Monday, 10 January 2011

Modern Stained Glass at Glasnevin

Plans are afoot to visit Dublin in Ireland once again this Spring. I went last April and the weather was glorious - it is a nice thought anticipating some spring warmth. The highlight then was the day spent at Glasnevin, the city's botanic gardens.
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Like many events in life, it is often the unexpected that remain at the forefront of the mind and so it was at Glasnevin. The glasshouses and plants were, without saying, spectacular but a complete surprise was a small exhibition of modern stained glass work.
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This first piece of five panels is the work of Mary Mackey, based in County Cork. I love the colours and mix - to me it is a blend found in mountains in the fall (odd how, for an Englishman, 'mountains in the autumn', doesn't sound as expressive or as romantic!). However, much of Mary's work is inspired by the sea and this particular piece is titled 'Sea-shushed Secret Places'. Painted and sandblasted, the strong colours used still have a swirling, dream like quality about them. Perhaps it is the light coming through the piece that allows this contradiction. Mary, in her own description of her work, tells of how she sees a flash of landscape: ".... fleeting images in real time, but in my memory the image is sharply focused, connected witha particular place, a particular time.....stored and enriched by treasuring it.....until at least something of that essence is achieved".
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Debbie Dawson's tryptich is totally different. Bold, square panels, they convey great strength and depth. Also based in County Cork, Debbie's work is entitled 'Like a Door Opening'.
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I also loved the strength of Emma O'Toole's 'Architectural Element'. Made from sheet glass, cast glass and concrete, it was unique at this exibition, with the feel and look of a sculpture. It brought back happy memories of a winter in Canada, years ago, exploring an ice 'castle', each battlement carved with its individual decoration of a native animal. Coming from relatively mild England, I had never seen anything like it before - it was a surreal experience. And that is the joy of art, it can transport you to places or events long forgotten or, perhaps, even not yet happened. . . .
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Chinks Grylls 'Highlight Red' is an etched mouth blown glass piece. Four individually hinged panels remind me, depending on my mood - or perhaps how hungry I am - of Saharan sand dunes or rashers of bacon waiting to be cooked.... Chinks Grylls works from south west England, an area which is rapidly becoming a centre for modern glass work.
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I know that when I return to Glasnevin it won't be the glasshouses that I shall visit first. I will make a beeline for their exhibition hall in the hope that some other equally pleasurable experience awaits me.
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3 comments:

  1. What a wonderful to surprise it must have been to discover!

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  2. Have never been to the exhibition hall, will have to check it out. Have no excuses since I live a mere 20min walk from the gates of botanic gardens at Glasnevin.

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  3. Thanks both, for your comments. Always the way, StoneArt - when something is on your doorstep you never bother to go!

    Johnson

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