Work by artists: Roger Ackling; Alice Austin; Squeak Carnwath; Nuala Clarke; Hilary Elmes; Yizhak Elyashiv; Patrick Michael Fitzgerald; Richard Gorman; Jo Gorner; Gail Grinnell; Pat Harris; Harriet Mena Hill; Jeffrey Hirst; Eva Isaksen; Paul Kenny; Joanna Kidney; Arno Kramer; David Lilburn; James Lumsden; Norman McBeath; Paddy McCann; Linn Meyers; Ann Morris; Graham Murrell; Lars Nyberg; Ilkka Parni; Ferdinand Penker; Duncan Pickstock; Rachelle Puryear; Ronald Rumford; Linda Ruttelynck; Trevor Sutton; Caren Van Herwaarden; Claire Van Vliet; Mats Wilhelmsson; Keith Wilson.
The paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and dimensional objects in this exhibition (most have rarely, if ever, been on public view) are by artists who primarily have taken another approach. Responding to visual and conceptual discoveries often rooted in North Mayo, they moved far-afield from literal depictions of place. Instead, they convey concerns with issues of abstraction and the materiality of process, regardless of what their inspirational starting points may have been.
The meticulously crafted environment of the Ballinglen Arts Foundation consists of studios and common-areas, including library, dining, and meeting facilities, as well as the living accommodations throughout Ballycastle. The Foundation is surrounded by the rugged beauty of the County Mayo landscape – high cliffs plunging down to the Atlantic, open fields dotted with houses and farm buildings, foliage, cows, sheep and horses, with the ever-present song birds overhead. For thirty years, these diverse elements have provided inspiration for hundreds of artists who have traveled to Ballycastle from throughout the world to partake of fellowships granted by the Foundation.
Some of the selected artists were just starting out as professionals; others already had achieved international acclaim. Most have flourished in these unique surroundings, and many have returned repeatedly. They also have remained in contact with each other to create an ever-expanding global community of artists associated with Ballinglen. Some of these artists expanded projects that were underway before they arrived in Ireland, allowing the Ballinglen experience to reshape their vision. Others arrived hoping that Mayo’s unique architecture, landscape -- and yes, its brilliant light and clear air-- would redirect their creative processes in unforeseeable ways, often highlighting specific sites they found here.
I hope you respond to these provocative art works as much as I did while selecting them from the growing Ballinglen Arts Foundation Collection, now housed in this beautiful new museum.
- Ruth Fine, Philadelphia, PARuth, is a retired curator of special projects in Modern Art at the National Gallery of Art Washington, DC who is based in Philadelphia and working independently.
Open by appointment until March 11th 2023.
Ballinglen Fellows noted with an asterisk (*) below will have their works of art added soon while archiving the Ballinglen Permanent Collection continues.