THIAR | HERE

Julie Beckett, Kate Buckley, Michael Flaherty, Sandra Landers, Deirdre McKenna, Lisbeth Mulcahy, Niall Naessens, Áine Ní Chíobháin, Dómhnal Ó Bric, Tomás Ó Cíobháin, Rebecca Peart, Maria Simons-Gooding.

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Working as a visual artist tends to be a solitary endeavour. Unlike other artistic practitioners who enjoy the communal benefits of working in theatre, music or dance, visual artists tend to create, and often exhibit, alone. Printmaking is the exception to that solitary practice. And even though the artists of Meitheal Eitseála no longer share a print studio, they share a common purpose and no doubt (much in the way of gardeners) all kinds of tips and tricks which enhance their work.

The title of this gathering of printmakers, Thiar Here beautifully communicates a sense of the artists being present and active, as well as firmly establishing the particular bonds that link them all – this ‘áit iargúlta’, Chiarraí Thiar and the alchemy that is printmaking. Some of the exhibitors are seasoned printmakers with much of their practice produced in that medium. Others have come to printmaking later in their artistic careers. Artists taking up printmaking for the first time would tend to avoid the complex demands of intaglio printmaking (where the matrix is incised, or burnt with acid, to create the marks) but many of the newcomers in the group have plunged straight in, guided by experienced printmaker, Niall Naessens.

There is a huge amount of technical competency involved in printmaking and, in intaglio printing particularly, a tempting range of techniques which can create a panoply of varying textures – aquatint, drypoint, etching, mezzotint, engraving. Indeed, a fascination with technique is both the joy and the danger of printmaking. Many artists will combine different techniques in one image, as is the case with works in this exhibition. But Thiar Here does not limit itself to intaglio alone; the exhibition includes lithography, letterpress and carborundum resulting in a fantastic span of printmaking methods.

For an artist, printmaking can be very seductive – the artwork revealed only when the paper is peeled back from the matrix. There is suspense and anticipation for the printmaker, and for the observant viewer, a lingering fascination as to how a particular effect was achieved. West Kerry has a similar power to fascinate and draw us in. Whilst many contemporary artists do not seek to directly represent where they live in their work, a sense of place, of ‘Chíarraí Thiar’ permeates many of the works in this exhibition. May their evident enjoyment of both delight us for many years to come. I wish them well.

Catríona Fallon, July 2016

Is gnáth d’obair an fhísealaíontóra a bheith ina cúram aonair. Ní hionainn agus iadsan a shaothraíonn foirmeacha ealaíne eile is a bhaineann leas as cleachtas drámaíochta, ceoil nó rince, is nós don fhísealaíontóir a bheith ag cruthú agus – go minic – ag déanamh taispeántaisí ar a aonair. Is eisceacht ón gcleachtas aonair sin é déanamh priontaí. Agus cé nach bhfuil baill Mheitheal Eitseála ag roinnt stiúdió priontála a thuilleadh, fós fhéin, roinneann siad cuspóir coiteann agus ní dhéanaim aon dabht ach go bhfuilid mar a bheadh baicle garraíodóirí, ag roinnt na’ haon saghas nod comhairle agus cleas beag chun barr fheabhas a chur ar a gcuid oibre.

An teideal atá ar an gcomhthalán seo de lucht déanta na bpriontaí, Thiar Here, is deas mar a thugann sé le fios dúinn an t-ealaíontóir a bheith i láthair i mbun gnímh, chomh maith leis na rudaí a cheanglaíonn iad go léir le chéile – an áit ‘iargúlta’ seo, Corca Dhuibhne, agus asarlaíocht dhiamhar phróiséas déanta na bpriontaí. Tá sean-taithí ag cuid des na healaíontóirí ar an ngnó seo, agus mórchuid dá saothar á chruthú sa mheán san. Cuid eile acu, thánadar chomh fada leis an bpriontáil níos déanaí ina saol gairmiúil. Ba ghnáthach d’ealaíontóirí atá ag tabhairt fén bpriontáil don gcéad uair próiséas casta éilitheach an phriontála ‘intaglio’ a sheachaint (próiséas é ina mbíonn an múnla á ghearradh nó á dhó le haigéad chun rianta a fhágaint ann). Ach i gcás na meithle seo tá a lán dos na nóibhísigh tar éis léimt cruinn díreach isteach ann fé stiúir Niall Naessens, fear go bhfuil sean-taithí aige ar an gceárd san.

Bíonn gá le cumas teicniúil ollmhór i ndéanamh priontaí agus i gcás an phróiséis ‘intaglio’ go háirithe, tá tarrac ar teicnící tarraingteacha gur féidir leo réimse leathan uigeachta a chruthú – uiscimriú, tirimphoinnte, eitseáil, meisitint, greanadh. Go deimhin, sé a bheith gafa ag cúrsaí teicníce an príomh-fhoinse as a éiríonn idir shult agus baol chúraim an phriontála. Is iomdha ealaíontóir a mheascann teicnící éagsúla in aon íomhá amháin, agus is amhlaidh atá sa taispeántas seo. Ach níl Thiar Here teoranta go dtí an ‘intaglio’ amháin; tá saothair déanta le liteagrafaíocht, litirphreas agus carbaram ann chomh maith, rud a fhágann go bhfuil réimse iontach módhanna priontála léirithe ann.

D’fhéadfaidh déanamh priontaí a bheith fíor-mhealltach don ealaíontóir – ní fhoilsítear an píosa ealaíne go dtí go scútar an páipéar siar ón múnla ag deireadh. Tá tinneall agus tnúth ann don ealaíontóir agus d’éinne súilaibigh eile atá i láthair: cothófaidh sé cluain fhiosrachta ann fén slí a bhaineadh amach éifeachtaí áirithe. Tá cumas den tsórt céanna ag ceantar Chorca Dhuibhne cluain a chur ar dhaoine is iad a tharraingt isteach inti. Cé go mbíonn mórán físealaíontóirí comhaimseartha ag iarraidh gan cur síos nó tuiscint a thabhairt dúinn ina saothar ar an áit ina gcónaíonn siad, tá blas dúchais agus dúthaí Chorca Dhuibhne ag anáil go tréan ar chuid mór des na h-íomhánna sa taispeántas seo. Tá súil agam gur fada buan sinn ag baint sult as a ngean soiléir don gceantar. Guím gach rath orthu.

Catríona Fallon, Iúil 2016