The best of what Wexford has to offer (part 1)
(Photo source Pat Sheridan)
Before I get into the nitty-gritty of what Wexford has to offer, I hope you can indulge me for a minute. I and so many Wexfordians are so lucky to have a plethora of art and craft right on our doorstep, not just at festival time, but all year round. Outside of Dublin and Galway, Wexford has one of the best art scenes in the country and every Wexfordian has become an expert and critic. Are we educated and knowledgeable - sometimes we are, sometimes not. But, we know what we like. To paraphrase - I can't define it but I know when I see it.
Since the age of about 11, I have always wandered around checking out all the exhibitions, I make it a point to speak to as many artists that I can, offer encouragement and congratulate them on their creations, not all beautiful (in my eyes) but most with a little bit of the persons soul or being. One thing you can certainly see is that sometimes it's not the destination but the journey and over the years I've loved speaking to the same people and checking out their journey, anyway, enough of the soppy stuff. Let's see what I found.
(Walkabout Map 1)
I started at the Creative Hub (green circle) in the old Bullring Mall.
Spearheaded by Wexford County Council and supported by Wexford Art Centre, this new hub comprises approx 8,000 sq ft and provides much needed space at a subsidised cost for artists from the county’s thriving creative sector. The initiative is a direct response by the Council to artists’ needs as identified in the county’s recent arts plan ‘Advancing the Arts‘ launched earlier this year.
I love the idea of a local arts collective, showcasing some amazing work. The Makers House is the place to be for craft work, my faves being Annette Whelan's glass sculptures.
I've seen Annette's work for over 10 years and am constantly amazed with what she creates, a true artist and Wexford local (her studio is down in Kilmore). Check out her facebook. I also liked Bianca Divito's work (she is also in Whites Hotel).
But there's loads to check out there ...
Moving on to work on canvas, my fave was the open studio of Declan Cody and Olivia Dwyer.
And there was some beautiful work in the hallways also ...
The next venue I loved was the Light and Shadow gallery (red circle - opposite the Bike Shop - 24 Selskar Street).
Jonathan Murphy's work is meticulously hand cut paper sculptures, depicting surreal and atmospheric storybook imagery. He has been awarded both National and International residencies. They have put together a great group exhibition so there is something for everyone's tastes ...
The surprise of the weekend was a small exhibition on the top floor by Dara Finneran; his work has a combination of digital, machine and hand-drawn elements. I loved his work.
And in the room next door, there was some really good photography by Aled Owen Thomas (web & facebook)
I popped into Pig Yard Gallery (blue circle) and had a quick look at the exhibition there and really enjoyed the realistic painting style of Jackie Edwards. No picture - go check it out yourself.
And then the final destination was the massive collection of art and craft in Whites Hotel (yellow circle). It's hard to pull out a favourite but the work by Martin Mc Cormack - Irish Peat Art - was stunning and very creative, something I've never scene but unique. Speaking to Martin, he is a lovely person and I could have talked to him for ages. AND his work, well it's amazing. When you talk about something being Irish and of Ireland, it doesn't get any better than this. Martin starts with painting his colours on his medium of choice, then adds a layer of peat (mixed with secret stuff). He then uses tools to scrape away the patterns and create an impasto with the colour showing underneath. He even encourages people to feel the surface of the painting which is great. One of my fave pieces was resurrection...
Well thats me done for now, I'll cover from the Denis Collins Gallery to the Talbot Hotel in the next couple of days. I hope you've enjoyed my wanderings (both by foot and by blog) and please comment which exhibitions you liked. Please share my blog to help promote these brilliant artists.
John The Captain Ryan