. Shown together at the Crawford Art Gallery, they illustrate the fact that his paintings have got ever more simple and rigorous, and within this defined arena his painting has got more complex and capable of embracing fact and metaphor with equal passion[2].

A full-colour catalogue with text by Patrick T. Murphy, Director, RHA Gallery, Dublin accompanies the exhibition (€8).

[1] Patrick T. Murphy, New Works by Charles Tyrrell, Solstice Arts Centre and Crawford Art Gallery, 2011

[2] Ibid.

Bealtaine 2011
An Exhibition
celebrating creativity
in Ballyphehane/Togher



In early 2010, Crawford Art Gallery aproached Ballyphehane/Togher Community Development project with a view to working collaboratively.

Our aims were to introduce the gallery as a resource to exchange skills and to find out how groups in Ballyphehane/Togher expresed themselves creatively.

This led to a developimg creative dialogue with participants from four local community arts groups, who worked with artists in a year-long exploratory project. This dialogue allowed local community development and gallery education to connect, enabling us to better understand how creativity can actively empower within community contexts.

We are delighted to present the creative voices of these community artists.

Ballyphehane/Togher Community Arts & Craft initiave worked with textile artist Mary Timmons in developing large, celebratory pieces invoking cycles of nature. This proactive group are interested in exploring ways of bringing craft skills, art proceses and vibrant community spirit together.

Members of Ballyphehane Men's Art Group, Ballyphehane Women's Art group and St. Finbarr's Retired, Social & Recreational Art Group took a leap of faith with artist Julie Kelleher, in a journey that explored the variety of ways that marks can be put down on the empty page to create bold, brave and vibrant drawings. They were challenged to look to modes other than representation, using line, shape, rubbings and colour studies.

Members of all three art groups worked wth stained glass artist Debbie Dawson and responded to art works in the Crawford Gallery space, creating images using a sgraffito technique where paint is applied to the surface of the glass and then scratched away to reveal colour. As well as working with the theme 'Home' to creat personal images on glass that were then leaded together to make individual stained galss panels.

This exhibition forms part of our 2011 Bealtaine Programme. Crawford Art Gallery would like to thank Siobhán O'Dowd and Teresa McCarthy at Ballyphehane/Togher CDP and all of the community artists who 'took a chance' and participated in this exploratory project. We look forward to developing our relationships with Ballyphehane/Togher CDO in 2012

Altered Images
February 14 - April 30

Altered Images
The Crawford Art Gallery is very excited to present Altered Images, a partnership initiative of the Irish Museum of Modern Art´s National Programme, Mayo County Council Arts Office and South Tipperary Arts Service.

The exhibition is designed to engage a universal audience: disabled and non-disabled people, newcomers and the regular exhibition-goer, young people and mature audiences. Its multi-sensory approach invites all visitors to touch, listen, hear, imagine, feel, see, navigate and experience.

Each artwork is accompanied by an audio description and a three dimensional tactile model. Artist Amanda Coogan has produced a film using sign language, as a companion piece to the exhibition, and an introduction to contemporary art.

This exhibition presents the work of six contemporary artists.

Alice Maher´s dream-like images are drawn from an Irish girl-hood, myth, fairytale and a sensuous fascination with the natural world.

Thomas Brezing paints layered landscapes, which on closer scrutiny reveal concerns about displacement, belonging and history.

David Creedon´s atmospheric photographic work explores the plight of Irish emigration from the early 1950´s to the 1980´s.

Caroline McCarthy presents a fantastic feast of food made from unexpected materials. Her humorous work comments on consumerism and modes of representation.

Amanda Coogan is a performance artist. She communicates images and ideas through her body. Her film work, Seven Steps, narrated using sign language, offers a response to the artwork in the exhibition.

Daphne Wright´s Plura, taken from a classical marble sculpture, presents an intricate film work in which a web of fragmented forms are enveloped by the guttural sounds of male and female phonetic voices. The film relates to remembering or loss of memory, recalling a struggle with language, conversations and relationships.

An audio CD, Braille documentation and a large print catalogue are available on request. A website for the project can be found at

Project Team: Damien O´Connor, Disability Arts Coordinator, Mayo County Council; Anne McCarthy, Arts Officer, Mayo County Council; Johanne Mullan, National Programmer IMMA; Georgie Thompson, Assistant Curator; Collections, IMMA and Sally O´Leary, Arts Officer South Tipperary County Council.

This exhibition is kindly supported by the Arts Council´s Touring & Dissemination of Work Scheme.

For more information or images, please contact Anne Boddaert.
Tel: 0214907857
Email: anneboddaert[a]


Strange AttractorStrange Attractor

Strange Attractor


Strange Attractor


‘Black Tears´

Cecily Brennan
(Image: ©Cecily Brennan, ‘Black Tears´ 2010 HD Video 8´)

Crawford Art Gallery presents ‘Black Tears´ by Cecily Brennan as part of a series of screenings by Irish and International artists.

‘Black Tears' (2010) observes Irish actress Britta Smith immersed in unexplained grief. Her sadness is accentuated during the course of the video when she appears to be weeping black tears. While our instinct might be to politely avert our gaze from a woman in distress, Cecily Brennan´s powerful and evocative ‘Black Tears´ asks us to confront and question personal affliction. The work conjures up a maelstrom of questions directed both to the weeping woman and within oneself addressing, at least, vulnerability and strength.

From a basis in painting and drawing Brennan´s practice has expanded to encompass video, sculpture and installation addressing two related but distinct subjects, that of physical pain and affliction, on the one hand, and that of psychological trauma, on the other. Damage and fortitude are her abiding concerns, and the perennial search for those strategies of survival that allow ordinary human beings to endure and overcome the various afflictions by which they are beset.*

To launch the screening Cecily Brennan will give an informal presentation on Thursday 13 January, 5:30 pm (free entrance). Cecily Brennan lives and works in Dublin and Berlin and has shown extensively in Ireland and internationally including ‘Transmediale´ MMX Berlin, (2011); ‘Love Video´ Oriel Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno (2011); ‘Dark Waters´ Station Project Platform Arts, Belfast (2011); ‘Collecting the New´ Irish Museum of Modern Art
(2010); ‘Unbuilding´ Mermaid Arts Centre. ‘Black Tears´ Taylor Galleries, Dublin (2010); ‘Voices´ commissioned by Breaking Ground, Ballymun (2009); Ard Bia, Berlin, ‘Singing the Real´ Iziko South African National Gallery, Capetown (2007) and ‘Balancing´ Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast (2005). Cecily Brennan is represented by Taylor Galleries, Dublin.

For further information please contact:
Crawford Art Gallery, Emmet Place, Cork, Ireland

*Aidan Dunne, Irish Times, May 5, 2010

all my lovin'

All my lovinClick image for more info..

Portraits and People: Art in Seventeenth Century Ireland
29 October - January 22

John Closterman  Kneller Portrait of Sir William Robinson 2191 - P
John Closterman
Kneller Portrait of Sir William Robinson
2191 - P

This exhibition brings together forty-three portraits, which give an insight into the social and political life of Ireland during a turbulent and troubled period. Painted by artists such as Garret Morphey, Mary Beale, Cornelius Johnson and Anthony Van Dyck, they represent members of the wealthy and powerful families of the time. They also highlight fundamental changes that were taking place in Irish society, with Gaelic lords, Anglo-Norman earls and new English settlers having their portraits painted, even as they struggled through an often confused and bloody century. As with all art, there is much in the way of wishful thinking, and there is also, in some, an element of pure fantasy. There are dashing heroes, knights in armour, beautiful heroines and wistful children. They are not paintings intended to show the grimmer side of life in the 1600´s; instead they are celebratory, recording significant family members and special historic, social or festive events.

In an era before photography was invented, teenagers such as Katherine Fitzgerald had their portraits painted when their parents sought to arrange suitable marriages; men such as Thomas Wentworth and Sir Neal O´Neill had their portraits painted when they were promoted or given a title, or if they simply wanted to present to posterity a lasting image of their power and authority. Portraits might be commissioned by a loving mother, who feared losing her husband or children. In a century when smallpox and other diseases were common, where both Britain and Ireland were wracked by civil wars, the desire to have a permanent image of a loved one is understandable. In these paintings there is much in the way of armour and helmets, expensive lace, fabrics and jewellery. If a woman was painted in the guise of a goddess or saint, it gave her a timeless quality, while also providing a good opportunity for dressing-up. It would be a mistake to think that these portraits, so clearly inspired by the art of Titian and Veronese, provide an accurate visual record of how people dressed, and looked, in everyday Cork, Kilkenny or Waterford in the seventeenth century. Instead of depicting people as they were seen, these paintings show them as they wished to be seen.

Some of the works in this exhibition, such as those by John Michael Wright, Garret Morphey and Thomas Pooley were probably painted in Ireland; others, by the Flemish artists Anthony Van Dyck and Peter Lely, were painted by these Continental artists who had settled in London, while the great portrait of Domhnall O´Sullivan Beare was painted in Spain. Between 1600 and 1700, there were few artists born and trained in either Britain or Ireland. The two great centres were Italy and the Netherlands, and it was from the Netherlands mainly that artists migrated to London, bringing with them a sophistication that attracted patronage.

With special thanks to Chatworth house for their support (

‘Twentieth of April Sixteen Eighty Nine´
October 29 – January 22

Eamon O'Kane
Photo: Eamon O´Kane ‘Re-enactment: Hunt´ (2009), Courtesy the artist/ArtSway

Crawford Art Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Eamon O´Kane entitled "Twentieth of April Sixteen Eighty Nine" featuring the artist´s skill and understanding of a wide range of media including video re-enactments, painting, performative drawings, and sculpture.

Eamon O´Kane´s intriguing installation focuses on a pivotal period in the history of Ireland. The multi-layering of histories is key to O´Kane´s work and espouses the idea of history being a highly contingent construct and thereby critiquing ‘the artifice of representation´. The complexities inherent in the construction of history are teased out to form a subtle interrogation of the belief systems and political mind-sets subsequently formed in contemporary Ireland.

"Twentieth of April Sixteen Eighty Nine" centres around the history of O´Kane´s parents´ house in Co. Donegal, and attempts to address and illustrate the overlapping histories of his family home and the siege of Derry by James II in 1689.   Crucial to the history-making is the symbol of a sycamore tree which James II lunched under on ‘Twentieth of April Sixteen Eighty Nine´ which subsequently fell in 1999 during a storm and the residues of history, myth and O´Kane´s own art histories from which is created.

Eamon O´Kane has exhibited widely including solo shows at ArtSway, New Forest, Economist Plaza, London, and Gregory Lind Gallery, San Francisco and Rare Gallery, New York. In 2006 he was short-listed for the AIB Prize and received a Pollock Krasner foundation grant. He was short-listed for the Jerwood Drawing Prize in London in 2007. O´Kane lives and works in Odense, Denmark and Co. Donegal, Ireland.

For press and visual requests contact Dawn Williams
T: +353 214907853 / / W: 

‘The Fight´


Mark Lewis
The Fight, Mark Lewis, 2008. High Definition, 5'27".
Film still courtesy and © the artist and galerie serge le borgne, Paris. 

Crawford Art Gallery presents ‘The Fight´ by Mark Lewis as part of a series of screenings by Irish and International artists.

‘The Fight´ (2008) is set against a backdrop of a generic street market and pedestrian traffic. Two groups of merchants are embroiled in the to-and-fro of physical and verbal conflict without apparent resolution. Yet on closer scrutiny, ‘The Fight´ appears awkward and mis-matched.

Mark Lewis´ films explore the language of film, using cinema´s spatial and temporal juxtapositions to create fictitious and dislocated scenes in which he often employs the classic film technique of rear projection. Pioneered in the 1920s, rear projection involved shooting a pre-recorded film back projected whilst a group of actors are filmed in the foreground. By dislocating the subjects from the urban environment they appear to be part of, Lewis´s work throws up endless questions of context, contemporary life and social conflicts. Ironically, one could suggest that is this dislocation of context which perhaps makes the tensions of ‘place´ more pertinent.

Mark Lewis is a renowned and internationally acclaimed artist working in film-based media (digital and analog), and photography. He represented Canada at the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009) and has had major solo museum exhibitions all over the world including: Hamburger Kunstverein, Musée d´art moderne (Luxembourg), BFI Southbank (London), the National Museum of Contemporary Art (Bucharest, Romania), and in 2007 presented at PS1 as part of the International Projects Series. His work is many collections including the Museum of Modern Art New York, Musée d´Art Contemporain de Montréal, Centre Pompidou (Paris) and National Gallery of Canada.

Mark Lewis is co-founder and co-editor, with Charles Esche, of Afterall —a research and publishing organisation based at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London. He is a founding and co-editor of Afterall Journal, and the series editor of the One Work, a series of books, published by Afterall Books that examine important single modern and contemporary works of art. Mark Lewis is represented by Monte Clark Gallery (Vancouver), Clark & Faria Gallery (Toronto).

For further information please contact: dawnwilliams[a]

The Willows

15 October - November 27

Image © Alana Riley

Crawford Art Gallery is delighted to present ‘The Willows´ – (October 15 – November 27) an exhibition by Katrin Hornek (Austria), Alana Riley (Canada) and Oliver Jacobi (Germany).

‘The Willows´ explores possibilities and outcomes drawing on experiences and practice during the artists´ three month residency in 2009 in Cork, in partnership with National Sculpture Factory and Pépiniѐre Europѐenes pour Jeune Artistes.

Katrin Hornek´s practice unfolds in a variety of interventionist strategies, based upon her interest in architecture to focus on counter-intuitive systems of migration. Her work featured in ‘The Willows´ focuses on the Irish Travellers who have been forced to become settled over the last few decades due to modernisation, urbanisation and strict trespass laws. Working with the Travelling Community in Cork, Hornek explores their changing culture and parallels ideas of freedom professed by Irish society and architecture.

Alana Riley probes the actions of the artist at work and how the notion of the studio space traditionally recalls painting and drawing. Who´s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Grey shows the artist from an aerial perspective mopping the studio floor. Whilst alluding to colour-field painting in her performance, Riley comments on general perceptions of the artist and the differering values society places on labour.

Oliver Jacobi´s work revolves around a physical manipulation of architectural spatial conditions. His use of materials varies greatly but always manifest themselves in sculptural and architectural interventions, which have a human response and force interaction. For this exhibition, Jacobi has created three mild steel sculptures derived from notionally overlapping triangular pyramids counteracting the traditional galleries in which they are sited.

Catalogue launch and guided tour: Thursday 18 November with Dr Ed Krčma (University College Cork) at 5:30 pm

Please contact Dawn Williams for further information:


‘Luas Carol´


Luas Carol

Crawford Art Gallery presents ‘LUAS CAROL´ by Cleary + Connolly as part of a series of screenings by Irish and International artists.

‘Luas Carol´ is a mesmeric journey on Dublin's Light Rail System exploring the everyday world of movement in Dublin and its vast sprawling suburbs spreading out west from the coastal city. The film details the mundane, the idiosyncratic and ubiquitous habits of commuters, tourists and Dubliners.

Using the ‘Wandering Rocks´ chapter in James Joyce´s Ulysses as a starting point, Anne Cleary and Denis Connolly look at how far the contemporary world of the Dublin commuter has strayed from the civic realm that existed when Joyce wrote his seminal book.  ‘Luas Carol´ is “where words, sounds and images from across times merge and collide to recreate the dreamy, almost drugged state that one slips into while looking out of the window of a moving train” (Cleary + Connolly). 

Cleary + Connolly are the 2009 recipients of the AIB Prize and have exhibited widely including Barbican, London; Pompidou Centre, Paris; Ballymun Project, Dublin and Noughties but Nice: 21st Century Irish Art, Limerick City Gallery. ‘Luas Carol´ is part of Moving Dublin by Cleary + Connolly, commissioned by South Dublin County Council´s Per Cent for Art Scheme (2009).


July 23 – October 9, 2010

Lorraine Burrell, ‘Pictures from a Family Album´ 2007
© the artist and Third Space Gallery, Belfast

Within the current economic downturn, the media´s concentration of the home as a symptom and symbol of the current economic downturn places an incontrovertible focus of the relationship between dwellers and buildings. The habitat in which we reside dualistically offers opportunity and restriction with the home and its extended environment becomes a centre for ritual, refuge or boundary.

‘Close To Hand´ focuses on investigations and processes of eight artists who continue to invoke the personal and physical relationship of their surroundings within their practices. Consistently exposing and exploring personal rhythms and rituals the exhibition celebrates the creative impetus that is the familiar and the overlooked within our everyday context and thereby prompts the viewer to ‘look again´ at the relationship with one´s immediate surroundings. 

July 23 – October 9 2010

Close To Hand

Jellyfish Lake
July 19 - September 18
(Screening Room)

Dorothy Cross 'Jellyfish Lake'
Dorothy Cross 'Jellyfish Lake'
(2002), © the artist and Kerlin Gallery, Dublin

until 3 July 2010

Over the centuries, the visual arts in Ireland have drawn inspiration from a variety of international art movements. Expressionism represents a particularly strong thread in recent Irish art. An art movement that is in no way remote from the realities of life, Expressionism speaks both to, and about, people: the paintings and drawings shown here contain a palpable sense of joy and celebration, with some reflecting doubts, uncertainties and fears. The tradition of Expressionism, particularly in Northern European art, goes back to the medieval Christian period, to painters such as Grunewald. This tradition was revitalized in the twentieth century, especially during the First World War, when artists such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Max Beckmann pilloried a society that allowed the horrors of war to co-exist with civilized values. With its own troubled social and political history, Ireland struggled towards a sense of political self-determination, and from within its tangled web of colonial and post-colonial mind-sets, emerged a number of key artists, including Francis Bacon, probably the most famous Expressionist artist of the 20th century.

A bringing together of this European tradition, with American Abstract Expressionism of the 1950´s, informs the work of Barrie Cooke, an artist who trained in the US, but who has lived and worked in Ireland for over half a century. Infused with a pantheistic reverence for nature, Cooke´s paintings, such as Lough Derg Pike, created using thin washes of oil colour, hover between the representational and the abstract. Other International influences on Irish art include the Glasgow School, where William Crozier trained as a painter. While avoiding the term “Expressionist” to describe his work, Crozier paints the Irish landscape with verve and a free and inspired use of colour that is rare in Irish art, and owes much to the Scottish Colourists.

In the 1960´s, a number of like-minded Irish artists, including Michael Kane, Charles Cullen and Brian Bourke and John Behan, formed the Independent Artists Group. Of these, Brian Bourke, who trained at St. Martin´s School of Art and in Germany, is one of the most outstanding Expressionist painters working in Ireland today. His early work Summer Dance (1965) reveals a debt to German Expressionism, while the later Knockalough Summer (1977) with its animated colour and painterliness, celebrates both the Irish countryside and a spirit of liveliness characteristic of the West of Ireland, where the artist lives and works.

The social and political unrest of the 1960´s also informs the work of Brian Maguire, Patrick Graham and Michael Mulcahy. In these works, the personal and the political are interwoven. Maguire has, for many years, worked with people who have been marginalized by society. He has taught in prisons and mental hospitals and in addition to his own work which champions the rights of the individual in the face of a sometimes uncaring society, he encourages the artistic creativity of many who would otherwise regard art as something separate from their lives. Michael Mulcahy´s travels in Africa, New Guinea and Korea have informed his animistic and inspired mark-making. He brings together Western art and shamanistic magic in large celebratory paintings, and also in works that explore the darker side of the human soul.

Leo McCann´s personal iconography has its roots in Expressionism, and also in Surrealism, with the artist creating visual dreamlike worlds where anything seemingly can happen. In the drawing Dial M for Milchofe, (1999), Suzy O´Mullane uses charcoal to great effect, drawing both on autobiography and also a surrealist sense of playfulness. Taken together, these works of art convey a sense of humanity that while celebrating life, do not flinch from recording its fears and uncertainties.

rawing to form: Art from the Weltkunst Collection
Irish Museum of Modern Art

22 April – 3 July 2010

Gormley Wilding Houshiary
Antony Gormley Alison Wilding Shirazeh Houshiary

Drawing to form comprises some 56 drawings and sculptures from the Weltkunst Collection of British Art.  The exhibition aims to demonstrate the key role of drawing in the creation of three-dimensional objects.  The Weltkunst Collection, currently on loan to The Irish Museum of Modern Art focuses on sculpture from the 1980´s and 90´s but also holds an impressive collection of drawings.  Many of the artists included in the exhibition would be primarily recognised for their sculptural practice.  Through the inclusion of preparatory and associated drawings the exhibition endeavours to provide greater insight into the artist´s conceptual process. Drawing to form includes works by the following artists Grenville Davey, Richard Deacon, Antony Gormley, Shirazeh Houshiary, Anish Kapoor, Avis Newman, Rachel Whiteread and Alison Wilding.

Drawing to form is a collaborative exhibition between The Crawford Art Gallery and the IMMA National Porgramme.  Focusing on the Museum´s Collection, the National Programme facilitates offsite projects and exhibitions in a range of venues and situations throughout Ireland.  The programme is intended to support venues existing programmes and act as catalyst for developing curatorial approaches.
Curated by Johanne Mullan, National programmer, IMMA

13 MARCH - Saturday 10 APRIL, 2010

Backwater 2010

A celebration of 20 years of Backwater ARTISTS GROUP
Exhibition from Saturday 13 MARCH - Saturday 10 APRIL, 2010

Backwater Twenty 10 celebrates 20 years of the Backwater Artists Group – an artist-led organisation based in Cork City who are dedicated to improving the working conditions and support structures for visual artists.

Curated by Stephen Brandes and Vera Ryan over 120 artists feature in this exhibition, each of whom have worked within the Backwater Studios whether through the six-month Ciarán Langford Memorial Bursary; a project based studio residency or artists who enjoy full time membership.

Founded in 1990 by graduates of the Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork, Backwater Artists Group has 27 studios facilitating merging artists and established artists in providing secure, well-equipped studio spaces as well as support structures for professional art practice. Both individually and collectively the numerous artists who have worked within Backwater Studios over the last twenty years have made a formidable and dynamic contribution to the arts both locally, nationally and internationally.

The exhibition covers three floors of the Crawford Gallery and celebrates the success of the last 20 years of Backwater Artists Group and looks forward expectantly to the next.


John Adams, Ellen Barrett, Sineád Barry, Simon Bennett, Stephen Brandes, Gemma Browne, Caroline Buggy, Brendan Butler, Patricia Burns, Alannah Byrne, Tom Campbell, Mark Clare, Elaine Coakley, Maureen Considine, Lorraine Cooke, Patrick Corcoran, Ciaran Cronin, Aidan Crotty, Brian Crotty, Niamh Davis, Tanya de Paor, Cyril Desmond, Cliff Dolliver, Fiona Dowling, Paul Drohan, Mags Dunne, Megan Eustace, Dominic Fee, Lisa Fingleton, Julie Forrester, Ita Freeney, Mags Geaney, Catherine Gibney, Valerie Gleeson, Debbie Godsell, Vivienne Griffin, Stephen Gunning, Conor Harrington, Brian Harte, Olivia Hasset, Eileen Healy, Ciara Healy, Ian Healy, Martin Healy, Catherine Hehir, Kevin Holland, Stephanie Hough, Niamh Hurley, Sarah Iremonger, Marianne Keating, Tonia Kehoe, Helle Kvamme, Ciarán Langford, Paul La Rocque, Nevan Lehart, William Lawlor, Ray Lawlor, Laurie Le Grand, Susanne Leutengger, Lynda Loughnane, Tony Magner, Leo McCann, James McCann, Donna McNamara, Carín MacCana, Sharon McCarthy, Eva Maher, Sandra Minchin, Donal Moloney, Harry Moore, Kieran Moore, Pat Mortell, Lorraine Mullins, Frances Murphy, Eveleen Murphy, Ray Murphy, Catherine Murray, Pamela Myers, Lorraine Neeson, Sinead Ní Chíonaola, Éilis Ní Fhaolain, Deirdra Nolan, Noelle Noonan, Amelia Norman, Deirdre O´Brien, Maire O´Mahony, Maureen O´Connor, Suzy O´Mullane, Margaret O´Sullivan, Suzanne O´Sullivan, Aoife O´Brien, Sorcha O´Brien, Elizabeth O´Callaghan, Kieran O´Connor, Frances O´Connor, Robert O´Connor, Elayne O´Connor, Kieran O´Donovan, Tanya O´Keefe, Geraldine O´Riordan, Julia Pallone, Rebecca Peart, Annette Persson, Lucy Phelan, Tessa Power, Ben Reilly, Sinéad Rice, Amanda Rice, Gail Ritchie, Sarah Roche, Anthony Ruby, Christopher Samuels, Danielle Sheehy, Brian Smith, Aisling Smyth, Helena Tobin, Wesley Triggs, Kevin Tuohy, Margaret Walsh, Mark Whelan, Wendie Young.

Artists' Statement

Sharon McCarthy´s work is an exploration of different materials. In Paintfall III  she ‘combined liquid pigments with PVA, poured down a surface, pooling onto a shelf, layering several pourings over the previous ones. I try to create sculptural paintings that question the role of paint as a material and its relationship to land formation´.

Haven by Donna McNamara is from ‘a series called ‘The Very Heart of the Matter´, where I make works that are a physical/poetic equivalent to extreme emotions that arise and surprise us with their intensity. Haven depicts a sanctuary, a hidden place where high emotions can fade and bring us to a place of knowing.´

Ciarán Cronin started his ‘Flux´ series in 2005. Flux was completed in 2009. He ‘has worked in monochrome in repetitive processes over this prolonged period, both on walls and on floors. Working at speed and with dynamic energy the lines within the work suggest glimpses of the human form and the human condition in flux.´

For Maureen O´Connor ‘painting is a platform to concede to one´s own strangeness, and installation a technical engagement with disorder to configure something true to experience. Both pose a misshapen combination of materials and references to correspond with internal perception and thought.´

The piece of glass work entitled Bláth inspired a very short story about sleep, death and the celebration of life which Suzanne O Sullivan wrote. In it she writes ‘despite neglect, the flowers were blooming once again. They had not died, they had merely slept´.

During the summer of 2009, Aisling Smyth ‘set up scenes with a theatrical atmosphere which she photographed with a wide angle lens. She then painted a series of works based on the visual information gathered. The props and distorted angle in Bird on Ladder allowed her explore space and illusion in the painting. Directional marks and rich colour invite the viewer to enter in and around the illusionary space in a manner similar to her experience of making the painting´.

Elayne O´Connor´s work ‘is informed by nineteenth century romantics like Constable and Wordsworth. The inspiration derives from a love of the landscape and is combined with a keen interest in sport. As in Fallen Hero my choice of location is imperative to the overall atmosphere of the work, which centres around or near empty playing fields and the outskirts of villages or small towns. I create landscapes that attempt to raise sport to an epic and mythic level, while managing to convey a sense of defeat and pain. My preferred medium is oil on board. I also work in mixed media, when working outdoors.´

Paint always takes John Adams ‘on a journey exploring process, questioning direction, reaffirming skills and seeking challenge. This is why I paint landscapes, seascapes buildings and figure. Repetition is not my thing.´ Cork Docklands is based on an iconic view of the city.

The settings in Anthony Ruby´s paintings may be suburban and domestic. Although here we are given a title, The Dinghy, ‘The viewer may question what the image is. It may become a merging of individual and collective memory where a distant urban setting is imbued with a veil of melancholic ambiguity. Or unknowing figures are seen through the eyes of a voyeur.´

Brian Crotty´s small painting Humility Shall Escape Them Without More underpins an interest in sublime content. ‘Subject matter is made to reflect reverence and terror in the presence of the infinite. Colours are not naturalistic and spaces are deep and ambiguous, appearing black at first, inviting the viewer to peer deeply.´

In a series of paper-works called Memory Tests Brian Harte used material from books, newspapers and the internet to create artworks which mirror the anxiety and confusion of modern life. He focussed on ‘the life of chess master Bobby Fisher, who in his lifetime went from being adored champion, to an anti-Semitic crank, to opponent of capitalism and the Western way of life.´

Brian Smyth´s ‘paintings are mostly figurative. Working within the classical tradition, in The Café-iste and Man In Italian Garden and other paintings, he uses exact compositions, gestures and deep colours to convey a story or allow meaning to be found.´

Tonia Keohe´s work ‘is currently involved with having fun producing it. I use motifs such as deer, trees, horses and aeroplanes as everyone can relate to them. I am trying to be more experimental with colour and less precious about the outcome. The work is enjoyable for me and I hope it comes across this way to the viewer.´

Aoife O Brien is ‘interested in the idea that visual perception, ie interpreting what we see, is thought to consist of 80% memory and 20% input through the eyes. She explores this by offering the viewer depictions or suggestions of imagery which lead the viewer to his or her interpretation of what is represented. The aim is to create pictorial spaces which toy with the viewer´s impulse to believe in them. Anonymity prevails yet the work is strangely evocative of places we sense we might know´.

Stephen Brandes ‘likes to fictionalise real places and present them again as something other than they really are. Places which are familiar as well as strange are re- invented and the promise and escapism associated with travelling are infused with a black humour and surrealism. The work often takes the form of a meandering pictorial travelogue.´

In Rememberance of Things Past Mags Geaney worked from a composite of found photographic images. She ‘is interested in interrogating costume and how it informs the body´s biography. In the execution of the painting I purposefully leave out the orchid head piece and the velvet choker that initially attracted me. It is the unfinished costume that alludes to the mystery of the biography of the two women´. (diptych).

Angel by Ray Lawlor is one of a ‘bunch of pieces that have been assembling themselves, in the corners between weeks, behind boxes in spare rooms. I was aware of them and lent a hand when required of me, but otherwise let them to their own modest devices. There it is.´

Ever by Suzy O Mullane is ‘part of an ongoing body of work which deals with the huge passions and trials of its maker. Initially, the painting reads as a reactionary piece in that it is simmering, feral and visceral. But it is also layered and held in, which empowers it.´

The Behold Series by Catherine Hehir ‘was produced after a residency in Asia, looking at approaches to ritual in different cultures. It is a series of etchings of objects – flowers, incense sticks, candles, prayer flags, the heart – held by hand in ritual gesture. The preciousness and vulnerability of each object is expressed in these etchings´.

Uccello´s Cacti Chalice  by Nevin Lahart could be seen as a playful engagement with the concerns of the Italian Renaissance artist Uccello.

The Glen (2008) by Patricia Burns ‘is from a series of paintings based on the north side of Cork city, which deal with ideas of home and the ordinariness and familiarity of other people´s homes.´

Ita Freeney´s recent series of paintings represent a change ‘from using regular or anonymous forms to using more varied and irregular ones. Now roads, rivers and paths cutting through the landscape feature prominently. Although more representational than earlier paintings, the current paintings are still concerned with compositions based on blocks and shapes of subtle colour, as in Homewards.´

Helena Tobin´s Andean Reverie was taken on a trek in the Peruvian Andes in 2009. ‘Snowfall and cloud envelop a vast mountain peak, shrouding it in a mysterious blanket of white, its enormity almost obliterated as the blizzard fills the sky´

Catherine Gibney ‘uses layers of light washes of colour to create a landscape inspired by time spent in Kerry.´

Elaine Coakley´s seascapes on aluminium are pre-eminently about paint surface and light. She worked in the studio from photos taken of beaches she had seen while travelling.

Prevailing Summer Light, ‘a landscape based on Deirdre O´ Brien´s visit to Iceland, registers her response to the ever- changing light, atmosphere and weather conditions there. Like all her oil paintings it is executed in the studio´. 

Mark Whelan´s work deals with seeking beauty in the mundane.

Simon Bennett ‘draws inspiration from the streets and faces that I see on a day to day basis, though not necessarily those familiar to me. There is both magic and romance to be found in them all, as in Evergreen Street, if only the right perspective from which to view them can be found´.

Geraldine O Riordan has explored voyages of emigration in her recent paintings, tracking the journey her kinsman may have made when leaving Cork. The Admiral´s View allows us to imagine gazing down on the magnificence of the harbour in Cobh from a domestic and empowered position.

Video Heaven, Hell and Traffic Lights by James McCann ‘is in its fourth incarnation. The initial aim was to draw comparisons between the mechanical exactness of traffic lights and the imaginary spaces of heaven, hell and limbo. In attempting to condense the rambling, panoramic, over-articulated vision onto a single screen the video file literally exploded and this piece is a result of that explosion.´

Hare by William Lawlor pays homage to Joseph Beuys´s How To Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare performance in Dusseldorf in 1965. On his visit to the Crawford Municipal Art Gallery in 1974 Beuys expressed the belief that Ireland was ready for change. Ireland in 2010 certainly has changed and I feel it is vital to hold aloft his ideal that art can still protect, guide and heal our society.´

Trestle Table 1 
Kieran Moore sees his drawing And so shall we two go and worship together as being  about faithlessness and the allure of bad advice and takes his title comes from a line in The True Confessions and Memoirs of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg.

Employing images culled from celebrity magazines and the fashion press, Gemma Browne makes modest watercolour and gouache drawings, where the paint gives her characters a warmth of personality which are often absent from the original photos. S.B.

Trestle Table 2
Vivienne Griffin reinvents the everyday meaning of objects through personal manipulation. Here the found photograph of a man and a woman is viewed anew by the threadings on his head.

Donal Moloney´s practice ‘currently involves investigating the structures of paintings. Through my current investigations into digital manipulation of images and print, I attempt to create paintings that investigate both the mechanical means of producing a painting and the materiality of the substance itself.´

Trestle Table 3
‘In her photographic series Crows in Suburbia  Sinéad Barry studies these birds. She is very fascinated by the ways in which these compelling creatures fit into this setting´.
Trestle Table 4
Helle Kvamme´s ‘The Steamstudio was built in Sättra, on Öland, Sweden. It is a glassbox 160cm x 165cm high, 2.5 metres off the ground. The studio was heated with steam brought up through a pipe in the floor. A large kettle of water was boiled on a woodburner underneath the box. The temperatures varied from 14 – 43 degrees celsius. I used the studio to study my closest environment.´ These photographs record the structure.

The settings within Aidan Crotty´s paintings ‘Tyre´ and ‘Erractic´ ‘derive from local environments that border townland, river and sea. Within these confines I am drawn to solitary subjects that seem long detached from social function. In my current work it has become intrinsic to my practice both to observe and to work from memory´

With one exception all the work in the Backwater Twenty Ten exhibition is current. The I.D. Booth (1992/3) by Ciarán Langford is that exception. It is a self portrait of the artist who was a deeply respected and committed director of the Backwater Artists Group from 1993 to 1996 and died in his thirty third year in 1997. In 1998 the Crawford [Municipal] Art Gallery held an exhibition in Ciarán´s memory. He is remembered too in the studio bursary offered in his name by Backwater Artists Group annually to young artists graduating from the Crawford College of Art and Design

Shandon Church by Niamh Hurley was ‘worked up from a series of preliminary sketches done in situ and photographs taken in different lights. The architectural lines and patterns present in this little vignette of old Cork are what inspired the composition. The coupling of the man-made and organic structures visible in everyday surroundings inspires the work.´

Harry Moore has been involved with the practice of pinhole photography for over a decade and is concerned with ‘ the traces events leave in spaces, sometimes ghost-like and occasionally so slight that there is no visible record…The long duration of exposures and the engagement with the processing and proofing of the images help establish a meditative activity´. The title of the work exhibited-  County Hall Stairs the 18th July- characteristically includes both place and time.

VIDEO In Mark Clare´s The Perfect Human man is placed as the object, whose actions become a problematic and comedic backdrop for a found audio. We are told “We are going to see the perfect human being in action”. This is the human being just after dawn or just before bed: full of potential or as good as dead, Homo Sapien in his small earth-bound space, surrounded with bits and pieces of technology; some light, some power, some space. We see a witty combination of vain posturing and committed karate. With limited resources, wonders Clare, how might this human being make an impact, how might he effect change. S.B.

Kevin Holland´s Watershed is an interactive, sound-producing, metal sculpture, based on the story of the sculptor stranded in the windswept, rain battered desert shed, who is asked the question “What am I doing?” Since no answer was apparent, he decided in the meantime to make a piece of interactive, sound-producing metal sculpture based on the story of the sculptor stranded in the windswept, rain-battered desert shed... etc,etc.

BENCH         Untitled is from an ongoing body of work ‘Fallen´, in which Julie Forrester ‘explores the notion of latency. The position of the almost life- sized sculpture of the body is intended by the artist to suggest a narrative that has ended in the moment expressed in the position, a moment that contains many moments leading up to and emanating from this one. The artist hopes the moment can be discreetly shared with the viewer.´

(ENTRANCE FROM LOWER GALLERY) Frances Murphy views wax, from which these fragmentary sculptures are made, as only a substitute ‘while the beauty of life is fragmented, analyzed, abstracted, disappearing into the light of space and form´. 

An interest in the body, in particular in relation to certain man made materials and the tensions that are created when these are brought together and intertwined with the body, informs Sorcha O Brien´s current work. The three drawings she shows here are inspired by the photographic studies of Muybridge.

When Leo Mc Cann ‘was young, romantic scenes in films were more often than not curtailed by an abrupt knock on the door or the phone ringing at a telling moment of caress. This ingrained non – fulfilment has imaginatively dissolved itself for me in a concerted series of works of which  Ladies Life Drawing Class, Crawford Municipal Gallery,Cork (1924) is perhaps the climax.´

Eileen Healy ‘loves the sensuality of drawing. Jenny is from a series of work done from observing her model Jenny. Eileen´s accompanying notebooks afford a glimpse into her working process – she feels working from the life model keeps her work alive´.

Cyril Desmond´s ‘charcoal drawing Nude 2 forms part of a body of work which reflects his evolving relationship with art. He sees it as an honest drawing which simply represents his pleasure in the study of form and the creative process´.

In After Dűrer´s Adam and Eve, Megan Eustace registers her response to Dűrer´s engraving of 1504. She is interested in the idea that the figures in the engraving are not based primarily on studies from life but on theories of perfect proportion. If this exhibition space is entered through the Sculpture Galleries of the Crawford Art Gallery, one can see casts of the kind of sculptures on which Durer based his figure of Adam and get a sense of the dialogue about representations of the human figure across time. Megan´s notebooks also show her process.

Drawing has been at the core of Lorraine Cooke´s ‘practice since graduating from the Crawford College of Art and Design in 1994. For the last eight years she has worked both from the model and from Nature on a small scale.´ Using drypoint etching, her clear sensitive lines evoke mood with economy and clarity.

In her photographic work Pièta in which she posed the female model in the position of Christ in Michelangelo´s iconic sculpture, Annette Persson ‘explores the complexity of identity, shame and pride, tender strength and raw vulnerability. It´s about holding yourself up and letting yourself be held´.

Alannah Byrne´s ‘site specific wall drawing is made with thread. Structure VII  is based on a vocabulary of geometric forms with numerous art-historical inferences or references.  Through the exploration of line and the study of colour an image emerges.´

Pamela Myers´sNotes of a Diary is an installation of small canvases manipulated to appear like scraps of paper. It challenges hierarchies and perceived values in art. The imperfections and incomplete artist´s notes plot the development of an idea.´ Her initial plan to do a performance piece based on being suspended in the air evolved into the acquisition of a camera with which to record what she observed. Her notes of intention and desire become the actual piece.

VIDEO: ‘In Adam and Luan Tessa Power situates a duet through which she explores the idea of a neutral voice, specifically engaging with the idea that the sound of one´s voice is largely influenced by one´s local environment. The vocal mimicry acts to emphasise similarities between the human and the dog, referencing their social partnership´.

Tom Campbell´sThree Dogs were made this year as part of a collaborative project to make a pack of 100. They are made using re-cycled materials. The objective to make 100 dogs was not quite achieved; but 73 were made as part of an open collaboration. People were welcome to help create the dogs, who then toured to Electric Picnic, Art Trail and Rossport (Shell to Sea) in the Cork Circus van. When the dogs were sold the funds raised were given to a human rights activist who works in Palestine.´


Tom Campbell´s pages from a diary show his preoccupation with the human face.

Niamh Davis´s drypoint etchings ‘If you say the word enough times each day you´ll find it  and If only I could remember are stills of faces for an animation based on sixteen people´s definitions of love. The ideas on love of the French philosopher Alain Badiou were a starting point for her project´.

Eileen Healy sketchbooks

Megan Eustace sketchbooks

Welcome Strangers by Pat Mortell ‘call attention to issues of cultural diversity and social inclusion raised recently in Ireland by the explosion in immigration numbers in a country whose experience has been primarily of emigration. The drawings have been created from media sources; each face- not a portrait, but a representation – is of a unique individual and intended to be seen at eye level without barrier of glass or frame. In another context, such faces could be son, daughter, cousin…´

RED BRICK WALL: Chris Samuels in Up! a small series of contained enamelled faces, manipulated images of his ‘own face from photographic sources to form a self-examination which acknowledges that both photography and enamelling have strong associations with keepsake objects. Up! becomes an attempt to reconcile the personal with the public image.´

Deirdre Nolan ‘needs colour to be high and saturated, visceral, Catholic in taste and emotion, like the shining jewelled stained glass in churches. As a young pregnant woman in Britain I became aware of another young woman who used to gaze longingly out of her window, looking to some remembered landscape, a lost paradise. Flight Paths of Paradise Birds speaks of the loneliness of the married home, the removal and longing for the other self, the carefree child/girl. The desire for familiarity and the sadness of estrangement is a consistent thread in the work´.

Martin Healy´s photographic ‘series The Sleep of Reason (2006) explores the symbolic and mythological associations of birds of prey. The title refers directly to the winged creatures that surround the sleeping figure in Goya´s print of the same name.´

Maureen Considine´s photograph For Michelle relates to collective loss and memory. ‘At the gable end of a terrace, tenants and friend of Michelle McCormick, missing since 1993, erected a Marian grotto in her honour. The grotto is an expression of grief at the loss of a loved one and a rejection of authoritarian regulations. I am told that residents built the memorial with their bare hands. On close inspection a photograph of the missing woman can be seen at the centre of the grotto.´

Lucy Phelan´s photo-print His Needs were Greater than his Power to Resist ‘in a nutshell deals with what we need and what we want which are not necessarily the same thing´.

Robert O´Connor´s End is from ‘a series of photographs taken in Berlin, which focus on the language of the city, such as posters and billboard advertising. Advertising, unquestionably one of the central roles for photography in capitalist societies, was a starting point´.

Kieran O Connor ‘loves the orange of sodium vapour streetlights at night; the way they strip away the mundane colours of day and make every walk home a trip through a Fritz Lang film. Photography has been a way of making images between times. I can make a picture while making dinner, while walking home, while watching television. This has allowed me to continue making art after a fashion at least, without having to be an artist´.

The Forest Series by Lorraine Neeson is a series of photographic images produced in a dark forest at night. The flashgun on the camera serves as the only available light source. Triggered at random intervals, it provides the necessary illumination to enable navigation of the dark unfamiliar terrain, while also providing the necessary light required to expose the photographic image. The concept of eyeless sight is explored, as the camera becomes both the steering apparatus and eye during the entire process. From the information presented, the viewer is forced to mentally construct and navigate darkened areas of unknown territory, which are devoid of visual information beyond the surface of the image.´

Olivia Hassett ‘creates habitats that reflect her personal narratives and offer an opportunity to view an alternative world. Elements of absence and presence and the tensions which occur while attempting to reconcile opposites feature strongly´ and are evident in her mixed media installation Biosphere.

Two Sleeping by Sinead Rice can be viewed as visual abstract meditations where the artist,  ‘through the minimal ordered forms of these small abstract paintings attempts to evoke empty, quiet spaces. The surfaces are built up through intense layering of colour over time, to achieve physical depth, relating to the way in which layers in nature are built up and worn down through the processes of time´. 

In his installation Eye Box Cliff Dolliver ‘encourages playfulness by allowing the viewer to manipulate the imagery, which owes as much to formal aesthetic concerns as it does to discovery of emerging subject matter. The techniques used in Eye Box and its resemblance to a diorama or set model are an extension of the artist´s exploration of the contemporary role of the visual artist´.

Susanne Leutenegger is mainly known as a painter. ‘Growing Figures in Space reflects studio experiments. You can track the presence of a variety of materials and approaches, mixing pigments with ash or plaster, rolling and embossing clay, trailing acrylic paint grainy with marble dust. The physicality and playfulness involved comes from a deep urge to embody and make visible inner states of mind´

Co-ordinates and Mapping the Grid by Tanya de Paor ‘are part of a series of carbon drawings inspired by daydreams of leaving, of detachment and of change. There is a playful element to the drawings, which comes from imagining how a child might alter a modern suburban landscape´.

Tanya O Keefe´s ‘work involves the use of found objects in an anthropomorphic way, evoking human relations´.

The title of Tony Magner´s work, ‘2.2727273 Mile´s refers to the approximate length of knotted twine in the work. The piece results from the activity of making a knot, the simple act of twisting a yarn upon itself that forms a notch on a piece of string, then draped together to make a cloth. Like a rosary or quipu – an ancient Inca device for recording information, consisting of variously coloured threads knotted differently – the repetitive binary scribble binds time and hints at a language half forgotten.´

Dominic Fee´s ‘recent body of work has been based on the circle, with its many well worn connotations of divinity and perfection. By subjecting the circle´s infallible geometry to imperfections, negative spaces and controlled interruptions he tries in his installation to see how the ideals survive.´

Taking Le Brun´s idea of ‘Naturalized Man´ and pushing it further Sarah Iremonger´s ‘figures are not only ‘Animalized´, but also ‘Landscapized´; they have become heroic and time-less creating a physical bay or haven between them. A stylized fantasy of the idea of an enduring romantic relationship between humankind and nature, these works continue an  obsession with exploring how we relate to and understand the world around us.´

Warfarin Anti Coagulant by Paul Drohan ‘is based on a montage of different images. The man on the trolley is based on a newspaper photograph and the outlines of the curtain were drawn working from a photo the artist took on his phone in a local hospital. The cool palette and realistic figures are a move towards more subtlety and less grotesquerie than is characteristic. The choice of matter- of -fact title reflects Otto Dix´s belief that it is not the artist´s job to convert but to bear witness.´

Julia Pallone sees ‘the spilled grains of couscous as little animals that are running away and drawing a wild forest on the wall, while the space opens up into a fantasy world. Using different means such as installation, drawing or photography, she creates worlds where the vegetal, animal and human intertwine. She develops a vision of a world that is fragile and vulnerable. Her interest lies in the surging up of the fantastic in everyday life, not as an intrusion but as part of it.´

In Trouble No More Ray Murphy ‘experiments with the potential of the human figure to communicate an emotion, such as sadness, to the viewer. He is also interested in the ability of the language of Christian art to convey emotion in a contemporary context and in the relationship between irony and sincerity when conveying emotion in painting.´

L. Ron Hubbard by Ian Healy is part of ‘Offerings´, a series of works ‘investigating religious types through portraiture. It is a partner piece to Louis Farrakhan with ‘American History Man´ as the sub-heading. I wanted to display them in a Pop art style and in close association with American art of the 1960s. I was fascinated by the apparent ‘louder than bombs´ artifice of American religion, from the Nation of Islam, to scientology to American Evangelist preachers.´

Brendan Butler is a ‘painter of stories, inspired by dark fairytales and classic and modern literature. With imagined sources as a starting point, the stories evolve through the process of making the work. The characters and actions change and develop in the process. His characters enact a variety of roles and sometimes depict disquieting tensions beneath the surface.´

Patrick Corcoran´s Portrait Number 4 is part of a body of work which explores ‘how we respond to images and footage presented by the media. The work also deals with themes of conflict and anxiety in both a personal and global context.´

In Painted Ladies by Wendie Young the artist explores her interest ‘in taking photographs of subjects with which people can identify, while at the same time capturing something that is removed from reality. The soft painterly quality draws the viewer into exploring an emerging dream like atmosphere. The face echoes the markings on the butterfly of the title and the delicate ephemeral nature of the butterfly relates to their fragile young innocence.´

VIDEO: Looking and Listening in Lines by Tanya De Paor  ‘is a multimedia project exploring ideas of identity and place. The project developed through a series of mediations into social and cultural relations – of people to place and the connection of citizens to the urban landscape. This was a collaboration between a group of young boys from the Knocknaheeney/Hollyhill area and the artist. The work was installation based and screened on LCD monitors in a transformed car in Knocknaheeney and the Courtyard, Backwater Artists Group, Wandesford Quay´.

VIDEO: Conor Harrington discusses Masters of the Universe (2009), a large mural executed for the New Art Gallery in Walsall in this short interview.

VIDEO: This video is a documentation of some projects completed by Backwater members over recent years and includes some footage of social events. It has been compiled by Éilis Ní Fhaoláin and Lorraine Cooke.

VIDEO:Lisa Fingleton´s short film ‘Portraits (2009) was created as a part of the ‘Creating Waves´ education project at the Crawford Art Gallery. Students from Beaumont Boys School filmed their responses to the exhibition “The Hero With A Thousand Faces” which was about portraits of Irish writers, with assistance of the artist/filmmaker. Each student got an opportunity to work as camera/sound person and director.´

Viewed together Ben Reilly´s ‘sculptures made in cast wax seem familiar, perhaps triggering distant memories, their sombre inky blackness tinged with colour of humour´.

In Laura Lynda Loughnane ‘tried to capture the sadness and despair of this little girl on the biggest day of her life, her First Communion day. It was painted from a photo of my sister who was quite sick on that day in 1988 but tried very hard not to show it. Of all the photos taken that day, the one on which the painting is based is the only one which shows signs of sadness.´

In her sculpture Arbiter Éilis Ní Fhaoláin is exploring her interest ‘in ideas of territory and its associated physical and mental boundaries. Issues of choice, taste and ownership arise alongside those of the predatory, the defensive and the protective.´

VIDEO: Aideen Barry ‘is preoccupied with the search for what is 'Gothic' and das unheimlich or uncanny in the everyday. In Levitation (2007), the artist created the illusion of levitation by making a performance to camera of a repetitive jump to create a slippage or augmentation of reality. She hovers while hoovering, in an effortless yet hysterical gesture of obsessive domestic work. The piece is informed by the artist's diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder'.

Margaret O´Sullivan gave ‘the title Óenach to her painting as a clue to the source of imagery. It is the ancient Irish word for feast/assembly. The painting is built up with layers of umbers and is divided and subdivided into uneven panels, to give it a sense of narrative. The light colours of the mythical images on the dark background are used to evoke a sense of presence´.

GenerateTransmission by Kevin Tuohy ‘is part of an ongoing exploration of the physical production and perception of sound and of the perpetual need for activity which often results in self fulfilling loops and nothing else. Solar panels are used to collect energy from a television screen, which is transmitted to a radio and made audible´.

Irish Summer by Debbie Godsell was originally part of an exhibition entitled ‘Idyll´. This body of work explored a cross reference of iconography commonly associated with Irish identity. Irish Summer depicts an idyllic, romantic and mythical land where a tapestry of shamrocks and rainbows replaces politics, finance and endless rain.´

Natural Processes 1 by Mags Dunne is from ‘a new body of work in which plaster slabs carved with contour lines of mountains originally created for use with clay are used to produce textured prints that express the colours and effect of weather and erosion on the mountainous landscape.´

Mind´s Eye by Frances O´Connor is one of the works she ‘begins by deriving an abstract composition from a photographic source. What evolves on the canvas is a new and separate organic entity, a conversation between the paint itself and [her] internal emotional landscape.´

Marianne Keating´s ‘work is an exploration of the individual and their perceptions of reality, focusing on how recurring motifs of the outside world may alter and impact on the inner ideals and morals of even the most incorruptible and faithful. Paranoia is a thought process heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, explored through the use of wallpaper, which most commonly provides a backdrop in our everyday domestic setting. Think wallpaper, and we think of warm, familiar, maternal, cozy interiors that are unassumingly, ever-present elements of a home, unobserved and merged into the background. At first glance they portray a benign decorative aesthetic, but on closer examination a darker less obvious message is implied.´

In every painting she makes, including Cockerel, Margaret Walsh ‘aims to capture the essence of its subject. The bird is strong yet vulnerable, at one with its environment yet distinct from it. ...painting animals is rewarding in that they are always themselves and therefore can be depicted in an honest way´.

Fiona Dowling ‘makes art about Love and Happiness in a warm, poetic and humorous way. She invites visitors to the Crawford Art Gallery to come and relax on her sofa, watch her home made television and let their imagination do the rest.´

For Eveleen Murphy, ‘the use of the side table refers to the female role and plays with the idea of stereotypical feminine needs, posing questions of pride and happy endings being all a woman desires. The images sit as though collaged, but are in fact painted. The scenarios constructed appear random but in effect compete an ambiguous narrative in what can be described as a curious mindscape or even beautiful fantasies with an air of impending doom.´

Amanda Rice´s ‘work is informed by found detritus and unwanted material, often re-assembled referencing the decorative. The work playfully references the banal, frequently in a jovial manner.´

Ellen Barrett ‘responds to the environment in which she grew up and takes inspiration from the landscape, in particular the coastline. As is evident in Fastnet, lighthouses, boats and beacons are significan symbols in the work´.

Memorial Drawings by Gail Ritchie ‘were conceived to understand and de-code the common architectural language of War memorials. These drawings were completed whilst on residency in Paris and focus mainly on monuments, which have been given a commonality in scale and tone and are inclusive of all countries involved, in order to be both non-partisan and non-judgemental. The drawings were the first stage in the development of a ‘Universal Memorial´ based on organic forms.´

Valerie Gleeson´s ‘Cow Studies evolved froma series of drawings undertaken during a residency at the Cill Rialaig Artists Retreat in 2008. Produced is a set of etchings on copper plates. The weather was wild and inhospitable. Armed with my sketch pad and pencil I fought adversity to be part of this landscape and to understand and capture the spirit of these animals. I found myself perched in precarious positions in order to capture the essence of these intriguing creatures; this tension is mirrored it the hostile unsettled imaes. I was reminded of Brian Lalor “No human presence moves on the headland; a few cows graze in the crazy fields, sheep clamber on more challenging terrain” (from The laugh Of Lost Men)

Lorraine Cooke´s drypoints of a tree in winter reflect her commitment to drawing, which is at the core of her practice.

Sarah Roche ‘works mainly in installation and performance. White Drawing is part of a recent body of work which was shown as the installation ‘suspiramus´ (2009). This title relates to a quotation of St. Paul; that prayers are like sighs too deep for words.´

Paul La Rocque´s ‘work deals with icons and superheroes. The idea of the guardian angel was investigated when doing his Master´s degree and over time he began to look further at the subject matter from other angles, particularly the viewpoint of popular culture and the superhero who like guardian angels, possesses super powers and does battle between good and evil.´

Laurie Le Grand´s ‘investigation, initially based on the human form, has expanded to encompass its natural and social environment. The presence of natural elements emphasises the relationship between humankind and nature and the use of mythology presents the figure as sacred, enduring yet carrying the stigmata of its time.´

Deirdre O Brien´s drawing is based on her interest in the ever-changing light conditions in Kerry.

‘An exploration of the human condition and life´s rights of passage underpins Noelle Noonan´s work. The recent work is introspective, a response to the mystery of death and deals with themes of memory and loss. Surrender II is a monoprint drypoint.´

Amelia Norman´s etching Lion and Deer ‘is based on the anthromorphism of human to animal. The piece ironically involved a ritual of morphing Artemis in the grip of a dominant Leo in a contemporary environment.´

Ciara Healy´s  Hedgerows is part of ‘a recent body of work titled ‘A House In The Country´ which draws inspiration from the rural village where I live and reflects upon our aspirations for the ‘good life´ as well as the impact, both transient and permanent, we have on our environment and consequently, our sense of place. Etched into the architecture, the pavements, the allotments full of rhubarb and sweet pea around me are the traces of a history connected with nature.´

Stephen Gunning´s video work is often anthropological in content, exploring social events and behavioural codes. Shot in Estonia, re-lapse focuses on performance by a local Shaman/poet in a disused metal storage tank. Though closely resembling a contemporary art performance, there is something primal and uncontrived that sets re-lapse very much apart. S.B.

Stephanie Hough´s video ‘piece takes its inspiration from a sub-genre in ‘YouTube´, which involves adding voice-overs to footage from many popular cultural videos, filmic and televisual forms and subverting the original meaning with humorous intention. This video is part of a broader body of research I began during my MA, where I was looking into the phenomena of user generated online video and its effect on video art. The footage in the video piece is appropriated from Donald Cammell´s 1977 sci-fi thriller Demon Seed. I am satirically attempting to relate the fear of technology (expressed in early sci-fi) with the fear of video art.´

Maire O Mahony´s The Handmaiden´s Tale ‘is named after the folktale which document a young woman´s rite of passage from the under-world of the psyche into maturity. Videos from the 1970s psychoanalysis and storytelling are the inspiration for the work.

‘Dreams are just nightmares wearing lipstick
Glimpses of the Sublime in fear and wonder
Small magic and flights of fancy
Now and then

Storytime.´Sandra Minchin writes about Insomnia, ‘I swing from left to right, as I feel empty inside, keeping the movement slow. Nobody cares, nobody hears.......... Life´s a lonely drag.´

Colour has always been very important to Mae Holland ‘I use it extensively to express my feelings. I have travelled widely and experienced many cultures and varied architecture and in an abstract way, all these have played a part in creating this body of work.´ 

Although many shapes in her work are based on elements from the natural world, Carín MacCana does not intend works such as Crucible ‘to be representative of reality in any way. I would like it to be seen as a celebration of colour and form, with the ability to convey and reflect emotions´.

Catherine Murray believes that you paint something about which you don´t know. Although she travels a great deal, neither Gothic (right) or Punjab (Left) are based on places she visited. In her practice she ‘explores the harmonics of space, form, balance, surface and colour. Work is a process of intuitive enquiry and is articulated via the medium that suggests itself to decode the artist´s voice, in this case paint, but in others video, photography or soundscapes.´

Late Light, A View from Cliffside by Lorraine Mullins is painted in characteristically rich colours. Sumptuous deep pinks and reds are suffused throughout the canvas, intensifying and celebrating the richness of a late sun which almost overwhelmed the world it usually illuminates. Elizabeth O´Callaghan´s ‘work is an exploration of colour inspired by the sensations experienced first-hand and from memory, of sea and landscape, hoping to recreate the immediacy and energy through colours, texture and form. Brush strokes are abandoned in favour of pouring, dragging and spraying paint onto the canvas.´ 

Let There Be Something Wise In Your Saliva is a piece made during Eva Maher´s ‘time in the Backwater Studios. The space in the piece may represent the space felt while in the studio. Airy and spacious. Deserving. The title draws on poetry as much as it does on painting, asking the viewer to add his/her own wisdom and story to the lines created. It may also hint at gaining wisdom, or some information being disclosed through an act of intimacy – intimacy with the viewer perhaps. That interaction, that questioning takes the form of overlapping interwoven lines. Overlapping and considered, wrapped with the same thought as one might wrap a skein of wool.´

Scallop was inspired by the South West coasts of Ireland where Rebecca Peart ‘has been living and painting since 2006. The translucent amoebic form of the scallop and its life in the sea where it is an active swimmer went in tandem with act of painting. The different hues of yellow suggest the freedom and optimism and delicacy of the active scallop.´

Sprightly Dance by Sínead Ní Chíonaola ‘is about the dance of water, based on her observations of the Mahon Falls in Waterford and the play of light on water there. Kandinsky wrote about the inner voice of the soul that can be reached only through solitude. Nature serves as a doorway to true self expression. I am a direct painter exercising total commitment in which the paint is allowed to converse.´

Caroline Buggy ‘sees her painting Digging for Light as a collaboration formed by the people, the land, the ‘underground –scapes´ of her childhood and memories of mining stories. In this series, she layers abstracted form and colour until she finds a level of emotive balance between the elements´.

Wesley Triggs´s painting ‘relates to our urban environment. Observing a building project during its destruction and observing the decay and weathering of everyday objects, he is interested in reflecting the relationship between old/new, weight/weakness, polished/eroded in his work.´

Kieran O´Donovan regards his work ‘as both a physical and emotional journey, through which I explore the language of painting, a powerful carrier of human emotion that is influenced by the complexity of life experience.´ The title of Danielle Sheehy´s sculptural drawing ‘Three Little Birds comes from the title of a poem by Lewis Carroll. The work removes the drawing line from its surface, freeing the birds to run around. The verse that these birds illustrate runs

Little Birds are seeking
Hecatombs of haws;
Dressed in snowy gauze;
Dressed, I say, in fringes
Half-alive with hinges
Thus they break the laws´

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Art in an Age of Anxiety - Terror and the Sublime

20 November 2009 - 27 February 2010

Terror And Sublime
Terror and the Sublime: Art in an Age of Anxiety
features works by thirty-three artists, from the late eighteenth century to the present, whose subject-matter reflects the spirit of their times. Whether it is the nineteenth century painter Francis Danby, identifying in the mountains of Norway a metaphor for the challenges facing his survival as an artist, or contemporary sculptor Jim Sanborn, creating a replica of the first atom bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, the exhibition gives an insight into the way artists respond to the times they live in, but also how their works shape the way we look at the world.

The uncertainties and fears resulting from political and social upheavals such as the American War of Independence or the Revolution in France informed Edmund Burke´s political views, but it was his 1757 essay on aesthetics, "A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful" that directly inspired artists such as George Barret and James Barry, whose paintings form the starting point of the exhibition. Terror and the Sublime also includes dramatic and visionary paintings from the Romantic period, by James Arthur O´Connor, Francis Danby, and the Cork artist Samuel Forde. ese historic paintings are juxtaposed with works in a variety of media by contemporary artists, including Andreas Gursky, Cecily Brennan, Nigel Rolfe, omas Ruff and Clare Langan, artists who continue to address the same issues of human vulnerability and the tensions that exist between the individual and society.

Irrespective of the century in which they were born, the work of each of these artists resonates with a psychological intensity, drawn in part from uncompromising themes, but also from the spirit of their age. While the
Crawford Gallery exhibition may not have the power to “transform human kind by unlocking the Ancient Mysteries”, it does allow visitors to view the world through the eyes of artists whose creativity, and responsiveness to concerns that have remained pertinent through the centuries, enriches and informs our world.

Artists: George Barrett, Aideen Barry, James Barry, William Bradford, Cecily Brennan, Oliver Comerford, Gary Coyle, Francis Danby, Michelle Deignan, Willie Doherty, Jonathan Fisher, Mary FitzGerald, Samuel Forde, James Forrester, David Godbold, Andreas Gursky, Clare Langan, Robert Longo, Fergus Martin, John Martin, Eoin McHugh, Theresa Nanigian, Paul Nugent, James Arthur O´Connor, Hughie O´Donoghue, George Petrie, Nigel Rolfe, Thomas Ruff, Jim Sanborn, Sean Shanahan, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Paul Winstanley and the writer Edmund Burke.

A catalogue, artists talks and a full education programme will accompany the exhibition.

Artist´s Talk: Jim Sanborn

Thursday 19 November – 5:15pm

Labratory Environment
Jim Sanborn, Labratory Environment, (courtesy of the artist)

Artist Jim Sanborn will talk about his work and lead a preview of his acclaimed installation Critical Assembly; this special event marks the opening of the exhibition Terror and the Sublime: Art in an Age of Anxiety.

Critical Assembly is a reconstruction of the laboratories at Los Alamos, where the original atomic bomb was built in the 1940´s. It includes an exact version of the Trinity Device, versions of which were exploded over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Jim Sanborn is perhaps best known for his Kryptos sculpture installed at the CIA headquarters, Langley, Virginia, in 1990, it displays encrypted messages, which continue to stump code-breakers. His freestanding bronze sculptures, laser-cut with encrypted information, have long fascinated mathematicians and cryptologists. 

Most recently, Jim Sanborn´s preoccupation with the laboratories and equipment used in the pioneering years of ‘big science´ led him to reconstruct the particle accelerator built in 1939 at the Carnegie Institute in Washington DC, this work produced nuclear fission.

For further information contact:

Vivienne Dick

September 18 - November 7
As part of the exhibition programme, there is a 16mm screening programme during the opening and closing weeks of the show, featuring London Suite, Rothach and She Had Her Gun All Ready. An evening celebrating No Wave film and music with special guests will take place in the gallery on 5 November.

Between Truth and Fiction: The Films of Vivienne Dick is also a 100 page full-colour publication, co-commissioned by the Crawford Art Gallery and Lux, featuring an interview, essays and images of Dick´s work, and a DVD of five selected films spanning the three decades of her practice.

Monday 2 to Saturday 7 November 2009, 1.10 pm

London Suite

MON 2, WED 4, FRI 6 November - Rothach and London Suite

Rothach, 1985  16mm, 8mins
This landscape film consists of 180 pans of the boglands of Kerry and the lunar landscape of the Burren. An unsettling mood is brought about by the music and a poem by the poet Sean O Riordain, which speaks of a dream of being in space and the fear of not being able to return.

London Suite, 1989  16mm, 28mins
London's cultural diversity unfolds as Vivienne Dick portrays her friends, their lifestyles, what they talk about and how they talk.

In this kaleidoscopic arrangement of encounters and re-enactments, equal weight is given to the passionate and the banal. The camera's sudden hops from one reality to another and the disjointed conversations are drawn together by the musical score and the film's internal rhythm.

Lydia Lunch

TUE 3, THURS 5, SAT 7 - She Had Her Gun All Ready   

She Had Her Gun All Ready, 1978   16mm (Super 8 original), 28mins
This noir psychodrama follows the relationship between two characters, played by Pat Place and Lydia Lunch. Set in the Lower East Side in New York, the film revolves around the power relations between two friends where one is dominated by, or in thrall to the other. The long drawn out scenes in the first half of the film reflect the paranoia and indecision of the weaker character. The relationship dynamic shifts halfway through the film after a long mirror scene, when the ‘victim´ begins to stalk her aggressor.

A celebratory evening of art, film screenings and live music

Crawford Art Gallery, Emmet Place, Cork

with artist/film-maker, Vivienne Dick
+ special guests: Pat Place and Cynthia Sley (from the No Wave band The Bush Tetras), Julian Dorgere, DJ John Byrne and David McDermott as Master of Ceremonies


The Contortions at Max's Kansas City (video of an early live performance)
Waiting for the Wind - James Nares
Letters to Dad – Beth and Scott B
+ selection of Super-8 and pinhole films

Live music by Pat Place and Cynthia Sley (ex-Bush Tetras)
DJ set by Julian Dorgere (a.k.a The Weasel Goes to New York),
DJ set by John Byrne


VIVIENNE DICK is an internationally-celebrated film-maker and artist. She was a key figure of the ‘No Wave´ movement in New York in the late 1970s and early 1980s, a time of collaborative countercultural production of music and film by a loose collective of people including Lydia Lunch, Amos Poe, Nan Goldin, James Nares, the Contortions, Beth and Scott B, Arto Lindsay and many others.

This special event is part of the retrospective exhibition Between Truth and Fiction: The Films of Vivienne Dick from 18 Sept to 7 Nov at the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, curated by Treasa O´Brien.

Text Box:



With thanks to Cork Film Centre for their technical support.

A Bend in the Road
June 12 - September 30

St. Remy De ProvenceAs part of the 'Encompassing Eye', with the title taken from Beatrice Gubbin's watercolour, the exhibition 'A Bend in the Road' features over eighty works on display in the newly restored Watercolour Room. 

This exhibition provides an overview of the  partnership between watercolour and topographical views from the 18th century through to the contemporary taking a leisurely visual amble from Cork to the shores of Europe. Works include Evie Hone, Francis Danby, Ladcy Kate Dobbin and Paul Signac.

The Encompassing Eye
June 12 - September 7

Encompassing Eye
Camille Souter - Achill

Selecting works from the collections, this exhibition examines  artists' responses to their surrounding landscapes encompassing emotional and visual representation. Artists include Camille Souter, Noel Sheridan, William Leech, Norah McGuinness and Arthur Armstrong.

Sound Cast (4for4)
Saturday 4 July 12:00 pm – 4:00pm

Soundcast 3
Sculpture Galleries, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork
This sound art event is the coming together of The Quiet Club (Mick O'Shea and Danny Mc Carthy) and the Kelly/Stalling duo arises from a recent concert the four did at the Goethe Institute for the launch of The Quiet Club's CD "TESLA" after which it was decided that it was worth exploring the combination further.

The Crawford Gallery‘s Sculpture Gallery is the  venue for the Sound Cast concert. This unique space with its natural acoustics and antique sculptures promises one of the most interesting sound events of the year. Lasting four hours the audience are free to come, go or stay as they please.

Anthony Kelly and David Stalling

Mick O'Shea
Danny McCarthhy
Danny McCarthy

Hero With a Thousand Faces 

Anthony Cronini

An exhibition celebrating the extraordinary range and talent of Irish writers from the eighteenth century to the present day, opens at the Crawford Art Gallery Cork on Friday 6 March 2009. The exhibition presents over 60 works drawn from the collections of the Crawford Gallery, The Abbey Theatre and The Arts Council.

The title of the exhibition is inspired by Joseph Campbell´s seminal work “The Hero of a Thousand Faces”, and suggests that while each writer is a unique and distinct personality and talent, when taken collectively, their contribution to the identification of Ireland as a country of intense literary activity has been profound. In its broader sense, the phrase also alludes to the Jungian concept of universal archetypes, and to that subconscious wellspring which is the greatest inspiration of the writer, as an observer, a commentator and indeed a shaper of society.

The title is also a wry reference to Patrick Kavanagh´s famous remark, made in the 1950s, that “of the legion of poets in Ireland there are never less than ten thousand”, an assessment mixing in equal measure pessimism and optimism, and which, even allowing for poetic licence, illustrates the impossibility of an exhibition of portraits of Irish writers ever being considered in any way complete, or all encompassing. Nonetheless, good progress is being made, as can be seen from the works that will be shown.

The recent acquisition by the Crawford Art Gallery of Edward McGuire´s Portrait of Anthony Cronin (1972) represents a significant addition to a developing collection of portraits of Irish writers both commissioned and acquired by the Crawford. Cronin follows Jonathan Swift, whose 1735 portrait by Francis Bindon was acquired by the Crawford Gallery in 2007 to mark its accession to the status of National Cultural Institution. Portraits of writers commissioned by the Gallery include Conal Creedon by Eileen Healy (2006), Micheal O´Shiadhail by Michael O´Dea (2005) and Aidan Higgins (2003) by Suzy O´Mullane.

Other notable writers represented include Edmund Burke in James Barry´s painting ‘Burke and Barry in the Characters of Ulysses and Companions fleeing from the Cave of Polyphemus; Elizabeth Bowen by Patrick Hennessy, and three portraits, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and W. B. Yeats, by Louis le Brocquy. Frank O´Connor is represented by an early work by Norah McGuinness. The recently garlanded writer Sebastian Barry is shown in a 1991 study by John Minihan, a photographer well known for insightful portraits of Irish writers, most notably Samuel Beckett, but also Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, Mannix Flynn, Eilean Ni Chuilleanain, Seamus Heaney, Patrick Galvin, and John McGahern.

The outstanding portraits being loaned for this exhibition by the Abbey Theatre include Gerald Festus Kelly's Portrait of Lady Gregory, Sean O'Sullivan's Portrait of W. B. Yeats, and Carey Clarke's Portrait of Tom Murphy. These are iconic images of Ireland´s literary revival and also of the finest of present day writers. The portrait of Hugh Leonard from the Abbey Collection had been intended to travel to the Crawford, but on the news of the writer´s death, has been kept on exhibition in the Abbey Theatre, as a mark of respect. From the Arts Council Collection, the portraits on loan to this exhibition include writers Conor Fallon´s studies of his father, the poet Padraic Fallon, a Portrait of Francis Stuart by Jack Crabtree and James Joyce´s Tie by Michael Farrell.

The Crawford´s collection of portraits of Irish writers is developing, but it remains far from complete. Many notable writers remain unrepresented, not least Laurence Sterne, Lady Morgan, Mary Lavin, Benedict Kiely and John B. Keane. Nevertheless, the formation of the collection over the past two decades does provides a template for the further development of an important aspect of the national art collections of Ireland in future years, particularly when seen in the light of existing portrait collections such as those at the Abbey Theatre, the Arts Council, and also the National Gallery of Ireland. The Ulster Museum collection also includes fine portraits of writers, not least Seamus Heaney and Michael Longley.

The exhibition will be formally opened by Michael Longley, Ireland Professor of Poetry, on Tuesday 10 March at 6:00pm. The exhibition will be open to the public, from Friday 6 March to 30 May, 2009.

Free guided tours accompany the exhibition on Thursdays at 6:30pm and Saturdays at 2:30 pm.

For further information and for visual material, please contact: Anne Boddaert

T: +353 21 4907857


Presentation Sisters by Tacita Dean
A film made in Cork in 2005 by the internationally renowned contemporary artist Tacita Dean
Scheduled daily screenings, Friday March 6 – Saturday 21 March 2009

Presentation Sisters

Commissioned by Cork 2005, as part of Cork´s tenure as European Capital of Culture, Presentation Sisters was made during a residency by the artist Tacita Dean. Documenting a number of weeks in the lives of an order of nuns, as they go through their daily religious and domestic rituals, the film is an evocative portrait of a passing way of life. At the time Dean made this film in Cork, the Presentation Convent had been sold and the order of nuns were preparing to move to a new home. The building itself plays an important role in the film, its spaces redolent of the age of Victorian institutions. Presentation Sisters has been acquired as part of the Crawford Art Gallery´s permanent collection.

SCREENING TIMES Until Saturday 21 March
Duration – 1 hour

Monday 9th. 15:00
Tuesday 10th. 11:00
Wednesday 11th. 15:00
Thursday 12th. 11:00
Friday 13th. 15:00
Saturday 14th. 11:00
Monday 16th. 15:00
Tuesday 17th. Closed
Wednesday 18th. 15:00
Thursday 19th. 11:00
Friday 20th. 15:00
Saturday 21st. 11:00

Daniel Maclise (1806–1870), Romancing the Past
October 24, 2008 - February 14, 2009

The FalconerThe exhibition will opened on October 25th. 2008 and continued through to February 14th 2009. With over two hundred works, including oils on canvas, drawing and prints, on loan from institutions and collectors throughout Britain and Ireland, the Maclise exhibition will be the most important project organised by the Crawford Art Gallery in over three years.. The show will be accompanied by a catalogue, contributors to which include Prof John Turpin, who contributed to the 1972 Maclise exhibition at the Tate, Prof. Fintan Cullen of Nottingham University, Dr. Nancy Weston, whose biography of Daniel Maclise was published recently, and Prof. Tom Dunne, editor of the catalogue for the 2005 James Barry exhibition at the Crawford. There will also be a series of lectures and an education programme for schools. The exhibition and catalogue, will give a new insight into an artist famed in his day but whose florid and Romantic style fell out of favour in the 20th century.

Born in Sheares Street, Cork, the son of a discharged British soldier who had set up as a cobbler (or as a tailor) in Patrick Street, Daniel Maclise was, from an early age, an artist of precocious ability. After a short period working in Newenham´s bank, in 1819, when the Cork School of Art was established in the former Apollo Theatre, Maclise was one of the first students to enrol. He would have been thirteen years of age. The impetus for setting up the school came from the arrival in Cork of a set of sculpture casts from the Vatican Museum. Among them were some of the most important Graeco-Roman sculptures and Maclise made the most of this opportunity, demonstrating great skill in drawing from the antique.

Lady BlessingtonA relatively impoverished art student, Maclise received support from a number of patrons, including the antiquarian Richard Sainthill and, later in London, the writer Crofton Croker. His quick facility and talent for catching a likeness were demonstrated in 1825, when Sir Walter Scott, on a visit to Cork, called in to Bolster´s Bookshop on Patrick Street, where Maclise made a portrait sketch of the celebrated writer. The demand for this sketch was such that Maclise, never slow to recognise an opportunity, made at least three versions. It is said that the portrait was lithographed, but the surviving versions all appear to be pencil on paper.

The success of the Scott sketch led to commissions for portrait drawings of members of leading families in Cork, and military officers stationed in the city. Maclise also toured through Kerry, Waterford and Cork, making drawings of picturesque river scenery, houses, abbeys and castles. In 1827, aged still just nineteen but already an established local artist, Maclise went to London, where the following year he enrolled as a student at the Royal Academy schools, where in 1831 he gained the Gold Medal for History Painting.

His paintings from this period are generally ambitious attempts to portray scenes from British and European history, such as the work in the National Gallery of Ireland, Charles I, King of England and his Children, before Oliver Cromwell. In 2007, the Crawford Art Gallery acquired, at Sothebys, the painting Francois I and Diane of Poitiers, painted in 1834, that depicts a scene from sixteenth century French history. Maclise also attempted Irish subject-matter, most notably in the painting that blends folk beliefs with literary portraiture, Snap Apple Night (1833) and more controversially in The Installation of Captain Rock, depicting outlaws and social unrest in rural Ireland.

The Bunch of GrapesMaclise´s history paintings were often inspired by literary works, such as the plays of Shakespeare, and in his work the distinction between illustration and fine art is blurred. He produced many illustrations for works of literature, such as Tom Moore´s Irish Melodies, the poems of Tennyson, and woodcuts for some of the ‘Christmas books´ of Charles Dickens, such as The Chimes, and The Cricket on the Hearth. Maclise´s style can perhaps be described as Neo-Gothick, in that while it is clearly indebted to Northern European realist tradition, there is also a strong vein of whimsy and the grotesque in the imagery he employs.

In London, most of Maclise´s friendships centred on the Tory periodical Fraser´s Magazine, for which he produced dozens of lithographed portraits of leading writers and politicians. However, the high point of his career was reached in the mid-1840´s, when he was commissioned to paint murals for the Houses of Parliament. One of these works, The Marraige of Strongbow and Aoife (1854) is now in the National Gallery of Ireland, but the two largest works, The Meeting of Wellington and Blücher (1861) and The Death of Nelson (1865) are in the Royal Gallery in the House of Lords. After the death of Prince Albert, who had revelled in the military detail of these paintings, Maclise discontinued his work in the Houses of Parliament. Although he strove for, and achieved, success, when offered the presidency of the Royal Academy, Maclise refused, and he refused also the offer of a knighthood.

It is anticipated that over 100,000 visitors will visit the exhibition.

Further reading:
Richard Ormond and John Turpin, Daniel Maclise, 1806–1870 (National Portrait Gallery, London), 1972.
Nancy Weston, Daniel Maclise: An Irish Victorian Artist in London, 2000

There, Not There
July 25 - September 27

There, Not There features the work of five contemporary  Irish painters – Felicity Clear, Elizabeth Magill, Mark McGreevy, Paul Nugent and Orla Whelan, who explore within their individual practice the boundaries between memory, perception and time.

Each artist plays with the properties of paint, photographic references and personal experience to interrogate the blur between the natural and the fabricated image, and the real and the perceived, and question how the memory processes what is real and what is imagined.

Many of the paintings offer a subtle lie or an exaggerated truth, and the substance of the paint is used to articulate the concerns of each artist. Felicity Clear uses light, thinly applied, acrylic paint to create heavy, unsettlingly unpopulated urban landscapes, while Paul Nugent´s  traditional technique of oil painting and glazes conveys layered meanings of subjectivity and experience. In the paintings of Elizabeth Magill, the paint activates palpably familiar yet strangely foreboding landscapes. Mark McGreevy luxuriates in the rich fluidity of the medium, creating distorted realities whilst Orla Whelan denies such privileges to the oil paint in her paintings forcing the luscious energy of the flesh to be a static skin.

How the mind processes vision is dependent upon a subjective amalgamation of the past and present -sometimes what we perceive to be real is different to what we have viewed and experienced. In merging the image of a photograph with the images from the cognitive and the imaginary, the paintings in this exhibition present a shared sense of memory as if the images created by the artists could belong to the viewer´s own experience or dream.


Blue Constrictor
Elizabeth Magill
Blue Constrictor (2006)

Crawford Art Gallery

Untitled YellowFelicity Clear
Untitled Yellow (2007)

Courtesy of the Artist and
Rubicon Gallery, Dublin


Kissy, Kissy
Orla Whelan
Kissy, Kissy (2008)
Orla Whelan

Courtesy of the Artist

Untitled 1Paul Nugent
Untitled 1 (2008)

Courtesy of the Artist and
The Third Space Gallery, Belfast.

Rarely Farmed ThingsMark McGreevy
Rarely Farmed Things (2007)

Courtesy of the Artist and
The Third Space Gallery, Belfast.



Recent Acquisitions
May 22 - July 12

Artists include Rita Donagh, William Gerard Barry, Michael Mulcahy, Harry Moore, Billy Foley.

Eilis O'Connell
Eilis O'Connell's
Each Day

Alex Rose Untitled (for Jasper) (x2)
Alex Rose
Untiltled (for Jesper) (x 2)
Paper, collage and glass

Billy Foley Painting 24
Billy Foley

painting 24.10.2005, No 3
oil on paper
50 x 40.5cm

Harry Moore Courthouse
Harry Moore
pin hole photography
100 x 51 cm

Donagh, Rita The Downing Street Joint Declaration. 15th December 1993
Rita Donagh
The Downing Street Joint Declaration. 15th December 1993
laser print and acrylic on paper
56 x 44 cm.
donated by the artist

Joan Jameson
Barges unloading Turf, Grand Canal, Dublin
c. 1943
Oil on canvas



Realism and Modernism in Irish Art

Selected work from Crawford Art Gallery’s Collection

Until Saturday 3 May

Realism and Modernism in Irish Art (1900-1990) highlights the best of the Crawford Art Gallery's permanent collection, bringing together works for the first time from three parts of the collection: The Gibson Fund acquisitions since the 1930's: the Fr. McGrath collection bequeathed in the 1990's, and the Great Southern Collection donated by the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism to the Crawford Art Gallery in 2006. 

The exhibition reveals how the prevailing approach to Academic Realism was gradually challenged, in the 1920's and decades following, by the introduction of new ideas from Europe.

Whilst Modernism can be seen as defining the burgeoning industrialised countries in Europe and North America, the art that came to represent the new Irish Free State in the 1930's was essentially a form of Academic Realism which was rooted in the seventeenth century in the art of Velasquez and Murillo it was also influenced by French Realism, which sought to convey an objective vision of contemporary life. The Realist painters and sculptors, many of them graduates of the Dublin Metropolitan School and the Crawford School of Art in Cork - William Orpen, Sean Keating, James Sleator and Soirle MacAna - held sway as pillars of the art establishment in Ireland.

Gerard Dillon

Gerard Dillon (1916-1971), Evening Star, c.1959, Crawford Collection

However, many Irish artists began to be influenced by Modernist principles, often directly from Europe and through scholarship funded by the State education system.  One of the main strands which influenced the roots of Modernism lie in Picasso’s and Braque’s Cubism – the fracturing of the image, the rejection of perspective and the emphasis of the two-dimensionality of the canvas.

Mainie Jellett, Evie Hone and Norah McGuinness who trained at the Dublin Metropolitan School, embraced Modernist principles, following their respective studies in Paris in the studio of Andre Lhote. Jellet and Hone also studied by with Cubist artist and theorist Albert Gleizes. They returned to Ireland inspired by these developments and became key influences in Ireland.

During the years of World War II, Ireland became a haven for progressive artists from Europe, and a surprisingly sophisticated art world developed. The White Stag Group founded in 1935, led by Basil Rákóczi and Kenneth Hall, encouraged a move from Academicism to Modernism, and their “Subjective Art” strongly influenced the work being made at the time by Irish artists such as Louis le Brocquy and Patrick Scott. The exhibitions of the White Stag Group inspired the establishment of the Irish Exhibition of Living Art in 1943 by Louis Le Brocquy, Norah McGuinness, Mainie Jellett and Jack Hanlon, amongst others which continued annually for over three decades.  The popularity of the IELA showed that there was a real enthusiasm amongst Irish art collectors for more radical trends. However, the version of Modernism they most appreciated was adapted to a more conservative aesthetic.

Patrick Scott

Patrick Scott (b.1921), Under the Pier, oil on board

It has become routine to dismiss the visual arts of 1950's Ireland as being inward-looking, but in fact many talented artists were continuing to work quietly during these years, creating paintings and sculptures of real quality. When, in the 1960's, industrial progress did come to Ireland,  the visual arts reflected this economic up-turn with the emergence of movements such as Pop Art, Minimalism and performance art – notably by Robert Ballagh, Cecil King and Noel Sheridan respectively.

Threshold Orange

Cecil King (1921-1986), Threshold Orange, 1975, Limited edition screenprint

A downturn in the economy in the 1980's saw a resurgence of an expressive form of realism, exemplified in the work of Barrie Cooke, Rita Duffy and Brian Maguire, where raw painting perhaps conveyed a sense of anger at the return of high unemployment and emigration.

The visual arts in Ireland today continues to reflect simultaneously an inward and outward gaze, absorbing influences from abroad but also creating compelling art that reflects the concerns and dynamics of contemporary Irish society. One of the questions posed by this exhibition is: which of the variety of contemporary art forms employed by Irish artists will be held in the future to embody the spirit of the present day, in the same way as Patrick Scott expresses clearly the optimism of economic and social development of the 1960's, or a generation earlier, that Norah McGuinness and John O’Leary had cleverly adapted the raw lessons of Cubism to a realist tradition, creating an art that was progressive but also acceptable to a conservative and insular art audience.

Joan Jameson - Barges Unloading Turf

Joan Jameson (1892-1953), Barges unloading Turf, Grand Canal, Dublin, c1943,
Crawford Collection, donated by the Jameson family (2008)

A highlight of the exhibition is the donation of Joan Jameson’s painting Barges unloading Turf, Grand Canal, Dublin, c.1943 by the Jameson family in February, 2008.





Linda Quinlan

October 16 - December 22 2007

This exhibition hosted by the Crawford Art Gallery marks the occasion of Linda Quinlan as The AIB Prize recipient for 2006.

Quinlan’s installations create compelling narratives that navigate a diverse terrain of subject matter in a seemingly random fashion. These meandering manifestations articulate her preoccupation with the interconnectivity of objects and circumstances of her findings. Quinlan’s practice concerns itself with exploring concepts of exploration itself as well as considering the methodologies employed and circumstances of inquiry.

A significant development of present interests stems from a recent residency in Tasmania. On arrival she soon became engaged with the cultural and geographical significance of wilderness of the Island of Tasmania. Her observations led to inquiries and subjects of unresolved situations that resonate concerns with how we can recreate or interpret something that no longer exists.

A publication accompanying this exhibition will be launched in the Crawford Art Gallery on 23 November.
Texts will include an essay by writer and artist Sally O Reilly, a narrative by musician Cathal Coughlan and a fictional conversation between the artist and Dr. Eric Guiller.

The AIB Prize is one of Ireland’s leading arts awards. Every year it identifies a promising Irish visual artist and helps them launch their career. The award does this by providing financial support to an exhibition in a publicly funded venue to supplement exhibition costs and for the publication of a catalogue.


Crawford Open 2007
'The Sleep of Reason'

November 30 2007 - February 8 2008

Crawford Open 2007 is a biennial juried exhibition of contemporary art at the Crawford Art Gallery.
This exhibition, the sixth Crawford Open, has as its theme 'The Sleep of Reason'. Each selected artist (to be announced on September 11, 2007) will received €500 with a prize of €5000 being awarded to one artist selected by the Jury at the opening of the exhibition.

Selected artists:

Yvanna Greene (U.K)

David Theobald (U.K)

Andrew Vickery (Ireland)

Michael Gurhy (Ireland)

Michelle Deignan (Ireland)

Mai Yamashita and Naoto Kobayashi (Germany)

Sam Plagerson (U.K.)

Paul McAree (Ireland)

Martin Healy

Martin Healy (Ireland)

Lorraine Walsh (Ireland)

Amanda Dunsmore (Ireland)

Fumiko Kobayashi (Japan)

Maggie Madden (Ireland)

Abigail O' Brien

Abigail O'Brien (Ireland)

Tom Molloy (Ireland)

Jury Selectors:
Frances Morris, Head of Collections (International Art), Tate Modern
Enrique Juncosa, Director, Irish Museum of Modern Art


[C]artography: Map-Making
until November 10 2007

Chris Kenny

Chris Kenny Map Circle (16 Typhoons) 2007
image courtesy of England & Co Gallery, London

The Crawford Art Gallery is proud to present the exhibition [C]artography: map-making as artform which
seeks to explore the techniques and styles of early map-makers, as well as focus on contemporary artists who use mapping methodologies in their art practice, often for very different reasons.

The earliest map in the exhibition, printed in Ulm in 1482, a colour woodcut, is a copy after Ptolemy’s ancient map of Ireland. More recent maps include examples produced by the Ordnance Survey of Ireland, the Royal Irish Academy and computer digital maps produced by the Department of Geography, University College Cork.  The exhibition also includes exquisitely crafted early maps by Richard Blome, William Petty, John Speed, Abraham Ortelius, John Rocque and others.


Abraham Ortelius

These early maps and present day computer digital maps will be seen alongside works by Kathy Prendergast, Frank Bowling, Grayson Perry, Stephen Brandes, Jeremy Deller, Mona Hatoum, Dorothy Cross, Tom Molloy and other contemporary artists who explore the relationship between cartography and memory, imagination and meaning. Each work in Mariele Neudecker’s series of Memory Maps, (1996) is a record of an individual’s attempt to remember the political world map. In Satomi Matoba’s Japanese British Isles, (1999) we have, at first glance, a credible map of a detail of Scotland. On closer examination Kyoto can be seen next to Cheshire, London just north of Inverness, the British Isles melded with Japan.  Our expectation of the world map is yet again subverted and we are left on shifting ground. The exhibition features work by Cornelia Parker, Rita Donagh and Patrick Ireland who use mapping techniques to introduce political commentary to their work.

Participating contemporary artists: Frank Bowling, Stephen Brandes, Jon Brunberg, Dorothy Cross, Jeremy Deller, Rita Donagh, Jimmie Durham, Clodagh Emoe, Simon Faithfull, Gary Farrelly, Brian Fay, Tim Goulding, Mona Hatoum, Sean Hillen, Patrick Ireland, Kim Jones, Chris Kenny, Tom Molloy, Satomi Matoba, Mariele Neudecker, Eamon O'Kane, Cornelia Parker, Simon Patterson, Grayson Perry, Kathy Prendergast, Tim Robinson and Chris Wilson.

[C]artography: map-making as artform provides a context for viewers to engage with maps on many levels, not least on a level of fascination with detailed representation of the world, but  also in the information they reveal, distort and often hide.

A full colour catalogue accompanies the exhibition with commissioned essays by art writer Mic Moroney, William Laffan and Professor William J.  Smyth of the Department of Geography, University College Cork.


Outside Perspectives
An Exhibition by Soyoung Chung, Anna Konik and Tobias Sternberg
until 27 October

Outside Perspectives is ann exhibition of selected works created by the three artists during a residency at the National Sculpture Factory (Cork) during 2006, as part of the Pepinieres Programme for Young Artists.

A Korean artist born in Suresnes (France), Soyoung Chung graduated from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 2003. Soyoung divides her time between Seoul and Paris. She will show Shattered Galaxy,
3 works which, although independent from one another, all evoke a common intangible and unstable state.

Anna Konik was born in Lubliniec (Poland), She lives and works in Warsaw. 0ur Lady’s Forever is Anna Konik’s latest video work.
Made in the former institution for the mentally ill, Our Lady’s Hospital in Cork, her film dwells on the isolation of the individual, on the impossibility of true connection between individual minds.

Born in Sweden,Tobias Sternberg graduated from Goldsmith’s in 2005. He lives and works in London.
The sculpture shown, Seven Sins for the Living, is an interactive sculptural exhibition in itself. Focussing on the drawers of an old office desk, the artist invites viewers to sit down by the desk and browse through the drawers at their own leisure.


Remembering Seamus Murphy
until 29 September

Seamus Murphy, artist, stone-carver and letterer, was highly regarded in his lifetime.
In 2007, the centenary year of Murphy’s birth, the Crawford Art Gallery, in collaboration with Cork City Council and the Murphy family, co-organised the ‘Remembering Seamus Murphy’ programme that will allow a new younger audience to rediscover the work of this unique artist.



May 5 – August 26 2006

Whipping the Herring

Whipping the Herring: survival and celebration in nineteenth-century Irish art, provides a visual record of everyday life in the towns, villages and countryside of Ireland two centuries ago. Over seventy paintings have been drawn together from museums, galleries and private collections, both in Ireland and abroad, for this exhibition. There are images of fairs and festivals, pubs and pilgrimages, marriages , with a particular emphasis on the lives of ordinary people, struggling to make do – and often enjoying life – on very limited means. There are scenes, too, of relative prosperity, for Ireland had periods of economic growth in the nineteenth century. It is well known that even when famine was at its height, food was exported from Irish ports. Yet for the most part, the paintings, most of them by Irish artists, tell a story of survival in the face of tremendous adversity, of poor housing, insecure tenancy, famine and emigration.

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James Barry (1741 - 1806)

October 6 2005 - March 4 2006Barry


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AIRGEADÓIR – Four Centuries of Cork Silver and Gold
April 16 - June 4 2005

To celebrate Cork's tenure as European Capital of Culture 2005, the Crawford Gallery assembled a loan exhibition of rare silver and gold items made in Cork, Youghal and Kinsale. The items have been lent from museums, church authorities, public bodies, companies and private collections in Ireland and abroad. The result was an historic collection of Cork silver and gold, the like of which has never previously been assembled - a unique opportunity for visitors to appreciate the sheer breadth and craftsmanship achieved by Cork silversmiths and goldsmiths.Air Logo





FIGURE & GROUND: Works on Paper by Dutch Masters
February 12 – April 2 2005FandG

The exhibition explored how artists, while separated by different centuries, are united by underlying concerns or values - pragmatism, honesty, an appreciation of landscape, a sense of structure or geometry underlying the landscape, and an understanding of the close relationship between mankind and nature.PM



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AFTER THE THAW: Recent Irish Art from the AIB Collection
February 5 - April 2 2005

A full colour catalogue accompanies the exhibition including an essay by Aidan Dunne.
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On Reflection, Modern Irish Art from the 1960's to the 1990's
A Selection from the Bank of Ireland Collection

August 6 - October 1

The Bank of Ireland Art Collection is strongest in terms of acquisitions made between c. 1969 and c. 1985. Of particular interest is the theme of Irish artists encountering and adapting different artistic movements taking place internationally and the relationship of International modernism to an Irish situation

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Clive Murphy
I Want To Be With You

August 12 - October 1 2005

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Mara Adamitz Scrupe
The Fota Lichens Project

August 9 - 26 2005

ScrupeAn environmental installation by Mara Adamitz Scrupe, exhibited at Fota House and Arboretum, in cooperation with the Crawford Art Gallery and the Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, Ireland


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