art exhibitions, community festivals

Probably the best arts festival in the country!

Oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of empty fireplace entitled Tintean Treigthe 15

It’s true what they say – the Boyle Arts Festival is a real gem of a festival with great music and art, and a special emphasis on small, intimate events in the various historical buildings of Boyle, Co. Roscommon.

Now in its 28th year, this festival has a well deserved reputation for being one of the best local celebrations of the Arts in this country.

Of course, there’s plenty of drama, poetry, storytelling, singers’ evenings and street performances and there’s a great mix of workshops and children’s programmes as well; there’s local art exhibitions, pop-up galleries and craft trails utilising the vacant premises and there’s just a wonderful community spirit in the town – but my main interest this year is in the art exhibition at King House – because I was invited to show one of my Tinteán Tréigthe paintings there (see above).

the crowd at King House Boyle Arts Festival. photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

Minister for Arts and Culture at the Boyle Arts Festival

the crowds at Boyle Arts Festival. Photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

This year, the theme (and title) is: Facing West and it brings together established and emerging artists in a great array of painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography and drawing. Over 100 artists! The exhibition was curated by Paul McKenna and was officially opened last Thursday by Heather Humphreys, Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. (yes, one wonders about that title alright)

Anyway, it was great to be there and, as you can see from the photos, I wasn’t the only one enjoying the occasion!

http://www.eoinmaclochlainn.com/

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/

https://www.boylearts.com/boyle-civic-collection/

art exhibitions, community festivals

A most special place

water colour painting of Ben Bulben by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

Well, you probably know already that County Sligo is the most beautiful and interesting county in all of Ireland.

And you probably know about the poet W.B. Yeats and his connections with Sligo, about the lake water lapping around the isle of Inishfree, about bare Benbulben’s head and about the clouds bundling high over Knocknarea…

And then there’s the mysterious megalithic sites of Carrowmore, Carrowkeel and Creevykeel. There’s Queen Maeve’s tomb and the place where the unfortunate Diarmuid was killed by a wild boar…

There’s the holy wells, the secret valleys, the shady woodlands and glorious beaches; there’s the heart-warming new film entitled: Halal Daddy and much, much more…

Well, luckily for me, I’m taking a trip up there soon – for the Cairde Arts festival.

This is a festival that has been going from strength to strength since its inception and the Cairde open-submission exhibition, now in its fourth year, is my main reason for visiting this particular time.

Oil painting by eoin Mac Lochlainn of empty fireplace Tinteán Tréigthe 29

This year the exhibition is entitled: The Model presents Cairde Visual because it has expanded once again and moved into the Model, one of Ireland’s leading centres for contemporary art. The selection panel was Patrick Murphy, Mark Garry, Barra Cassidy, Emer Mc Garry and Lorna Watkins.

There is a wide range of subjects and media from national and international artists and I’m delighted to reveal that my own painting entitled: Tinteán Tréigthe no. 29 (seen above) has been selected for inclusion this year.

The exhibition continues until the 6th of August.

http://cairdefestival.com/

http://www.eoinmaclochlainn.com/

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/

PS: if, by any chance, you think that there’s a more beautiful or more interesting county, then by all means, let me know and drop me a comment 🙂

art exhibitions, watercolour

Sketching on the Island of Adventure

water colour painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Ireland's Eye, Howth, Co.Dublin

Well, that was the best idea I had for a long time! Last weekend Fionnuala and I went out to Ireland’s Eye, a wild and wonderful island, just north of Howth Head in Co. Dublin.

I hadn’t been there since I was a boy and, to tell you the truth, I was a bit afraid that I’d be disappointed, that the cliffs wouldn’t be high, that the strand wouldn’t be long, that the seabirds would all be gone, but no – it was just as I remembered – it was just like our ‘island of adventure’.

My Dad had a recitation all about it. We all knew most of the lines by heart. It was about a young couple who rowed out to the island for the day… Happy memories.

Photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Gannets on Ireland's Eye

Cormorants on Ireland's Eye. Photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

Herring Gull on Ireland's Eye. Photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

We had our sandwiches watching the Gannets wheeling around the sea stack. What a place to build your home! It’s nesting season at the moment so the seagulls are fiercely protecting their nests. (Yes, we were very careful.) We saw Cormorants feeding their young in the strange way that they do (see above). The chick actually sticks its head down the parent’s throat!

It was wonderful to sit there on the island and watch the ever-moving, turquoise sea. I did some sketching, something I haven’t done in a while.

Photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Fionnuala Rockett on Ireland's Eye

Photo of Eoin Mac Lochlainn in ruined Church on Ireland's Eye

Photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Martello Tower on Ireland's Eye

Evening came. I stood up. “I suppose we’d better be heading back to Howth”, says I. “Howth be jiggers”, said Fionnuala, “let’s go on to Lambay!”

PS:  Speaking of sketching, there’s a great exhibition entitled: There’s a touch of the artist about old Bloom on at the Olivier Cornet Gallery this week. It’s a visual response to James Joyce’s Ulysses – sketching on location in the Parnell Square Cultural Quarter. Curated by Olivier Cornet, Jessica Peel-Yates and Marie-Hélène Brohan Delhaye, it’s the result of a four-day sketching event exploring the fabric of Joyce’s Dublin.

https://www.facebook.com/events/234522767037941

http://www.eoinmaclochlainn.com/

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/

 

 

art exhibitions, Poetry

Have you heard about Crazy Jane?

Last night I slept on the mountain - a small oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn for the Crazy Jane exhibition in the Hamilton Gallery , Sligo

As part of the annual Yeats Day celebrations this year, the Hamilton Gallery in Sligo have organised an exhibition of small works by over 90 contemporary artists who based their artworks on Crazy Jane, that strange character that appears in a couple of poems by William Butler Yeats.

This is the third and final iteration of the gallery’s Annual Invited Artists’ exhibition and it was opened on Tuesday by Professor Seán Golden.

My contribution is seen above, entitled: “Last night I lay on the mountain…”  Oh, sometimes I just feel like going up to the mountains and staying there until it’s all sorted out…  But, as I say, there are all sorts of good works in the show this year, as you can see from Emma Stroude’s photograph below (thanks for posting Emma).

installation shot by Emma Stroude

By the way,  have you checked out the Concerning the Other facebook page recently?  It’s really interesting to see how ten contemporary artists are responding to all the changes that are going on around us these days.

https://www.facebook.com/ConcerningtheOther/

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/

http://www.eoinmaclochlainn.com/

https://hamiltongallery.ie/

And of course, your comments are always welcome here – poetic or otherwise!

art exhibitions, community festivals

Irish Portraits

unfinished sketch of Richard Allen by Dave Gleeson
Sketch of Richard Allen by Dave Gleeson

There’s a lot happening at the Harold’s Cross Community Festival this week but I’ll just tell you today about the show that I’m curating as part of it.

It’s an exhibition of portraits by local artist Dave Gleeson. (That’s one of his drawings above). He makes these meticulous, finely crafted drawings in graphite and pastel that must take an age to complete. Each piece is carefully composed using various references to tell the story of the sitter.

But the drawing above is unfinished (I unceremoniously wrested it out of his grasp for this blog post) because I wanted to show you Richard Allen, the celebrated Quaker and philanthropist who was born in 1803 at 201, Harold’s Cross Road, Dublin (seen below).  It’s in a terrible state at the moment but the good news is that it has finally been agreed to fix it up.

Photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Quaker house in Harold's Cross, Dublin

The theme of the festival this year is diversity and inclusion. There was a great lecture about the Quakers on Tuesday evening. I’ll tell you – those Quakers got themselves into an awful lot of trouble down through the centuries for many reasons. For instance, they believed in equal status for men and women; they believed in everyone being equal in the eyes of God; they refused to pay tithes to the Anglican church; they refused to take an oath of allegiance to any monarch. I tell you: the more I hear, the more I like them!

But Richard Allen was active in movements for prison reform, the abolition of the death penalty and more particularly, for the abolition of slavery. In 1840 he attended the World’s Anti-Slavery Convention in London, the other Irish delegates being Daniel O’Connell and Richard Robert Madden. His friends included the freed slave Frederick Douglass, the temperance campaigner Fr. Theobald Mathew, the philanthropist Dr. Barnardo and the composer Thomas Moore.

And did I mention that he also raised £20,000 to help victims of the Irish Famine? His concern for the other was second to none.

His portrait can be seen alongside portraits of various Irish personalities from the literary and musical world at La Galerie Impromptu in Harold’s Cross until Sunday, the 14th of May. Well worth a visit!

http://davegleeson.net/

http://www.eoinmaclochlainn.com/

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/

http://www.patrickcomerford.com/2015/08/an-important-house-in-harolds-cross.html

And, speaking of “Concern for the Other”, there was an innovative new art project launched this week that you might like. I’ll tell you more about it next week but in the meantime, you could check out:

https://fundit.ie/project/funders/concerning-the-other

 

art exhibitions, Art musings

The most important Art in Ireland, this year?

painting of empty fireplace by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
“Tinteán Tréigthe no.30”, 50 x 50cm, oil on canvas, 2017

Well, of course I’m delighted that my painting (above) got accepted into the annual exhibition of the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) but I came across something recently on the internet that put a bit of a damper on my scamper.

I’m not sure anyway, if it’s a good thing for artists to be taking part in competitions. Isn’t it hard enough to produce something worthwhile without having to put yourself through the stress of anticipation, disappointment, resentment, jealousy etc – just for the temporary thrill of the odd conquest…

But there you go, they had 2450 entries to the RHA this year and only 321 pieces got selected. (That’s just under 13% of the entries)

But now, I’m going to show you some wonderful pieces of art – and they’re not from the RHA. It’s hard to believe it but all these pieces below are from the Texaco Children’s Art Competition. (I got these images from the Irish Times website and you can see more of them heregreat photos by Nick Bradshaw).

The artists below range in age from 7 to 15 years old. Boy, oh boy – wait until they start submitting to the RHA!

Rachel Glynn and a drawing of her Grandad for Texaco children's art competition
Rachel Glynn and a drawing of her Grandad. Photos by Nick Bradshaw
Nicole Forster with a portrait of her Dad for the Texaco Children's art competition. Photos Nick Bradshaw
Nicole Forster with a portrait of her Dad. Photos by Nick Bradshaw
Niall Dalton with his painting of Anne's dog, Molly. Photo by Nick Bradshaw
Niall Dalton with his painting of Anne’s dog, Molly. Photo by Nick Bradshaw
Amy Zhao with her Self-portrait for the Texaco Children's art competition. Photos by Nick Bradshaw
Amy Zhao with her Self-portrait. Photos by Nick Bradshaw
Ava Henson with her Self-portrait for the Texaco Children's art competition. Photos by Nick Bradshaw
Ava Henson with her Self-portrait. Photos by Nick Bradshaw

http://www.eoinmaclochlainn.com/

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/

The Irish Times

Nick Bradshaw

art exhibitions, Prison art

Great show – but where were the artists?

"Humans sharing Spaces", by John at the CHQ Building this week
From “Humans sharing Spaces” – a collage by John …

Unusual for a group exhibition – none of the artists turned up for the opening – but I was there myself and there was a great buzz, with speeches and applause, canapés, smoked salmon and all that jazz.

People felt very proud (I was delighted myself when I saw one particular piece on display). Everyone said that it was a great achievement – but a great pity that the artists themselves weren’t there to see it.

And if you were wondering why that was, well, it’s because they are all still in prison. It was an exhibition of artworks made by people in prison and it was entitled: “Humans sharing Spaces”, a joint initiative by the Irish Prison Service Education Centres and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

"Humans sharing Spaces" at the CHQ Building, Dublin
Before the opening of “Humans sharing Spaces” at the CHQ Building, Dublin

I did an Arts Council project in Cloverhill Prison last year, working with the prisoners to produce artworks for this exhibition. The piece you saw at the top is by John (we can’t use his full name) but would you believe that John had never done art before this project!

He told me that the tower at the bottom of the collage was known locally as “the Cup and Saucer” in his hometown, and that he saw the flying doves in a book about Magritte… Of all the works in the show (and there were hundreds more submitted), I was delighted that this piece got selected. Congratulations John.

It’s always a bit of a rollercoaster ride working in a prison. When you think of it: hundreds of (mostly) young men living in close proximity with strangers; lonely for their loved ones; possibly trying to deal with an addiction; maybe traumatised by some unresolved incident – it can be very difficult for them to come to grips with this new situation.

oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
“Graduate”, 50 x 50cm, oil on canvas, 2011 – one of my own paintings (in the collection of the state)

But in the art class, there’s a supportive atmosphere. We talk about mixing colours. We talk about the home place, about dreams, about the great artists… For a few hours, we forget about the present and we venture into a world of new possibilities. We begin to make art.

The exhibition continues until the 26th of March in the prestigious CHQ Building in Dublin and I’m told that it will tour to some other venues later on in the year.

http://www.iprt.ie/education-and-arts-in-prison

http://www.artscouncil.ie/home/

http://www.eoinmaclochlainn.com/

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/