Taoiseach unveils new 'Lady Opera' artwork inspired by popular Cork venue 

The artwork was created by a Cork based artist. 
Taoiseach unveils new 'Lady Opera' artwork inspired by popular Cork venue 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin with Tim Healy, Chairman Cork Opera House, and Chief Executive Officer Eibhlín Gleeson with the newly installed commission ‘Lady Opera’, by Cork artist Oonagh Hurley. Picture: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision.

A NEW artwork at Cork Opera House has been unveiled by Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

'Lady Opera', a new piece by local artist Oonagh Hurley, is a large acrylic on canvas inspired by the physical configuration of Cork Opera House. 

The artwork, which incorporates elements of the venue, has been described as "an imaginative and colourful female representation" of the theatre.

The commission was funded through the Government’s Percentage for Arts Scheme alongside a capital grant that Cork Opera House received from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media in 2017.

Cork Opera House's CEO, Eibhlín Gleeson, expressed her gratitude for the Government's support during the unveiling.

“We are delighted with the final piece and to have had the opportunity to share it with An Taoiseach during a recent visit with us," Ms Gleeson said.

"It is a privilege to feature a local artist’s work for our patrons to enjoy. Not only has Oonagh created a strikingly beautiful piece, but it is also one that serves as a captivating self-portrait of our work and beloved building."

Ms Hurley is a Cork-based artist who works from a studio in Marina Commercial Park. She has an upcoming solo exhibition in the County Library in April and is a visiting professional artist to students from the Cork Centre for Architectural Education.

She has exhibited with the Catherine Hammond Gallery since 2014 and her work has been selected for RHA and RUA annual exhibitions and the Boyle Arts Festival.

In describing the new work, Ms Hurley said: “I wanted to merge constituent elements of the Opera House itself with the content and subject matter of the painting, where form and meaning meet halfway.

“The shape of both the balcony and ground floor seating plans make for interesting adaptations. Using them in single or multiple layouts, I imagined a female character in costume, which could conceivably be found in opera, drama or pantomime. The shapes of the balcony and stalls lend themselves to designing the headdress, bodice and upper skirt of her costume. The red theatre curtain makes a wonderful skirt.” 

The artwork can be seen by patrons entering and leaving a performance at the southern entrance of the auditorium.

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