Abstract View is the first in a series of exhibitions originally planned for the year-long 2021 programme “Gaze Upon”, due to Covid-19 and closures of the gallery this was delayed. The Courthouse is delighted to finally present the programme which will now run into April 2022. Abstract View will dive into abstraction within Irish visual arts practice, focusing on painting and graphical works of art. This exhibition will provide a view into four very different forms of abstract art. Gaze Upon, How artist View the world.
Gaze Upon, How artists view the world, cultural programme, within the artistic world, movements tending towards unification of idea and thought are powerless when confronted with the explosion of artistic practice, research and the wealth of emerging and established multidisciplinary visual artists. Contemporary visual arts in Ireland now tend to pursue ideas across all human experience, it pushes to inform or create, to form new experiences or ways of looking at the world. Artists have always had the power to create new, important and meaningful connections for viewers to ideas of anthropological relevance and importance, which in turn facilitates meaningful encounters with culture. We have seen the power of visual arts to inspire and change how we look at the world in Ireland throughout our history and modern times, from Repeal the Eighth campaign with artists such as Alice Maher and Cecily Brennan to the Marriage Referendum (Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland) with murals by Joe Caslin and Maser, even to some extent the work of Sean Keating during the War of Independence in Ireland and William Orpen as an official England war artist during World War One.
In the midst of chaos, how do we see beauty? Living together on one planet, how do we simultaneously celebrate our collective humanity and the unique resonance of each of our individual voices? Is it not vital that we support and drive artist autonomy and unique vision and with it, its essential critical qualities? The Gaze Upon project seeks to explore the many-faceted ways artist look at and interpret the world around us across many important issues, media and style. - Curated by Simon Fennessy Corcoran, Curator of The Courthouse Gallery & Studios
Megan Burns is a painter based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She gained a BA in Fine Art from Coleg Sir Gar, Carmarthen in 2014 then returned home to gain an MA in Fine Art in 2016 from Belfast School of Art. Since then Burns has had 2 solo shows and been in several groups shows. She has also been shortlisted for the 2017 Starpoint Prize and shortlisted for the 2017 RDS Visual Arts Award. More recently, Burns’ work was chosen for the 2019 Hennessy Craig Award. Through the use of geometry, colour and form, Burns creates illusionary structured spaces that are open yet confined and plays with the balance between the real and imagined. Using mostly household paint creates a sense of the uncanny within her abstract architectural interiors.
“areas of flat colour, hard-edged geometric divisions and forms […] Again, it is as if this form of abstraction has never really gone away, even on the far side of the peak of high modernism. The mind is drawn back to its possibilities. Burns implies a more architectonic, referential image in the structures she creates, opening up spaces and depth. Aidan Dunne – The Irish Times
Jane Rainey takes inspiration from the ocean when creating her paintings, which also draw on Romanticism and traditional Japanese landscapes. “The ocean can create and break, push and pull, rise and fall, it is always in flux,” explains Jane. “In my painting, I work to depict the feeling of standing at the edge of the ocean, marvelling at the serenity and ferocity of the sea. Rainey’s paintings do not attempt to be exact representations of the world around us, but instead express our longing for escapism into nature, tapping into a sense of magic and the inner self.
Lola Donoghue is a visual artist based in Galway. She is best known for her large abstract oil paintings. Loosely drawn linear elements and saturated splashes of vivid colour, primarily occupy the edges of the compositions. The juxtaposition of these against large planes of muted tones, reveal the artist’s interest in the relationship between space, colour, and line. Her current work is inspired by the constant interplay of the tension and balance of her journey into motherhood, in particular the push and pull of being a mother and a working artist, which is hinted at through abstracted fragments of female anatomy, there to be unearthed by the viewer on closer inspection.
Shane O’Driscoll expertly employs silkscreen printing to record his travels and paint a unique contemporary picture of the world today. His hand-pulled graphic prints serve as a compelling and personal memento of his adventures and combine colour printing with black and white to create incredible works of art. His work forms a uniquely popular form of visual art in Ireland now.
1. Halo Moon, Jane Rainey, oil on linen, 120 x 150cm, €3500
2. Altered Space 0.32, Megan Burns, household paint and acrylic, 2021, €700
3. Like a Hurricane, Shane O’Driscoll, Edition of 8, silkscreen print, 100 x 70cm print size, €1050 framed
4. Altered Space 0.31, Megan Burns, household paint and acrylic, 2021, €700
5. Isolation Interiors, Megan Burns, household paint and acrylic, 2021, €1800
6. Catching Lightning, Jane Rainey, oil on canvas, 90 x 120 cm, €3500
7. Blue Depths, Shane O’Driscoll, Artist proof, silkscreen print, 60 x 40cm framed, €445
8. Odd Little Gem, Lola Donoghue, 130 x 150cm, €3950
9. Anima, Lola Donoghue, 130 x 180cm, €5450
10. Lite Weight, Shane O’Driscoll, monoprint, silkscreen print, 40 x 40cm print size, €395
11. Become the Tiger, Shane O’Driscoll, Edition of 10, silkscreen print, 70 x 70cm print size, €700 framed
12. Note, Lola Donoghue, 105 x 130cm, €3200
*Continues Upstairs – Stairwell: Tantra by Ronnie Hughes, Oil on Board, €2300. This is the original for a specially commissioned limited edition print by The Courthouse, releasing June 25th, in order to financially support the artist and the gallery. For more information ask at reception or check out thecourthousegallery.com
13. Intangible Sky, Jane Rainey, oil on canvas, 120 x 150 cm, €3500