Saothar Nua - Marie O'Donoghue / Turas Samhlaíoch - Sr. Clair Dillon 2008
Creative Journey – Sr. Clair Dillon.
This creative journey began in Derryconnor in March 2006 and was fundamentally influenced by Bach’s 1st Cello Suite. Beginning with many doodles, Clair set out to express her visions associated with these Concertos and took the atom as her symbol. These visions begin with the ‘big-bang’ phenomena, the time of world creation, the time of our creation, through various stages of spiritual development through to tangible balance, death, resurrection or rebirth and finally a returning – anew to a new place. The artist developed 24 watercolours, a charting or mapping of this atomic journey, a ‘turas’ if you like, arranged into 6 chapters or phrases.
The artist has brought her spiritual life and experience to bear in this work and as such she understood the significance of the inclusion and participation of her spiritual colleagues, family and friends. The centre piece of this collection is a large textile work, developed directly from the watercolours, on which many of Clair’s associates participated who’s ages range from 18 – 80+. From this she developed a series of 24 paintings. Finally, in collaboration with Anne Murphy of ‘Eala Enamels’ Carlow, a beautifully crafted enamel work was produced.
This medative ‘turas’ is reflective of the artists spiritual life. Her vibrant colours express the inherent life-force of Clair’s spiritual philosophy. An Gailearaí invited Clair to share these visions with the community amongst whom they were conceived.
New Work – Marie O’Donoghue.
An Gailearaí has maintained contact with Marie since her Fine Art graduation in 1998 and has observed her creative development first hand. Emerging over this 10 year period is a strong, confident, proficient and articulate visual expression. In 1998, the artist’s plane was abstract, no figures populated her world. These were strong and eloquent expressions of blue muted palettes. On her return from Belfast, ‘water’, specifically the waters surrounding Tory Island, then became a place to explore further her visual language. This phase represented the artist’s return to her own cultural context – a Gaelic spoken rural experience. She found strength here, a familiar root, a primary core. The figure began to emerge, sometimes submerged, sometimes on dry land – but was it sure of it’s place?
Next, the artist placed herself on ‘terra-firma’, the land of her familiar, and produced an exquisite exhibition of semi-abstract landscapes. Figures sometimes populated these canvases and were stronger this time, she had broadened her palette and her brush strokes were assured.
In preparation for this exhibition Marie warned of ‘a change’ in her work and she was right. Her palette is courageous but assured and the brush strokes are by now totally fluid. The figures now know where they are – they belong. Her prism - a harmonious balance of colour and form. Marie coherently leads the viewer’s eye to nuances we may otherwise overlook.
The role of An Gailearaí is to provide opportunities for artists who represent a contemporary expression that has some link to a gaeltacht sensibility. Both Marie O’Donoghue and Clair Dillon pertain to this ethos.