May June 2019 Main Gallery
Currently showing in the main gallery is an exhibition of Rachel Ballagh's drawings and Harald Kurreck's wood art, with two works on paper by Sarah Walker.
Rachel Ballagh was born in Dublin and graduated from the National College of Art and Design in 1992. She worked in Temple Bar Gallery and studios until 2002, where her practice was largely lens based, before moving to East Cork. In Ballycotton where she lives and works, she was immersed in nature. There she has attempted to highlight the extraordinary in the ordinary, where she decided to concentrate on line and form, to create a sense of “ if you stand still for long enough, you also will be engulfed by Nature “ This led to the series of drawings 'An Entangled Bank ' The works on paper currently on show were made using a combination of charcoal, graphite,conté chalk, watercolour on paper and organic materials such as real butterflies and moths, producing intricate, delicate yet immediately arresting images of the natural world, the only human disturbance a quiet cottage in 'An Entangled Bank III.'
'My current practice is semi-autobiographical, and can only represent what is important to me, I now challenge myself to express myself on a larger canvas. I explore notions of Identity, mental health, dystopia and the damage of the Anthropocene era. Drawing and painting play a major role in realizing these ideas, where irony is not out of place.'
Ballagh is continually working on a series of digital works made up of a manipulation of her own drawings.
Harald Kurreck is a German artist based in Ireland.He creates wood art objects using fallen trees from the small island of Rossdohan, near Sneem in Co.Kerry. Coming from a business background Harald was inspired to start making art with wood after a visit to the Bucheim Museum (Museum of Imaginaltion) near Munich in Germany, where he saw the work of Ernst Gamperl. He was intrigued by how Gamperl used the natural process of drying timber to form intriguing shapes with the material. He met Gamperl who was friendly and easy to talk to and they discussed the process he was using to make his work.
The wood that Harald uses is taken from trees that have fallen in storms or need to be cut down for other reasons. The pieces are made from cut slices of trees roughly squared by a chainsaw before turning. Cracks in the core wood area are stabilized with butterflies. The objects are stained with natural stains such as catechou, bluewood or walnut. Then they are soaked in iron vinegar for up to a week and then soaked in water and lime. The natural change in shape which makes the pieces so intriguing and creative happens during the process of drying, the drying determines the final shape. Then the piece is treated with a solution of poppy oil and orange oil which give it a special shine and distinctive smell. After removing excess oil it is given a soft brushing with beeswax.
A selection of Kurreck's pieces are currently on show in the main gallery with Rachel Ballagh's drawings.
Sarah Walker exhibits a large scale oil on paper from her tree series using splashes of oil paint on fabriano paper finished with details of oil in relief. Also on show is one of her oil on paper flower series 'First Violets'.