Posts Tagged ‘art’

A week in Droichead Arts Centre

February 2, 2011

The blog today comes from our Transition Year work experience student Aaron McCourt, who was a great help to the Droichead team last week.

About his work experience:
I found my time in Droichead Arts Centre very interesting. I really enjoyed learning how the sound and lighting worked in the theatre. It’s nice to know because I want to work in film after school. I was also in the marketing department for 2 days. I found that fun and exciting! It would be a great place to work in the future. I think there should be a space for young people in Droichead, to create films and plays, and to have no older person telling them what to do. I found my time in Droichead Arts Centre very exciting and fun. I would love to work in a place like this when I’m older.

How did you find your work experience?
Very interesting. There are a lot of different things going on.

Before you worked here, what was your conception of the Droichead Arts Centre?
There is always something going on, but I got the impression it is often for an older audience.

Did you ever go to the exhibitions in Droichead before?
I went to a few and always found it interesting to see the artwork.

What did you like the most working in Droichead?
I am really fascinated by the technical side of things, like setting up the lights and checking the sound for a play. I also was particularly interested by the marketing department: how the promotion of events works and the designing of the posters.

What do you think would attract teenagers to visit Droichead?
It would be great if Droichead could offer a place for young people where they can brainstorm, without being told too much what to do, a place where we can come up with our own ideas. It would be good to have a mentor guiding us in doing so. It would be something different for us to do and it would certainly spark our creativity. We could be making a short movie for example. It would be great to have different groups doing different things.



Image Gallery – In Tribute to the Life of Teddy Doyle

December 14, 2010

The exhibition In tribute to the Life of Teddy Doyle has been a great success so far. If you haven’t had a chance to see the work yet, do take some time when in town to go over to our gallery in Stockwell Street and have a look.  Since the event scheduled for the opening night had to be cancelled due to severe weather conditions, the planned performances will be going ahead on the closing night, which is the 5th of January. All are welcome to experience some live music, poetry, performance and view the wonderful pieces of art on display.

In tribute to the life of Teddy Doyle

November 25, 2010

Droichead is very excited about the upcoming exhibition ‘In tribute to the life of Teddy Doyle’ which will be opened on Wednesday the first of December from 8pm. The opening night will be a vibrant night full of entertainment, performance, music and of course… ART. The show will include some of his beautiful pieces as well as the works of 20 other artists based in the Drogheda area.

Teddy Doyle trained at the National College of Art and Design in the 1950s and worked as a scenic artist for more than 30 years. He was known around the town and beyond as a fantastic scenic painter, mastering water colours and always about on wonderful trips painting the scenery of the Boyne Valley, very often together with his great friend Liam O’Broin.

It was as an artist that he is best known in this part of the world, but he was also active in the cultural world as a stage manager, an actor, a puppeteer.

He worked on many major productions. His film credits include My Left Foot, which was made at Ardmore Studios in Wicklow. He stage-managed the Maureen Potter pantomimes from 1966-72 and he was also a fixture in Dublin’s Irish language theatre An Damer. Teddy was also an Executive Committee member of Irish Actors Equity and he formed the first union section to represent set designers. Teddy was also a master puppeteer who toured England with a marionette show for four years. There were many strings to his artistry. And these are only a few of the many things Teddy Doyle was involved in in the art and cultural scene of Ireland and beyond.

We are looking forward to the exhibition and hope to welcome you as well. ‘In tribute to the life of Teddy Doyle’ is on from the 1st of December 2010 until the 5th of January 2011.

Life drawing sessions in Droichead Arts Centre

November 9, 2010

Droichead is delighted to offer a series of 3 evening life drawing sessions in Barlow House. Droichead wants to engage the visual arts community aiming to arise a renewed interest in life drawing which could be further developed when successful.

These are life drawing sessions intended for artists who already have basic drawing skills. The classes do not provide a tutor, they only facilitate the model. They are intended to allow participants to draw a professional life drawing model and to practice their drawing skills. The sessions will focus on giving the participants the opportunity to draw and experiment through their own choice of medium, size and material.

Easels & drawing boards will be provided. Bring your own drawing materials. Tea & biscuits are included in the price.

Practical information

Dates: 17/11; 24/11; 1/12
Time: 7-9pm
Venue: Barlow House
Price: €26 for the 3 sessions; subscription and payment in advance required

Interested? Please ring our box office in Barlow House for more information or to subscribe on 041/9833946.

Interview with artist Magnhild Opdøl

October 20, 2010

Until the End - By Magnhild Opdøl

When did you first realise that you are an artist?
Making art is my job, so I guess since I started exhibiting about ten years ago. I have my BA and MFA from NCAD in Dublin, and previous to that I studied visual art at Nordiska Konstskolan for two years in Finland, and before that a year of Art History in Trondheim, Norway. So I guess the road to become an artist working full time has been in the cards for a long time.

Could you tell us some more about your art work?
I love drawing, sculpting, paintings and a lot of other media within visual art. My work is inspired by life, tales, adventures, media, news and art. Even though I use drawing for a lot of my work at the moment, I often let the idea decide the media I choose.

Could you explain the importance of the death theme your work incorporates?
I think death is something a lot of people are afraid of thinking and talking about. I am not one of them, and I think dead animals are very beautiful. I’m interested in the process of de-composing, not only in animals, but all materials. I also like to work with the story before the drawing, using parts of reality in the installation.

Drawing and sculpture seem to be essential to your work. Could you explain the importance of these mediums to you?
The last couple of years I’ve been interested in drawing. I like the history of it, the preciseness and beauty of pencil on paper. Sculptures are also great, using objects as part of the storytelling.

Where does your fascination for taxidermy originate?
I am not really fascinated by taxidermy, I just really like animals and how I can use them in my work. I use taxidermy as a sculptural material. An animal can tell a lot about people too.

I see a delicate balance between darkness and beauty in your work. What’s the importance of each aspect to you?
Beauty is a way into the dark elements. It is the technique that is beautiful, and the image maybe, but I always try to talk about something more serious in my work, whatever that might be. I also use a lot of humour.

Your drawings are very detailed and it must take a while to make them. How long do you work on one drawing on average?
From one week to over a month, depending on how many layers I do, and how big it is.

What feeds your inspiration for your art work?
“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just go to work.”  (Quote by Philip Roth)

Which other artists, both historically and contemporary, do you value highly?
There are a lot of artists of course. I like people who work a lot, that, you could say inspires me. When I see other artists putting a lot of effort and time into their practice it makes me want to work more. I like art with a sense of humour, and good ideas. Metsu who is being shown in the National Gallery at the moment is great, really elaborate and lots of fun details. As for contemporary art I can mention Matias Faldbakken, a fantastic artist from my home country Norway. If I were a teenager, I would have posters of him on my bedroom walls.

Magnhild Opdøl also has a blog giving more information about past, present and future project:

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Until the end – Magnhild Opdøl

October 8, 2010

Droichead is delighted to present its new exhibition ‘Until the end’ by artist Magnhild Opdøl. The opening night is scheduled for Wednesday the 13th of October at 7.30pm. All are welcome.

Magnhild will exhibit a beautiful series of delicate drawings accompanied with some sculptures. The main body of her recent work is an investigation into the nature of death. Everything has its’ time, after death all that remains is documentation or the memory of the person, the place or object. In the past year the work has dealt with the idea of the end as the beginning, giving a new lineage to the images and objects that are created, where the past stops a new story begins.

Curious what you can expect from this exhibition? Have a look at the slide show below, but mainly make your way to the exhibition. The show runs from the 13th of October until the 20th of November.

Keep an eye on this blog for an interview with the artist next week.

Interview with James Hays

September 23, 2010

It is always great to talk to the artist himself after seeing an exhibition in order to get an insight in the work from a first-hand perspective.  And so it happened that I met artist James Hays for a chat about his current exhibition in the Arts Centre. I have to say, I am very impressed with the installation.

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The installation piece consists of 3 elements: the sculptures, the projection and the sound. What is the importance and relevance of each element in the piece?

All three aspects are equally important. It is the totality of the piece that makes it work for me.

The sculptures originate from a reaction to a slight hangover of bronze casts I developed after working as a bronze caster for more than 7 years. As part of the process of carrying out bronze sculptures, a wax mould is made in order to be able to cast the bronze piece. In that process, wax is always seen as an intermediate. It is never seen as a medium to work with on its own. This has always intrigued me and that is why I made most sculptures in wax, looking up at a bronze one.

The video has no narrative or story. It is solely used for the light as opposed to the darkness of the room and the sculptures. It functions as a backdrop, with clear formal similarities and references to the sculptures.

The sound was extremely difficult to capture. I aimed to get the industrial grinding sound of the wind farm. But it turned out to be very hard to isolate that sound from the noise of the wind and other background noises interfering with this. A wind farm seems to be quite a serene place to most people, but when standing closely, it is actually extremely loud and grinding. I wanted to play with the industrial nature of this grinding sound as opposed to the serene idea most people have about wind farms.

Do you think it is important that art has a message for its audience?

I find it important that my work is intellectually underpinned. It also needs to display a level of integrity that is in line with my own personal beliefs. For this piece one of the important things is the contradiction between ecological and sculptural matters which can clearly be found in wind turbines.

I also see a reference in this installation to the famous Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus? Has this story be off influence for the piece?

Myth of Daedalus and Icarus in Greek mythology

Daedalus was an ingenious Greek inventor. However, he was expelled from Athens after killing his nephew for surpassing his inventive genius. He was sent to Crete where he served King Minos and Queen Pasiphae.

The queen requested Daedalus to build a cow for her to hide in so she could mate with a beautiful bull that was given to her husband by Poseidon, god of the sea. The union of the bull and Pasiphae produced the Minotaur, a creature with a man’s body and a bull’s head.

King Minos asked Daedalus to build a labyrinth for the Minotaur. It was a large complicated maze which was almost impossible to escape. After discovering that Daedalus made the cow for his wife, King Minos punished him and his son Icarus by locking them up in the labyrinth. To escape, Daedalus used his inventive skills and created wings to fly away with for him and his son. The wings were made out of twine, feathers and wax. The two were able to get airborne and fly out of their maze prison. Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too high, because the heat of the sun would melt the wax, nor too low, because the foam of the sea would soak the feathers. Icarus got reckless and soared too near to the sun so that the wings melted as his father had predicted. The boy plunged to his death into the sea south of the island Samos. The sea was then called the Icarian Sea.

This story was certainly an important reference for me when making the work, especially the part where Icarus is being told not to fly closer to the sun. As human beings we are constantly told not to be doing certain things, but we still do them. This really fascinates me. For example we’re told that the oil stocks will run out and that we should be sourcing renewable energy, yet we all mostly keep doing what we’re doing until it’ll be too late.

Also important in this story is the element of trying to be something that you’re not. Icarus was convinced he could fly as good as a real bird so he got reckless. I played with that idea by making the bronze sculpture. The bronze plane is the image of what the wax planes want to be and according to the process within the craft of making bronze sculptures also should become. They’re looking up to him, they’re in line to become just like him, but never will be. They are trying to be something they are not, just like human beings also tend to take on this attitude. We are always striving for more and better, looking up to people e.g. celebrities. That embodies a certain arrogance, just like Icarus was too haughty and confident not to listen to his father Daedalus.

I can clearly see military references in the set-up of this exhibition such as the sculptures in formation, the colour of the planes. Where does this interest originate?

When I was doing a residency in the US in 2008, I was lucky to get the opportunity to visit AMARC (American Air force Maintenance and Regeneration Centre), which is an enormous air force base in the desert where redundant planes are stored. I have always been interested in planes and the idea of conflict they generate. Ever since 9/11 the plane has become a symbol for fear in addition to being a symbol for travel.  The planes used in this exhibition are black which incorporates a military reference. At the same time the airline itself is not military. It could easily be a Ryanair plane for example. The black colour is obtained by mixing engine oil into the wax.

The Pylons the planes are positioned on also remind me of oil rigs and oil fields.

Yes, that is intertwined into the work as well.

Could you tell me some more about the opposition of light versus darkness in this installation?

The light is to be found in the wind farms. They function as a form of salvation to our modern society because they’re a type of green, sustainable energy consumption. Peak oil on the other hand is a self-defeating process. However, the production and maintenance of wind farms entail big costs. The other price to pay is the visual cost. I love the look of the wind turbines, but they interfere with the natural environment and the landscape.

Could you tell me some more about the environmental message this piece incorporates?

I always thought I was not a very green person, but recently I realised that a certain environmental concern keeps coming to the surface in my installations. Industrial versus ecological is a contrast that tends to keep coming back in my work in combination with the aspect of conflict.

What feeds your inspiration for your art work?

The role of a contemporary artist is ever changing. What I find important is diligence, conceptual underpinning and the fact that ideas are more important than the execution. The ‘what’ is more important than the ‘how’.

Personally, I don’t feel bound to a tradition. I usually think of an idea and then I find the best way to execute it. An idea can come to me any time really, in the shower for example. All the travelling I’ve done also inevitably filters through in my work.

I work from the head mostly. When I have an idea, I rent a studio space, I make the work and then I leave again. I learned that way of working through my experience from working for the artist Anish Kapoor and a couple of other artists I used to assist. You only get to that stage when having a certain level of experience. Very often making art work is about gaining experience by getting it wrong quite a lot of times. But sometimes you just have to trust yourself and your artistic abilities. This installation for example was only assembled for the first time when setting up the exhibition two days before the actual opening night. I had never seen the final result with all its components included until the final set up in the exhibition space and I’m still wondering whether I am fully happy with it.

Which other artists, both historically and contemporary, do you value highly?

Gelitin, a group of contemporary performance artists based in Vienna; John Bock, a sculptor based in Berlin; minimal artist Richard Serra; Irish sculptor John Gibbons and the Brazilian artist Cildo Meireles.

New pricing policy @ Droichead: The early bird gets the deal

July 22, 2010


Let’s be honest most of us are at best mildly organised and at worst a disaster at forward planning!!

Well, this coming Autumn/Winter Season at Droichead Arts Centre being organised is going to reap rewards!!!

A broader pricing policy sees Droichead offering significant savings for advance booking and also a new pocket friendly pricing policy for unemployed, Oaps, Students and Family tickets.

From this July being organised and making an early ticket purchase for the event of your choice will see the customer receive up to 15% discount on tickets for shows at Droichead, the reverse side of this is that last minute decisions will incur a surcharge!!

Times are tough at the moment and Droichead realises that. We realise that there is not so much “play” money as before and that is why we aim to offer quality events at reasonable prices to make theatre, music, art and the arts accessible for all.

So the key to savings at Droichead… the early bird gets the deal!!

For information on the savings to be made for upcoming events and bookings or tel; 041 9833946

Pets can be vain too

May 21, 2010

A couple of weeks ago we were recruiting cats and dogs who wanted to pose for visual artist Fiona Dowling. It was great to see that the interest was absolutely overwhelming. Fiona got stuck in France due to the volcanic ash cloud so after some rescheduling with all the cats and dogs, Grace – Community Arts Administrator for Droichead – and Fiona went around to their homes for a creative visit of the cute pets, all of whom were waiting impatiently for their portraits to be made. Grace enthusiastically told me all about her days out with the artist and the pets.

Ireland is a nation of pet lovers; plenty people wanted to get a portrait made of their cat or dog. Unfortunately it was impossible to pay all the pets a visit. Sixteen pets and their owners got lucky and were delighted to welcome Grace and Fiona in their houses. Some of them even brought their pets to the groomer on the day beforehand, making sure they would be in their Sunday best for this special occasion. Each session was about 2 hours long and Fiona managed to make approximately 6 drawings of each pet, using a range of materials such as charcoal and gouaches. All the participating pets and their owners will receive a coloured copy of their favourite drawing.

The cats and dogs behaved very well. The first ten minutes were usually a bit awkward, because the pets got all excited and enthusiastic when Fiona and Grace arrived, so they wouldn’t sit still, which of course is an important aspect of posing for a painting. After a little while of ignoring them, hoping they would find a place to relax, the drawing and painting session could begin. Fiona was sitting on floors, carpets, window sills and in awkward positions in order to get the composition of each piece right. One naughty dog kept hiding and another cat managed to always get into a position of only showing her arse to the artist. Funny situations indeed, but that is what makes such a project special in its own way.

Fiona’s exhibition “We have all the time in the world” will be about love in all its different aspects. Visiting pets and their owners in their natural environment is, according to the artist, an interesting and original way to express the love between them. Interested in seeing the lovely paintings and drawings of these pets and many more beautiful pieces of art? The exhibition will be on in Droichead Arts Centre, Stockwell Street, from the 4th of July until the 6th of August.

Catch up on Culture Week

May 19, 2010

It’s “Catch up on Culture Week” this week. This is a nice way of saying ‘get your bum off the couch’ and experience some of the fantastic cultural events that are on all around Ireland this week. It’s a great initiative to make people aware of the wide range of quality artistic events around the country and invite them to catch up on some culture.

One of the events on the calendar of Droichead this week was a day out for the senior citizens, in collaboration with the Highlanes Gallery. The day started with a lovely lunch in Anderson’s café, followed by a guided tour around the Highlanes Gallery in which the permanent collections as well as current exhibition “The Marienbad Palace” were discussed. And since the exhibition continues in Droichead Arts Centre, I was delighted to give a talk about the art work in our gallery in Stockwell Street.

After that, no one less than the lovely Lady Dunsany introduced the film “Dean Spanley”, based on a little-known 1936 novella by the Irish author Baron Dunsany. Lady Dunsany, the present Lord’s wife, vividly talked about how Baron Dunsany used to absolutely hate dogs being dirty on the streets, peeing everywhere in public. He promptly decided to write a little novella about these experiences. He wrote it in such a way that you would nearly believe he was a dog himself in a previous life, picturing the life of a dog so accurately.

Contemporary movies and films often contain a good dose of sex, nudity or violence.  They seem to have become the key ingredients for defining a good movie. No such thing in “Dean Spanley” and yet it’s very beautiful and intriguing, thus showing that a great story can be enough to create a gem of a film.

Catch up on Culture Week is on until the 22nd of May. For events and more information, check out and to see the line-up for Droichead Arts Centre during the weekend go to Good luck with all the catching up.