art, Tondo

The search for gold… in a bookshop?

painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of W.B.Yeats

You can see in the photo above, a large painting of the poet William Butler Yeats that I finished recently. You know of course that it’s the 150th anniversary of his birth this year and there’s a lot happening in Ireland to celebrate it.

Now, regular readers will know that I am a member of the Tondo artists’ collective but did you know that Tondo will be taking part in these poetic celebrations? Yes indeed, the years are flying by but the members of Tondo have met regularly since 2007 to discuss their work and to explore current issues in contemporary art. We believe that exhibiting outside the gallery setting brings a new impetus to our work and forces us to continually look afresh at our art practice and to explore and experiment with alternative methods and materials.

In the past, Tondo has exhibited in many alternative spaces, including a lighthouse, a railway station, a public park and a small crate; we’ve also exhibited in The National Gallery of Ireland. Now we’ve joined forces with Olivier Cornet for a special project to celebrate Yeats – in the window of Hodges Figgis bookshop in Dublin. As Olivier says: he has curated exhibitions in interesting places over the years, from the smallest theatre to the tiniest gallery space but he’s never curated in a window before… but then, it’s no ordinary window, it’s about 3 metres high and 4 metres wide! (see below)

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Hodges Figgis Window, Dublin

And Olivier is nothing if not enthusiastic. He is continually coming up with new ways to bring art to a wider audience. This exhibition will be entitled: “Byzantium” and it will be on view from the 29th of May until the 9th of June. The artists included are Eve Parnell, Gerard Cox and – myself and Yanny Petters (both of us represented by the Olivier Cornet Gallery).

http://www.oliviercornetgallery.com/

https://www.facebook.com/events/1584044665203732/

PS:  if you were wondering – yes – that’s my studio up there but no, I don’t have my dinners there, the saucepan is what I use to wash brushes; the apple pictures were originally meant for an exhibition about Moore Street; the drawings on cardboard are there since last year and the little “What I’ve seen” painting on the right has since been reworked for the Summer group show at the Olivier Cornet Gallery, opening on the 7th of June in Parnell Square (more about that next week).

https://www.facebook.com/events/1646037055616156/

Exhibitions, Tondo

Coffee and Contemporary art, a good mix?

Around this time last summer, I took part in a Tondo exhibition in a lighthouse in Wicklow. Tondo is an artists’ collective that we established in 2007. We meet up regularly to discuss our work, to drink coffee and to explore current issues in contemporary art. This dialogue often leads to new work and interesting collaborative projects.  The coffee, on the other hand, usually goes cold.

Some of the work from Tondo @ the Lightouse
Some of the artworks from “Tondo @ the Lightouse”

Individually, Tondo members exhibit in various art galleries but, as a group, we seek out alternative spaces in which to exhibit.  Not only is this a way of bringing art to a wider audience but it also brings a new impetus to our work because it forces us to reassess our ideas about art and to explore and experiment with alternative methods and materials.

In the past Tondo has exhibited in many alternative spaces, including a railway station, a public park, even a small crate.  But we have also exhibited in the National Gallery of Ireland.

We like to get feedback. It’s always nice for me to hear from my friends out there in Bloggyland. Just yesterday, my aunt in Canada wrote me a beautiful passage about her feelings on art. Other people just like to give advice. That’s good too. Drop me a line if you have something on your mind.

PS: Tondo has a page on facebook, here’s a link- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tondo/

Exhibitions, Tondo

How to get there

View from the Lighthouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Folks, a lot of people have said that they’re going to the Tondo art exhibition at Wicklow Head Lighthouse this coming Sunday.  I just wanted to tell you about the traffic restrictions for the weekend.

First of all, please note that cars won’t be allowed to drive up the narrow lane that leads to the lighthouse but there is a car park nearby where you can leave your car.

You take the coast road southwards out of Wicklow town (R750) and as you drive along with the golf course on your left, you come to a viewing point and car park.  You must park the car here and then you have two choices – continue walking along the road until you reach a narrow laneway on your left that leads to the lighthouse ( it is signposted ) or else you can go down the steps  from the car park and that brings you to a cliff walk.  With the sea on your left,  follow this all the way to the lighthouse.  It’s the scenic route so allow up to an hour for the walk.  Let’s hope we have nice weather because there’s great views along the way.

Go n’éirí an bóthar libh!

Exhibitions, Tondo

Tondo @ the Lighthouse

Regular readers will know that I am a member of the Tondo artists’ collective.  Members of Tondo have met regularly since 2007 to discuss their work and to explore current issues in contemporary art.  We believe that exhibiting outside the gallery setting brings a new impetus to our work and forces us to continually look afresh at our art practice and to explore and experiment with alternative methods and materials.

In the past, Tondo has exhibited in many alternative spaces, including a railway station, a public park and a small crate; we have also exhibited in The National Gallery of Ireland.  Themes for new work generally emerge in response to particular spaces and when we got the opportunity to exhibit in the old lighthouse on Wicklow Head we were delighted.  It stands 29 metres high and was once one of a pair of octagonal lighthouses built on the headland in 1781. ( Its twin was demolished when a new lighthouse was built closer to the water’s edge in 1816 ).  It has been renovated by The Irish Landmark Trust, a charity that restores historic buildings in Ireland.  More information at www.irishlandmark.com  It is really interesting to see the inside of this lighthouse and to climb up to the top.  The walls must be a metre and a half thick!

And on Sunday 26th of August, at 3pm, the Tondo artists’ collective will present an exhibition of drawings, sculptures and paintings in the lighthouse on Wicklow Head.  The artists taking part in this exhibition will include Gerard Cox, Eve Parnell, Eoin Mac Lochlainn, John O’Grady, James Clancy and Sahoko Blake.

the old lighthouse on Wicklow Head

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information contact:  tondoartists@gmail.com

artists, Exhibitions, Tondo

Life in terms of measurement…

installation in Courthouse arts centre, Tinahely

Eve Parnell, a member of the Tondo artists’ collective, has a thought-provoking installation entitled “ Time in your Pocket ”, in the Courthouse Arts Centre in Tinahely for the month of August.  I went to the official opening on Saturday when Eve was giving a talk about the work.

You can see in the photo above that there is an old suitcase in the centre of the floor;  there are hundreds of measuring tapes emanating from (or heading to) the suitcase.  The measuring tapes are connected to simple wire coat hangers, the hangers perhaps symbolising the multitudes of people who passed through this old courthouse or through this life before us.

As Eve said in her talk: ‘ There is always a certain horror in considering life in terms of measurement.  The average life contains a quantifiable number of hours and minutes, a certain number of events, but the counting of things, the lists etc, fall far short of life itself…’   For me, the suitcase evoked the journey, or perhaps ‘just a station on the way’, but the suitcase and measuring tapes also brought to mind the horror of the Nazi concentration camps.

But Eve introduced a further element to the installation by inviting Pethelpers’ founder Tina Brophy to speak at the opening.  Tina told us how her organisation rescues thousands of battery hens from the slaughter every year and finds good homes for them in Ireland and in Great Britain.

Read more about this charity at http://pethelpers.wordpress.com/about/ and about Eve’s solo exhibition at http://www.tinahely-courthouse.ie/

photo of Eve Parnell and Tina Brophy

Tina Brophy and Eve Parnell
Exhibitions, Tondo

Don’t talk to the Artwork

performance by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
Performance in the National Gallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regular readers will know that I did a performance on Culture Night this year as part of the Tondo exhibition in The National Gallery of Ireland.  It was my first foray into performance art and I feel the need to express some thoughts about it.  I would also be glad of your feedback.

– So there I was at the exhibition, sitting on a sheet of cardboard, covered from head to toe by a blanket.  There was a concert going on in the restaurant next door, I could hear people laughing and chatting.  I felt ignored, unwanted, irrelevant… As I think of that now, I find it interesting because I imagine that it’s perhaps something of what the homeless people might feel.  I was there for just a few short hours, of course, and it was my decision to be there.  I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like for someone to be forced to sit and beg for help.

I must say that it was really nice when a few people sat down beside me and talked to me through the blanket.  I realise now that it was an awkward situation.  People didn’t know how to react to me.  I heard some people hesitantly call my name.  There was a lot of noise in the Gallery and sometimes I could hardly recognise the voice.  I want to say here how much I appreciated your support, all of you who came.  Normally at an exhibition it’s a lovely ‘party’ atmosphere, I love meeting all the guests and thanking them for their support etc. but this time, it was different, wasn’t it.  I was the artwork!  I might as well have put up a sign saying:  “Don’t talk to the artwork”.

As an artist I feel an empathy with those on the margins of society.  I see my role as observer, my work as bearing witness in some way…  I am interested in exploring how art may produce a deeper and more enduring understanding of the contemporary experience…

It was an experience, a new experience for me too.  Actually, I didn’t mean it to be simply about homelessness and the inequalities of contemporary society.  It was a metaphor, or so I envisaged. Something about the struggles of life, struggles that everyone encounters.  Don’t we sometimes just want to curl up and hide? Something about the struggle of the artist too.  I just get an idea sometimes and I go with it.  I can’t say exactly where the idea comes from but it arrives and I accept it.  Sometimes I have to wait a long time for an idea – but I have to trust my muse.  That’s why I called the performance: Waiting

It was a great honour for us in Tondo to have an exhibition in the National Gallery of Ireland and we are very grateful to the staff for facillitating us.  I hope that our installation of contemporary art added to the experience and appreciation of the Gallery’s collection and perhaps inspired some fresh insights into the nature of art and artists.

Exhibitions, Tondo

Exhibiting in The National Gallery

So this is Friday, the 23rd of September – Culture Night 2011.  Last night we spent the evening installing our work in The National Gallery of Ireland.  It is a groupshow by members of the Tondo artists’ co-operative for one night only.  I will be doing a performance. 

The show is entitled: “Tondo in the National Gallery” and it is in the Ballroom of the Gallery, which is located in the new wing, beside the ground floor restaurant.  The artists taking part in this Tondo exhibition will be Gerard Cox, Eve Parnell and myself.  Please note that entry to the Gallery is free as always but because of the crowds expected on Culture Night,  it is recommended that you book your free exhibition pass in advance.  Tel: 01 661 5133