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Tony O’Malley Exhibition at the Riverbank Arts Centre

An exhibition of some 35 paintings and gouaches by the distinguished Irish painter Tony O’Malley opens to the public at the Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Co Kildare on Friday 28 June 2002 as part of the National Programme at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Holding on to the Outside focuses on O’Malley’s formative period, from 1960 to 1980, when he lived in Cornwall and before he became a household name in Irish art circles. The works are chosen from a larger group of O’Malley paintings in the collection of George and Maura McClelland, who have generously lent these and other paintings, drawings and sculptures to IMMA on long-term loan. The exhibition will be opened by Catherine Marshall, Senior Curator of the Collection at IMMA, on Thursday 27 June at 8.00pm.

Nature and history form the basic themes in O’Malley’s highly distinctive paintings. Working intuitively, he has, over 40 years, continued to record the moods, movement and bird song of the countryside, usually of Ireland but also of the warmer, more exotic islands where he spends the winter. His paintings, on everything from scraps of recycled paper and canvas to the discarded hoops of an old Guinness barrel, also celebrate the medieval and Gaelic associations of such places as Callan, Jerpoint, and Kells, Co Kilkenny, as well as his ancestral roots in Clare Island off the west coast of Co Mayo. The exhibition concentrates on that middle period of O’Malley’s life, when his full-time career as an artist was only beginning. It was these works and others from that period that excited the interest of the McClellands and lead to the strategic promotion of O’Malley between 1980 and 1983, inspired by the view, still held by George McClelland today, that ”Tony O’Malley is the Irish artist of the 20th century”.

Tony O’Malley was born in Callan, Co Kilkenny, in 1913, where he returned in 1987 and now lives with his artist wife, Jane. Since 1983 Tony O’Malley has been recognised as one of the leading Irish painters of his time, with major exhibitions throughout Ireland and the United States. In 1999 he was the recipient of the Glen Dimplex Award for a Sustained Contribution to the Visual Arts in Ireland, he is a member of Aosdána and was elected Saoi in 1993.

The National Programme, now in its sixth year, is designed to make the assets, skills and resources of the Museum available to centers outside Dublin. Through the lending of exhibitions and individual works, and the development of collaborative projects with other organisations, the National Programme establishes the Museum as inclusive, accessible and national.

Holding on to the Outside continues until Saturday 27 July 2002 at the Riverbank Arts Centre, Main Street, Newbridge, Co Kildare. Tel: 045 448 314, Fax: 045 432 490

Admission is free.

Opening hours:
Mon – Sat 10.00am – 1.00pm and 2.00pm – 5.oopm

Sundays: Closed

For further information and colour images please contact Monica Cullinane at the Irish Museum of Modern Art Tel: 01 612 9900, Fax: 01 612 9923, Email: [email protected]

25 June 2002