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Creativity for Christmas

Going Out

FLORAL FLOURISH Artist Alice Maher pictured at the opening of The Custom House Studios and Gallery’s Winter Exhibition, wearing a floral headpiece created and exhibited by Tom Brawn, Westport. Pic: Conor McKeown

Ciara Moynihan


Art lovers in Mayo are once again spoiled for choice, with the annual end-of-year group shows offering a Christmas-stocking-full of eye candy to view and choose from. These multi-artist exhibitions give gallery goers, both regular and new, the chance to view a huge array of art, discover new artists and see familiar artists’ latest work – and maybe purchase a piece as a timeless gift for a loved one or themselves.  
We are incredibly lucky to have an abundance of resident and visiting artists here in Mayo, as well as some wonderful gallery spaces, from Ballina to Westport, Castlebar to Claremorris, dedicated to supporting them and showcasing their work.
The Mayo Artists Show, the ever-popular biennial celebration of the visual arts in Mayo continues, this year it takes place in two venues – the Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar, and Ballina Arts Centre.
The show, selected by noted art historian and curator, former Head of Collections at the Irish Museum of Modern Art Catherine Marshall, contains work by artists from or living in Mayo over the age of 18. It presents a selection of work in a range of media and offers a wonderful snapshot of current arts practice in the county. All of the pieces on show are no larger than 100cm in any direction. and both the Linenhall and the Ballina Arts Centre exhibitions will run until Saturday, January 13.
If you’re in The Linenhall, be sure to stop at The Cabinet of Wonders #5 in the centre’s foyer too. The fifth in the ongoing ‘Cabinet of Wonders’ series curated by artist Ian Wieczorek, it features work by Erin de Burca, Belinda Deutinger, David Flynn, Terri Mitchell, Mary Morris, Susie Quinn and Benita Stoney. Inspired by Renaissance-era cabinets of curiosities – eclectic collections of weird and wonderful objects that illustrated the rich diversity of the natural world and beyond – this group show will appeal to the surrealist soul and intrigue the child within us all.  
In Westport, the Custom House Studios Gallery at Westport Quay is hosting its annual group   Winter Exhibition 2017, featuring art works in printmaking, drawing, painting, sculpture and photography from 50 artists who have worked at Custom House Studios during  2017.  
The exhibition, which opened on Sunday, features work by Gunvor Anhøj, Nickova Behling, Gabrielle Bishop, Veronica Bolay, Tom Brawn, Breda Burns, Jo Anne Butler,  Michael Calnan, Tom Climent, Malachy Costello, Chris Doris , Michelle Dunne, Martina Faherty, Marilyn Gaffney, Betty Gannon, Moss Gaynor,  Ralph Gelbert, Ginny Gibbons, Pam Gray, Neal Greig,  Ronan Halpin, Seán Hardie, Marliese Hertfelder, John Hogan, Lucy Hill, Sarah Kelly, Trish Kelly, Eithne Kilroy, Anna Rose Lowry, Conor McKeown, Maura Maguire, Leonie Martin, Marion McGing, Caroline Masterson, Jacinta Moore, Barbara Ann Murray, Jane Murtagh, Susie Quinn, Gerry O’Malley, Niamh O’Doherty, Gráinne O’ Reilly,  Dermot Seymour, Phillip Shiels, Eamonn de Staic, Benita Stoney, Betsy Stirratt, Daria Tchapnova, Saoirse Wall, Chanelle Walshe and Ian Wieczorek.
Also in Westport, the Wright Artists’ group exhibition ‘Birds of Prey’ is showing in The Clew Bay Hotel, James’s Street, with special guest artists Caroline Masterson, Tom Brawn and Ashling Smith joining those who make up the regular group. On the go for over seven years now, The Wright Artists collective has included the artistic talents of Breda Burns, Mags Duffy, Betty Gannon, Pam Gray, Claire Griffin, Mary Burns, Gráinne O’Reilly, Susie Quinn, Sinéad Wall and Michael Gannon.
Meanwhile, the Green Fuse Gallery, also on James’s Street, is hosting a Christmas show with artworks by Dolores Lyne, Jonathan Frisby, Jane Dunn, Malachay Costello, Liz Doyle, Michael Wann, Hughie O’Donoghue, Eddie Kennedy, Jane Williams, Breda Burns, Bob Lynn, Mary Patterson, Rebecca McLynn, Gary Robinson and Brian Bourke.
Claremorris Gallery recently celebrated its tenth anniversary by inviting eleven of the country’s most important late-20th-century painters to take part in a group show. Entitled ‘Wonderment’, it was officially opened last month by Patrick T Murphy, director of the Royal Hibernian Academy, and it will run until Christmas Eve.
The exhibition is comprised of large-format paintings by Brian Bourke, Barrie Cooke, Donald Teskey, Charlie Tyrrell, Martin Gale, Micheal Farrell, Camille Souter, Dermot Seymour, Bernadette Kiely, Hughie O’Donoghue and Tony O’Malley.  
This Christmas, why not support the artists and galleries that make life in Mayo that little bit more colourful? The shows mentioned here are but a selection of the treasures you’ll find – seek out others elsewhere too, in places like Achill, Charlestown and Ballycastle. Wherever you are in the county, you’ll find a gallery nearby – the perfect spot for some calm, contemplative Christmas gift buying at a range of prices, or a just some precious quiet time away from the hustle and bustle of the high street and its mass-produced wares.

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