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The Mythical Mare (1978) was made as a votive offering to the horse goddess Epona and was first exhibited in a solo show titled Epona in the Project Arts Centre, Dublin in 1980. It was also shown in the same year in the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London. O’Sullivan uses a variety of materials in his work and does not regard divisions between painting, drawing and sculpture as clear-cut. His subject matter is frequently derived from ancient Celtic mythological sources brought up to date by references to contemporary events. The image of the horse is an important source of inspiration for him, its role in mythology, folklore, history and Irish culture providing the artist with a range of interesting associations and symbolic references. When speaking of his work he says: “I’ve used literary devices, literary ideas and concepts as starting points….., its partly because ideas are put down so succinctly in literature.”*

*(Living Art 1985)

Dimensions 40.9 x 14 x 15.6 cm
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Gordon Lambert Trust, 1992
Item NumberIMMA.349 GL
Copyright For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].
Image Caption
Michael O'Sullivan, Mythical Mare, 1978, Ceramic, 40.9 x 14 x 15.6 cm, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Gordon Lambert Trust, 1992

For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].

About the Artist

Michael O'Sullivan 1945–2022

Irish artist Michael O'Sullivan studied Sculpture at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. He travelled on a Taylor study scholarship to Amsterdam and the Vassos Kenellos Studio, Athens in 1969. O'Sullivan taught at the National College of Art and Design between 1972 and 2007. Influenced by the writings of James Joyce, he participated in the Ulysses Project at the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin in 1982.

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We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June.  A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. While we prepare to open our next exhibition Hilary Heron: A Retrospective on 24 May, there are two exhibitions to see Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s gardens and café are open to the public.