Tuesday, August 18, 2015

John Kelly - Castlehaven to Antartica


An edited version of this review was published in the Sunday Times Culture magazine on the 16 August 2015.

When you roll into Castletownshend it's inevitable that you'll end up at Mary Anns, down the hill near the harbour. This award winning pub is presided over by Fergus O'Mahony who also runs the Warren Gallery upstairs - named after a local art patron. You can enjoy his sea-food surrounded by fine art and finish up with a tour of the current show. Your host's infectious enthusiasm for art is reflected in the rash of red dots visible.

Kelly who is feted in Melbourne and Sydney, and has a show coming up in New York, is less-well known is this country, despite living here for more ten years. While he made his name as a sculptor he has focused more on painting and print-making in recent times. He likes to get out and about. The striking series of images of Castlehaven were painted plein air from Ceim Hill and the stark studies of High and Low islands were captured from a perch in Myross Cemetery (see photo), overlooking the Atlantic. This exposure to wild and windy West Cork would have toughened him up for his recent expedition to the Antarctic where he also worked outdoors. While the bulk of the show features seascapes from around his current home, the Southern Ocean adventure features in a beautifully minimal etching of a penguin and two carborundum prints of giant icebergs.

The Warren Gallery


tel: 028 36146

John P. O'Sullivan


Monday, August 10, 2015

New Paintings - Michael Canning

An edited version of this review appeared in the Sunday Times Culture magazine on the 9 August 2015.

Catherine Hammond continues to fly the flag for top quality contemporary Irish art in scenic Glengarrif. Her latest offering is a striking exhibition of new work by the Limerick artist Michael Canning. The show is dominated by two giant pieces Selva Oscura I and Selva Oscura II - dramatic depictions of a dark wood through which an ethereal light glows. These virtuoso works, over ten feet tall, were created on paper using acrylic, charcoal, soot, ash and pencil. They must have tested the artist's technical and logistical abilities. Elsewhere Canning continues his detailed renditions of the flora of his native county. Don't be distracted by his titles (Night in Attica etc.), these exotic looking plants are all to be found in his local hedgerows. Not that Canning's concerns are scientific. His wild flowers, set like sculptures against an evening sky, evince a mood and display an artistry beyond the merely botanical. There's a profound poignancy at their heart - a sense of beauty and of its transitory nature. Night is approaching over the darkening flatlands of County Limerick, birds wheel above, restlessly. These works when contemplated give us pause from the rattle and hum of our pragmatic, preposterous world. In the inner gallery a group show contains fine pieces by Hughie O'Donoghue, Stephen Lawlor, Donal Teskey, and Bill Crozier amongst others.

Catherine Hammond Gallery


Mon-Sun 11am-6pm

tel: 027 63812