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Two new shows open at Custom House

Going Out

SPIRIT OF MAYO ‘Nephin Beg Sundown’, by Marie Wood. Mixed media collage/painting.

‘Capturing the Light’, an exhibition of paintings by Westport-based artist Marie Wood, opens this Thursday, August 29, in the Custom House Studios Gallery at The Quay, Westport, at 7.30pm. Guest speaker will be artist Benita Stoney.
Wood describes the works in this show as ‘a distillation of the spirit of the Mayo landscape, revealing a sense of the extraordinary, looking past the obvious and capturing the fleeting magical light’.
The landscape and seascape images are her most recent works, and all are mixed media collage/painting. “They reflect where I am to date in my quest to convey a sense of the place that is my home,” she explains. “Energy and passion are a constant presence throughout the works. I delight in the pleasure of seeing; being totally in tune with my surroundings, and somehow trying to find the right alchemy between the medium, the subject and the moment.”
Wood paints from photographs that she takes. While these photos are often the starting point for a work, influencing its composition and colour,  she is not interested in portraying a likeness. Rather, she says, she wants ‘to create something which represents the total experience and excitement of that place, at that time’.
In her collages, Wood uses ‘prepared experimental painted and printed papers’ to create  different textures and colours. When applied, these materials ‘take on a life of their own’, often creating more abstract images, while still ‘beating to the time of the initial idea’.
Marie Wood studied and trained in Birmingham, and then worked in art education in both Birmingham and Cumbria for nearly 20 years. She has been working as a professional artist for 18 years and has been living in Mayo for almost five years, having moved from the UK. She has exhibited widely in public and commercial galleries throughout Scotland, England and Ireland. Her first solo exhibition was in The National Gallery of Scotland, and she has twice exhibited works at The Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. She has works in private collections in Ireland, UK, America, Italy and France.

Also on show
Another exhibition of paintings also opens in the gallery on Thursday night – ‘Ten Years on – Art in the Sacred Heart’, by residents in the Sacred Heart Hospital, Castlebar, with guest speaker artist Deirdre Walsh.
The exhibition celebrates the last ten years of the hospital’s art room, facilitated by artist-in-residence, Tom Meskell. All of the work in the show has been made by or in collaboration with the residents of the hospital. The majority of the work is from current participants and their creativity and diversity is evident. There is no set “style” at play the variety of the work reflects the variety of the participants involved.
The arts programme in the Sacred Heart was founded in 1998, as part of the Mayo County Council ‘artist in the community residency programme’ by Deidre Walsh. The founding programme resulted in a book called ‘Creative Reverie’, and many consider this programme a blueprint for arts in care settings.

Both exhibitions will run until September 22.