This week, I attended the opening of a joint exhibition of work by two artists from Connemara. The title of the show is ‘Tales from the West‘ and it takes place in the
Peppercanister Gallery in Herbert Street in Dublin.
The first artist is my husband Gavin Lavelle and so I have watched the progress of his work for this show at first hand. Gavin studied fine art painting at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin from 1986 – 1991. He paints full – time as well as running his own gallery (The Lavelle Art Gallery) in the old family home here in Clifden.
His work is a mixture of collage and paint, sometimes applied on flat surfaces but also on wooden discs, icon shaped panels of board and specially formed domes of wood. The cut outs come from a multitude of sources – maps, printed work, texts, architecture, art history and religious imagery. These blend with paint and ink to form strange worlds of the imagination where opposing themes, histories and influences merge.
Here’s an example below simply called ‘Large Triptych Box’.
Rosie McGurran is also living and working in Connemara in the village of Roundstone. Rosie grew up in Belfast and studied fine art at the University of Ulster. She is a member of the Royal Ulster Academy of the Arts and she has worked in residencies in Rome, Australia, Iceland and New York. She discovered Roundstone and the island of Inishlacken in the late 1990’s and this ultimately led her to move here permanently, establishing Connemara as her home and also as the inspiration for her work. Rosie’s paintings describe the landscape, buildings, winding stone walls and field formations that make Connemara unique. A female figure commands the presence of some of these – she gazes outwards with a thoughtful, questioning look and she seems to gather houses and ruins in her skirts or on her head. These paintings are a response to the communities who live here and to those who are long gone. Rosie has a special affinity with the abandoned island of Inishlacken just off the shore of Roundstone. This was once a lively community which thrived from its own natural resource – the sea – but now it is a shadow of that time, it’s people dispersed, it’s houses abandoned except for a few Summer homes.
This painting of Rosie’s below is of Inishlacken.
The opening night was very enjoyable and there was a lively and welcoming atmosphere thanks to gallery owner Bryan Murphy and a thoughtful and eloquent introduction provided by Mr. Frank X Buckley. The show runs until June 2nd 2012. Go see it if you can.