Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Today I got a chance to go to an art gallery for the first time in about 6 months. It was a real treat for me! I think I appreciated each piece so much more for not having seen any art (in person) in so long. It was the Fenton Gallery in Cork (of course). They don’t have a specific exhibition on at the moment but I think that a lot of the work was from their December Group Exhibition. I was really stressed out going in. It was one of those horrible grey drizzly, rainy, windy days and I was in town for a not so fun appointment. I was just across the road from the Fenton and I thought, why not pop in and have a look at some nice art to cheer myself up. It was the perfect therapy…my stress just melted away and I actually found myself smiling at some pretty great paintings!

A quick review of some of the highlights for me…I have to just warn you though that the pictures I’ve taken from the website don’t do any of the paintings justice but at least you’ll get an idea of them!

This cheery painting Clean Slate by Katherine Boucher Beug greeted me as I came in...it reminded me of summer and beach towels. I'm fairly sure thats not what the artist intended but its the first think I thought of! The beautiful shade of yellow made me feel instantly better.

Sweets on Sunday by Sheenagh Geoghegan lived up to its name, bringing to mind plaid Sunday dresses and boiled sweets. What really struck me about this painting was the texture and depth the thick layers of oil paint gave to the painting. Under the gallery lights the paint really shone with a depth and richness that made me think of beautiful shiny thick taffeta or silk.

This photo of Once Upon a Time by Makiko Nakamura, really doesn’t even look close to what its actually like. What looks like mottled grey here is actually a beautiful silver & white. Very fairytale and very Japanese, it reminded me of Sejima’s precise minimalist but atmospheric white spaces. (This page is in Italian but it has lovely images of those clean white spaces.)

Sheenwoods by Sarah Walker is not flat nor as dark as the photo suggests. The main image is matt, soft almost dreamy while each ‘dash’ or autumn leaf is a separate thick stroke of paint that glistened under the spotlights.

There were a couple of landscapes by Stuart Shils. I don’t usually like landscape paintings particularly, possibly because they remind me of the awful generic landscapes you get in hotel rooms, but I absolutely love these. Doesn’t Moody day, the big house in the distance, with dark trees do exactly what it says on the tin? Its moody, atmospheric, wet and misty.

My favourite painting of the day was called Horsepower, Tonnage and Revolution by Hughie O’Donoghue. Unfortunately I can’t find a photo of the exact painting, but this painting Duel looks like it may have been part of the same series. He has such an amazing way of making his paintings glow and these multimedia pieces are just beautiful in person.

That’s just a flavour of my favourite few paintings. What I saw today has really got me thinking about texture and layers and the wonderful effects you can achieve with paint. It makes me want to pick up my paintbrush and have a go. I must try to be braver and more experimental with the paintings I make rather than always sticking with what I know.

My tip for you today is that if you are stressed out in a gloomy grey city pop into a nice gallery to look at some beautiful things and it’ll cheer you right up!