IF you’re a Carrigaline potter, painter or candle stick maker, then the Owenabue Arts Collective would love to hear from you.
“We’re actively looking for artists and craftspeople in a variety of mediums from woodworkers to glass blowers, textile artists, jewellery designers and small sculpture creators,” says Mary Murphy who together with her husband, Stephen, and fellow artist Keith O’Brien, recently set up the Owenabue Arts Collective.
The three artists are currently based at The Gallery in the former O’Crualaoi butchers premises on Carrigaline’s Main Street.
The Owenabue Arts Collective was able to establish this temporary visual arts exhibition space thanks to the generosity of the property owner and the unstinting support of Cork County Council.
The current premises, which was vacant for some time, was made available by its owner to Cork County Council to showcase local art until a permanent tenant was found.
In turn, the Council was delighted to provide the fledging Owenabue Arts Collective with use of the premises until the lease runs out on October 8.
Mary, Stephen and Keith decided to host an exhibition of their work to mark the opening of The Gallery on Culture Night. They worked hard to get the premises painted and ready before hanging the pictures for the exhibition itself.
Cork County Council brought Grainne O’Connor from the Creative Crayon Agency on board to help with marketing and management and her skills proved invaluable in setting up the exhibition.
The trojan work paid off as the exhibition opening attracted a hugely positive response from the people of Carrigaline and beyond. Local people can see first-hand the extraordinary talent of these three artists as the exhibition continues Thursdays to Sundays, 12-6p.m. up to early October.
Top of the agenda for the three artists is finding an alternative premises so that the Collective doesn’t lose its momentum when the current lease runs out. Their aim is to create a welcoming space where artists and craftspeople can display and sell their work.
“We’re actively searching for another premises. We’re looking for interested landlords who might provide us with a six months lease. Having a gallery in a vacant premises would add colour and interest to a property”, says Mary.
Ten per cent of all sales made by the Owenabue Arts Collective will go to Carrigaline Tidy Towns.
“Having a visual arts space in Carrigaline is good for the community and good for the artists. There is no downside. But property space is the killer at the moment”, Keith acknowledges.
Budding artists will be reassured to hear that Mary, Stephen and Keith have very different artistic backgrounds.
Mary Murphy’s love affair with art started when she was very young.
Following her Degree in Fashion Design and post graduate studies, Mary won the Irish National Designer of the Year. She runs the highly regarded Mary Murphy School of Art for children and adults from her studio in Weston View, Carrigaline.
“Both my husband Stephen and myself drive motorbikes and paint as much as possible”, says Mary.
One of the techniques that she uses is fibre art, which is the art of drawing with a sewing machine.
“Instead of using a pencil I use the sewing machine to move the material,” Mary points out.
Her fibre art portrait of Samuel Beckett won her an RDS Craft Council of Ireland Award.
The exhibition also features Mary’s underwater series of oil paintings and a fun collection of animal portraits.
‘My father’s eyes’ didn’t start out as a portrait of Mary’s late father but that’s what it became as the very large work progressed. The compassion and humanity conveyed through the portrait is palpable.
Artist and picture framer, Stephen Murphy, admits that he came late to the party as far as art is concerned. Nonetheless his natural talent shines through all his work.
“After years of encouraging words from Mary, I eventually picked up a brush and became instantly hooked. My subject matter is usually centred around motorbikes and iconic characters, reflections on chrome and close up compositions.
“Painting has given me a fresh direction for my life,” Stephen acknowledges.
“Stephen was never into the arty- farty business. He has no training whatsoever but he has a great eye for colour,” Mary points out.
Keith O’Brien, who lives in Kilmoney Woods, Carrigaline, started out as a street artist and designed a lot of murals for nightclubs when he was in his late teens.
“I’m a full-time IT Manager and about a year ago I started painting again. The IT pays the bills but the art is my passion,” Keith admits.
He uses a mixture of acrylic spray paint, brushes and any technique that he thinks might work. He describes his work as abstract artwork on canvas.
“Being near the sea has a profound effect on my work. I paint from memory and sometimes I start out with one thing in mind and it develops into something else altogether,” says Keith.
The stunning combination of colours Keith uses makes his work very atmospheric and hypnotic.The techniques lend themselves to landscape scenes, but every viewer will have their own interpretation.
Hopefully, the exhibition will encourage emerging and experienced artists from all disciplines encompassing art, craft, design and music to join the Owenabue Arts Collective.
“There is great talent out there and I’m just dying to see it,” Mary concludes.
The Owenabue October Arts weekend gets underway this Friday in The Gallery with the addition of seven artists whose work will be on display alongside the existing works.
For more see www.owenabuearts.ie