J. Cacciola Gallery W announces Crossroads featuring works by four internationally recognized Irish contemporary artists: Alison Kay, Maeve McCarthy, Suzy O’Mullane, and Cathy O’Reilly Hayes. This major international showing of Dublin-based contemporary artists will include carefully selected, thought-provoking and compelling work in ceramics and works on paper and canvas in a variety of media. These artists represent the voice of Irish contemporary art from the unique reference point of women in today’s society.
Alison Kay is a ceramicist who has exhibited her work at major venues in Ireland and Internationally. J. Cacciola Gallery W is pleased to debut Kay’s work in her first US show. Among many notable awards and exhibitions, Kay has been a regular participant at the prestigious Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) annual exhibition, a premier arts venue in Dublin. Kay’s work emphasizes the rigorous process of ceramics, utilizing white Raku clay and a variety of techniques to create symmetrical, vessel-like forms. Her vessels evoke a sense of mystery: they are contemporary; yet hearken to ancient utilitarian artifacts. “My ideas come through handling the clay and making subtle changes to what has come before. Through this process, my objective is to create forms that are contemporary, while showing references to the past,” explains Kay.
Maeve McCarthy was born in Dublin, Ireland. She is a member of the RHA, and her work has been included in the annual exhibition numerous times. McCarthy’s work consists of masterful charcoal drawings of isolated buildings, flora, and other images of rural Ireland. Her drawings, despite their apparently traditional subject matter, evoke strong emotional reactions associated with memories and the experience of loss. Her work has been shown in major exhibitions throughout Ireland and internationally. Maeve McCarthy is the recipient of numerous awards including an Irish Arts Council travel grant to Colorado, where she lived for a time, painting stark vignettes of the Mid-West.
Suzy O’Mullane has created ambivalent symbols, such as that of a raven, a wolf, or a gladiola flower, to develop complex motifs representing emotional experiences. Her art often deals with tragedy, both personal and systemic. By conceptualizing emotional experience and memory, she relates her imagery to a particular identity, place, memory, or personal connection. Suzy O’Mullane has held many solo exhibitions at venues Internationally, including J. Cacciola Gallery, Blueleaf Gallery and Origin Gallery, Dublin. Her work has also been included in major exhibitions and art fairs internationally, including Shanghai, NYC and LA. Her work is housed in many public and private collections in the US and Europe, including Crawford Municipal Gallery and the OPW.
Cathy O’Reilly Hayes recently joined the gallery’s fold of accomplished artists, as part of Winter Invitational 2017, where her work, consisting of small mixed media on paper, was well received. Crossroads will include a selection of new works. Her work is a radical criticism of institutions and traditions. Her primitive, gestural images of the female form and religious imagery are laden with symbolism and ironic meaning. Notable exhibitions include Art Miami, the Royal Ulster Academy show in Belfast, as well as the Royal Hibernian Academy life drawing show in Limerick. Her work is housed in international public and private collections.
It is with great pride that J. Cacciola Gallery W presents this significant exhibition of Irish artists in the US. These artists wrestle with, or attempt to embrace, their heritage in the context of the complex history of Irish art and culture. Rich in symbolism and religious subtext, the works of Cathy O’Reilly Hayes and Suzy O’Mullane inform and challenge the viewer in unexpected ways. Maeve McCarthy’s solemn documentations of Ireland’s landscapes are a poignant visual experience, capturing a sense of longing. Alison Kay, too, links the past to the present ambiguously in subtle, masterful ways with her clay sculptures.