Anna O'Sullivan, Director and Chief Curator at Kilkenny's Butler Gallery, introduces their latest show GENERATION2022: New Irish Painting, a celebration of painting and of painters at work in Ireland today.
With established or burgeoning careers, the works by the artists on view reflect a diversity of approach to painting, from abstraction to figuration, to representational work embracing landscape and portraiture. Some paintings are incorporated into installations on the wall, but mostly the works are two-dimensional explorations of the variety of the passions, issues and concerns of the individual artists.
In my research for this exhibition, I visited studios in many parts of the country—from Belfast to Ballydehob—and encountered vastly different working situations. From the light-filled spaces of Queens Street Studios, I went on to view works on kitchen tables, walls of apartments, in spare bedrooms and attic spaces to a windswept chalet in West Cork. No matter where I travelled I encountered artists at work doing what they love to do.
Post pandemic we were equally thrilled to be looking at and talking about art which made these visits a rich and rewarding experience. My intention when curating this exhibition was not to mount a survey of painting but to reflect a personal observation of the quality of painting I saw happening around the country. The works are hung salon-style, embracing the height of our Main Gallery while providing space to view the work of the twenty-six artists on show.
This group of exceptional painters are undeniably leaving their mark and making an impact on the contemporary art world in Ireland today. If this exhibition does nothing else I do hope it leaves you with a desire to seek out more of the individual work of these artists through their websites and galleries and to view more of their work in person—the rewards will be immense.
GENERATION 2022: New Irish Painting is at Butler Gallery, Kilkenny until July 10th 2022 - find out more here.
The exhibition includes site-specific installations and paintings by: Helen Blake | Miranda Blennerhassett | Peter Bradley | Diarmuid Breen | Megan Burns | Serena Caulfield | Susan Connolly | Cecilia Danell | Mollie Douthit | Stephen Doyle | Gabhann Dunne | David Eager Maher | Fiona Finnegan | Deirdre Frost | Philip Gerald | Brian Harte | Sinéad Lucey | Sinéad Ní Mhaonaigh | Róisín O'Sullivan | Jane Rainey | Sheila Rennick | Ciara Roche | Emma Roche | Salvatore of Lucan | Jennifer Trouton | Marcel Vidal
Images: Ros Kavanagh