WATER WORLD ‘Inishturk Harbour Reflections’, by Marie Wood.
The Wild Atlantic Way is about to become even more colourful
One of the most spectacular features of the Wild Atantic Way is Mayo’s own Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park. Nestled at its gateway is the park’s visitor centre, and its fabulous café Ginger and Wild, where all manner of homemade delights made with locally sourced produce are available to sample and savour.
The light and airy café, which has seating both inside and out, offers expansive views of Achill Island and the stunning Atlantic coast. It also encompasses a great gallery space, where visitors can enjoy exhibitions of carefully selected Irish artwork, eclectic jewellery, studio pottery and textiles, as well as artefacts from across the globe.
To mark Ginger and Wild’s reopening this Monday, July 5, when Government restrictions on indoor dining are (hopefully) to be eased*, the café is hosting a new exhibition of artworks, this time by Mayo-based artist Marie Wood. The solo show will include 26 new works, all created during the pandemic. The landscape and seascape images are mixed-media and collage/painting.
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 ten years, having moved here from the UK with her husband, J. 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.
Wood, who now resides in Rossanrubble, Newport, is no stranger to exhibiting her artwork in Mayo, having shown work numerous times throughout the county, both in solo shows and in group exhibitions.
Speaking to The Mayo News, the artist explained that the art in the Ballycroy show marks somewhat of a departure from her earlier work, with stronger colours and more abstract forms making an appearance.
“While the work is still rooted in the representational form, the materials and composition lead you into a more-abstract world,” she said. “The artworks are about capturing a scene in the moment that you saw it, about capturing the feeling of it, rather than recreating the scene in a photo-realistic way. For me, it’s been about discovering the abstract in the every day as you walk around... I’ve also been really enjoying bringing in new, brighter colours to my work.”
She describes her work 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’.
“My camera is my sketch book, and the photographs I take are often the starting point for working, influencing composition and colour of each new piece. I am not interested in portraying a likeness but want to create something which represents the total experience and excitement of that place, at that time.
“I use prepared experimental painted and printed papers that create an unusual palette of textures and colours,” she adds, “and these materials throw up unexpected pathways into the work. When applied, they take on a life of their own, creating a new order, an equivalence, which invariably develops its own dynamic aesthetic beyond the initial photograph, often more abstract, but beating to the time of the initial idea.”
The exhibition of Marie Wood’s new work will open in the Ginger and Wild Café, Wild Nephin Ballycroy National Park Visitor Centre, on July 5 (restrictions permitting) and run until August 31. An exhibition of different work by artist will run in The Clew Bay Hotel, Westport, during September.
* In line with post-publication changes to Government public-health guidelines, Ginger and Wild Café will now open on July 5 for outdoor dining and indoor gallery viewing only (no indoor dining).