November Exhibition – Idir Spéir agus Talamh
New Works by Fionnuala Nolan, Ian Calder & Anne- Marie O Shea
Kenmare Butter Market is delighted to host an exhibition of new works by three very exciting contemporary artists: Ian Calder, Fionnuala Nolan and Anne O’Shea. Though it is quite a diverse trio they all contain an experience of the raw elemental landscapes of the Irish coast and shoreline and explore the expressive power of paint in their own unique ways. They move between abstraction and realism in varying degrees.
Ian’s subject matter is the wild spirit of horses and the emotive power of abandoned ship wrecks. He has travelled the coasts of Ireland and Scotland seeking out ship wrecks. ‘My work features images of once proud, sea-worthy vessels emerging at low tide as rotting, rusting, twisted hulks and of powerful equines emerging from an abstracted canvas.’
His other great passion is the study of the horse and he has executed several commissions of equine subjects.
EQUUS CABALLUS – These paintings pay homage to the great horse painters of the past: Stubbs, Delacroix, Degas, Munnings and Blackshaw. They are loose, expressive, unsentimental images of the spirit of the horse, painted with a lot of surface interest, but are, nevertheless, anatomically correct. These interesting marks on the canvas then resolve into an image of Equus. His richly textured surfaces evoke memories of forgotten histories as well as the wild and generous nature of the horses he portrays emerging out of an abstracted landscape.
Ian lives and works in Wicklow has participated in many group shows and has had two solo shows in Signal Arts Centre in Bray. Ian is a Scottish born, Wicklow based painter. He has participated in many group exhibitions, the Mermaid in Bray, Boyle Arts Festival and the Hamilton Gallery, Sligo. With Solo Shows in the Signal Arts Centre in Bray, 2017 and 2019, and in the Hamilton Gallery Sligo 2021, his paintings have also been purchased by the Office of Public Works.
Fionnuala Nolan’s paintings seem to emerge from some mythical Ireland we all recognise but can’t easily express. Our instinct is to cling to recognisable hints of mountains, cliffs, fields and oceans — elements of Irish landscape painting — that materialise out of a so mist or disappear in a torrent of sudden ‘weather’. But are we looking from above the clouds, or from below the waves? We begin to see and feel the whole landscape all at once, succumbing to the elements, allowing ourselves to drown in the terrible elemental beauty. It is familiar, we are not afraid. We dive in.
All Fionnuala’s work starts with the landscape. She is continually inspired by her emotional response to the natural world. After drawing and painting in the landscape itself, the work involves intuitively in her studio, so each piece carries her sense of the place, yet they can also evoke personal memories through the personal interpretations of the viewer. They are remnants of landscapes in the mind.
‘These paintings came out of my experiences of the Beara Peninsula in winter — the churning sea and rapidly changing light, the mountains looming out of the rain in the distance, the gushing streams, the ancient vegetation — the whole primordial wildness, combined with the purity and elemental nature of the landscape. I have hundreds of sketches and photos of this elemental landscape, but I painted many works from memory. I like the idea of layers in a landscape, of history, past lives and memories. I strive to capture that elusive sense of connection we all feel, the link between the natural world and ourselves.’
Fionnuala Nolan lives and works in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland where she has her studio. She has always painted, but has also worked in education, retail and interior design. She studied at UCD and NCAD and has had several solo shows and been part of group exhibitions. Fionnuala’s work is widely represented in private collections in Ireland and overseas. The Office of Public Works purchased one of her paintings for the State Art Collection.
Anne Marie O’Shea
Anne’s work is a direct response to her immediate environment in Kenmare where she was born and raised. Her work is rich, earthy and multilayered. ‘I have lived most of my life in Kenmare and this body of work is about the South Kerry and West Cork landscapes. I am drawn to the elemental aspects of this dramatic place, the wildness, rock ,mountain, water, precipitation, rhythms and spaces, the ever changing weather and appearances of place.
ˇI have an obsession with making, with process, with creation. My grandfather supplied the people of Kenmare with electricity — making Kenmare the first town in Ireland to have electricity before the ESB. The bi-product of that availability of power was the processing of raw wool into yarn for knitting, textiles and tweeds. So for me, Ashgrove Woollen Mills became like an amphitheatre. I spent a lot of my childhood experiencing and differentiating this huge variety of rhythmical sights and sounds which I now realise has shaped my vision as an artist and musician.’
Anne Marie O’Shea (now also Garrett) was born in Kenmare, Co. Kerry, Ireland and raised in the family home in Henry Street where her parents ran a shop (Kenmare Homespuns). She was educated at the local Holy Cross School and then went to University College Cork where she got a BA in English and French and then followed this with a Higher Diploma in Education. www.annemarieoshea.art