community festivals, Irish art

Friends – and not just Facebook friends

Photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Veronica Bolay RHA, Shay O'Byrne and myself at the Hamilton Gallery
Artists Veronica Bolay RHA, Seamus O’Byrne and myself at the Hamilton Gallery

It has come to my notice that people actually read my blog-posts from time to time and this gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Yes, it’s really nice to get comments and smilies and such – and I feel very privileged to have made such good friends around the art world, over the years.

And I don’t just mean the artists, it’s great to hear from people who are genuinely interested in the Arts – in fact we artists depend on them!

But I was about to say that the Cairde Arts Festival exhibition is on in Sligo at the moment and of course, the word Cairde is the Irish for friends.

And we met up with many old friends last week, first in Boyle and then in Sligo. The group exhibition “Crazy Jane” is still on at the Hamilton Gallery and then there’s the exhibition at The Model which looks really impressive.

This one is entitled The Model presents Cairde Visual and it’s the fourth annual open submission exhibition of the Cairde Arts Festival. It features work by 87 artists with paintings, drawings, sculpture, lens-based work and installation – and I’m chuffed to have one of my Tinteán Tréigthe paintings selected for the show.

The Model, Sligo from the front
The Model, Sligo from the front
The Model, Sligo from the back (or the new front)
The Model, Sligo from the back (or the new front)

The Model is one of Ireland’s leading contemporary art centres. Built in 1862 as a Model School, the present building has been completely refurbished and extended to include a restaurant, a bookshop, a purpose-built performance space, wonderful bright galleries and a suite of artist’s studios on the top floor.

This award-winning building is home to the Niland collection, one of the most notable art collections in Ireland, featuring works by Jack B. Yeats, Paul Henry, Estella Solomons and Louis Le Brocquy to name but a few.

But back to the present. Do please keep sending in your words of wisdom, your comments and your requests. Is there a particular subject that might be of interest to you?

Just click on the brown ‘comment button’ to the right of the top photo.

http://www.eoinmaclochlainn.com/

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/

http://themodel.ie/

https://hamiltongallery.ie/

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

Concerning the Other, Irish art

Who is the Other?

portrait by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Charlotte Fien

I was watching the film “Basquiat” about the street artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and his fraught collaboration with Andy Warhol, a leading figure in the American art world of the last century.

Both of them worked in turn on the same canvas and I remember Warhol was quite miffed when Basquiat painted a big sloppy red mark over a carefully painted section by Warhol. Ah well, I suppose that’s what can happen when one is collaborating with others.

And we’ve been at it ourselves. “Concerning the Other” is an art project that involves 10 artists working together over each other’s work. All of the artists started off with one image and passed it on to the next artist to work on – and the whole process continued until each artist had worked over all ten images. We’re nearly finished now – we’ve all reached stage 10.

Yes, and I added a portrait that I’d painted of Charlotte Fien (see above) to the collage. This collage had started off with a profile of Kate Murphy’s daughter but then some of the following artists introduced references to the Nazis and to various eugenics programmes. So, if you’re wondering who Charlotte Fien is, she is a young English woman with Down syndrome who delivered a moving speech to the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations in March this year.

Concerning the Other final collage Eoin Mac Lochlainn

The artists involved with “Concerning the Other” were: James Hanley RHA, Brian Fay, Claire Halpin, Joanna Kidney, Gail Ritchie, Miriam McConnon, Kate Murphy, Ben Readman, Susanne Wawra and myself, and the project was curated by Olivier Cornet, Claire Halpin and me.

The final ten artworks along with a selected number of ‘in-between’ images will be exhibited at the Olivier Cornet Gallery in September 2017. The exhibition entitled: Concerning the Other will also feature individual works by the participating artists.

It will be officially opened on Sunday 10th of September by Patrick T. Murphy, Director of the RHA Gallagher Gallery.

There’s a lot more information about the project on our Facebook page at:

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

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/

http://www.eoinmaclochlainn.com/

And of course, your comments are always welcome here!

 

Historic, Irish art

They don’t make them like they used to

Photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of a range of Irish stamps

Okay, the bad news was that the post office put up the price of stamps again so that my stash of Christmas 72c stamps was now insufficient – but the good news is that the new 28c stamps feature ancient treasures from the collection of the National Museum of Ireland.

If you ever get the chance, make sure you visit this museum in Kildare Street, Dublin. It’s hard to believe the skill of those early Irish craftsmen (or craftswomen).

For instance, there’s the Tara Brooch (see my sketch below), named after the Hill of Tara, seat of the High Kings of Ireland, although there doesn’t seem to be any connection to either the hill or the High Kings – it was apparently discovered on a beach at Bettystown, County Meath by ‘a peasant woman’.

It was first displayed at The Great Exhibition in London in 1851 and then at the Paris Exposition Universelle. In 1872, it was added to the collection of the Royal Irish Academy, which later transferred it to the National Museum of Ireland where it remains today.

Watercolour drawing of the Tara Brooch by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

The National Museum notes that it is made of cast and gilt silver and is elaborately decorated on both faces. The front is ornamented with a series of unbelievably fine gold filigree panels depicting animal and abstract motifs, separated by studs of glass, enamel, and amber. The motifs on the back consist of scrolls and spirals and recall the La Tène decoration of the Iron Age.

As for the ‘peasant woman’, there’s all sorts of theories about who she was and where she actually found it but all she would say was something like –

Och! but I’m weary of mist and dark,
And roads where there’s never a house nor a bush,
And tired I am of bog and road,
And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!

Only joking. Actually that was from a poem entitled An Old Woman of the Roads, by Pádraic Colum. My brother and his wife are making a film about this poem at the moment and I’m really looking forward to seeing it.

Slán go fóillín.  Your comments are always welcome, thanks, eoin

http://www.museum.ie/Home

http://www.eoinmaclochlainn.com/

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/

 

Irish art, sculpture

Are you wondering what to do next?

I’ve spent the last two days clearing out the studio (it’s now in a worse mess than before) but it’ll be better tomorrow, hopefully.

It’s not a bad thing to do. You can get totally overwhelmed by the detritus of old projects and the bits and pieces ‘that might possibly be useful some day’, and this burgeoning clutter can have a detrimental effect on your mood as well on your workspace.

Progress? 6" x 6" metal grid, shadow, 2004 artwork by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
Progress?   6″ x 6″ metal grid, shadow, 2004

You see, for the most part, you’re on your own in this space, working away at something – unlike any “normal people’s work. Yes, it’s a strange occupation. I remember once the late Tony O’Malley said to me: “Painting is a mystery, like poetry… you have to listen. It’s available to you, as long as you don’t presume…”

Still, you sometimes stand there alone, wondering what to do next.

But as I was clearing, I came across this piece of wire (see above). I made that back in 2004 and it was exhibited in 6×6 for Ireland at the Central Academy of Fine Art in China (organised by James Ryan of the 411 Gallery, Hangzhou).

Yes, of course, it’s just a bit of ould wire but I like to think of it as a 3-dimensional drawing. It was referring to all those building projects that were underway back then. It had no colour, increasing the effect of the cold inhumanity of it all.

I was incorporating those grids into a lot of the work back then.  Below is another one, a more hopeful one, I suppose.  Breaking free from the grid. The shadows and the different sources of light were an important element in these works.

Birdsong, 6" x 6", oil on canvas, metal grid, shadow, 2005 artwork by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
Birdsong, 6″ x 6″, oil on canvas, metal grid, shadow, 2005

So, if you’re wondering what to do next – why not have a rummage in the attic, or in the shed.  You just never know what you might find or what new direction it might lead you. (Don’t throw anything out) and, if you happen to come across something interesting… maybe you’ll let me know about it?

http://www.eoinmaclochlainn.com/

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/

Central Academy of Fine Art, Beijing, China

 

Irish art, Nature

At least the Swallows are still returning…

watercolour sketches of swallows by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
a page from last year’s notebook

Yes, I’m well aware that the world is now officially in a state of complete ‘chassis’ but I’m going to ignore that for the moment and tell you instead about what happened at the weekend.

Even better, to describe it more elegantly, I’ll quote from Gearrscéalta an Phiarsaigh, the short stories of Patrick Pearse. It’s in Irish but I’ve added my own (loose) translation below…

Cluineadh go tobainn glór nár cluineadh san áit le tuilleadh agus leathbhliain. Glór beag bídeach. Glór fann fíorbhinn. Ceiliúr mear meidhreach, agus é neamhchosúil le h-aon cheiliúr eile dá dtagann ó ghob éin. Le luas lasrach thiomáin toirt bheag dhubh aneas. Í ag eiteall go h-ard san aer. Dhá sciathán leathna laidre uirthi. Déanamh gabhláin ar a h-eireaball. Í ag gearradh na slí roimpi mar shaighead a chaithfí as bogha. D’ísligh sí go tobann, thiontaigh sí, d’éirigh arís, d’ísligh is thiontaigh arís. Ansin rinne sí caol díreach ar Eoghainín, í ag labhairt in ard a gutha…

Translation:   Suddenly a sound was heard that hadn’t been heard in the place for over half a year. A tiny, twittering voice. A stray, puresweet voice. A joyful celebratory birdsong, like no other. At the speed of lightning, a tiny speck appeared from the south, flying high above the land. Wings spread wide. Forked tail. Slicing through the air like an arrow from a bow. She dived suddenly, she turned and rose again. She dived and turned again. She made straight for Eoghainín, joyfully, joyfully…

And I’ve added a tiny clip from my short film “Ar theacht an tSamhraidh” to celebrate the return of the swallows. If you can’t see it immediately below this, you need to click into the actual blog…

That piece of music was by Davy Spillane, by the way.   Slán go fóill,  Bye for now, eoin

http://www.eoinmaclochlainn.com/

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/

“Ar theacht an tSamhraidh” – the 9 minute version

Historic, Irish art

Quiet determination

oil painting of Padraig Pearse by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
An Piarsach, le Eoin Mac Lochlainn 90 x 120cm, oil on canvas, 2016

Quiet determination – I think that’s what he had.  He was passionate about the Irish language, Irish history and culture, the Irish way of life.

He saw what the English education system was doing, trying to stamp out any indigenous cultures, and produce obedient servants of the British Empire.

“I thank the goodness and the grace that on my birth has smiled and made me in this Christian age, a happy English child” – this was the prayer in Irish National School readers, before 1916.  This was the attitude that he rebelled against – and was determined to change.

Photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Pearse's Cottage, Ros Muc
Pearse’s Cottage, Ros Muc

Patrick Pearse had a cottage in Ros Muc and last year at Easter, Fionnuala and I went over there to join in the local commemorations of the Easter Rising.

We heard many stories about Pearse from people in the area, people whose grandparents might’ve met him long ago. There were fond memories of him.

People remembered him as a quiet man who visited the area regularly. They described how he would sit with them, late into the night, listening to their stories, endeavouring to learn everything about their way of life, and discussing and developing ideas for a better future for Ireland. Éire saor agus Éire Gaelach.

They appreciated his interest and he inspired them with his dedication.

If you read his short stories (that were based around Ros Muc) you can see how much he loved the place and the people. That was why we wanted to be in Ros Muc for Easter last year, to remember him and to commemorate the Easter Rising, one hundred years later.

Photo by eoin Mac Lochlainn of Raidió na Gaeltachta inside Pearse's Cottage, Rosmuc at Easter 2016
Raidió na Gaeltachta inside Pearse’s Cottage, Ros Muc at Easter 2016

Raidió na Gaeltachta was there to record the occasion. They all crowded into Pearse’s Cottage to interview the locals. The man you see talking in the centre, above is Frank Ó Máille. Pearse stayed in his father’s house, the first time he ever visited Ros Muc. (an Teach gorm – ach níl sé gorm níos mó, faraor). His father met Pearse at Maam Cross railway station and brought him in his sidecar to Ros Muc.

I wanted to create something special to mark that special year. While I was working on an art project there, I created a short film entitled: Ar theacht an tSamhraidh. With my brother Fearghas, we projected it onto the gable end of the cottage, as you can see in the video below this paragraph. (If you can’t see it straight away, you need to click into the actual blog) An raibh an Piarsach féin ann an oíche úd, meas tú, agus an bheirt againn ag seasamh le chéile, i gcoim na h-oíche?

The painting of Patrick Pearse, which appears in the film, is hanging in the Olivier Cornet Gallery in Dublin at the moment. The gallery will be open over the Easter weekend – Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  (that man never stops!)

You can see more about the Ros Muc project at the first link below.

https://emacl.wordpress.com/2016/08/04/clandestine-projection-in-connemara/

http://www.eoinmaclochlainn.com/

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/

 

Irish art, Nature

The blackbird and the flying snails

oil painting of Blackbird by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

My brother tells me that it’s listening for earthworms. That blackbird on our lawn is certainly on the lookout for something – but our hardworking earthworms?  I’d much prefer if he went for the snails. Those snails are the bane of my life.

Well, just one of the banes, I suppose, but those snails have been causing major problems here in Harold’s Cross ever since we began to grow our own vegetables.

I had a plan. Not a complicated one, I would simply drop them over the garden wall. Next door’s garden was just an unkempt lawn and nobody lived there, but d’you know – those snails used to come back over every night! My brother tells me that they’re like homing pigeons, they can find their way home. And I’m sure of it now because every morning, when I went out to check, there’d be less and less green shoots and more and more gastropod devastation.

I became a bit desperate. I used to go out at night with a torch and a saucepan, and I would search and find every single marauding mollusc and… but what to do with the seething, sluggy mass of Pulmonata?

I had a catapult. I would launch those slimy pulmonates into space, right over the roof of the house behind. Now, find your way home from there, you slug!

Bhuel, bhí go maith agus ní raibh go h-olc. But I was out in the garden one night around midnight. The sky was clear, the stars were twinkling bright. (I love to stand in the garden those nights and listen to the distant hum of the city). Then I heard something fall on the lawn; there it was again! Something landed behind me. I turned – and something hit me on the back of the neck! Something small and slimy…

And even though this is a terrible story (and very little to do with my art practice), I reckon I’ll be preparing the ground soon for another season of slugduggery. Any sensible suggestions would be very welcome.

http://www.eoinmaclochlainn.com/

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/

https://giy.ie/