There was a lot happening on the arts front in Dungarvan this Easter. There’s a new theatre opening and the artworks at The Old market House Arts Centre catch the eye as well as a great cross-section at the Joan Clancy Gallery in Helvick.
Waterford City artist Robert Jackson has a captivating solo show downstairs, The Space Between, that features figurative work in a mysterious shadowy style of veiled faces draped bodies and some excellent pattern work on bodies and fabric backgrounds. GIRL WITH A CAT has the most expressive face and other work of girls in patterned panties contrasts with fabric patterns and tattoos. Shadowy men lurk in corners in some pieces and the large title piece has
four females with only one face visible creating a sense of allure with alienation and isolation.
Some paintings have strong dramatic ideas of more menace than eroticism and often there is the contrast of patterns, floral wallpaper, tattoos, light and shade. Things are hinted at, are unspoken or unarticulated. Once or twice, I felt the work was slipping into pretention as in Aposematism (googled as a natural defence of employing conspicuous colours) but the natural blemishes of blackheads rescues the work. Jackson lives and works in Dundee and his work is well worth a visit.
Sharing the downstairs space is the Spring Collection from Glenmore artist, Maeve Doherty. You get a mix of styles from beautiful Trumpet Lilies and Summer Poppies to the excellent composition of Summer On Clonea Beach to figurative studies Girl In Blue Robe. Some Dungarvan studies are wonderful at very affordable prices and Old Market House Arts Centre is memorable. Springtime Dungarvan and Dungarvan Reflections are full of bright, sharp images.
Seomra De Paor
Upstairs in Seomra De Paor there is the vivid work of Seamus Quinn with a dramatic attractiveness in his blue studies. Jutta O’Meara has fine photographic work and Anne McLeod has beautiful floral and rural paintings.
Next Friday, the Dungarvan Town Council will unveil an 180 seat theatre as part of a E1.6 million development in Halla An Bhaile, with a newly laid out Museum on the ground floor to re-house the history of the area. The upstairs theatre is beautifully set out up a plush carpeted staircase with multi-functional seating than can retract to provide a fine multi-purpose space.
When Tom Keith so kindly showed me the space, the local drama group were rehearsing for their April production of The White-headed Boy by Lennox Robinson. It is refreshing to see the local pride in this fine facility and it contrasts with the ill-tempered rants against the Theatre Royal and Arts Council that you currently find on the AIMS web and blog site from city theatre practitioners.
Dungarvan has more significant investment in its arts infrastructure and will reap the benefits of this over the next generation.