Easter Expo

Enniskillen's Higher Bridges Gallery hosts work by 50 artists from across Ireland and beyond

Some 130 art works by 50 artists from all over Ireland and beyond are on display in the Easter Expo at Enniskillen’s Higher Bridges Gallery. Solicited through an open call from the gallery’s Facebook page and elsewhere, this is inevitably a varied collection.

What is remarkable, however, is the wide range of materials used, including goat skin, bees wax, beads and bicycle tyres, and the techniques employed – digital art, tape art, raku, bronze, encaustic monotypes and more.

Certain pieces stand out for their innovation, their bravura, their sheer artistry. Margaret Madden’s ‘Pulmones’ (pictured below) is made from glass of an exquisite cream colour with, at its heart, a jewel. Zainab Ali’s bold, shocking pink landscapes are clearly inspired by the textiles of her Pakistani homeland (see bottom image).

Ann Gilleece’s cameo portrait of Jenny Lind harks back to the Age of Elegance, while Aidan Flanagan’s miniature Irish landscapes, so carefully wrought in carborundrum and dry point, would not be out of place as illustrations in an 18th century novel.

Calvary

Ruth Bleakley-Thiessan has fashioned a rose from a bicycle tyre and Jackie Fallis a ‘Forest’ out of tiny beads on silk. Kevin McHugh, meanwhile, has produced a characteristically quirky portrait of Sir Patrick Moore in ‘The Sky’s the Limit’.

Scott Ramsey’s ‘Celebration’ is an excellent example of his box art. Assembled behind glass in perfect symmetry is an exuberant Shiva, a pair of exotic birds, each wearing a crown and an assortment of pearls on pedestals.

One is drawn to the energy and colour of Adrienne Finnerty’s ‘Windows of Light’ or Emma Noonan’s ‘Ornamental Butterflies’. Brigit Egging collaborated with her son, the writer Tobias Baudry, to create a series of limited edition giclee prints including ‘Mirror’ (main image) which appears on the exhibition’s invitation card and poster.

Fittingly, as the exhibition opened on Good Friday, the Easter story is interpreted by Henrik Sanders in ‘Scenes from a Crucifixion’, contemporary impressions of the cross. The shadowy figure of Christ is slumped forward. The man is dead.

Sarah Wieghell makes a bold yet simple statement with her iconic portrait entitled ‘Made man’s shelter, held him after’. Drawn in pencil on tracing paper, the androgynous figure has a beautiful face and a golden halo. Is this a Madonna or the Christ, cradling a mirror image of his or her own head? More could have been made of this piece if it had been displayed at eye level and given greater space.

In Jean Doyle’s pure white alabaster relief called ‘XXIX’, 29 faceless monks stand in a row. They are all the same height but the gestures of each one are different. So many art works, so little time. There is certainly something for everyone in this Easter Expo, which will run until April 27.

Margaret Madden resized

Easter Expo