Cover image ‘Spiral Eye’ by Gavin Lavelle
This post is shared with the Lavelle Art Gallery blog which I write with my husband Gavin Lavelle. The Lavelle Art Gallery is a family business run by Gavin in Clifden, County Galway where we live. We have a brand new website that we have been working on this summer and you can visit it it here at www.lavelleartgallery.ie
Gavin opened an exhibition of his work this week end for Clifden Arts Week. The display is located at the Station House on the Galway Road and it comprises of twelve new works. The large space is divided into three rooms, the accompanying rooms feature work by Irish landscape artist Joe Wilson and artist and wood turner Angie Williams. The diversity of material and colour make for an interesting exhibition that showcases the high standard of artwork being made here in Connemara.
Preparation for the exhibition opening. Wood turned forms by Angie Williams behind and paintings and drawings by Joe Wilson in the far room.
New works by Gavin include two large circular forms entitled ‘Spiral Eye’ and ‘Hive’ in which a myriad of pattern, beads and glass eyes form a kaleidoscope arrangement.
‘Spiral Eye’ – detail
The collection includes a small hand made triptych with a gold leaf central panel. There are several large collage paintings and a giant size map of Ireland.
Triptych central panel
Gavin collects his imagery from a variety of sources; maps, bird books, biology and botanical source books. He also uses vintage jewellery, beads, glass eyes and bones and twigs that have been painted or covered with gold leaf.
The compositions are all held within a structure, sometimes it is an adaptation from a classical painting or a real or imagined map. Larger forms are constructed out of wood into circular panels or domes. He uses antique boxes or specially constructed cabinets for smaller pieces.
Paint binds all of the strange, unconnected material together. A sensitive use of rich colour and contrast allows the imagery to flow in a seamless fashion in spite of its incongruity, creating an ‘alternative reality for the viewer’.
Of his work Gavin says ‘there’s a framework I have developed and a language that I use which can give the viewer enough scope to enter the paintings and enjoy them for themselves. Ideally I am happy enough with the viewer being engaged enough to meet me half way.’