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"The Gallery" Opens In Carrigaline

In conjunction with Cork County Council & Owenabue Arts Collective.

Writes Mary Murphy

Friday night saw a unique event - the launch of the newly formed Owenabue Arts Collective(OAC), in a temporary gallery on main street, Carrigaline. This Culture Night Exhibition is the culmination of incredible hard work by three local Artists, Mary Murphy, Keith O’Brien and Stephen Murphy. The trio asked Councillor Seamus McGrath for help finding a venue to Exhibit on Culture Night in the heart of Carrigaline and he approached Cork County Council on their behalf.

Together they supported and encouraged the concept, from the outset, creating something truly spectacular. Local businessman, Mr Paul Horan, generously agreed to provide his modern glass fronted unit, which previously housed O Crualaoi's Butchers. Members of the Arts Office in Cork County Council met with the artists in the unit and a plan had begun.

What followed was an incredible team effort over the space of a week working many hours into the night by the three artists, transforming a vacant premises into a modern, vibrant Gallery.

The doors finally opened on Friday and people explored with sunshine streaming through the huge clear glass windows.

The predominant theme of the artwork is blue - azure, cobalt, ultramarine, cerulean, every tone and hue. It unites their differing artistic styles and the result is an uplifting breath of fresh air. They have indeed injected colour and creativity into the heart of Carrigaline.

The number of people in "The Gallery" was restricted in line with Government guidelines, with tickets for 30 minute time slots snapped up quickly through the booking site Eventbrite. Admirers on the night benefited from an intimacy and time to discuss the artwork with each artist. Grainne from Crayon Creatives added her own brand of logistical genius, limitless energy and unique suggestions.

10% of Exhibition sales on Culture Night will be donated to Carrigaline Tidy Towns as a means of giving back to the community.

Husband and wife, Mary and Stephen, are no strangers to Culture Night Exhibitions with last year’s offering in St Peters, North Main Street very well received. Readers may also remember another pop up event in Carrigaline which they organised a few years back bringing over 300 people through the doors on opening night!

Mary has a lifelong love affair with Art and studied Fashion Design in the LImerick College of Art and Design. She explores many mediums and styles, always experimenting- in oil & acrylic paint, pastels, clay, wool, felt, yarns, needles and threads. In her Fiber Artwork, some creations took many hours of hand stitching.

Her Portrait of Samuel Beckett took an incredible 400 hrs over one winter, hand stitching with numerous shades of thread and eventually winning awards from the Crafts Council of Ireland. This drew the attention of the prestigious Fiber Art Now magazine, based in California and she was interviewed for its next issue. She teaches all ages in the couple’s busy Studio in Carrigaline. Her use of materials evolve naturally and organically over time thus becoming a 3D reflection or diary of her life.

Stephen came late to the party. After years of setting up Exhibitions for his wife, Mary and her students, Stephen was finally persuaded to pick up a paint brush and became instantly hooked. Art for Stephen is "his time"- mindfulness, listening to tunes, just chilling and experimenting. He paints on canvas, old scraps of wood and metal and burns the edges of some of his paintings, sometimes burning the whole thing!

He experiments with framing styles, using driftwood, motorcycle parts, mechanical bits. His subject matter is usually centred around bikes and iconic characters, reflections on chrome and close up compositions. Painting has given a fresh direction to his life!

The duo met, fellow artist, Keith discussing framing and the idea of working together began. Keith started as a street artist and has brought that energy to his canvases- He has now developed into a landscape artist playing with ideas, using different media, in so creating and refining his skills.

He works with a variety of techniques and processes to achieve the end result. Usually starting with a pencil or marker & paint pens, acrylic paint, aerosol, airbrushes, varnish, digital images and fingers but not always in that order.

After discussions with CCC, Arts Officer Ian McDonagh put the call out for interested applicants from the Carrigaline catchment, to join the initiative and was delighted with the enthusiastic response. These are being considered carefully and the OAC hope to welcome a diverse range of static visual art very soon - painting, drawing, photography, print, wood, glass, textile, jewellery, ceramic, wall and standing floor sculpture. Their aim is to create a platform to promote and support artists to reach a market and achieve excellence in their field.

In the meantime, however, a new tenant has plans to rent this beautiful building within a few weeks so unfortunately, the OAC are looking for a new home even on a temporary basis. They are determined to secure another local unused premises as soon as possible, to house the fledgling business.

Keith, Stephen and Mary are quick to pay tribute to everyone who supported their vison, their input contributed enormously to this exciting new venture.

Cllr. Liam O’Connor, deputising for the Mayor of Cork County, thanked the building owner Mr Paul Horan for his generosity and support that allowed the creation of this space: “From first approaching the building owner earlier this summer, to tonight Culture Night, they have been nothing but accommodating and welcoming. We are delighted that this exhibition has highlighted the presence of this impressive unit on Carrigaline’s Main Street, and has helped in reducing the number of vacant premises in the town.”

Ian McDonagh, Cork County Council Arts Officer, noted the value that this Collective will bring to the Arts sector in Carrigaline, and noted the strong response from local artists that will stand to ensure that this temporary exhibition will have a long-term impact on the cultural scene in Carrigaline:

“Although this space is temporary, I have no doubt that this collective will prove a permanent feature on the Arts scene in the Carrigaline Area. I hope that this exhibition will provide the opportunity for the group to grow and develop and encourage other local artists to engage with the collective. I hope to see another premises become available to the artists, as a space such as this is an invaluable addition to Carrigaline’s cultural landscape”.

The OAC can be contacted at or on their website

If you missed the opening night, The Gallery opens Thursday to Sunday until the 8th of October, so do call in and say Hello! No booking is required.

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