'UNPLUGGED' in Dunamaise
Exhibition of Selected ArtVitae.com Artists
After successful 'Unplugged' exhibitions at the Narrow Space Gallery in Clonmel and the Art Ireland Fair in Dublin last year, the beautiful Dunamaise Art Centre, Portlaoise, Ireland www.dunamaise.ie is ArtVitae.com's first 'brick-and-mortar' venue for 2005. The exhibition runs from February 4th to the 25th.
The mix of seven talented established and emerging artists exhibiting at Dunamaise are: Hilary Elmes, Robert Frazier, Brenda Harris, Patrick Morrison, Miriam D. Robinson, Leonard Sheil, and Francis Tansey.
The seven exhibiting artists were thoughtfully selected from the over two hundred ArtVitae.com member artists by Louise Donlon of the Dunamaise Art Centre.
A resident of nearby County Carlow, artist Hilary Elmes says of her work, "I explore the elements of the landscape, earth, water, and sky through mixed media layers of colour and light." All of Hilary's works are mixed media on handmade paper. Her unique blend of media allows for what can be described as tactility expressed to the extreme. Her strength of surface texture is cleverly combined with pigments of strong earth tones and vibrant golden sunlit yellows to create passionate abstract landscapes. You will be compelled to touch the paintings with your fingers - but please do resist the temptation.
Although born in Boston, Robert Frazier is now, coincidentally, also residing nearby in Carlow Town. The only sculptor selected for this exhibition, Frazier's work poses conceptual and technical conundrums in that his sculptures combine extremes of materials into surprisingly cohesive forms. In his own words, "Since modern plumbing has brought water into houses, we no longer visit wells or streams, and as a result these special places in the countryside have largely been forgotten to the detriment of our spiritual development." Mr. Frazier is inspired by the magic of these ordinary places to create his sculptures made of limestone and cast glass.
Another artist who is heavily inspired by her Irish environs is Brenda Harris. A native of Dublin, she has recently relocated to rural County Waterford near Lismore. Whether working in a representational or abstract style, Brenda's work is recognizable by her rich and regal colour palette. Warm gold, orange, and deep purple hues dominate her luscious oils and draw us into her comfortable and nurturing world. Her intuitive colour sense expounds a strong sense of tranquility, submerging the viewer into her intriguing patterns of colour and form.
Born in Cork City, Patrick Morrison has spent the last forty years in California where he is now ensconced in the heady LA world that is all glamour and celebrity. He has recently been making waves back here in Ireland as evidenced by his highly successful exhibition in Waterford's Garter Lane Art Centre last year, which was notably opened by Sir Ben Kingsley. "Brilliant is a word you'd have to use describing Patrick Morrison's paintings...God's creation with the colour turned up. In rainy, cloudy Dublin, his nude and garden paintings keep me warm". -- Bono
After a long sojourn in England, Miriam D. Robinson has returned to her native Ireland, settling in her adoptive town of Clonmel. Miriam also works in mixed media and texture again is a strong element in conveying her message. Less dependent on colour and perhaps more cerebrally inspired than by reflection of landscape, her art deals with elemental forces of nature employing a more purely abstract visual vocabulary. "The transformative relationship between the physical and metaphysical worlds creates a continuous dynamic pulse. My paintings and drawings express the interaction between the ethereal, abstract nature of inner experience and the immediacy of physical experience. Each one influences and evokes the other."
Yet another masterful proponent of the surface is Leonard Sheil who maintains his studio in County Wicklow. In his case the surface most often explored in his works has been in relation to the sea. Sinister depths are mollified by filmy liquid layers in Leonard's strong turbulent abstractions. "It seems as if the work of Leonard Sheil is more a bid to express the whole complex experience of voyaging and a personal relationship with the sea. To this end, the irregular textures, the rapturous burst of colour, and a sense of something grave, deep, old, and overwhelming suggest approaches to sublimity." -- Aidan Dunne
Twenty years on Francis Tansey's newly completed hard-edged geometric paintings still show the original influences that spawned his style, and yet his works have consistently progressed, probed, and explored, never loosing their freshness of impact. Eminently collectable and well established colourist, Francis, based near Kilkenny, has just seen record prices set for his works sold at auction when his works, a part of the highly prestigious Jefferson Smurfit Collection, went under the hammer at James Adams Salerooms, in Dublin. "Tansey's pictures advance or recede, each acrylic colour activated by its neighbour. The paintings seem to buzz and hum like old radio sets. This is not rainbow colour used with spiritual consequence as Rothko used it. It is space age colour, the honky tonk downside of the microchip." -- Patrick Gallager
A little over an hour's drive on the motorway from Dublin, this collection of artworks is easily accessible, and a rare opportunity to meet all these very fine artists, and perhaps to add to, or start your art collection with some exceptionally important contemporary Irish works. All the artists plan to be in attendance at the opening 8 PM Friday night, the 4th of February. Francis Tansey will present a thought-provoking introduction to the exhibition. You might be surprized by the sophisticated atmosphere of Portlaoise. So plan your visit now, and dash away those mid-winter blues.