previous exhibitions


May 26th - June 18th

Katherine Boucher Beug, Cormac Boydell, Ben Crawford
Fiona Dowling, Elizabeth O'Callaghan & Tom Walsh

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The subject of happiness, although quite unusual in the current contemporary art world, is one that perhaps could be thought of as interesting or necessary  to focus on and to hopefully experience, in these gloomy times. While some artists fill their work with angst and social/ political commentary on the world, others decide to focus on the more positive or try to share their experience of happiness with the viewer. 

With exhibition titles such as Don't Worry,  Be Happy at Hillsboro Fine Art, Dublin in 2009 and Hot Water Bottle at the Backwater Artists Group, Cork 2008, it is very evident that happiness, intimacy and humour are at the heart of Fiona Dowling's work. She has an interest in storytelling and clowning, which often feature in these small paintings, as does childhood imagery. Brought up near Bordeaux in France, she studied Classics at the Sorbonne in Paris before attending Ireland's National College of Art and Design, from where she graduated in 2004.  Dowling is currently a member of the Backwater Artists Group, Cork.

A link with childhood also plays a part in the work of Ben Crawford.   He feels that he is still painting the same things he liked to paint and draw, as a child and feels an affinity to the work of children and their perception of life. He says "Obviously as I've gotten older my view of the world isn't quite that simple anymore. But as cruel and as hard as life can be, I'm determined to try and keep that child-like optimism somewhere in my work. And I'm determined one day to paint my walls yellow and the floor pink and drink tea at a stripey blue table..."  Colour and a sense of quirkiness are important elements in Crawford's work. Having graduated from the Crawford College of Art and Design in 2007, Ben Crawford's first solo show was at the Shaw gallery, Cork in 2008 - 'The sheer unspeakable strangeness of being here at all' .   

Tom Walsh works primarily in watercolour and his images are the result of his wanderings in local towns and cities observing the place and people. A self taught artist, he talks of  Chagall's early folk images, which inspired him to let his imagination take flight and the inspiration he also derived from Klee's simplicity of line, colour and geometry. There is often a narrative element to his usually very detailed works in which you can often see chequered streets, lopsided buildings and stripey skies. For this exhibition, Walsh has chosen to focus on Garryvoe, in his native East Cork, a favourite seaside place for outings and days of leisure for many Cork people.   He has exhibited regularly with the Lavit and Solomon galleries over the years.

Also inspired by place, Elizabeth O'Callaghan takes inspiration loosely from land and seascapes. O' Callaghan heightens and exaggerates colour and plays with the flow of paint - pouring, dripping, dragging and spraying the paint onto the canvas. The resulting works have a joyful, exuberant energy to them. Having graduated from the Crawford College of Art and Design in 2009, Elizabeth O' Callaghan was awarded a Post-Graduate Bursary for the Backwater Artist Studios, Cork for 09/10'. 

Originally a geologist, Cormac Boydell's materials are central to his work, developing all glazes and colours in his ceramic plates from basic earth minerals and using his hands as his only tools. He explains that,  it is his wish that his work brings to others some of the happiness that he has in making it. His plates, often richly coloured in a palette of oranges and golds sometimes feature almost naïve like drawings of human or animal heads. Based in Allihies on the Beara Peninsula, Boydell is among other things inspired by prehistoric and tribal art. His work is in many public collections and he has exhibited widely through out Ireland since the mid 1970's.

Happiness to Katherine Boucher Beug is playing - experimenting with and exploring ideas. Sketchbook and paper work is a major part of her practice. For this show she has decided to exhibit some paper pieces and share the happiness experienced when creating and moving through ideas in her studio. She has also chosen to display these pieces in a more random way, to show this buzz and excitement of ideas. Known for both her drawing and colour work, Beug moves freely between figuration and abstraction, paintings and mixed media works, and this variety of work will clearly be seen here. Originally from New Jersey, Beug moved to Cork in 1971. Solo exhibitions have included Telemachus, Fenton Gallery Cork 2003, and Whose Equation, West Cork Art Centre, Skibbereen.

Happiness can be experienced at the gallery until June 12th, and is available for viewers to bring away with them. To coincide with this opening, there will be music by The Kevin and Geraldine Gill Bluegrass Band.