Hi there pals,,
So this is an exciting week for me as I prepare to head off to Gstaad Switzerland to participate in ARTSFEMINs inaugural exhibition $€XY (Secure, Enthusiastic, Exponential and Young at heart) at the luxurious Huss_Gstaad, a stunning location in this rich and famous ski resort.
This is an all female, curated show highlighting the issues concerning equality within the arts world globally, supporting female artists and global charity: Women for Women International. I am attending the show to exhibit a huge new work (1 meter x 1 meter) a mixed media/acrylic art work called SAFEHOUSE, I created especially for this exhibit, as I usually work in wax this really is a large scale work for me, and I've got to be honest I loved working this way, working large suits me, its so physical and expressive, I really dived in!
I have the great pleasure to travel with, and show alongside of Irish visual artists and colleagues, Miriam Fitzgerald Juskova and Fran Halpin and 52 other curated artists from 35 countries.
As we in 'Team Ireland', as we call ourselves, prepares to depart for what is no doubt going to be a remarkable experience it hasn't escaped my notice that today is a landmark date for the #metoo movement, Harvey W was convicted today in the US...
Between the #MarriageEquality referendum and the #Repeal the 8th referendum here in Ireland a lot of feeling was dragged up for all genders everywhere, followed quickly by the revelations from Hollywood and of course our own appalling history of clerical and state controlled abuse against women and children, #metoo started to unfurl here on our own green soil...and indeed from my studio.
My feminist principles often flood into my work and SAFEHOUSE is no different.
I hope in some small way to offer a respite of hope through this work, a piffle really when you consider the scale of abuses against women and girls, but a gesture none the less...and a warning to antagonists everywhere...we wont take it anymore, we are strong, we are one, we talk, we are on to you!
SAFEHOUSE is not an 'angry' work, nor is it anti men, as is often argued when feminist talk comes to the surface. It is, in fact, a work of art full of hope, one that offers support to all! and after the exhibition launch this weekend when it is premiered, as promised, to the vip vernissage in the wonderful supportive and inclusive hands of Artsfemin I promise I will share the full artwork here.
For now all I can offer is a sneak peek, some press coverage and some prior fem-art works form my studio ...wish me well, I do you. xx N
Ps: If you wish to join us in Gstaad for this amazing event, follow the registration link in the Artsfmin page here.
My Fem-art. 2015 todate
Hi there Arty Friends,
I'm happy to tell you all I've been painting ... A LOT.... I started back at the paints prior to Christmas, splashing acrylics about in a bid to loosen up, to find some new flow to my work and to challenge myself to working in a different way but influenced by how I normally work with Encaustic.
Its been a revelation to be honest..layering hand made collage and monoprint over intuitive super expressive marks, playing with tones and hues and then moving into the more decisive and questioning part of the painting has really opened up some different conversations for me...I tried to further the challenge by reducing my palette, both in terms of paint and collage and with thanks to a very intensive (self imposed I might add) yet pleasurable week on an artists residency at the amazing Tyrone Guthrie Center I feel some real progress has been made.
Just as well says you as I prepare for two solo exhibitions in the Autumn/Winter season..but more on that later...
I have a few classes coming up shortly, another retreat weekend for the ICA at An Grianan and an encaustic print making demo at Creative Spark on behalf of AAEX, a gig Im very much looking forward to, as I get to share my techniques with my peers.
But my primary concern this month is exhibiting in Switzerland from the end of the month, a visit I hope to extend by visiting with my sister and her family, two birds one stone and Im hoping its going to be a great experience...its definitely a learning curve transporting large scale works abroad but Im hopeful with the advice we have been given all will be well..It is going to be a great show, 55 international female artists descending on the glamorous town of Gstaad facilitated by Swiss arts led group Artsfemin and supporting WFWI charity....showcasing work from across the globe and supporting one another and I am delighted to be joined representing Ireland by my friends and colleagues Miriam Fitzgerald Juskova and Fran Halpin...please wish us well and follow our social media feed for the daily updates.
For now I shall leave you a little video of my work in progress time at TGC and the terrific time I had in starting 15 paintings, some on paper , some canvas...more to be done ...Bye for now. xx N.
oLast week I had a change to normal procedure as I was invited to guest host a live art event that happens on the last Wednesday of every month, here in Monaghan Town at the beautiful and historic Markethouse Venue on Park Street. Scroll Down to see more photos from the night.
I’ll tell you all about how that went in a minute but first want to tell you about the group, the Monaghan Arts Network.
Back in 2014 I was invited to a discussion along with a number of people from the local creative community to explore the possibility of an Arts event or happening of some type, as there was a tiny pocket of money from the Monaghan Community Forum available through PeaceIII, if it could be so utilised. As you can imagine the ideas were plentiful and varied, it was however universally decided that a "showcase live event" for existing, emerging and professional creative’s, would provide the broadest opportunity for the existing community across the board. It was to be run by volunteers with minimal costs and its mission was to promote the breath of talent in the county across all genres and help establish and build a sustainable arts audience within the county.
The tiny pot of funding would see us through a couple of months if we did one event a month and that was to be the end of it.
Little did we know that the town and the county was so extensively filled with talent on such a broad scale…the events have been running every month now for 5 years, by volunteers and self funded by audience donations (each month the event is free to encompass all aspects of the community – donations are accepted in lieu of any official ticket cost) and occasionally business sponsored refreshments, and every month the Monaghan Arts Officer makes available the Arts Office in the Markethouse Building, a flurry of activity sees the upper floor converted from gallery space to theatre, along with professional sound and lighting rigs and our very own professional sound engineer.
Each event sees between 4 and 5 acts of all artistic disciplines perform, test new material, give talks, do readings, dance, sing, paint and entertain an average audience of 60plus people of all ages.
For the first two years of the Monaghan Arts Network I was the founding secretary of the group, I stepped on to the stage on two separate occasions over the years to showcase my own work around the time of my solo exhibitions and additionally on occasion I also hosted the event. A couple of years in and as I was getting busier in my own practice and as alongside of that my health was suffering, alas I stepped down from the committee.
This past Wednesday night the 27th of March 2019 was the official 5th birthday of the network. Founding member, ex Chair and Monaghan Community Forum Officer at the time of inception, Dara MacGabhann, gave the audience a brief outline of the networks achievements, not only in the running of the network events themselves, but in all the additional projects that have coincided over the years including the independent production of a showcase cd called “Splitting the stones” featuring musical artists who performed for the network. A wonderful jam packed book of visual arts from showcase participants entitled “Gifts of the Mind” (in which I feature). Two plays written, produced and performed by members of the committee and friends of the network, as part of the 1916 commemoration program for the county and numerous concerts, pop up events, outdoor activities and fundraising for the local community.
I was delighted to be invited back to guest host this special 5th birthday gig and happy to cheer them on when the current successful committee cut their celebration cake during the interval.
I had the pleasure of welcoming the audience last Wednesday and announcing the line up of acts for the night, alongside of Daras great celebration presentation on behalf of the network, we were to enjoy the musical talents of wonderful songstress Amelia McCormack, Visual Artist Eimhin Farrell and the ever brilliant and rockin Bronagh McCabe.
I was delighted to play my part over the years with the development of the Monaghan Arts Network, it has developed into a stalwart cultural calling for the up and coming, and the up and came within our community and with a 5 month waiting list to perform I can only see it go from strength to strength.
If you wish to become a member of the Monaghan Arts Network committee message them directly through their fb page linked below, perhaps you're a Monaghan based creative who wishes to showcase to a local audience…again use the link below.
I enjoyed the chance to catch back up with all the gang, to throw my tuppence worth in again and to enjoy the immense talent on offer on the night as always - thanks for having me folks, see you at the next one where I shall be sitting at the back glass in hand.
Hey if you got this far, thanks for reading ...care for more? For a once a month update from the studio and life of Niamh O'Connor...subscribe below:
Thanks. xx N.
Contemporary Visual Artist working in mixed media/encaustic based in the drumlins of Co.Monaghan. Ireland.