Mad hatters make marvellous artists!


Shanagarry Art Group’s Summer Exhibition 2018 coming to MyPlace Midleton

Shanagarry Art Group are firm believers in not counting their chickens before they hatch.

They are not, however, adverse to wearing them on their heads, recreating them in paint and plaster, creating some plucking-wonderful headwear and even turning them into tea-cosies. We should probably point out that no chickens were harmed during the making of the Shanagarry Art Group’s Summer Exhibition 2018.

This year, the Shanagarry Art Group will spend their second consecutive July at MyPlace Midleton, writes Becky Grice.

They will, in fact, be turning MyPlace into Their Space, from Friday, July 20th to Sunday, July 29th inclusive, with their exhibition open every day (including Sundays) from 10am to 6pm.

Last year, you might recall, we mentioned in our feature that we were talking to a woman with a chicken on her head (yes, the chickens seem to be a firm favourite). The woman in question was Shanagarry Art Group member Bernie Burke, who following her 2017 fantastically feathery millinery marvel inspired this year’s photo shoot where some of the group’s members enjoyed a ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ outside the Blue Note Studios in Shanagarry. Hats off to them. Actually, it was more a case of hands-on-heads-to-keep-hats-on, as the wind decided to flare up halfway through!

The hats in question were hand-made creations which paid homage to some of the group’s favourite artists and art techniques. At their 2017 Christmas Party at the Garryvoe Hotel, the ladies wore hats inspired by Matisse, Goudi, Harry Clarke, Van Gogh, Dali, Monet and Roderick O’Connor, in a variety of media from papier mache to feltwork, sculpture to stained glass and anything and everything in-between. Some even went one step further and emulated famous artworks. Kudos to Mary Gough, aka ‘Whistler’s Mother’!

This is just one of the many varying strands that makes up the daily artistic lives of the Shanagarry Art Group.

The Shanagarry Art Group was founded in 1969 by Arthur Dawson Graves (grand nephew of the poet Robert Graves). Arthur lived with his wife, Judy, at the White House in Shanagarry for many years. He was President of the group until his death and his wife Judy was the secretary.

Members meet monthly for a friendly appraisal of work in progress and a cup of tea at the Blue Note Studio in Shanagarry. At times, short drawing exercises are undertaken and regular paint outs and gallery visits are organised.   Small groups who like to paint together often gather, especially at weekends and, each week, some Shanagarry Art Group members attend workshops at the Crawford Art Gallery, where they’ve tried their hands at felting, claywork, watercolours and mixed media. They also give each other ‘artistic exercises.’ No, we don’t mean push-ups with a paintbrush between your teeth! Instead, there has been a ‘White Painting’ session (apparently, that doesn’t mean a blank canvas!), where white, still-life objects are painted with subtle variations on, you’ve guessed it, white; a ‘Grey Painting’ session (insert your own ’50 Shades’ joke here); a ‘Self Portrait’ session and, according to the ladies, the most difficult, a ‘Green Painting’ session.

It’s been a busy year for the ladies of the Shanagarry Art Group since we last met them at their 2017 exhibition. There have been trips to Kerry (last month, the weather was wonderful, so was the wine – and they even managed to get some painting done too!); to Dingle (to see Harry Clarke’s wonderful stained glass windows and the Díseart Centre to enjoy Eleanor Yates’ ‘Last Supper’ fresco); to the National Gallery for the Emil Nolde exhibition (a German-Danish painter and printmaker, one of the first Expressionists and a member of Die Brücke, aka The Bridge – but more on them later); and another exhibition by Käthe Kollwitz (a German artist whose most well-known art cycles include The Weavers and The Peasant War).

2019 will be the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Shanagarry Art Group – and they’re going international. You may have guessed, courtesy of the exhibitions they’ve visited this year, of where they are planning on going. Yes, the Shanagarry Art-Group will be Berlin-bound next Spring, visiting the countless galleries in Germany’s capital city. Die Brücke (we told you we’d get back to them) were a group of German expressionist painters and the Shanagarry Art Group are looking forward to viewing works by Klimt, Kirchner, Kandinsky and Otto Dix, as well as their old friend, Emil Nolde. It’s already the talk of the Blue Note Studios – even though the plane tickets have yet to be booked. On top of their European artistic odyssey, the Shanagarry Art Group will hold Masterclasses during their golden jubilee year, as well as hopefully releasing a coffee-table book of the paintings they have created during their yearly trips to Kerry.

The Shanagarry Art Group are delighted to be holding their exhibition at MyPlace for the second consecutive year. Last year saw a very appreciative group of art-lovers pick up pieces from this creative group of women at Midleton’s purpose-built community centre. The gallery space is light, bright and minimalistic, allowing each artwork to speak for itself.

As last year, each artist has been allocated their own personal exhibition space – 4 foot by 3 foot in size – and they can do with it what they like. While some of the group’s members are planning a themed selection of artwork, others are seeking sizes to fit – it’s like a jigsaw puzzle, with some complicated framing decisions! As each artist’s work is being exhibited individually it gives those visiting the exhibition a chance to see the breadth of varying work on display, through different media and looking out through different eyes.

This is the 49th  Shanagarry Art Group Summer Exhibition and it runs from Friday, July 20th to Sunday, July 29th inclusive, from 10am to 6pm each day. The official opening of the 2018 Shanagarry Art Group exhibition will take place at 7pm on Friday, July 20th  at MyPlace, Midleton. Thanks to each and every single person who has made this year’s exhibition possible – and picture perfect!

Everyone is welcome to pop in and enjoy the wonderful work of the Shanagarry Art Group at this exhibition. There will be paintings on display to suit all tastes and all budgets and, as always, browsers and art-enthusiasts alike are welcome to come along.

So, come along; see the bigger picture and let Shanagarry Art Group put you in an artistic frame of mind!

Hats are optional.