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Reviewed – Drawing on Don Quixote – Olivier Cornet Gallery until 29th February 2020

Gaza May 18, Oil on Gesso, 37cm X 57cm, 2019

Insightful review of Drawing on Don Quixote at Olivier Cornet Gallery by Emma Meehan in Tn2 Magazine.

Read it Here:

First published in 1605, with the second installment appearing in 1610, Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote is widely considered to be the most influential text of the Spanish Golden Age, and an institution in the Western literary canon. Alonso Quixano’s idealistic quest to revive chivalry in an age of moral destitution has been influential for artists throughout the ages, literary and visual alike. From Alexandre Dumas, to Picasso and more recently Salman Rushdie, the enduring resilience of the individual, often through devastating acts, has been a lens by which artists have considered their contemporary environments.

Drawing on Don Quixote, a group show curated by Dublin based gallerist Olivier Cornet, considers this rich thematic palette in regards to the current cultural and political climate. First appearing in the Wexford Opera House in October 2019, then moving on to VUE Art Fair in November, this exhibition is currently on display in Cornet’s Gallery, 3 Great Denmark Street, from 19 January – 29 February.

New work by the gallery’s represented and project artists consider the notion of a quest for truth in an era of “fake news” and re-emerging populism. Aidan Dunne has previously pointed to Cornet’s ability to provoke nuanced responses from exhibited artists without disrupting their individual practices. Indeed, the diversity of fine art practices represented by this exhibition makes for an engaging and surprising visit. Sharp-witted and visually stunning pieces supply commentary on various aspects of the human condition, from Miriam McConnon and Nickie Hayden’s evocations of the feminine mystique through the character of Dulcinea (Quixote’s prostitute-turned-paragon) to Yanny Petter’s botanical monotypes of healing vegetation, mentioned in the text, which question humanity’s contemporary relationship to the environment.

Woodwork pieces by Hugh Cummins contain within fine craftsmanship reflections on the current relevance of chivalric values to our everyday needs whilst Swedish-born Annika Berglund’s stoneware pieces explore the nature of Quixano and Sancho Panza’s relationship, a dynamic which occasions somewhat comic images of our domestic politicians, especially in this fervid General Election.

Claire Halpin’s ambient oil on gesso landscape of Gaza in May 2018 explores the much vexed question of American-Israeli relations. Halpin’s juxtaposition of a chuppah (canopy involved in Jewish wedding ceremonies symbolising the divine security of the institution of marriage) within a barbed wired landscape evokes a sinister view of reemerging populism. 

Irish painter Eoin Mac Lochlainn’s striking watercolour portraits of activists Brother Kevin Crowley and Greta Thunberg places recognisable faces on these themes and seem to assert the power of the individual’s voice in inspiring change.

Olivier Cornet and his artists have managed to avoid cynicism whilst provoking critical thought on the moral reality of our cultural sphere, and humanity’s susceptibility to polarised value systems. I would urge anybody to drop into this space, a short walk from the Hugh Lane, to consider the fluctuation of these perennial themes in our collective imagination.

Emma Meehan

3 February 2020

 

Drawing on Don Quixote continues at Olivier Cornet Gallery until 29th February 2020.

3 Great Denmark Street, Dublin 1
Opening hours at the gallery:
Tuesday to Friday: 11am to 6pm
(until 8pm on Thursdays).
Saturday & Sunday. 12 noon to 5pm
Closed on Mondays (or viewing by appointment only)

Drawing on Don Quixote – Olivier Cornet Gallery – 19th January – 29th February 2020

The Olivier Cornet Gallery is delighted to present Drawing on Don Quixote, a group exhibition by the artists represented by the gallery and members of its AGA group.

Artists:
Annika Berglund, Aisling Conroy, Hugh Cummins, John Fitzsimons, Jordi Forniés, Conrad Frankel, David Fox, Claire Halpin, Nickie Hayden, Eoin Mac Lochlainn, Miriam McConnon, Sheila Naughton, Yanny Petters, Kelly Ratchford, Vicky Smith and Susanne Wawra.
Examples of art inspiring art down the ages abound but it is particularly obvious with ‘the world’s first modern novel’: Jules Massenet’s ‘Don Quichotte’, like so many other dramatized versions of the story, relates only indirectly to the great novel by Miguel de Cervantes. The opera in five acts was composed to a French libretto by Henri Caïn, itself inspired by ‘Le chevalier de la longue figure’, a play by the poet Jacques Le Lorrain first performed in Paris in 1904.
Massenet’s comédie-héroïque, was first performed on 19 February 1910 at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo (France). The French composer was born in 1842 in Saint-Etienne (Loire), a city where most members of gallerist/curator Olivier Cornet’s immediate family were also born and where he himself completed his secondary education, a determining factor when choosing one of this year’s operas for his artists’ response.
The other appeal was the rich palette of contemporary themes in Cervantes’ novel as well as the art-inspiring-art connections: from Alexandre Dumas’ Three musketeers, through Picasso to more recently Salman Rushdie’s novel. Themes such as the quest for truth and justice in this era of fake news, notoriety and the accession to powerful positions by the underdogs -or perceptions thereof in the current re-emergence of populists-, the explorations of the troubled inner-self, love and how we relate to one another. The resilience of the individual (through desperate acts at times) against our modern-day malevolent giants, to the rallying to just causes and the emergence of the real heroes and heroines, have also provided the Olivier Cornet Gallery artists with a rich tapestry of materials.
This exhibition was first presented at National Opera House, Wexford by Kind invitation of Wexford Festival Opera (18 October to 3 November 2019). It was also shown at VUE Contemporary Art Fair, RHA Dublin (7-10 November 2019).  The third edition of this thematic group show includes more works than shown in the other two venues.
Image: Eoin Mac Lochlainn, “Righter of Wrongs No. 3” (detail), watercolour on Arches paper, 57 x 48 cm
Tuesday to Friday: 11am to 6pm
(until 8pm on Thursdays).
Saturday & Sunday. 12 noon to 5pm
Closed on Mondays
(or viewing by appointment only)

Curator’s Tour – Last Chance to see Utopia/ Dystopia at Municipal Gallery, dlr LexIcon

Meet the Curator
Informal exhibition tour and talk
Saturday 25 January, 12-1 pm
Municipal Gallery/ dlr LexIcon, Dún Laoghaire
Curator and director of Highlanes Gallery, Aoife Ruane, curated the Utopia/Dystopia exhibition. In an informal setting Aoife will introduce the exhibition and offer insights into the curatorial work involved.

A utopia is a perfect world. In utopias, there are not problems like war, disease, poverty, oppression, discrimination, inequality etc, while a dystopia, on the other hand, is a world in which nothing is perfect. The problems that plague our world are often even more extreme in dystopias. At this moment in the 21st century and in a complex world of extremes and oppositions what does this mean for artists now…” Aoife Ruane, Highlanes Gallery

Two of my paintings – Seed Vault and Farewell Palmyra are featured in the exhibition which closes on Sunday 26th January.

 

Paintings Selected for Utopia/ Dystopia, DLR Open Submission at Municipal Gallery, dlr LexIcon, Dún Laoghaire

Delighted two paintings below have been selected for Utopia/ Dystopia, DLR Open Submission Exhibition at Municipal Gallery, dlr LexIcon – selector Aoife Ruane, Director Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is delighted to host an exhibition of  selected artists who have studied in, are living in, working in or originally from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County for the biennial Open Exhibition to be held in the Municipal Gallery, dlr LexIcon, Dún Laoghaire from the 13th of December 2019 to the 26th of January 2020. The exhibition was selected by Aoife Ruane, Director of Highlanes Gallery and the theme is Utopia/ Dystopia.

A utopia is a perfect world. In utopias, there are not problems like war, disease, poverty, oppression, discrimination, inequality etc, while a dystopia, on the other hand, is a world in which nothing is perfect. The problems that plague our world are often even more extreme in dystopias. At this moment in the 21st century and in a complex world of extremes and oppositions what does this mean for artists now…” Aoife Ruane, Highlanes Gallery.

Exhibition Opening: 6pm, Thursday 12th December 2020

Municipal Gallery, dlr LexIcon

Gallery opening hours:

Monday – Thursday 10.00am – 8.00pm

Friday & Saturday 10.00am – 5.00pm

Sunday 12.00pm – 4.00pm

DLR Arts 

 

Taisce Lú – A Curators Choice – Opening at An Táin Arts Centre, Dundalk on Thursday 21st November

I am delighted and honoured to have been invited to select and curate an exhibition of works from Taisce Lú – Louth County Council’s Collection. This is a collection I am well familiar with from when my painting Eidetic Amalgam VI was purchased for the collection from my exhibition – Eidetic Amalgams at the The Basement Gallery in 2006. It was the first of my artworks to be procured for a County Council Collection – so an honour indeed. I subsequently was invited to work with the Collection on its schools project – Irish Alive and Mostly Female – a project under the guidance of the Brian Harten and Denis Darcy in the Louth Arts Office and arts educator Lynn McGrane – this project brought works from the Collection out to schools in the county – to be discussed and analysed in the classroom setting.

Rolling forward to 2018 another work of mine – Raft II, Drypoint on paper, 2018 was bought for the Collection from the exhibition – Leinster Printmaking Studio 20th Anniversary Exhibition at The Basement Gallery. My first print to be acquired for a County Council Collection. And then followed the invitation to select and curate this exhibition – Taisce Lú – A Curators Choice – an honour indeed. Come along and revisit the Collection at An Táin Arts Centre opening this Thursday 21st November and continuing until 15th February 2020. The exhibition will tour to Droichead Arts Centre in Drogheda in 2020.

Louth Arts Office have also produced a beautiful catalogue featuring all the works in the exhibition.

Taisce Lú – Louth County Council Collection http://www.createlouth.ie/taisce-lu/

An Táin Arts Centre https://www.antain.ie/

 

Raw War at Olivier Cornet Gallery – Reviewed in Visual Artists Newsletter Critique

My recent solo exhibition Raw War at Olivier Cornet Gallery has received a strong and detailed review by Carissa Farrell in Visual Artists Newsletter Critique Supplement (Nov-Dec 2019). See full review here:

Claire Halpin‘s exhibition Raw War is a mystical interpretation of the horror of war. Using miniature retablo-style compositions, Halpin captures the human instinct to contain tragedy within defined boundaries of understanding. In one series, small square panels feature sharply edged circular paintings of disaster on the Mediterranean, as refugees crowd vessels in search of safety. Halpin pins these events within a telescopic lens, referencing surveillance by the military, governments and news media. With startling clarity and expression, she skillfully renders the confusion of people clambering into sinking boats or attempting to swim to other vessels out of the frame, using the tiniest of textured brushstrokes. Halpin exercises restraint with scale to respectfully avoid spectacle; the obscured horizons and glassy blackness of the water powerfully contextualises the hopelessness and terror unfolding. The infinite depth of sea and sky is punctuated with high-viz life jackets, sea splash and confusion. Despite their miniature execution, the intensity of these exquisite paintings expands their impact exponentially.

……Halpin has produced a very fine exhibition that distils and compresses an enormous weight of ideas through the relatively humble act of painting and picture making.”

Raw War was at Olivier Cornet Gallery from 12th September – 6th October 2019

Carissa Farrell is a writer and curator based in Dublin

Full review available to read online here or pick up printed edition from VAI  or galleries.

Olivier Cornet Gallery at VUE Art Fair 2019, RHA Gallery – 7th – 10th November 2019

Following on from its successful run at the Wexford Opera Festival – Olivier Cornet Gallery is delighted to present the group exhibition Drawing on Don Quixote at VUE Art Fair 2019, RHA Dublin 7th-10th November.
Responding to the rich palette of contemporary themes in Cervantes’ novel as well as the art-inspiring-art connections: from Alexandre Dumas’ Three musketeers, through Picasso to more recently Salman Rushdie’s novel. Themes such as the quest for truth and justice in this era of fake news, notoriety and the accession to powerful positions by the underdogs -or perceptions thereof in the current re-emergence of populists-, the explorations of the troubled inner-self, love and how we relate to one another. The resilience of the individual (through desperate acts at times) against our modern-day malevolent giants, to the rallying to just causes and the emergence of the real heroes and heroines, have also provided the Olivier Cornet Gallery artists with a rich tapestry of materials.
VUE Art Fair 2019
RHA, Dublin
7-10 November 2019