Beauty in Nature

oil pastel of seagulls by Gillian Cussen
Gillian Cussen : ‘Free’, oil pastel on canvas, 2018

I always thought that when you hear a seagull scream, that it’s going to rain but no, some seagulls just like to scream all day long. We have a young one camped out on our roof these days and we hear its plaintiff calling from morning till night. That’s nature for you.

But we also have a pair of singing blackbirds, some robins and a wren. We even have the occasional visit from a fox.

And to quote Vincent Van Gogh: “If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere… Painters understand nature and love it, and teach us to see.”

This quote came to mind recently when I was at the opening of a wonderful exhibition by Gillian Cussen in the Friars’ Gate Theatre in Kilmallock, Co. Limerick.

I’m not sure if there are any city seagulls in Gillian’s garden but I know they have chickens, cats, dogs, bees (they even had pigs there for a while) and it’s a happy, mucky, bountiful, environmentally friendly oasis in the verdant vales of North Cork.

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of the opening of 'Mainly not looking', an exhibition by Gillian Cussen
Gillian Cussen speaking at the opening of ‘Mainly not looking’

“Mainly not Looking” is the title of the exhibition and it is based on the process of ‘blind drawing’ which Gillian frequently uses to begin a drawing. It is her first solo show since graduating from the Crawford College of Art & Design.

I would say that wonderful nature is the defining subject of her art. She feels that there is a growing disconnect between us and the natural world and she encourages viewers to look again at little creatures such as wasps (and even seagulls) who have their own particular role to play.  She has studied and depicted nature in all its forms, from the minutiae of insects and flower petals to the changing cycles and rhythms of the seasons.

If you are in Co. Limerick, be sure to visit.

Gillian Cussen

Friars’ Gate Theatre



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