Exhibition Preview: Wild Atlantic Way
Meet the Derry artists evoking the untamed spirit of Ireland's west coast with wide-ranging works on display at the Garden on Reflection
The inimitable landscape of Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way has proven to be a source of inspiration for artists at home and overseas for centuries, with myriad galleries and exhibition spaces littered along it today a testament to its lasting influence.
Now the rugged coastline has brought together nine artists based out of Derry~Londonderry's Bishop Street Studios for their first collective showcase, aiming to evoke its unique spirit and scenery across a varied mix of mediums, from oil painting and print to video and sculpture.
Presented by Creative Village Arts, a charity providing numerous means of support to artists in the north west, Wild Atlantic Way runs from Wednesday, May 25 until Friday, June 10 at the city's Garden of Reflection.
Painter and printer, Deirdre Doherty, explains: 'In the Bishop Street Studios we have artists who work with different materials and in different styles and genres – everything from traditional oil painting to conceptual and performance art – so we thought it was important to find a broad enough theme that could inspire us all and at the same time create an accessible exhibition.
'The theme of 'Wild Atlantic Way' was a natural choice, as we can represent not only the landscape that we live in but also capture something of the character of the people and spirit of the place.' Get to know a little more about each of those featured in the exhibition below.
Patsy Brennan has been painting for 35 years. His journey as an artist started when he first moved out of the family home as a young adult, and painted a mural on the wall of his empty room inspired by a popular poster of the time. From that point on he has been creating art and participating in art groups in and around Derry. Patsy paints both en plein air and from his own photographs and sketches of the landscape of Donegal. His latest work captures the reflections, textures and abstractions characteristic of the rainy climate and landscape of the north west of Ireland.
Kay Devine is both a visual artist and writer, having just finished her first children’s story. Her artwork is created in a range of mediums and she actively seeks out new learning adventures; training with experienced painters to gain insight and expertise in new techniques and approaches to painting. She is also a CRI from the Bob Ross School of Art. Inspired mainly by the landscape in Donegal, her paintings are created en plein air or from her own photographs back at her studio in the 'Cathedral Quarter' of Derry.
Deirdre Doherty is a painter and printmaker. For Doherty painting is a way to express emotions. Inspired by a wide range of contemporary sculptors and painters, she makes works that are about the interior self and the emergence of the persona through art. Her latest work is inspired by experiencing the vivid blue of Hughie O’Donoghue’s work in IMMA many years ago, which has led her to recent experimentation with blue pigment. Deirdre is known for her dramatic seascapes in oils, and also figurative work in fine art printing.
In his art, Black explores the use of power dynamics within society, incorporating place or memory to create environments primarily through installation and video. His work is often influenced by historical or anti-authoritarian text which explores areas of class and the human condition. In doing so he seeks to challenge all relationships based on power and control, domination and submission.
Aili Fu is an oil painter and Chinese Harp player; she studied art in both China and Brighton before settling in Derry in 2006. In recent years Aili Fu exhibited at the city's Gordon Gallery, showing work which explored personal narratives and complex emotions. Lately she has been working on landscapes and seascapes inspired by the Donegal region, using them to capture the calmness that is echoed in her musical performances.
Emmajane is strongly inspired by the landscape in which she grew up, and for which she feels a great affinity. The focus of her latest body of work explores her relationship with nature and the local countryside she has known since childhood. The emerging colours of the local landscape has inspired her to explore this relationship in the form of photography and painting.
Carl is visual artist whose approach is playful and experimental. His work ranges across very small to large scale canvases, and though he mainly works with oil and acrylics, Carl is equally happy experimenting with unusual materials like bitumen, for example, just 'to see what happens'. His latest work is abstracted cityscapes drawn from memory and imagination, which consciously moves away from his previous reliance on reference materials as he searches for what he calls “a more dynamic outcome”. Last year Carl successfully presented his first solo show in Derry, and he is now working towards a second solo show in 2017.
Ideas and political observations drive Janet Hoy’s work, which are expressed in a variety of mediums, including painting, print, installation, and video. Hoy is currently bringing together elements of eastern and western culture in a body of work called ‘Beyond Belief’, which she hopes will form the basis of an exhibition to stimulate a conversation about the role of art in binding people and cultures together.
After studying Fine Art at Bath University, Amanda Walker returned to Derry to begin her practice as an artist. Amanda is a visual artist whose imaginative works are anchored in her own experiences or the reality that she sees around herself. Her latest works explore the impact of the wind turbines that now litter the hillsides of Donegal. Starting with the imposing white structures themselves, Amanda goes on to develop a series of images, of gyres and blades, that hint at the unleashing of darker mechanical forces that disrupt nature and the landscape that we take for granted.