Dublin’s The Doorway Gallery is hosting a series of weekly online exhibitions: Getting to know you takes advantage of the extra time currently afforded us to get to know the Gallery’s artists and their lifestyles better, and by showing their works in the making the artists’ studios, giving the viewer an idea of the journey that the artwork makes before it hits the gallery setting.
Additonally, a live questions & answers event on the gallery’s social media platforms (see below) allows the viewer to ask the artist about their work, which will be available for viewing and purchase online – in some cases with a promise of special pricing for the event. The Gallery is also posting videos and additional online content.
The series kicked off with painter Dave West, and continues with painter Dan Henson from 11th May, who will be guesting at the Gallery’s Facebook Live evening at 6pm on Thursday 14th May.
From 18th May Cormac O’Leary will be showing new work, and among the artists to follow suit will be Adam de Ville, Marika Rosenius, Roisin O’Farrell, Isobel Henihan, Padraig Parle, Ursula Klinger, Ivan Daly and Roisin O’Farrell.
Getting to know you
The Doorway Gallery’s response to the coronavirus challenge is Getting to Know You, a series of weekly online exhibitions each featuring a gallery artist. Apart from showcasing the work, the idea is that virtual visitors can get a glimpse into the artists’ working lives. As gallerist Denise Donnelly points out, the gallery schedules its exhibitions programme way into the future – as much as three years in advance. Sadly for those whose shows fall around now, of course, the gallery remains closed.
So online access is the best available alternative. But her aim is to provide something more than and different to simply checking out a website to click through an inventory. The scheme allows not only a look at the artists’ new work but also, if you download the gallery app, a chance to see any particular piece in the context of your own surroundings, as well as video interviews, and Q&A events on social media platforms.
Donnelly emphasizes that, to preserve the link to the gallery’s planned programme, the work will not be available to view until the start date of the online shows.
First off was Dave West, including a Facebook Live evening – wine optional – in the company of the artist. Dan Henson features until May 17th. His work combines virtuoso realist painting with a liking for abstract form and pattern in nature. Thereafter, the ever-popular colourist Lucy Doyle, known for her still-life, interior and figure compositions, takes over, followed by Adam de Ville, Marika Rosenius, Francis Boag, Cormac O’Leary and more.
It is a diverse range, linked by the artists’ commitment to the craft of, usually, representational painting. See thedoorwaygallery.com, with links to instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Easter Sunday. A dancing sun. And Queen Elizabeth, to boot, is 93 today. For her birthday lunch, traditional spring lamb? A vegan option? Bacon and cabbage anyone? Dave West's Bacon and Cabbage is given a classy, stylish look in this beautifully orchestrated, textured composition: potato, sculpted bacon, diced cabbage, a bay leaf, one peppercorn on a gleaming, reflective surface.
Born in Penclawdd in South Wales, West grew up in Swansea. "There was no art in the family bar a distant relation to 18th Century artist Benjamin West," but from his "engineer father and creative mother - sewing, knitting, cooking", West sees a link.
"My art is an equal combination of creativity and analytical thinking."
Now Balbriggan-based, through "extensive genealogical research", West discovered he's "a heady mix of wealthy Irish landowners of Norman stock, landless agricultural labourers and poverty-stricken emigrants from Roscommon - and no Welsh at all.
"I just see myself as a person in the world now."
He's completely self-taught. "I scraped through school, scraped into an art course and found it easier to pick things up myself."
His days begin with meditation, getting the kids up and out, a short run, cycle or swim and then out to paint for the morning. He does "all the cooking in our house - my wife says it's better for both of us!" and for this work he tried regular bacon and cabbage but it just looked weird.
"For formal purposes, I wanted strong, geometric shapes and these raw ingredients are the base elements before the alchemy of cooking happens."
He's painted still lifes - cakes, cheese, glace cherries - but place also features. "The wild bleak tip of Kerry in dark, wild January resonates with me as does the baking sun-drenched landscapes of Catalonia." He works "from the subject exclusively, no photographs, so the cakes were done in sections, the cheese started to curl."
But for West, "painting outdoors is the best feeling in the world". Bacon and Cabbage - painted indoors - took "the best part of a week" but he usually only spends "a maximum of an hour a day actually painting. The quality of my brushwork dips sharply after that. "I spend time digesting the arrangement, finding a relationship between light and shadows". The result: this Michelin star bacon and cabbage. Fit for a Queen.
West's exhibition 'Diamonds and Rust' is at The Doorway Gallery, Dublin, to April 25.
Sunday Indo Living
Diamonds and Rust and four more of the best exhibitions this week.
DIAMONDS AND RUST
Dave West, The Doorway Gallery, 24 South Frederick St, Dublin, Until April 25th thedoorwaygallery.com
Dave West’s plein air paintings explore atmospheric locations, “. . . a long-abandoned pier on a windy grey October morning . . .”, often along the northeast coast, and his still lives feature everyday objects such as “pieces of beach glass, some of them recently smashed against the rocks after a raucous late night beach part.”