‘Holding on to the Outside’ is an exhibition of some 35 paintings and gouaches by the distinguished Irish painter Tony O’Malley. The exhibition 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.
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.
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
Mon – Sat 10.00am – 1.00pm and 2.00pm – 5.oopm
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