Visual art in the spotlight at Clifden Arts Festival

Mick O'Dea's portrait of Clifden Arts Festival founder, Brendan Flynn.
Mick O'Dea's portrait of Clifden Arts Festival founder, Brendan Flynn.

Internationally renowned Mick O’Dea is among the artists whose work will be on display at the annual Clifden Arts Festival, which was officially opened by the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, this Wednesday night. The Festival will run until September 24, featuring a broad range of music, theatre, literature, comedy and street entertainment as well as visual art.

The central exhibition focuses on recent works by Ennis-born Mick O’Dea, the current President of the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA). The multi-award-winning artist is best known for his portraits – subjects have included playwright Brian Friel and novelist Sebastian Barry – and for his historic paintings, many of them connected with events around the 1916 Rising and War of Independence. But his work also encompasses landscapes, nude drawings and still lives.  His show of recent works will be at the Festival Gallery on Market Street.

Dublin-based artist Imelda Healy will also feature at the festival. A graduate of the National College of Art and Design, she was a founder member of Brunswick Mills Studio in Dublin, where she participated in many group shows.  She works largely in oils on canvas and linen, embracing portraiture, landscape, still lives and moving animals.

Former U2 manager Paul McGuinness commissioned her to paint Gerry Lyne, the Keeper of Manuscripts at the National Library, where the portrait is now displayed.

Aqua, her show for Clifden, focuses on water and beach scenes and will be at the Station House complex.

German-born Norbert Stolze will exhibit his latest

Detailed monochrome portraits in Pencil Massacre at Upstairs Downstairs on Main street. This will be the third exhibition of Pencil Massacre at the Clifden Arts Festival.

Other highlights include a group exhibition entitled Aspects of Connemara featuring works by Michael Cullen, Richard Ward, Dolores Lyn, Bernie Dignam, Reingard Gahan, Kate Noonan, Trish Findlater and Kieran Tobin. That’s at the Blaithin de Sachy Art Gallery, Market Street.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.