Video: Gerard Dillon, Art & Friendships

Bangor's Ava Gallery hosts an exhibition of the great man's work. Take a tour with director David Britton

'For me, he's an incredible artist. There's no doubting his class. We're very proud to have worked on this exhibition, to have identified so many privately-owned pieces of his and brought them all together here, at the Ava Gallery in Bangor.'

David Britton, gallery director of Adam's at the Ava Gallery, is giddy at the prospect of giving a tour of Gerard Dillon, Art & Friendships. Curated by his wife, Karen Reihill – who is currently writing a book about Dillon – the exhibition is a comprehensive retrospective featuring many works by one of Northern Ireland's most celebrated artists.

Gerard Dillon was born off the Falls Road in Belfast in 1916 and died of a stroke in 1971. He was a prominent member of the Ulster Group – otherwise known as the Ulster Boys – along with the likes of George Campbell, Nano Reid and others.

Gerard Dillon, Art & Friendships is split into three sections – Dillon's early works, his more experimental mixed-media pieces produced later in his career, and works by his friends and contemporaries, such as Campbell, Reid and Pamela Matthews.

It features several privately-owned pieces sold by Dillon during his lifetime, which have never before been exhibited in public, such as the striking self-portrait that graces the cover of the extensive catalogue.

Written by Reihill, and featuring many photographs of Dillon and other artists working in their studios and admiring each other's work, the programme is worth a visit to the Ava Gallery in itself.

Gerard Dillon, Art & Friendships runs in the Ava Gallery, Clandeboye Estate, Bangor until August 29. Take a virtual tour narrated by Britton in the video above, and read a profile of Dillon, with suggestions for further reading.