ABBEYLEIX Further Education Centre celebrated their end of year graduation show in the Dunamaise Arts Centre on Friday, May 25 with an exhibition described by the new manager of the Dunamaise, Roisin McGarr as, “the hottest show in town!”
The high standard of work on show was a testament to the dedication and commitment of the students from both the courses on offer in the Art Department in Abbeyleix. Work from a variety of disciplines from drawing, painting, ceramics and textiles are on display with the chosen pieces pushing the boundaries of contemporary art practice. The show has a real sense of the people who created it.
On the night, Jackie Carter, one of the tutors spoke of the feeling of past and future and welcomed back some of the past students who came to support the new group of artists exhibiting. Ms Carter explained how only one piece was on display but for each piece there were a hundred other pieces in the students portfolio. This year the students put forward a professional proposal to the gallery which was then curated by the experienced staff in the Dunamaise Arts Centre.
She mentioned the great year the studio had seen with trips to galleries and an international trip to Florence. The studio also worked with two visiting artists during the year, Bernie Leahy and David O’Callaghan. With Graphic Designer David O’Callaghan, the Art, Craft and Design students produced a book recording space and place and their journey through learning within the Art studio in Abbeyleix. The book was available on the night. The Art Department also welcomed their intern, Conleth Mangan and thanked him for the enormous impact that he has had on the studio.
Helen Kavanagh, Centre Director congratulated all involved and fittingly spoke of the present moment. She encouraged the students to enjoy the moment and to savour the feeling of pride in their work in such a prestigious venue. She thanked the Dunamaise for their support and the continued opportunity for the students to exhibit. On the night the staff of Abbeyleix paid tribute to Rita McMahon who retired from the Centre in 2011. Helen Kavanagh presented her with a token of gratitude on behalf of the staff and commended her on her contribution to
Abbeyleix Further Education Centre.
Roisin McGarr officially opened the exhibition. She spoke of the strong personalities that first became apparent in the proposals submitted by the students. The images, she described, jumped out at you and grabbed your attention. Having worked in The George Bernard Shaw and Visual in Carlow, she spoke of her background in theatre and the influence of her mother, a visual artist. She congratulated all involved with the night and wished the students all the best. The exhibition runs until July 9.