185th RHA Annual Exhibition

I am delighted to have been selected to show a piece in the 185th Annual Exhibition at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin.

Press release from the RHA website:

This year, the RHA 185th Annual exhibition will open to the public on 26 May and show until 9 August. Irelands largest and longest established open submission exhibition includes painting, sculpture, photography, print, drawing and architectural models by Academy Members, invited artists and artists selected through the open submission process.

With all gallery spaces dedicated to this exhibition, the RHA presents the visitor with a unique opportunity to view work by artists at every level of their career, from new talent to best-established artists, hanging side by side. 2014 saw a 28% increase in sales indicating that Ireland’s art investment market has clearly turned a corner and the RHA Annual exhibition is the perfect spotting ground for the discerning collector.

This is the painting that I will be showing:

Title: ‘Further All the Time’
Oil and acrylics on board, 61×92 cm, 2015.

Press release: I am a Forest, and a Night of Dark Trees


I am a Forest, and a Night of Dark Trees

Eight Gallery, Dublin is pleased to present ‘I am a Forest, and a Night of Dark Trees’ an exhibition of new works by Cecilia Danell.

Nov 14th – 26th

Preview Friday Nov 14th 6 – 8pm

“He prefers comfort to pleasure, convenience to liberty, and a pleasant temperature to that deathly inner consuming fire.”

– Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse

Cecilia Danell is a Swedish artist based in Galway since 2004. She identifies mainly as a painter but also uses other media in a practice which draws its inspiration from analytical psychology, existentialism and the landscape of her native Sweden. She has an interest in exploring how places impact on a person in a psychological sense, how they shape and define us and become a part of who we are. Through depicting the area in Sweden where she grew up, she attempts to pinpoint her own place in the world, while also using the landscape that she knows to stage a metaphorical merging between the outer environment and the inner being, through archetypes and Jungian dream theory. This exhibition consists of new work specifically dealing with psychological undercurrents of a more unsettling nature and the fine line between reality and dream through the merging of real places and dream imagery. A recent film studies course on Ingmar Bergman coupled with the re-reading of Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf have further influenced her interest in props, copies and that which is staged as a comment on reality.

Cecilia Danell has exhibited solo in the Talbot Gallery, Dublin and Wexford Arts Centre (both in 2012) and was the 2011 recipient of the Wexford Arts Centre Emerging Artist Award. She has participated in two-person exhibitions at Motala Konsthall, Sweden (2014) and Ballina Arts Centre (2012) and numerous group exhibitions including Tulca Festival of Visual Arts 2014, Galway, Gateway to Connaught at Galerie du Faouedic, Lorient, France (2014), Kaleidoscope: Art from EU Member States, at Farmleigh Gallery, Dublin (2013) where she was invited to represent Sweden and VUE National Art Fair (2011). She has received bursaries and project awards from the Arts Council and Galway City Council. Her work is represented in the OPW collection, Wexford County Council Art Collection, Motala Municipal Art Collection, Sweden and the Kelly Collection, Rosslare.


Opening hours,
Monday – Saturday
10.00 – 17.30
Sunday 11.00 – 17.30

Show concludes November 26th.

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Tulca Festival of Visual Arts

I am delighted to announce that I have been selected as one of the artists in this year’s Tulca Festival of Visual Arts, curated by Aisling Prior. The opening reception takes place on the 7th November and the festival is on from the 8th – 23rd November in venues in Galway City, Ireland.

Excerpt from the Tulca Website about Aisling Prior’s curatorial vision for this year’s Tulca:

“The exhibition will draw attention to the lure of stillness and of silence in this increasingly digital age where all of us, even those who chose to live in the most remote parts of a country, are known, traceable and expected to be readily reachable. Escape is impossible.

The reverie of the retreat to the wilderness is most famously celebrated in Thoreau’s Walden (1854). Within just a few decades after its publication, Thoreau’s romantic hero was anachronistic. The great malaise of the 20th century – ‘alienation’ – had taken its grip on society. Alienation, the source of all modern discontent, was the fallout from the industrial and subsequent technical revolutions, whose labour saving devices and opportunities for leisure caused a new ennui, and created an insurmountable chasm between man and his/her fellow human beings.

Any yearning for isolation was consequently discredited in the 20th century Western world. It was increasingly incumbent on newly mobile societies to be in constant flux, constant travel, – ‘holidays’ became normal. The attraction of urban life and its advantages were almost impossible to resist. And within this new world of easy communication and sociability, people who sought to be alone became feared, aroused suspicion, were termed a loner, an “odd bod”. And so, the anti-social person became the sociopath.

However, we have seen a backlash against the stigmatisation of solitude. Solitude is seen now as a powerful and necessary anti-dote to the pressures imposed on us in this digital age, which allows no cover for passivity. There is a seeming obligation to be in constant communication, to have an endless appetite for the consumption of information, and to embrace every opportunity to engage in the two-way discourse new social media and the internet affords. Even much contemporary art, the practice known as relational aesthetics, obliges us to fully participate in itself, the creation of the artwork being dependent on our engagement. But the expectation to engage has made us weary.

So it transpires that artists, philosophers, writers, designers, architects and psychotherapists are once again extolling the agency and virtue of non-doing, of contemplation and of quietness. “

Find more info about the other selected artists and this year’s festival at www.tulcafestival.com

Press release: Your spaces are my places too


Motala Konsthall, Sweden.

11th January – 8th February 2014.
Including an artist talk on the 15th January.

Your spaces are my places too is a two person exhibition featuring Helga Steppan and Cecilia Danell. They share the same hometown, Motala in Sweden, but through spending many years abroad, in England and Ireland respectively, their notion of home goes way beyond the invisible boundaries of their shared place of origin.

Their two separate artistic practices intertwine in a series of artworks where not only Motala is their common (starting)point, but also their way of investigating, exploring and trying to understand their identity and environment through examining their past, their present locations and their everyday experiences. Through an exchange of photographs, conversations and explorations of each other’s locations using GPS coordinates, they have come to know and be inspired by the other person’s creative process. This approach shows that what binds them together extends beyond their shared origins and is made visible through the way they work and the themes they collectively share.

In the space between Cecilia Danell’s and Helga Steppan’s two and three dimensional artworks, the visitor is invited to explore the artists’ investigations into their own Self, expressed through a personal and (local) site-specific sense of place which can also be interpreted on a universal level. Together they present an exhibition spanning painting, photography, sculpture and possibly one or two moving image pieces.

Helga Steppan (b. 1976) graduated from The Royal College of Art in London 2004 and works and lives in-between Malmö, Sweden and London, UK. She has exhibited widely in England, Sweden and Internationally. In 2013 she was part of the exhibition series In Dialogue with the Collections at Gothenburg Museum of Art and also exhibited solo with Kaleidoscopia at Ahlbergshallen, Östersund, after being awarded Härke Konststipendium (Artist Grant) in 2012. She received a two-year working grant from the Swedish Arts Grants Committee in 2011 and is currently represented by Man&Eve Gallery in London. Her work is represented in several art collections, including The Cardinal Collection, The London Clinic Collection and Linköping and Östersund Council Art Collections.

Cecilia Danell (b. 1985) graduated from the paint department of The Campus of Creative Arts and Media, GMIT Galway, in 2008, where she was awarded Paint Student of the Year. She lives and works in Galway, Ireland and has exhibited in Ireland and America. In 2013 she represented Sweden in Kaleidoscope: Art from EU Member States, at Farmleigh Gallery, Dublin. In 2012 she had solo exhibitions in the Talbot Gallery, Dublin and the Wexford Arts Centre. Danell was the recipient of the 2011 Wexford Arts Centre Emerging Artist Award and she has received bursaries and project awards from the Irish Arts Council (2010, 2011) and Galway City Council (2013). Her work is in the OPW collection and the Wexford County Council art collection.

Further information (in Swedish) and Swedish language Press release can be found at:
Motala Konsthall’s own website

Dott – Swoon album artwork

Dott sleeve
Image courtesy of Graveface Records.

I was delighted to be asked by Galway-based garage pop band Dott to design the cover for their debut album Swoon, out on US label Graveface Records on the 4th December. They are currently embarked on a launch tour of Ireland and will be playing dates in the States in the new year, including the SXSW festival. There was a feature in last week’s Galway Advertiser newspaper about the album ahead of their gig in the Roisin Dubh last Saturday, with a nice mention about my involvement with the band in the making of the artwork and previous work. You can read the interview by Kernan Andrews :here:.

The artwork is based on a piece I made last year called “Steppenwolf” for an exhibition in Ballina Arts Centre. Lead singer Anna liked it and commissioned a new piece, where instead of myself, I have her wearing the wolf mask. This is my first sleeve design for a vinyl record and I’m very pleased with the result.

The record will be in independent record shops in Ireland and the US from December and it can also be ordered directly from Graveface Records.

REMEMBER ME (before I forget) – Galway Arts Centre

2nd May – 1st June 2013

Press release:

The Eternal Return – by Cecilia Danell

Red Bird Youth Collective will present ‘Remember me (when I forget)’, an exhibition presenting work by artists Cecilia Danell, Emmet Kierans, and Red Bird in collaboration with Jonathan Sammon and Ruadhrí Brennan. ‘Remember me (Before I forget)’ opens on the 2nd of May at 6pm, in the Galway Arts Centre, 47 Dominick Street. The exhibition will run for four weeks, until June 1st. In addition to presenting their debut film ‘Belong’, Red Bird have curated the exhibition and carried out all of the administration work, under the guidance of Galway Arts Centre.

The exhibition and film ‘Belong’ has been funded by the Arts Council’s Youth Ensemble Scheme 2012–2013. This is Red Bird’s second time receiving this award. The funding has been used to fulfil Red Bird’s mission of creating new work in collaboration with professional artists and also programming and curating visual art. The group is made up of young people aged 16–24. Red Bird is also supported by Galway County Council.

‘Belong’ is a sci-fi psychological thriller exploring the themes of societal dislocation, isolation and the role of companionship and the many forms it can take in our lives. The group devised the script together and began filming in December 2012. Upon its completion, work by Danell and Kierans were selected.

Cecilia Danell is a member of Engage Art Studios, Galway. Her most recent exhibitions are ‘Secretly, we thirst for reality’ in Wexford Arts Centre, and ‘The Consoling Dream Necessity’ in Talbot Gallery, Dublin. Danell has an interest in the way we explore the world around us, often using landscape and the built environment as metaphors for internal states and the human condition. She works with a number of mediums including paint, film/video, installation, and object making.

Emmet Kierans originally from Limerick, is now living in London completing a PhD in Practice Based Fine Art. Kierans most recent solo exhibition entitled ‘Something From Nothing’ focused on reality and perception, looking at how the mind perceives colour and shape, and aiming to reveal the plasticity of visual perception. In other work, he has dealt with the concepts of identity and the unconscious. Kierans has worked with paint, sculpture, photography and installation.

Red Bird Youth Collective has previously collaborated with artists on two exhibitions; ‘Sample’ with Louise Manifold in 2012, the collectives first show that encompassed many art forms and techniques creating a diverse collection of work, and ‘Shaping Space’ with Blaithin Quinn earlier this year, which explored the architecture of the West of Galway.

KALEIDOSCOPE Farmleigh Gallery

I’ve been selected to represent Sweden in an exhibition at Farmleigh Gallery, Dublin featuring art from all the EU member states, as part of Ireland’s EU presidency. The painting selected is called “Fracture” and is part of the Irish State collection (OPW). Below is the press release:

kaleidoscope img

This is an exhibition of contemporary artworks from the twenty-seven Member States of the European Union, selected with the purpose of bringing European visual art, created in recent decades, to an Irish audience and to provide these artists with a platform during Ireland’s EU Presidency.

The motto of the European Union ‘united in diversity’ is the only conceptual premise that informed the theme of the exhibition. Each Member State was invited to select one artist or one work for inclusion in the exhibition.

The works reflect current art practice of contemporary artists of many European nationalities, across a variety of media – video, drawing, sculpture, print and painting. The unique vision of each artist reflects the diversity of new work being created throughout Europe.

This exhibition has been organised by the Office of Public Works and the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht in collaboration with the EU Member State Embassies and cultural organisations. It is funded through Culture Connects, the National Culture Programme that marks Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Press release: Secretly, We Thirst For Reality

Secretly, we thirst for reality by Cecilia Danell
Visual Artist Award Winner 2011
Wexford Arts Centre

In the forest of the secret depthsMutare Animam

Opening event: Friday 30th November, 6pm.
Opened by artist and writer Mary Ruth Walsh.
All welcome to attend.

Cecilia Danell was the recipient of the 2011 Emerging Visual Artist Award, a partnership initiative between the Arts Council, Wexford County Council and Wexford Arts Centre. The initiative is aimed at recognising and supporting the development of emerging artists with a monetary award and a solo exhibition at Wexford Arts Centre.

For this exhibition, Danell has continued her research into landscape and the built environment, using both as a metaphor for the human condition, with special focus on the aspects of psychology dealing with disengagement from the self. With an interest in the role of the unconscious, Danell undertook studies on the work of Carl Jung, with a particular emphasis on his theory of archetypes and how unresolved tensions manifest in behaviour. Through film, painting and mixed media, Danell has explored these areas of interest, and as in previous works, reveals the process of making to the viewer as a means of citing internal thought processes.

Born in Sweden, Cecilia Danell graduated with a Degree in Fine Art in 2008 from GMIT, Galway and was awarded the AIB Paint Student of the Year. Since graduating Danell has had a solo exhibition in the Talbot Gallery, Dublin and participated in numerous group exhibitions both in Ireland and America. She was a recipient of an Arts Council Bursary Award in 2010 and an Arts Council Project Award in 2011.

The exhibition will run in Wexford Arts Centre from Tuesday 27th November to Monday 24th December, 2012. For further information on the exhibition, artist, or Emerging Visual Artist Award please contact Catherine on 053 9123764 or email catherine@wexfordartscentre.ie.

Gallery hours: Monday – Saturday: 10.00am – 5.30pm.
For further information please download our press pack below.

Press pack .pdf download

(press release courtesy of Wexford Arts Centre)

2011 – A year in the studio.

Every now and then over the last year I tried to document what I was doing in the studio, since I had the video camera lying around anyway.

Unfortunately my video camera broke a while ago, so as it looks now there will be no video documentation of this studio year, but I can tell you that I’m kept busy, both making work and studying, since I’m doing a part-time distance learning course on Jungian Psychology with a Swedish university this spring. The media I’m currently using is quite diverse, including super 8 film, sculptural installation and painting.

Press release: The Consoling Dream Necessity

consoling dream necessity fracture

Press Release Cecilia Danell
Talbot Gallery Studios, 51 Talbot Street, Dublin 1.
Tel: 01 8556599

The Consoling Dream Necessity
Cecilia Danell at Talbot Gallery Studios
January 11th – February 4th 2012

Cecilia Danell is a Swedish artist based in Galway. Her work focuses on questions concerning identity, dealing with such themes as perception of the self and sensations of otherness. Her media spans a spectrum of painting, photography and video, all of which are utilized toward making hazy the boundary between fiction and reality. The surreal quality of her video and photographic pieces is well complemented by the installation works consisting of such materials as twigs, safety clips and folded graph paper. The potentially mundane associations these works call to mind throw into greater relief the polarity of Utopian and Dystopian landscapes, and the notion that what we regard as personal can have universal connotations.

Danell studied at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, where she obtained a first class honours degree in Fine Arts (2007-2008) having first achieved her Bachelors Degree in Art & Design with Distinction (2004-2007). As well as featuring in innumerable exhibitions and publications, she has received several awards since completing her college education, including the Arts Council of Ireland Project Award 2011, which is funding her upcoming show here at the Talbot. She is also the 2011 winner of the Wexford Arts Centre Emerging Artist Award.

We are delighted to have this opportunity to further promote Danell’s work. Her upcoming show is comprised of a new body of work geared toward a personal search for meaning, dealing with contemporary life as coloured by her Scandinavian heritage and upbringing. With her inspiration largely deriving from our physical encounter with the landscape and the merging of the outer environment with the inner being, Danell’s exhibition promises to elaborate the metaphorical act whereby the two are made interchangeable.

Talbot Gallery & Studios
Tue – Fri 10.30 – 5pm
Saturdays: 11 – 4pm


talbot logo

Art fair and work in progress

I am currently in the middle of producing work as part of the project “Build your own: Scandinavian loneliness”, for which I got funding from the Arts Council earlier this year. I have employed fellow artist Fiona Hession as my assistant in the production of the work, which consists of a flat pack model set which will be exhibited (and for sale) as part of my solo show “The consoling dream necessity” in the Talbot Gallery this coming January.

I am also commissioning writer Michaele Cutaya to write a piece for the project. She writes regularly for Circa and is a part of the research project Fugitive papers together with Fiona Woods and James Merrigan. I am very pleased to have her on board!

Yesterday I was in Dublin and attended the preview of VUE: National Contemporary Art Fair in the RHA. It is running this weekend until the 6th November and is a showcase for all the main commericial galleries in the country. I am being represented by the Talbot Gallery in the fair. The turn out was great and there was a lot of great work on show, including work by artists such as Alice Maher, Damien Flood, Philippa Sutherland and Micky Donnelly.


Today I’ve visited a couple of the venues for this year’s Tulca Season of Visual Art here in Galway. Curated by Megs Morley this time around. I am not showing any work myself this year, but Tulca is always a great few weeks in the Galway visual arts calendar. I’ll be going along to the opening in the Arts Centre tonight before joining Fiona in the Forge studios, where I am to fire the clay prototypes for a part of my model set, which I will then be casting in pewter. The Forge is where Fiona has her studio, and it’s also where the kiln is located, since there are a number of ceramic artists working there.

clay stands

I recently completed the second out of two large paintings for the Dublin show, I also have some smaller pieces I made over the summer, so the painting work is done, so now I’m concentrating on manufacturing the model set. Also, there will be an open studio event here in Engage studios on the 19th November as part of Tulca, do come along if you happen to be in Galway.

Within range.

Time for a long overdue update. The summer is flying by and a few things have happened since last. I was in Sweden for the second half of May. While there I made a photo project for a group exhibition in the Niland Gallery, Galway curated by Mary Conlon, Shinnors scholar at the Limerick City gallery. The title for the show was “Hammer and feather – experiments in space“. I decided to respond to this theme by making a site-specific intervention in the woods in the area near where I grew up in Sweden.

The title for the piece is “Range Lat: +58.663979 Lon: +15.099152“. Type the coordinates into google maps and you’ll get the exact location of the intervention. I was working with ideas of mapping out space, of using caution tape to mark the danger zone within range of a particular hunters’ shelter but also to use the tape to track the eye movement of the viewer . I had found the shelter when I walked in the woods last October and had been intrigued by the fact that there was an orange modernist chair inside of it. I had thought of working with the shelter in some way since then and this proved to be the perfect opportunity.

It was a joy to work with Mary Conlon, who is an excellent curator, and the exhibition, which included work by Tim Acheson, David Beattie, Karl Burke, Cecilia Danell, Angela Fulcher, Dana Gentile, Ann Maria Healy, Clare Lymer, Laura McMorrow and Victoria McCormack was praised for being interesting and cohesive. A recent review written by Michaele Cutaya can be read here: http://www.showerofkunst.com/2011/07/hammer-and-feather-experiments-in-space.html

Niland Gallery opening.

My work in the exhibition can be viewed :here:

niland 2
Two out of the four images I showed in the exhibition.

Just after I came back from Sweden I received a Project Award from the Arts Council for the project “Build your own: Scandinavian Loneliness“, a flat pack series commenting on society’s promotion of happiness as a commodity. I have enlisted artist Fiona Hession, who did sculpture in college, to help me with some of the technical aspects of casting parts of the model set. I am in the middle of ordering materials and figuring out details of the production phase, and I’m delighted to have once again got the backing of the Arts Council.

A few days ago I also got a delivery of wood for two large stretchers. For those fo you who don’t know, stretchers are the wooden frames that painters stretch their canvas over. The larger one of the stretcher is roughly 130 x 160 cm in size. It’s a long time since I worked that big so I’m quite excited about getting started! Since coming back from Sweden I have also made five smaller paintings, which will form part of a larger body of work while also serving as a sort of testing ground before getting started on the larger canvases. They deal with juxtapositions between natural and man-made, modernism and romanticism, the straight line versus the free flowing organic, surrealism versus the hyper real. If this sounds confusing you can rest assured that there will be more info to follow in due course.

I have also just started off a new piece using paper clips as its main material titled “Hide #2”, so I’m about to head to a friend’s house now to use her sewing machine and prepare the ground. It will be a continuation of my work with paper clips that I did for the Live@8 at Occupy Space, Limerick in early May. (See :here:)

Live @ Occupy Space next week!

I’m super excited about next week! There is a bi-monthly art event in Galway called Live@8, taking place in bar EIGHT and featuring performance and video art. Now the curators Aine Phillips, Maeve Mulrennan and Vivienne Dick have decided to bring the event on tour, so on Thursday the 5th of May the Galway art scene will be descending on Limerick’s Occupy Space gallery for an evening of performance, happenings, installation and video, all by Galway based artists.

occupy poster

Myself and artist Majella Dowdican were approached some time ago about doing a collaborative wall installation for the event, so we’ve been very busy lately discussing ideas and making work. Installation will commence in Limerick on Tuesday morning to be ready for the event on Thursday evening. Our pieces will be dealing with the process of making work and ideas we’ve been exploring in the studio concerning what’s real and what is not, copying, modernist thought and most importantly – the exploration of materials and their limitations.


I don’t want to say too much before the event, but my work will include 10 000 paper clips and a tribute to one of my artist heroes. I have loved the process of really immersing myself in the exploration of materials and ideas as opposed to only making finished pieces and I’ve also done a lot of reading, which has influenced my thinking when making the work, most importantly Focault’s “The order of things”.


I’ve also made some other work lately, which I will share here on the website in time. And we’ve had a number of studio visits in Engage by different curators/artists these past few weeks including Mary Conlon, Alice Maher and Megs Morley. It’s always beneficial and interesting to have people visit the studio and get their input about the work in progress, and it gives them a better insight into how you work as an artist as well.

Anybody in Ireland is most welcome to Limerick on Thursday for what promises to be a great night, and I will put up photos documenting the event for those of you who can’t make it.

You had another skin – press release.

Press Release

You Had Another Skin (The Super 8 Series)
New work by Cecilia Danell
February 22nd – April 2nd 2011
Opening Reception: Tuesday, February 22nd from 6pm.

press img

“I held your hand. You had another skin. I believed all you told me”
– J.P Sartre, The Room

The series of paintings presented in You Had Another Skin (The Super 8 Series) are part of an ongoing body of work and look at the house as a metaphor for the psyche and the human condition, referencing Jungian dream theory.

In October 2010 Cecilia Danell travelled to Sweden and documented a number of semi-abandoned villages in rural areas, which resulte­d in the Super 8 film You had another skin. These paintings are stills from the film; every building depicted is derelict, left behind to slowly decay while silence and lost ambitions turn Utopia into Dystopia. The title holds many meanings, including the proverbial act of shedding one’s skin which points to a transition or reinvention, here seen in the transformation of a place. There is also the suggestion that the skin may act as a mask or ‘persona’, shrouding the real self, leading to the philosophical question of ‘the Other’ as being something different from us but also a possible aspect of the self – ‘you had an-other skin’.

Cecilia Danell is a Swedish artist based in Galway since 2004 and a member of Engage Art Studios. She graduated from the GMIT in 2008 with a first class honours degree in painting and was awarded Paint student of the year. She has exhibited in Ireland and the USA including group and two person shows in the Galway Arts centre, 126 Gallery, Red House Arts Center in Syracuse NY, Crow Gallery, Dublin, Claremorris Open (2007, 2010), where she was one of the 2007 prize winners, and most recently Tulca Season of Visual Arts. Danell is a recipient of an Arts Council Bursary Award for 2011.

EIGHT supports both local and international artists in a unique curatorial programme that combines high art and high food. Owner Tom Sheridan and his team are dedicated to providing a modern approach to hospitality in Galway.

The food at EIGHT is unique, hearty and sourced locally. It is produced by the legendary Michelin Star trained chef Jess Murphy. Murphy has just been named the Best Chef in Connaught 2010 by Food & Wine Magazine and 2011 Bridgestone Guide’s “Top 10 Hot Chefs to Watch”. EIGHT, Bar and Restaurant has also been ‘Highly Commended’ for the Restaurant of The Year Awards 2010 by Food & Wine Magazine and was one of the finalists for the Good Food Ireland Top Regional Member in the West Award


EIGHT, Bar & Restaurant • Galway, Ireland • 8 Dock Road, Galway • Phone: 091 565111 • Email: info@eight.ie

Books and notebooks.

I love the smell of filter coffee and oil paint when I enter the studio. That coffee maker I got in October is probably one of the best investments I’ve made in a long time!


I am busy painting, I am working on a series of 30×40 cm paintings on board. They’re stills from my Super 8 film, I just got started on the seventh one today. I have a title for the film now. It’s called You had another skin It’s taken from a short story by J.P Sartre called “The Room”. Even if the work doesn’t have much to do with the content of the novel itself, I felt very inspired by this particular line: “I held your hand. You had another skin. I believed all you told me”. I really recommend the story, it’s about a woman who cares for her mentally ill husband, despite everybody around her wanting him to be locked away so that she can have her life back, but she doesn’t feel that she belongs to the outside world anymore, she has become merely an observer of the life that goes on below the window of their 6th floor apartment. Sometimes she secretly longs to be mad too, so that she could feel more connected to her husband.

That idea of having another skin and of shedding one’s skin really speaks to me. Below are some excerpts from my notebook, if you can read my handwriting that is…




Here are some books that I absolutely love, recommend and get a lot of inspiration from:


They are:
* The Faber book of Utopias – ed. John Carey
* Det Omedvetna (Psychology of the Unconscious) – C.G Jung
* Notes from underground and The Double – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
* The existential imagination – ed. F.R Karl and L. Hamalian
* The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
* Intimacy – J.P Sartre


A drawing of some scrap metal and machinery at Zinkgruvan mine, Sweden. Oct ’10.


I am waiting for the Super 8 film to be transferred to DV tape. Then I’ll consider the addition of a soundtrack to the digital version. As you may or may not know Super 8 film is silent. You used to be able to buy sound film for certain cameras which enabled sound recording, but that stock was discontinued in the ’80’s so today only film stock without sound is available. I am also waiting for a couple of rolls of slide film I shot in Sweden over Christmas to return back from the lab in Leeds. Fingers crossed they haven’t got lost in the post. I shot winter woods at dusk and returned back to the semi-abandoned village Björnhammaren to shoot my favourite street of abandoned houses covered in snow. Understandably no one cares to clear away the snow there, so I had to struggle through snow up to my thighs. I’m anxious to see the result!

Also, I have made four ink drawings on primed, unstretched canvas of houses in the above mentioned street (they were completed before Christmas). They are to feature in a reunion exhibition for the GMIT graduating class of 2008 in the Lorg Printmakers Gallery, Galway in mid February. Here’s a sample:

ispini drawing

That’s all for now!

And the forest began to sing.

I’ve been busy in the studio all since I got back from Sweden.

Just over a week ago my Super 8 films arrived back from the lab in Berlin, so I’ve been reviewing footage and editing by hand, which has proven to be so much fun!


And I am also loving my newly renovated studio. I let the old carpet give way to a painted concrete floor. I did it all myself and am very pleased with the result.


super 8


I love the hands on approach to working with film. I am a great lover of medium format film cameras, Polaroid and now Super 8. But I work with digital video as well of course, and my digital SLR is invaluable when it comes to research photography, documentation of work and stop motion animation. Having said that though, editing by hand is a whole different experience to Final Cut and methods of distressing and painting on to the film can also be employed, making the medium more closely related to painting and drawing.


Yesterday I attended a professional practice seminar for visual artists at the Nun’s Island theatre in Galway. Speakers included Michael Fortune, Mark St John Ellis, Aine Phillips, Aideen Barry and others. Thank you to Maeve at Galway Arts Centre for organising such an informative and enjoyable event and to Galway City Council for sponsoring it. It was great to meet and talk to so many of my fellow artists too and the cold weather prompted us to have hot whiskeys in a nearby pub afterwards. Great day!


I also want to say thank you to all who came and saw our show in Tulca, I am very happy about the great feedback I got on my video piece and on the space and installation of the show as a whole. (See more info in the video section of this site).

Tonight there’s a fundraising disco in the Galway Arts Centre, not to be missed!

To Sweden and back again.

A few things have happened since I last updated this blog. First of all I received a bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland, which I’m delighted about. Part of my proposal was that I would go to Sweden and do research for a new body of work, and shoot Super 8. So, soon after finding out about the bursary I booked a flight to Sweden and spent three weeks there.


I travelled around to different villages scattered around the countryside where a mine, mill or factory has more or less been the sole employer of each community. As said companies have either down scaled or closed down the villages have changed in character and some are now almost deserted. I am interested in failed utopias, deserted places, the uneasy, tentative feeling of a place where things are more or less intact but have been left to deteriorate. I like the contrast between Utopias and Dystopias, the landscape and the built enviroment, the old and the new, hope and despair. I found a village with a deserted street of ten 1950’s style detached houses. That was my most successful find. People may draw parallels to the situation Ireland is in right now where the recession and banking crisis has resulted in many empty newly built estates.

Bona, two kilometres from my parents’ farm. The buildings have acted in turn as a reformatory for boys, a mental asylum and a refugee hotel. Now they are empty.

I have a lot of research material to process, and I’m feeling very inspired! I also have to send off my Super 8 films for developing to see how they turn out.

Shooting Super 8.

Apart from doing research I also had time to go to Stockholm for three days. I stayed with my good friend Sofia and visited her lovely vintage shop ‘Drakens Källare’ (The dragon’s cellar) in the Old Town. I went to the Museum of Modern art, Magasin 3 Stockholm konsthall and Galleri Magnus Karlsson as well and met up with my other friend Ragnhild.

Södermalm, Stockholm.

I gave a talk about my art, studying abroad and working in the Galway Tourist office at my old secondary school in Vadstena, which was fun and met up with several friends, relations and neighbours, so I got to meet a lot of people I hadn’t seen for a long time.

The weather was great for the most part of my trip and the leaves were bright yellow, so I hope the colours come out well on the Super 8. I have to say I’m very pleased with the past three weeks.

I arrived back in Galway last night and today I was thrown straight into the preparations for the Tulca season of visual art. Six artists from Engage studios, me included, have been selected by curator Michelle Browne to exhibit in a new space on merchant’s road called Niland Gallery.


I’ve made a video piece called “Travelling through” where I’m showing an alternative route out to Mutton island off the Galway coast through the causeway, as opposed to walking on it. It’s a stop motion piece that I got completed just before I went off to Sweden and it’s going to be projected on the wall. It was very painstaking to make, and involved me crawling the distance of 1km through the causeway, taking photos as I went along. I really love the exhibition space and am excited to see it all come together in the next couple of days.

Tulca (which means wave in Irish) will run from the 6th – 21st November with exhibitions, performances and lectures all over the city.

The art is in Claremorris.

I’m just back from spending most of the weekend in Claremorris in County Mayo. I was very happy to be selected for the Claremorris Open Exhibition a second time (my first time was in 2007). It’s a prestigious open submission show. Each year a prominent curator, usually from the London art scene is asked to select the show. This year the task went to Lisa Le Feuvre, she’s a writer, curator and senior lecturer at Goldsmith’s college or art in London. About 300 artists applied and Lisa selected 41 artists for the exhibition, which takes place in several venues around the small County Mayo town, forming an art trail.

View from my hotel room.

The nice thing about this exhibition is that it’s full of juxtapositions. Claremorris is a small rural town, but for three weeks every year it gets to present some of the most relevant contemporary art this country (and places further afield) has to offer and for the curators who are used to living in busy London it’s a very different experience to what they’re used to. Given it’s high standing, the exhibition now being in it’s 33rd year, it gets submissions from recent college graduates as well as established artists. The first time I was in it I had just completed third year in college and I got to exhibit, and won an award alongside people like Susan McWilliam, who went on to represent Northern Ireland in last year’s Venice Biennale. It was a big deal for me at the time, and it was also my first exhibition outside of the college.

This year Loretto Cooney, who was in my year in college also got in, as did our former college tutor Fionna Murray and Anne O’Neill who just finished her ceramics degree this year. Fionna won this year’s top artist award (there were three prices awarded this time) so I’m really happy for her!

One of Fionna’s pieces.

Anne O’Neill’s video installation.

I should also give The Claremorris Arts committée a mention, since they’re doing such an amazing job. Marayde O’Brien is incredibly committed and hard working and it was great to see her again and they made sure we all had a great night. In the usual fashion the participating artists are first treated to a dinner in the hotel in the main street. Then it’s time to have a walk around the galleries and then there’s an opening and prize giving ceremony. I talked to Lisa, the curator, afterwards and she’s lovely. She really enjoyed the experience of adjudicating the show, which is obviously very different from being in London, and was so impressed with the standard of the work.

One of Loretto’s paintings.

The rest of the night was spent in Ward’s bar, as is tradition, and we all had a great time! Nice to talk to friend as well as new faces, and we stayed on until we were pretty much kicked out after two.

Today some of us had another proper look at the exhibition and I got to know that I had sold one of my pieces, which is always great to hear. The last time I was there I left Claremorris with only happy memories and this time was no different!

Got a photo of me with my pieces taken today before I went back to Galway. The one with the lego houses to my left sold, it’s also the image used in the catalogue.

You can see more photos from the opening in the Pictures section and I’ve created a new page for this series of paintings called “A Comment on...”

How do you like it?

So, what do you think of the new website design? I thought it was about time to update the look of the site slightly since the previous colour scheme was created to fit with the work of my degree show two years ago and since I’ve moved on a bit since then I thought it was about time for the site to move ahead with me.

Mid-July proved to be a very busy time for me with no less than three shows opening in the one week! The 11th marked the opening of Outside:insight at Brigit’s Garden in Roscahill, Co. Galway. It’s a sculpture exhibition running until the end of August. I made the piece “Construction of self” which you can read more about :here: and the opening day was good fun.

Here’s a little collage I put together with some of the artworks on view:


On the 13th Enrage, the Engage studios members show opened in the White Room Gallery as part of the Galway Arts Festival. We had been asked by curator Ian McInerney to make work in b/w, which resulted in these pieces:


View close ups of the ink paintings :here:

I was very pleased with how the show was curated and the pieces worked very well together, despite the diverse practice of the 17 members participating. Also, Aidan Dunne of The Irish Times really liked the show, which was great to hear.

Then on the 15th That Robot Aint Candy opened in the Mad Art Gallery in Dublin, featuring work with an urban theme by myself, Shane O’Connor (aka Sketchy Inc.) and Carolyn Walsh.


Three of my paintings based on stills from my animated videos. I was also showing the videos on a monitor.


Me, Shane and the gallery owner (photo courtesy of Shane O’Connor)

There are many more photos from the opening and documentation of the exhibition on Shane’s site: http://www.sketchyinc.com The three of us also made a collaborative limited edition print (ed. 50) which has each been signed by us and is for sale at 10 euro each. It can be viewed on Shane’s site and if you want to buy one you can contact him there.

When I was in Dublin I also had time to go to a number of exhibitions around town. My favourites, which deserve a mention, were King Rat at the Project Arts Centre and Norbert Schwontkowski at the Kerlin Gallery. Absolutely amazing shows which have stayed with me long after seeing them.

I’m taking a little break from the studio now for a couple of weeks, since I’ve been so extremely busy for the last few months. Feel free to browse around the newly added sections of the site, which include an extract from the video ‘Doubles’ from the {un}familiar show, the ‘Construction of self’ sculpture and my ink paintings for the ‘Enrage’ show.

Outside:Insight and Enrage work.

The opening of the Dock Discourse project in the 126 Gallery on the 11th June went really well, with a fantastic turn out. I could barely get into the gallery by the time I arrived. You can see photos from the opening here. During the course of the exhibition there has also been a discussion event in the gallery and on site installations in the middle pier of the dock by some of the participating artists. I’d like to extend my thanks to everyone who has participated, supported and visited the exhibition, which is closing tomorrow.

Video installation by Michelle Browne


There was a talk in the Galway Arts Centre by curator Maeve Mulrennan on the 29th July about the {un}familiar exhibition, which was also well attended. Over the last couple of weeks I have been making work for two other group shows which will be opening soon. The new work is a continuation of the work I made for the {un}familiar show, based around the shelter in the woods in Sweden.

The first show is called Outside: Insight and is a site specific sculpture exhibition in Brigit’s Garden in Rosscahill, Co. Galway featuring several emerging artists. My piece is entitled “Construction of self” and continues to deal with the house as a metaphor for the self. The exhibition runs from the 11th July until the end of August.

Work in progress.

I am also working on a series of ink paintings for ‘Enrage’ in the White Room Gallery, Galway. A show featuring Engage studios artists for the Galway Arts Festival. The curator is Ian McInerney from the Black Mariah in Cork. All work featured is being confined to black/white or grayscale. I’m really enjoying working within these strict parameters for a change, since I normally tend to use a lot of colour in my work. The Arts Festival runs between the 12th – 25th July.

Apart from this I will also be showing work alongside Shane O’Connor and Carolyn Walsh in the Mad Art Gallery in Dublin between the 15th – 21st July. The show is entitled “That Robot Aint Candy” and the three artists taking part are all dealing with an urban theme in their work.
The work created for this exhibition was also selected for this year’s Claremorris Open Exhibition, which I’m very happy about. It’s curated by Lisa Le Feuvre, senior lecturer in fine arts at Goldsmiths, London.

That’s it for now, a bit about what I’m up to at the moment!

Installing ‘Dock Discourse’.

Tomorrow marks the launch of the ‘Dock Doscourse’ exhibition in the 126 Gallery in Galway. Find out more about the show on their website: www.126.ie under “Current Exhibition”.

Aideen Barry’s part in the project; “An artist’s impression”, which I mentioned about in my previous post and whick was delivered with the Galway Independent newspaper yesterday, can be downloaded as a .pdf file :HERE: for those of you who don’t live in Galway or failed to pick up a copy of the paper.

Here are a couple of pictures I took of the installation work down in the gallery today:



So we’re all set for the opening tomorrow then!

Tracing the {un}familiar

Busy times! The {un}familiar exhibition opened in the Galway Arts Centre on Thursday the 3rd and I am very pleased with the turn out for the opening and the positive feedback I’ve got on my work and the show overall, well done to Maeve who curated it and to all the artists taking part!

I spent a while today updating the website with a section for the {un}familiar project and some photos from the opening. Check out the paint section and the studio section. Some screen caps from the ‘Doubles’ video I made for the show are up in the video section, the video itself will follow at a later stage. If you get a chance, do drop into the Arts Centre and have a look at the show, it will be on till the 2nd July and the video is being projected in a room of its own, so it looks quite good.

video room

Today I was out at the GMIT (Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology) and looked at the degree show. I have to say I was very impressed with the paint department this year, some really good work there. I met several old college friends I hadn’t seen in a while and some other great people so it was fun!

Next week will mark the launch of the Dock Discourse exhibition down in the 126 gallery by the docks. Aideen Barry is producing “An artist’s Impression“, a publication where a handful of artists, including myself are responding to the Galway Docklands through drawing. It will be added as a supplement to the Galway Independent newspaper on Wednesday and also be available down in the gallery space when the show is on. Click the image below for more info!

I also have a few other things in the pipeline, including an exhibition featuring Engage Art Studios members in the White Room Gallery in Galway as part of the Arts Festival. The title for the show is ‘Enrage’.

Alive and painting

I am alive and working, just to let you know. My brother came over from Sweden and stayed with us for two weeks around my birthday and went home yesterday. He was meant to stay only one week but ended up staying two due to that well known ash cloud. Didn’t mind really, I enjoyed spending some more time with him.

Here he is visiting my studio:

I’m working on a large painting at the moment. Here are a couple of close ups, it’s still in progress.

I’ve also started a new series of paintings based om my Berlin research. The sky isn’t utopian blue anymore though…

Attended a studio meeting at Bar no. 8 this evening, and am now going to continue my current Greta Garbo DVD season with “Anna Karenina”. I truly admire that woman, so captivating on screen! Watched Mata Hari and Queen Christina last night. Check her out those of you who haven’t!

That’s it for now!


unfamiliar postcard

(Un)familiar, curator Maeve Mulrennan’s group show about out of body experiences that I have work in, opened in the Red House Arts Center in Syracuse, NY USA last Thursday the 18th March. Here is a link to an article about the show from the Syracuse City Eagle.

While Maeve went to New York to oversee the installation of the show and do a gallery talk on the opening night I went over to Glasgow for a few days. Really, really liked the place and visited a few exhibitions at Trongate 103, Transmission and The Centre for contemporart art. However, it wasn’t the main reason for my going over there, but that’s for another post entirely.

I have read some amazing books recently. “Do Androids dream of electric sheep” by Philip K. Dick (the nover Blade Runner was based on), “The Journal of Eugene Delacroix”, “The Castle” by Franz Kafka (I had read Metamorphosis and The Trial a few years ago) and now I’m reading “The Double” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, which really ties in with the (Un)familiar project so well. I see myself more and more drawn to metaphysical questions about who we are and our experience of the world and all the books I’ve been reading tie in with this. I am also a big fan of intelligent Sci-Fi movies, since they ask these same questions, such as Blade Runner, Metropolis, Planet of the apes, 2001 and Forbidden Planet.

I am well underway with making work for the Dock Discourse project at the moment as well, which is also informed by my interest in the things previously stated.

Docks and Doubles

I’ve had a busy few weeks since I last updated. I completed my pieces for the Syracuse show by the end of January. I ended up making a video as well as two paintings. The paintings are based on two models I made of locations I shot in Sweden and which also feature in the video. The video is called “Doubles” and is just over 13 minutes long. I am dealing with the notion of original vs. copy and how we can ever be sure to distinguish one from the other. I feel that I’ve gained a lot from working with this particular subject and I’m dying to show the work I’ve made to the public. I think it will influence my future practice, which is great to be able to say about a project.


The crate containing the works created by the six participating artists is now on it’s way to New York and the show will open in the Red House Arts Centre in Syracuse on the 18th of March. I am very excited about it! I will post more information about the show and the work I have in it in due course.

Now I have another project underway. It’s the Dock Discourse project, curated by architect Aoife Considine, which has been going on for about a year. I made some work for it last summer. (See Dock Discourse section of my site). Aoife is currently chairing a series of talks in the Galway Arts Centre on the notion of local/public space and its development. The talks go under the name Genius Loci. The speakers so far have included Michelle Browne, Maeve Mulrennan and Aine Phillips. Very interesting to listen to!

There will be a Dock Discourse group show in the 126 gallery in June, which we are to submit proposals for by the end of this week. I am, as before, concentrating mainly on the structure of the two multi-storey car parks in the area and the view of the dock from there. I am planning to make some large paintings. Today I sketched the motive I’m going to paint onto a 1×1 metre canvas I’ve stretched and primed over the past week.

Yesterday I made this drawing on grease proof paper over board:


I’ve been experimenting with different surfaces and materials over the past week. I am really looking forward to working large again since it’s been a while!


Improvised shapes based on structures within the car parks.

Ard Bia Exhibition

I was asked by Aoibheann at Ard Bia Nimmo’s in Galway to put on an exhibition in their Café/Restaurant. I spent a few hours this afternoon hanging a selection of paintings I’ve made to date. I am showing some large paintings from my degree project, some work from the Dock Discourse project and some paintings from the Sthlm vol. 2 project. I am really happy to get a chance to show my large paintings again and they ended up fitting the space very well.
The exhibition will be on for four weeks and the work is for sale. Drop by Ard Bia for coffée and cake (or dinner) and have a look for yourselves if you’re around Galway.

ard bia interior