The New State: contemporary etching in Ireland

There is a wonderful exhibition of etchings on at the moment in the National Gallery of Ireland – Making Their Mark: Irish Painter Etchers & The Etching Revival. To celebrate this show and to showcase what is going on in contemporary etching in Ireland at the moment The Graphic Studio Gallery in Dublin along with curators Anne Hodge, National Gallery of Ireland and Dr. Angela Griffith, Trinity College Dublin selected 16 etchers from around the country. I was delighted to be selected to be part of this group of talented people.

Below is an essay by Dr. Angela griffith about the exhibition.


The New State: contemporary etching in Ireland

Over the history of art, the medium of etching has been recognised as being among the most artistic of printmaking methods. While other techniques such as metal engraving, relief printing, lithography, screen-printmaking and digital processes have all been employed to serve commercial interests, etching has been primarily identified with the fine arts. Employed traditionally, it is seen to preserve the ‘hand’ of the artist, as the image is drawn freely on the prepared plate. The plate, less cumbersome than a stone surface, less physically demanding than a wooden matrix, has been treated by artists in a variety of ways, like the page of a sketchbook or like the proverbial blank canvas. As an etcher, the artist is free to record, to respond to, to experiment with abandon or, conversely, to create in a precise considered manner.

Today, (when artists have more readily access to a photocopier or digital printer than a printing press) printmaking discussions often focus on tradition versus innovation. Yet despite this, it is reassuring to see the numbers of contemporary artists that continue to explore time-honoured methods as an essential part of their practice. The artists on display in this exhibition demonstrate a range of approaches in etching; from the creation of finely-drawn introspective works, to richly coloured painterly compositions, to explorations of memory through photographic means. Each of these artists was invited to work on a relatively large scale, signifying their ambitious intent for both the process and content of their work.

This exhibition has been curated as a response to an historical survey of Irish etching currently being held in the National Gallery of Ireland, entitled Making their Mark; Irish painter-etchers 1880-1930. Many of the artists included in the NGI exhibition lived abroad, as it was there that they found training, facilities, market and public appreciation for their printmaking. Those that lived in Ireland worked independently, such as Estella Solomons who was compelled to import her own printing press. And by way of a full cultural circle moment, Solomons’s press eventually found a place on the floor of the Graphic Studio Dublin.

The emergence of the Graphic Studio Dublin in the early 1960s marked an important milestone in Irish art. The establishment of the first workshop devoted to printmaking provided artists with the wherewithal to allow print to become an essential part of their creative practice. The studio provided training, facilities and, as printmaking is largely a collaborative activity, the creative support of a community with a shared purpose. To mark this legacy, a select display of etchings by former Graphic Studio Dublin directors Pat Hickey and Mary Farl Powers is presented as an addendum to exhibition. Both made an immeasurable contribution to the development of Irish contemporary etching, as makers, teachers and advocates.

The role of the print studio in Ireland over the last 60 years allowed printmaking to become a primary means of expression for many artists and later other print studios would emerge, including the Black Church Print Studio (1982), Cork Printmakers (1991) and the Leinster Print Studio (1998). The New State includes works by artists from each of these organisations.

The New State: contemporary etching in Ireland provides a platform for early career printmakers – each of the artists involved have come to medium within the last five years. A range of approaches is visible in terms of content, presentation and finish. A number of artists have looked to urban themes. Vaida Varnagiene’s stark and monumental images of Dublin architectural landmarks are presented as belonging to an anonymous international metropolis. These are in contrast with the shadowed descriptive treatment of the city’s suburbs by Ned McLoughlin. The rhythmic graphic beauty of the industrial space, presented in a multifaceted and fractured from by Ria Czerniak-Lebov diverges from Julie Ann Haines painterly and sweeping treatment of Dublin’s coast line which is dominated by chimney stacks at the Poolbeg Generating Station. Eimhin Farrell’s linear study of the historic Hope Castle Gates in Castleblaney comprises a series of states, navigating the viewer through the artist’s process of constructing a composition.

As in history, the landscape continues to engage Irish artists. For some they relish in its details, Josie McMorrin describes a West of Ireland view through a myriad of finely etched lines. Hilary Kinahan essentialises forms within the landscape, combing abstracted elements with calligraphic mark-making and a subjective colour. Angela Gilmour in her series of black white photo-etched images of the sea shore at Baile an Sceilg evoke memoires of sensory experiences, sight, sound, touch, smell. Deirdre McKenna, abandoning the reassurance of dry land, focuses solely on the mesmeric rhythms of the rise and fall of the sea surface.

The world of whimsy and fantasy is conjured in the illustrative work of Melissa Ellis; they are unapologetically decorative, appealing to forgotten childhood imaginations. Drawing from her collection of personal photographs, Miriam Hurley’s image of a child lost in its own world, obvious to the viewer’s gaze, is both emotive and challenging. In almost aggressive contrast Richard Lawlor’s theatrical spotlighted figure, is equally challenging as the viewer considers its dehumanised form. Fiona Kelly’s work also has an illustrative quality, her delicate, sparse images of finely observed flora juxtaposed with mechanical forms narrate the fractured, yet aspiring, relationship between the man-made and nature. The relationship between nature and humanity is also explored by Cará Donaghey. The almost obsessive, compulsive character of her undulating drawn lines from which natural forms emerge signifies how humankind grapples to find its place within its environments, both physical and emotional. The work of Dominic Fee and Sarah Roseingrave, challenges how prints are made, from the electronical to the handcrafted, and how they are presented, departing from the two dimensional to the three-dimensional.

The New State: contemporary etching in Ireland – which is jointly curated by Angela Griffith of Trinity College Dublin, Anne Hodge, National Gallery of Ireland, and Peter Brennan, Graphic Studio Gallery – celebrates a new generation of artists, and acknowledges their place within, and the importance of their contribution, to the legacy and future of printmaking.

Dr Angela Griffith, Trinity College Dublin

Happy Christmas!

Lighthouses – Tithe Sholais

I’ve started a series of miniature etchings of lighthouses around the coast of Ireland. It may take some time but I plan on doing all of them! Because they are so small it is very easy to send them out to anyone interested in buying them! Simply get in touch through the contact page.

Tá tús curtha agam ar sraith mion-phriontaí, tithe solais na hÉireann atá idir lámha agam. Tógfaidh sé tamall ach tá sé i gceist agam iad go léir a dhéanamh! Beidh sé sodhéanta iad a chur sa phost má tá dúil agat iontu, toisc iad a bheith chomh beag. Cuir scéal chugham más sea anseo.

Here’s what I’ve got so far / Seo an méid atá agam go dtí seo


Waxing Lyrical – Other Voices 2017

Waxing Lyrical – The Tape.

Following on from the success of Waxing Lyrical 2016, which explored the use of vinyl records in art, this year we dissect The Tape.

While some of the artists in this show have been challenged to explore the medium for the first time, others have made art inspired by tapes for decades.  The artists have also been invited to write about their artworks for the exhibition. Using the cassette tape and its innards as a medium, the artists unravel human stories of love and loss, nostalgia, found sound, human consciousness, and more.

Horace Panter who is best known as bassist with ‘The Specials’:

‘I’ve always believed that pop art was to the art world what punk rock was to the music world so in a lot of ways I really relate the creativity of art and music very closely together.’

After the terrible loss of his former band members Terence Hannum ( Locrian ) spends

‘..a lot of time destroying cassettes and reconfiguring their entrails into something new.’  This helps him to ‘open the wound and peer inside’.

There is also a focus on Brian Hegarty’s contemporary Irish cassette label thirtythree-45, as well as archival specimens of the ’80s and early ’90s compilation tape era from DJ Cian O’Cíobháin.

The results of this project will be revealed in the eir Other Voices Hub opposite Benner’s Hotel on Main Street, Dingle.

There will be two performances in The Hub over the weekend.

Benoit Vibes Friday 1st at 6pm

DJ Lisa J Saturday 2nd at 6pm.

The public are invited to bring along their cassette tapes and compilations to interact with Lisa J’s performance.

Horace Panter – Brian Hegarty 33 45 – Pól McLernon – Terence Hannum  – Diarmaid O’Sullivan – John Smith – Katherine Gibbons – Kate Shelley – Deirdre McKenna – Keith Phelan – Cian O’Cíobháin – Keyrogue – Benoit Vibes – DJ Lisa J

Céad Míle Fáilte

I’m really pleased to be hosted by Cork Printmakers for my first show in Cork! Yes I’ve had work in many group exhibitions in Cork over the years but this one is just me. A big Thank You! to all at Cork Printmakers for all your help and support.

Tairlearach – from beyond the sea

Mar Ná Beidh Ár Leithéidí Arís Ann | Our Likes Will Never Be There Again

Artwork inspired by the satirical novel An Béal Bocht by Myles na gCopaleen (Flann O Brien) – A bad story about the hard life

Féile na Bealtaine, The Round House, An Lab, John St, Dingle 27th April – 1st May Launch: 5pm, 27th April

This exhibition uses stereoscopes and printmaking to explore the symbiotic relationship we have as a country with the tourism industry using the novel for reference as well as important landscapes of the the 20th century (for example Paul Henry) and vintage souvenir postcards. This is an interactive exhibition, the public will be able to handle the stereoscopes to view the 3D images inside. The collection of fine art prints have been hand pulled from plates using a variety of techniques including aquatint, sugarlift, drypoint, embossing and collography.

This has been an ongoing project for a number of years. Deirdre McKenna received the Madgie Hughie Eoin Scholarship in 2013 to spend some time at Cló Ceardlann na gCnoc in Donegal. The work developed here as well as through Meitheal Eitseála in West Kerry and Cork Printmakers. The artist is very grateful for the great support received from Ealaín na Gaeltachta.

Saothar ealaíona a spreagadh ón úrscéal cáiliúil An Béal Bocht le Myles na gCopaleen – Drochscéal ar an drochshaol.

Féile na Bealtaine, An Tigh Cruinn, An Lab, Sr. Eoin, An Daingean 27 Aibreán – 1 Bealtaine Seoladh: 5.00i.n., 27ú Aibreán

Ag baint usáid as steiréascóip agus priontál, tá an taispeántas seo ag déanamh fiosrú ar an gcaidreamh siombóiseach atá againn mar thír le tionscal na turasóireachta, ag déanamh tagairt don leabhar, maraon le healaíontóir tábhachtach tírdhreacha na 20ú haoise (mar shampla Paul Henry agus a leithéid) agus le sean chártaí poist cuimhneacháin. Taispeántas idirghníomhach a bheidh ann. Beidh an pobal ábalta na steiréascóip a láimhseáil chun íomhánna faoi leith a fheiscint trí ghléas lámhdéanta. Bailiúchán eitseála atá anseo atá láimhdéanta ag baint úsáid as modhanna éagsúla mar shampla: uiscimriú (aquatint), sú meala (sugarlift), turbheara (drypoint), cabhraíocht (embossing) agus callagrafaíocht (collography).

Cuireadh tús leis an saothar seo nuair a fuair Deirdre McKenna cuireadh, in éineacht le Ciara McKenna, taispeántas beirte a chur i láthair ag An Lab, Ionad Ealaíona na Gaeilge sa Daingean sa bhliain 2012. Ó shin tháinig forbairt ar an saothar i gCló Ceardlann na gCnoc i dTír Chonaill, trí Scoláireacht Madgie Hughie Eoin 2013, i stiúideo priontála Meitheal Eitseála sa Daingean agus anois i Cork Printmakers. Cuireadh sparánacht ar fáil chun an saothar seo a fhorbairt ó Ealaín na Gaeltachta.

Anois teacht an Earraigh….

It’s been a busy couple of months and without a studio to work from since last December, but finally Sample Studios have moved and are up and running form our new location in Churchfield. I’ve moved all my bits and pieces in and can get down to work again. The new studios are nearly full with only a couple of spaces left so there will be a great community of creative people working away in the future.

Is maith an rud é go bhfuilim ag socrú síos sa stiúideo nua ós rud é go bhfuil taispeántas aonar á ullmhú agam faoi láthair. Ach beidh a thuilleadh eolas faoi sin ag teacht go luath.

I am putting together my first solo show in 7 years! …so keep a lookout for more information in the coming weeks.


Teastaíonn JavaScript ón taispeántas sleamhnán seo.


I’m really happy to be part of this exhibition again, this year it’s actually in the etching room where I work on my plates and prints!


A Pop Up Print Exhibition of new work by members of Cork Printmakers


Join us for an enjoyable shopping experience in our Etching Studio 

and a unique opportunity to see artworks straight off the press.



Opening Hours;

Tuesday 13 Dec: 10am – 5.30pm

Wednesday 14 Dec: 10am – 5.30pm

Thursday 15 Dec: 10am – 5.30pm

Friday 16 Dec: 10am – 5.30pm

Saturday 17 Dec: 11am – 5pm

Sunday 18 Dec: 12noon – 5pm



Cork Printmakers’ Print Showroom will remain open until 12noon on Friday 23 December

with a wide range of affordable prints, Christmas cards, print related gifts and gift vouchers on sale.

Waxing Lyrical at Other Voices

I’m thrilled to have been invited to create a piece of work for this show. I’ve been around since the very beginnings of Other Voices. It started off in 2002 as a small but magical occasion at a time of year when Dingle was usually sleepy and hibernating, now “the annual gathering has established itself as a musical pilgrimage for the mind and the soul” ( and people flock from all over to be here for the magic. It brings with it a warm cozy feeling that manages to forestall the frenzy of consumerism that comes in the run up to Christmas. I hope that all who travel to Dingle this weekend have a wonderful time and that we all enjoy the buzz of Other Voices!

Special thanks to Áine Ní Chíobháin for organising, curating and hanging this great show.

Check out the details below and come along on Friday for the opening!



Molann %d blagálaí é seo: