Oisín Gallery Christmas Show

Oisín Gallery Christmas Show December 4 2003 - January 2004

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Looking back on 2003: 
2003 was one of the most successful and exciting years that Oisín Gallery has ever experienced. Not only did the gallery manage to successfully implement its plans for holding regular exhibitions to launch and encourage the careers of many established and up-and-coming Irish artists, but it also opened a new and exciting venue.

February saw the launch of Oisín Gallery's exhibition schedule for 2003 with a group show consisting of five artists - each contributing to an eclectic mix of styles and subject. The exhibition provided collectors with a chance to acquire highly sought after works by Brian Smyth and Alan Kenny, while introducing the work of Maggie Wright and Laurence O'Toole, along with the new works of Mary Breach. Shortly thereafter, Willie Cunningham's solo-show in March of 2003, entitled Landscapes of Ireland, was a sell-out success and confirmed his ever-increasing popularity. He participated in an annual exhibition held in conjunction with the Wexford Opera Festival and will be launching his second highly anticipated Oisín Gallery solo-show in June 2004.

In the summer of 2003, Antoinette L. Sinclair, curator of Oisín Gallery, took three artists, Laurence O'Toole, Bryan Smyth and Katherine Liddy, to the televised Festival of Arts Competition in Padru, Sardinia. Out of the thirty participating European artists, Oisín Gallery succeeded in securing second and third place, together with a special mention for its artists. Laurence's debut exhibition, In the World of Macy J, promptly followed with a tremendously exciting visual installation describing a child's journey into a world of dreams; dominated by stark visions of swans and dramatic skyscapes. The show received favourable reviews and resulted in a number of commissions from private collectors and financial institutions in both Dublin and London. Laurence is currently working on a series of smaller works, which focus on the climate of Ireland's skies. These will be exhibited in the gallery in early 2004.

Meanwhile, Katherine Liddy's work inspired by Celtic mythology attracted admirers and collectors from all over the world, including an invitation to exhibit in D.C.A. Fine Art's Annual Celtic Show in Venice, California, U.S.A. Ever the artistic chameleon, Katherine's work has encountered yet another inspirational transformation. First unveiled to great acclaim at Oisín Gallery's 25th Anniversary Show, the series is entitled The Mirage of the Fishermen of Aran - Hy-Brazil and is influenced by investigative literature questioning the existence of an island once believed to be situated off the West of Ireland. Anticipation for her second Oisín Gallery solo-show in April 2004 is mounting!

In early September 2003, Donal McNeela, proprietor of the Oisín, realized his vision for an intimate, contemporary space and the gallery soon relocated to new premises directly next door to its previous location. Within three short weeks, the site was transformed into a beautiful split-level gallery, boasting an adjoining courtyard and roof garden - permitting a considerably more elegant and interesting venue. Visitors were invited to view the new-look Oisín Gallery at the opening of the highly anticipated Ronan Goti solo-show in late September.

After an incredible year, where clients were purchasing 24 year old Ronan Goti's paintings before they had a chance to spend 24 hours on the gallery's walls, his first ever Dublin debut-show, opened by RTE's Marty Whelan, sold-out within minutes of its launch. The subsequent press coverage and collector interest established him as a serious contender in contemporary Irish art. The demand for his paintings and time taken to execute each piece saw Ronan's work increase to over five times their initial value. He has since left his full-time occupation to concentrate his energies on a professional career in painting and is currently preparing for a follow-up exhibition in July 2004.

In October, Oisín Gallery celebrated its birthday with a 25th Anniversary Show. This exhibition showcased the works of 25 past and present Oisín Gallery artists. John Francis Skelton supplied us with a number of bold and colourful scenes of rural Ireland, while Liam Belton offered one of his instantly recognisable still lives. Liam O'Neill's large, Yeats-inspired equestrian scenes attracted buyers from the U.S.A. and the United Kingdom. Katy Simpson enthusiasts were delighted to see her familiar ethereal interiors, many including figures. September has been secured for a long awaited solo-show of this award-winning artist. The gallery was also extremely privileged to include beautiful works by artists such as Liam Treacy, Arther K. Madderson, Norman Teeling, John Skelton, Ronan Goti, Dave Hedderman, Brian McCarthy, Jonathan Knuttel, Laurence O'Toole, Willie Cunningham, Peter Monaghan, Brian Smyth, Alan Kenny, Mary Breach, Katy Simpson, Katherine Liddy, Flemming Christoffersen, Cormac Dennis, Anne Farrall-Doyle, Brian Gallagher, Owen Rohu and Pieter Sluis. The formal launch included entertainment from the internationally acclaimed traditional Irish dance troop, Celtic Rhythm; music from the multi-talented instrument craftsman, Paraic McNeela; a side-splitting speech from the ever-ostentatious Senator Davisd Norris and a barbeque in the newly converted (and heated!) courtyard. The evening attracted over 200 visitors, including many of the gallery's international clients who had flown in specially to join in with the celebrations. There were a few sore heads the following morning as the festivities continued into the small hours, but everyone who attended agreed that it was one of the best launches in the calendar for that year.

Brian Smyth's solo-exhibition in November, entitled Das Café, included paintings based on his experiences during his visits to many of Europe's most distinguished café's and meeting places. By retelling and reinterpreting his encounters during his travels, Brian executed a simply outstanding collection of atmospheric paintings full of narrative and connotations. In his intimate portraits of men and women, his ability to transcend the personal relationship between artist & model and involve us sin this delicate and most intimate relationship with such sensitivity and grace continues to be utterly bewildering.

Continuing in our search for new talent, a recent addition to the gallery is 20-year-old Dave Hedderman. His tender, atmospheric portraits of pensive women attracted immediate recognition when first shown in the gallery's 25th Anniversary Show. He too will be exhibiting in July's exhibition alongside Ronan Goti. Further exciting additions to the gallery during 2003 were Jonathan Knuttel and Taiwanese artist, Juat. Jonathan's vibrant and often witty paintings have already been included in a number of Oisín Gallery's group shows and he will launch his debut solo-show in May 2004.

One of the most publicised living Irish artists, John Skelton, has been affiliated with Oisín Gallery for many years. In recent months, collectors have witnessed his paintings reaching amounts of up to €30,000. We have been extremely lucky with the wealth of exemplary paintings John has exclusively offered to Oisín over the years, and we hope this will continue far into the future. In the meantime, Alan Kenny remains high on the list for recognition of his innovative semi-surreal paintings of fluid musicians and landscapes. His first solo-show in a number of years will be launched in March 2004.

Early on in the year, Oisín Gallery's new and improved web site went online. We nonetheless refuse to enlist in the widespread trend of 'click and buy'. Instead, this intelligible Internet site has many features, including a quick and easy way of finding out what exhibitions are on, or due to open; a summary of all available paintings; a full biographical listing of each gallery artist and catalogue excerpts from past shows. Visitors to the site can chose to telephone, write or e-mail requests for further information. There is also an option to join our e-mail mailing list. Over 2000 clients worldwide now receive up-to-the-minute reports regarding new additions to the gallery's collection, along with advanced notice of exhibition openings and, if requested, notification about specific artists and their work. In addition to this, Oisín Gallery's recently adapted catalogues are being sent by their-thousands to clients all over Ireland, the States and Europe.

The importance of finding new talent and bringing it to the attention of the Irish market continues to be of paramount importance to Oisín Gallery and we will persist in not only promoting the work of artists, but to convey the achievements in Irish art to an international audience. Last year alone, members of the Oisín Gallery staff were invited to adjudicate numerous art festivals and competitions. The new-finds from these events will hopefully appear in the gallery during 2004.

Paintings in the exhibition