Author Archive

Sonia Shiel

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All our hopes and dreams


Sonia Shiel is participating in Motivational Deficit at Crawford Gallery Cork, from the 14th November – 17th January 2015

More information here.

Elaine Byrne

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Transferencias, an exhibition featuring Elaine Byrne and Oweena Fogarty runs in Mexico until December 19th.

“…It would be simple to summarize the work of Elaine Byrne’s and Oweena Fogarty’s in Transferencias as rooted in Irish identity. This is a key ingredient. But their work goes deeper into effacement of geopolitical borders where Mexico and Ireland act as an axis. The complex proposal of the two artists question intelligible boundaries, paradigms and motivations of culture, history and their crossovers; in Byrne’s case, through language and structures and in Fogarty’s collecting ghostly traces.

Elaine Byrne has been working with the Bradigan Irish dancing school in Mexico City since 2012. With over 4,000 Irish dancing students in Mexico her investigation into the globalization of culture, questions what happens to traditions such as Irish dancing when absorbed and transformed by another culture…”

– extracted from press release, by Ana Isabel Pérez Gavilán, PhD

More info here.

Fliskmahaigo | Dermot Seymour | 20.11-20.12 2014

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‘Contemporary politics is the whim of man promulgated through propaganda of imagery and symbolism. In this manner society has been provided with a new gospel for the faithful that positions questioning and interrogation as part of a dissident heterodoxy. Herein we find Dermot Seymour’s current exhibition,Fliskmahaigo.

Seymour’s paintings draw upon his Belfast childhood experience that saw nature as an escape from the troubled streets of the city. With his subsequent move to the bucolic idyll of the foothills of the Partry Mountains, Seymour continues to find obvious comfort from landscape that is changed only by the seasons. His view of this landscape, even with the placement of utilitarian structures, becomes unsettled by the interference of people, monuments and appropriated symbols that are inured with a stark and frightening power when placed outside of their usual context.

These paintings are mixed with raw human existence that compels us to question humanity’s propensity for damaging itself; an accusation that permeates Seymour’s work. Nature has a stability against which is placed the festering of a society torn apart by a continuation of an outmoded identity. Abuse, decay, and political wrangling are placed at the forefront of Seymour’s images. His customary animal protagonists stare at us from the canvas to disconcert us by their simplicity as we look at this torn manmade world that surrounds us’.

 – Noel Kelly, Director, Visual Artists Ireland

Hennessy Portrait Prize

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Geraldine O’Neill is shortlisted for the Hennessy Portrait Prize 2014, for her work Is feidir le cat Schrödinger an dá thrá a fhreastalThe winner will be announced at the opening of the exhibition on Tuesday 11th November 2014.

More info here.

Diana Copperwhite

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532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel, NY, November 13 – December 20, 2014

When describing Diana Copperwhite’s work Colm Toibin wrote:

Her work is about painting first and foremost; [these] references merely serve a purpose.  Thus digital images which freeze and fragment an original image fascinate her, but such images in themselves are not enough, they provide a way into the painting.  It is their visuality which inspires rather than any precise sense of a blurred or fragmented reality.   Because she physically likes making paintings, everything is subservient to what paint will achieve.”

Copperwhite makes paintings that move fluidly between representation and abstraction. Photographs, montage and assemblage all aid the process and become ancillary works that pin down fleeting thoughts, glimpses and reactions to a media saturated age.  Her interests and sources are eclectic and wide ranging, from social media to philosophical debate to art historical references.  Yet, as Toibin points out, her paintings are no more about the image than they are about the process of painting itself.  Her work is phenomenological in that momentarily emotional responses override the need to capture reality.  Something has piqued her interest and from that initial interest she thinks in colour, in tone, and texture, in setting herself a visual problem to which there is no single definitive solution.  Her palette is composed of murky undertones punctuated by bright neon rifts. The fluidity and expressiveness of the painting gives little hint of the rigorous and formal abstract principles applied to the making.

Strangers in a Room is an almost purely abstract painting, a composition of bold stripes and gestural marks.  The eye struggles and fails to distinguish the strangers of the title, but the space retains something room-like, an echo of representation caught just beneath the vibrant surface. This duality is apparent in all the work, the teasing through of an idea, of where it has come from and where it may lead. The recurring motif of screens appears in Tropic of Capricorn Tropic of Cancer.  Two squares like televisions float brightly facing each other.  It is no accident that the title references astrology, lines of latitude, and the writer Henry Miller.  A multi-media world describing the interconnectedness of knowledge.  In Copperwhite’s work even the most arbitrary act demands balance, the carefully thought out response.  The source may seem randomly chosen but the intellectual process, the making of a painting is not.

Diana Copperwhite studied Fine Art Painting at Limerick School of Art and Design and the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. She completed an MFA at Winchester School of Art, Barcelona in 2000.  Diana is a tutor at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin.  Her work is in the collection of the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Arts Council of Ireland, and also in collections in the United States, Europe and Australia.

The writer Colm Toibin is currently Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of Humanities at Columbia University.  He is an IMPAC Dublin Literary Award prizewinner, and has appeared on the Booker shortlist, most recently in 2013 for his play the Testament of Mary.



Royal Ulster Academy of Arts 2014

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Hiberno Hare_screen

Dermot Seymour and Tadhg McSweeney will take part in the 133rd annual exhibition at the Ulster Museum, Botanic Gardens, Belfast BT9 5AB.

The exhibition runs from 17th October 2014 – 5th January 2015, Tuesday – Sunday 10:00am – 5:00pm.


Dermot Seymour, Hiberno Hare, oil on canvas, 220x163cm

Mick O’Dea PRHA

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Mick_RHA_presidentThe Royal Hibernian Academy, which operates one of the nation’s largest exhibition galleries, elected the painter Mick O’Dea as the 23rd President of the Academy at its Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 14th October, 2014. Elected to RHA Membership in 1996, Mick O’Dea was delighted to accept.

“I am delighted and honored to have been elected as the new President of the RHA and to have the opportunity to continue the great work of our previous Presidents, most recently Des McMahon PPRHA and Stephen McKenna PPRHA. The RHA has a very strong team led by Director, Patrick Murphy. I look forward to working with Patrick, the staff, the crew and our voluntary workers who make sure that the RHA continues to punch way above its weight as an incredible resource and facility. As President, I will strive to ensure that the voice of the Academy is heard and that we are more importantly, seen. The values of tradition and innovation that the Academy stands for enables us to show and support the best of the diverse range of practices that are prevalent at this time. It is my responsibility to ensure that we hold that vision into this period of the early twenty first century. “ Mick O’Dea PRHA

Mick O’Dea – Black & Tan, Trouble, The Split

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Mick book cover

Edited by Harry Hutchinson

Design and Production – Atelier; David Smith and Clare Lynch

Texts – Roddy Doyle, Aidan Dunne and Professor Kevin Whelan

Photography – Gillian Buckley and Davey Moor

Printing and Reproduction – MM Artbook Printing & Repro

ISBN 978-0-9560538-4-8

Edition of 750

Published by Kevin Kavanagh (2014) ,€25

The Split | Mick O’Dea | 16.10-15.11 2014

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Kevin Kavanagh is pleased to present The Split by Mick O’Dea. Continuing  the themes explored in Black and Tan (2010) and Trouble (2012), O’Dea has produced large-scale paintings that draw on a wide range of photographic sources.

‘O’Dea shows us the gleam of the boots, the furl of a flag, the cut of a coat, the way the hair falls across a broad brow. These are carefully wrought paintings, worked for a long time to achieve a high degree of finish. In the many groups, each figure is carefully individuated and after we look at a series of these paintings, we feel that we know these men intimately, that we would recognise them across a crowded street by their stance, the way they wear their clothes, their smiles. And always there is the overt presence of violence. Guns and holsters are everywhere: Collins’ bodyguard Joe O’Reilly, has one gloved hand and one bare, the more quickly to reach for the gun in his pocket. The gleaming boots draw the eye, and a homoerotic charge passes through these knowing masculine companies. The artist observes all and reveals all, the quality of the painting opening these lives again, as we experience these men not as cardboard cut-outs, but as fully formed individuals, dense with a vivid particularity, released back from their frozen static photographs into the living stream of history. Their sheer quality forces the observer to engage with them not as abstract and remote figures, but as real people in a real time and place. The masterly attention to establishing the backdrops – leaves on the bushes, the rise and fall of a pavement, the angularity of a bench – situates these men in a fully realised material world, and we admire the classical quality of the painting in these bravura passages.

As we start on ‘a decade of commemorations’, as we as a country engage again with 1916 and the War of Independence, Michael O’Dea has placed us in his debt. This is an artist coming into the full expression of his considerable powers.’
Professor Kevin Whelan, Keough-Naughton Notre Dame Centre Dublin.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Kevin Kavanagh has produced a fully illustrated book on the artist, featuring work from The Split (2014), Trouble (2012) and Black and Tan(2010). Mick O’Dea is designed by Atelier David Smith and published by the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery.

ArtMarket Budapest

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Kevin Kavanagh was this year invited to participate in ArtMarket Budapest, running from 8 – 12 October. The gallery is showing Robert Armstrong, Paul Nugent, Nevan Lahart, Sinead Ni Mhoanaogh, Paul McKinley, Geraldine O’Neill and Tadgh McSweeney in the Millenaris, Budapest.

Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh

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Countours V

Imlíne by Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Triskel Christchurch, Cork from 9 October – 1 November 2014.

Imlíne is part of Calling up the Vangard, an exhibition series curated by John P. Quinlan. The exhbition will be opened by Peadar Ó Riada on Thursday 9 October at 6 p.m.

Gallery open Tuesday – Saturday 11:00 – 5:00pm

Elaine Byrne

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LCGA_raumplan_evite (1)


Elaine Byrne

Limerick City Gallery of Art

RAUMPLAN by Elaine Byrne at Limerick City Gallery of Art opens on Thursday 25thSeptember and runs until the 20th November 2014.  The exhibition will be opened by Eamon Maxwell, Director Lismore Castle Arts

RAUMPLAN, meaning space plan or the yet unrealized vision of a space follows on from Byrne’s earlier work RAUM (2013) which questioned the desire to escape an unchanging state of inertia in order to free oneself to live within what might be thought of as a literally utopian “non-space.” RAUM (which won the Arte Laguna Sculpture Prize 2014 at Venice) features objects and photos from a deserted cottage in Askeaton, County Limerick combined with an architectural utopian design from 1924 will also be installed at Limerick City Gallery of Art.

A new large sculpture Endless Resistance will be shown in the Carnegie Room. The sculpture is an investigation into Frederick Kiesler’s (1890-1965) project The Endless House, which calls for a new starting point for domestic architecture which focuses on psychic needs of the dweller. Kiesler worked on his Endless House project for over 40 years but he never managed to build it – it was only ever realised through drawings and models. This house was the culmination of his utopian views of architecture ‘the question is not straight or curved walls but how does one live among these straight or curved walls’.
RAUMPLAN will also feature Walking Sculptures (or perhaps my father was right),four large tree trunks hanging from the ceiling with text burnt into them andFathoming Space, the culmination of a two year scientific experiment working with Mexican engineers from CENART, Mexico City and scientists from National University of Ireland, Maynooth experimenting on the possibility of developing a new cognitive sensory modality of space.

Elaine Byrne is an artist based in Dublin who has exhibited internationally, including most recently New York, Mexico, Hungary and the UK. Many media are applied in her practice – Sculpture, Photography, Installation, Video, Film and Light. She is the recipient of many awards including most recently the Venice Arte Laguna Sculpture Prize 2014 for her work RAUM.  She is represented by Kevin Kavanagh gallery Dublin, and is currently participating in the Whitney Independent Study Programme New York in 2014/15.

Sean Lynch at Carlow Visual

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Sean Lynch
Link and Studio Gallery
12th September – 11th January

Opening reception; 5:30pm Saturday 12th September

VISUAL present a major exhibition by Sean Lynch, Ireland’s representative at the 2015 Venice Biennale. Over the last decade, Lynch’s installations, sculptures and publications have explored the subjective layers of Irish history and offered alternative readings of the influences that shape our society today.

The exhibition includes a new work commissioned by VISUAL and the Local Authority Arts Office; For The Birds is based upon the medieval Irish myth of An Buile Suibhne, or the Frenzy of Sweeney. Cursed to be half-man, half-bird, Sweeney hopped throughout Ireland lamenting his woes in lyrical verse, until he reached a farmhouse in St. Mullins in Co. Carlow where he found a strange form of kindness – each evening he was invited to drink milk out of a bowl of cowdung. In collaboration with sculptor Tom Fitzgerald, Lynch reimagines this scene in the context of Carlow’s contemporary agricultural industry.

An accompanying catalogue designed by Wayne Daly will feature an in-depth essay on Lynch by critic and lecturer Caoimhin Mac Giolla Leith.

The Abundance | Margaret Corcoran | 04.09-04.10 2014

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Kevin Kavanagh is pleased to present The Abundance by Margaret Corcoran. This exhibition features new works from her solo show Return to Cythera which was featured earlier this year at The Solstice Arts Centre, Navan.

‘Margaret Corcoran is known for her lively engagement with the western painting tradition. Her 2002 acclaimed exhibition, An Enquiry, pictured her daughter looking at some of the paintings that make up the Milltown bequest in the National  Gallery of Ireland… The paintings in An Enquiry demonstrated that she is a conventionally gifted draughtswoman and painter, absolutely at home with representational method. But the last thing she wanted to do was to create pastiches of neoclassical or romantic paintings. She takes a bravura, tremendously free approach in Return to Cythera,building up densely layered networks of imagery – you have to look at each image closely or you will miss much of what’s going on. Sometimes she’ll work a section of a composition to a polished conventional finish, but she always holds back from creating an overall , seamless illusion. There’s a lightness of touch, a very appealing playfulness. When she veers towards abstraction with, say, expanses of saturated colour or flurries of calligraphic brushwork, it is beautifully judged. The historical material she is dealing with becomes a rich, nutritive mass from which she draws not new stories but –as ever- new versions of old stories.’

Aidan Dunne, Irish Times, May 5, 2014.

Sean Lynch in conversation with Michael Asbury

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Dr Michael Asbury, CCW Reader and TrAIN Research Centre Deputy Director, recorded his recent conversation with artist Sean Lynch, recipient of the TrAIN/Gasworks residency during the summer of 2012. Each year, TrAIN collaborates with Gasworks International Residency Programme to offer a fully funded three month practice-based research fellowship for an artist who is not based in the UK. The residency offers an opportunity for the artist to join the studio environment offered by Gasworks, while also participating in research seminars and discussions at the TrAIN Research Centre. Following his residency Sean held a solo exhibition at Modern Art Oxford and is currently living in London whilst preparing for his exhibition at the Venice Biennale, where he will represent Ireland in 2015.

Read the full transcript here

Vanesse Donoso Lopez at RAC

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vanessa roscommon

Roscommon Arts Centre Offsite is pleased to present an installation by Spanish artist Vanessa Donoso López titled Painful Excess of Pleasure as their inaugural Offsite Exhibition in the Long Gallery of King House, Boyle.

Vanessa’s intricately executed installation will transform the Long Gallery space using curios type objects and organic forms created from paper. The immense architecture of the Long Gallery will lend itself to containing and protecting these delicate objects.
The gallery will host a large greenhouse structure, which like so many of Donoso López pieces, acts as a container and a laboratory in which plants can alter and grow. This space invites the audience to walk in and around the objects within, traversing elements of the artist’s “inner psychic reality” and “external reality” and her past and present. The provisionality of the structure and the imperfect domestic objects talk of the balance between being settled and being uprooted. Vanessa Donoso López ‘s work is committed to exploring concepts of transitional phenomena allied to contemporary life, with its cross-cultural identity and narratives, its mutability and intricacy, and its potential for the loss of identity, language, and compatibility with original cultures.



The Pinking | Ruth E. Lyons | 07.08-30.08 2014

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When the sky is lit up with the pink shades of sunrise or sunset the world is awakened to the signal of day approaching or night falling. But if one had  just awoken and seen the pinking of the sky they could  easily be confused as to what time of the day it was. Giving rise to a temporary disorientation and weightlessness under the sky.  

 Ruth E. Lyons’s work touches on the liminal interlude between the pinking of the sky, the constellations of stars above, the breath and richness of landscapes underfoot and the depths of the earth and underwater below us. She produces aquaculture structures which float against abstract backgrounds providing new islands of reality, architectural shapes which grow from the solid architecture of buildings- looking back on itself as if questioning the function of the origin. Works beckon technology to inform deserted islands or rely on a voice to instruct the viewer to experience the cosmic realm and our virtual selves within it. 

 Within her work attention is drawn to the gravity of the atmosphere; by means of   watercolour paintings which talk of the depths of landscape, the femininity of the pinking of the sky and its profound charge as it unveils the distance and slowness of the earth. A portal is situated in the gallery- a mirrored, refraction of the space between the ceiling and floor, marked out with pink buoys signalling the division between the surface of  the water and the water chamber underneath. 

 What we perceive to know about the breath of the universe, the knowable information from human discoveries is queried by the idea of the unknowable expanses in nature. Ruth E. Lyons suspends us in a weightless wondering of disorientation: an illusory world within the gallery space.

-Aoife Tunney, independent curator.


Review by James Merrigan

Elaine Byrne in NYC

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There is a preview of Elaine Byrne’s  newest sculpture “Endless Resistance -a work in progress-” before it is shipped to Ireland on Friday. The large sculpture is influenced by the “Endless House” designs of Federick Kiesler which he made from 1948-1965. It will be finished on site  for a solo exhibition in Limerick City Gallery (September- November 2014 ). Project is funded with the help of the Arts Council of Ireland. 
Thursday 24th, between 6 and 8 pm at 348 Morgan (@ Metropolitian) 
“I would be delighted if you could join me to see it off (so to speak) I won’t be quite cracking a champagne on it to launch it but there will be beer.”
-Elaine Byrne
Elaine will also give a talk at Station Indepenand Projects on 31st July 6:30pm. More information here

Boyle Arts Festival

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Boyle Arts Festival officially opens on Thursday, 24th July at 8.30pm in King House. A number of gallery artists have work in the main exhibition; Paul McKinley, Dermot Seymour, Mick O’Dea, Robert Armstrong, Oliver Commerford, Sonia Shiel, Nevan LaHart, Mark Swords, Stephen Loughman, Margaret Corcoran, Geraldine O’Neil, Paul Nugent, Vanessa Donoso Lopez, Sinead Ní Mhaonaigh and Diana Copperwhite. More info on the BAF can be found here

Sonia Shiel at Fieldworks: Animal Habitats in Contemporary Art

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Cartoons for grown ups_MARBLE_papier mache, saddle, leather and latex_Diameter 65cm_2012

1 August – 2 November 2014
Lewis Glucksman Gallery
University College Cork

Artists: Adam Chodzko, Petra Feriancova, Petrit Halilaj, Ho Rui An, Jochen Lempert, Flo Maak,
Chris Marker, Wesley Meuris, Ciarán Murphy, Vanessa Safavi, Julia Schmid, Sonia Shiel, and
Ruth van Beek

Curated by Chris Clarke, in partnership with BEES (Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences),
University College Cork

Fieldworks is an exhibition of Irish and international contemporary artists whose work explores the
environments inhabited by different species of animals. From remote woodlands to urban locales to
artificial or scientific displays, the study and observation of animals often requires us to experience these
creatures in the wild or through a careful re-creation of their natural dwellings. This exhibition takes a
closer look at such places, offering insight into how animals forage, nest and play and how their
habitats are represented in contemporary art.

Fieldworks Press Release 

Instant Crush | Group Show | 03.07-2.08 2014

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A collection of works celebrating twenty years in business.

Paul Nugent,Sean Lynch, Nevan Lahart, Diana Copperwhite, Elaine Byrne, Sonia Shiel, Tadhg McSweeney, Danny Rolph, Oliver Comerford, Stephen Loughman, Vanessa Donoso Lopez, Paul McKinley, Anna Bjerger, Ulrich Vogl, Michael Boran, Mick O’Dea, Robert Armstrong, Mark Swords, Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Dermot Seymour, Margaret Corcoran, Amanda Coogan, and Geraldine O’Neill.

Stephen Loughman Publications

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07 December 2007 –  26 January 2008
Galway Arts Centre,Ireland

Text: Hugo Hamilton, Maeve Mulrennan
Design: Neil Gurry
Photography: Vincent Lestienne, Paul McCarthy
Printing & Reproduction: Drukkerij Rosbeek
Edition of 1000
ISBN 978-0-9555164-5-0
Published by Kevin Kavanagh (2007)
The LakeDisplaying photo 1.JPG
24 February- 25 March 2006
Catalogue design: Neil Gurry
Photography: John Kelly
Printed by The Printed Image, Dublin
Published by Stephen Loughman and Kevin Kavanagh Gallery
ISBN 0-9552525-0-4
Desperate Optimists
Stephen Loughman & Dennis McNulty
25th September- 19th December 2004
Published by the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism
Edited by Valerie connor
Design by Bennis Design, Dublin
Printed by Graham & Heslip, Belfast
ISBN 0-7557-1946-8