Dunamaise Arts Centre presents
An Exhibition to Mark the 15th Anniversary of Dunamaise Arts Centre
Dunamaise Arts Centre is pleased to present Chancery Lane, an exhibition to celebrate its 15th anniversary, featuring recent work by a selection of artists from Kevin Kavanagh Gallery which opens on Thursday 12th June at 7pm.
The exhibition features the artists Sean Lynch (recently selected to represent Ireland at the 56th International Art Exhibition in Venice in 2015. The Venice Biennial has for over a century been one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world), Vanessa Donoso Lopez and Tadhg McSweeney as well as a selection of works by artists from Kevin Kavanagh Gallery including Nevan Lahart, Paul McKinley, Margaret Corcoran, Oliver Comerford, Mick O'Dea, Diana Copperwhite, Elaine Byrne, Robert Armstrong, Geraldine O'Neill, Dermot Seymour, Sinead Ní Mhaonaigh and Mark Swords.
Dunamaise Arts Centre's Gallery has hosted exhibitions by Irish and international artists and organisations from the length and breadth of the country as well as further afield since its opening in 1999. A landmark event was the exhibition and auction, held in 2003, in memory of Noreen O’Hare, who had been a board member at Dunamaise. Over €75,000 was raised in aid of the cancer unit at St James’ Hospital in Dublin. Also counted among the highlights were exhibitions by artists such as Bernadette Madden, Micky Donnelly, Mick O’Dea, Tom Molloy, Una Sealy and Conor Walton as well as German arist Ulrich Vogl on their exhibitions at Dunamaise. As well as the programme of solo shows, the end of year show by art students at the local Abbeyleix Further Education Centre, has become a favourite fixture in the annual calendar. There have also been collaborations with the OPW, UTV, Portlaoise Camera Club and with Portlaoise Prison.
Kevin Kavanagh is one of the Ireland’s leading galleries showing Irish and international contemporary art. In 2008 the gallery moved to a 135m² space on Chancery Lane designed by architect Philip Crowe of MCO Projects. It represents both established and emerging artists from Ireland and abroad. The gallery’s annual programme consists of 8/9 solo and 1 curated group show as well as special events, screenings, performances, artists talks and participation at international art fairs.The gallery has published over 30 books on art.
The exhibition is organised by Kevin Kavanagh to mark the 15th Anniversary of Dunamaise Arts Centre and continues until Friday 1st August.
Dídean / Home
Friday 7 March – Saturday 26 Apr
I have been visiting Portlaoise for the last few years, teaching art in the prison and working on various Artist-in-Prison projects, so I was delighted when I was offered the opportunity to exhibit my work at Dunamaise Arts Centre.
The title of this exhibition is “Dídean/ Home” and it consists of paintings and installations exploring the human dimension to the economic crisis and looking at notions of “home”. In recent years, much has been written about ghost estates, empty hotels and tenantless apartment blocks, at one time an estimated 300,000 units vacant or unfinished, but at the same time we read about the growing problem of homelessness in our country. My work engages with contradictions such as these but, whilst the subject matter may be tough and the questions raised uncomfortable, my primary intention is to make art that moves people.
So I collect images from newspapers, magazines and the internet to find the subjects for my artworks. I am particularly interested in images of ordinary people in situations of conflict or crisis. It is all too easy to become inured to the individual stories that lie behind any of these images, but by choosing one and making it the subject of a large painting, for instance, I try to emphasize the importance of that human story and, in a way, to subvert the notion of the “15 minutes of fame”. I am interested in exploring how art may produce a deeper and more enduring understanding of the contemporary experience than do media images.
From a formal point of view I became interested in using discarded material in my artwork - cardboard, newspaper, paper coffee cups etc. I thought that it fitted well with the themes I was exploring. The empty coffee cups became a symbol for me of the “Boom and Bust”. During the era of the Celtic Tiger, it seemed like everyone was in a hurry - in a hurry to get to work, in a hurry to make money, in a hurry to build. No time to stop and chat, a quick coffee on the go, Skinny Lattes, Cappucinos, Caffé Mochas - madness - and then at the end of the day, the poor man on the street was using the empty cup to beg for help.
I also became interested in using cardboard in my work. If I was homeless and I had a piece of cardboard and a black marker, would I use them to write: “I’m Hungry, Please Help”, or would I start making art, right there on the street? As an artist, I feel grateful that I can create images out of thin air. I can picture places I’d like to be, things I could have... That’s why I called my installation of cardboard drawings: “Where there is art, there is hope”.
In the end, making art is a mysterious occupation. Working alone in the studio, I paint, I make things, I try out ideas, and sometimes my mistakes inspire new directions and new work… to borrow a quote from the late Tony O’Malley: “you work at it day after day and then suddenly, something happens, a revelation”. That’s how it is.
Eoin Mac Lochlainn graduated from NCAD in 2000. He is a founder member of the artists’ collective Tondo. He won The Golden Fleece Award for his work in 2008, was shortlisted for the Davy Portrait Award in 2010 and won the ESB Keating McLaughlin Medal at the RHA the same year.
He has had ten solo exhibitions in Ireland and has participated in several selected exhibitions (including RHA, RUA, Iontas, Éigse, Oireachtas) and in various group shows in Ireland, England, France, Belgium, Georgia and China. His work is in the collections of: OPW, AIB, Bank of Ireland, AXA Insurance, University of Limerick, Wesley College, the Boyle Civic Collection and in various private collections.
Dídean / Home at Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise, runs from Friday 7 March – Saturday 26 April with an Opening Reception on Friday 7 March, 7pm. Artist’s talks or workshops can be arranged on request 057-8663355.