After years working in different jobs in places from Germany to California, Glenn Gibson returned to Galway and found his niche making wire sculptures. He’s planning a major exhibition next year on the interconnectness of all things and is seeking people to get involved in sculpting workshops. He’s also in the process of moving to Cork, due to the dearth of affordable spaces in Galway, as BERNIE Ní FHLATHARTA learns.
There’s an elephant in the room. No, really, there’s a life-size wire sculpture taking up a lot of space in the small gallery that’s occupied by Glenn Gibson and his incredible artwork.
However, by the time you’re reading this, Glenn will have packed up most of the wire sculptures, as they head to their new home in Midleton, County Cork.
Yes, that’s the other elephant in the room – one Glenn talks about reluctantly as he doesn’t want to be negative about his native Galway.
The price of property has edged out artists like him, people who express their talents with different media than paint and easels.
Glenn needs a high-ceilinged space for his installations and for the past few years that’s been provided in this bright unit in the city’s Liosbán Business Park.
But due to the property being sold, he has to vacate by the end of this month.
“I knew I had to vacate for nearly a year, so I’m over the initial shock of having to leave here,” he says with resignation. “It worked for me as a gallery and as a base for teaching workshops. But I’ve searched for six months for another place and didn’t find any in Galway.”
Although Galway – city and county – has been associated with culture for more than four decades, especially at festival time, Glenn cannot afford to stay in his home place.
The ironic reality is that Galway is a harsh place for people like him – individual artists who want to live and work here.
Glenn has lived in Germany, London and California and doesn’t mind the latest move as much as the circumstances behind it.
After returning to Galway in 2008, he tried his hand at different jobs, but when he started making wire sculptures, he found his groove. He has also developed a relationship with Cork through the Ballymaloe Craft Fair and, in a way, he’s philosophical about moving there.
“I’ve secured a place in Midleton, which is not a million miles away and I will still return to Galway for teaching (he teaches wire sculpting). Rents are much cheaper there than here, more affordable for an artist’s income,” he explains in his gentle manner.
Pictured: Glenn Gibson in his workshop/studio with the giant Elephant that will form part of next year’s show, the One Project. PHOTO: JOE O’SHAUGHNESSY.
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