Pat McEvoy’s weekly reviews as published in the Waterford News & Star
REVIEW: Church Rd. Tramore: Tramore Art Exhibition
IF you’re going to invite a local celeb to open your annual art exhibition, then it’s dead handy if you can invite the next door neighbour and trustee of the hall that hosts the pictures. Step up the Rev. Trevor Sargent who is now installed as the local priest in the Church of Ireland, Tramore.
Local artist Laura Swift is effusive in her introduction of a man who has nested in many careers. Primary teacher, Green Party activist, T.D. and Minister. And now, finally, as priest at Christchurch, Tramore. Trevor’s only been in the Tramore parish for a year now and, already, everyone in Tramore feels they know him as a pastor and a friend.
Trevor’s introduction is full of humour and information about the Church of Ireland Hall designed by Abraham Denny, its 1865 opening by Michael Hassard M.P. Trevor brought us right back to that April 15, 1865, date when the Rev. Joseph McCormick from Passage East blessed the hall that cost £1,000, full of international flags and flowers who read from Kings and spoke of cherishing the light.
Trevor praises local artists who radiate light and colour in pictures that are largely rooted in lives lived close to nature and the sea. And not all the subjects are cosy-friendly. Terry Power’s ‘Night Hunter’ pictures an owl in flight returning to her nest with a live mouse in its beak. A sort of Emily Dickenson view of nature with beauty and cruelty mixed in a watercolour pastel image that certainly concentrates my gaze.
Diane Leyshon’s ‘On a Wing and a Prayer’ depicts two sinister gulls against a fabulous dawn mix of amber and golds on another morning mission of prey. Louise Grey’s ‘Metalman’ – in a sort of three-dimensional Gothic swirl of dramatic navy blues and school greens – is enough to frighten the bejaysus out of any ships that would dare to venture near.
The natural world also finds easier and more comforting presences to live on the intimate walls of this cherished hall. Margaret Devlin’s precious robin finds a ‘Handy Perch’ in the snow; Renee Power’s blue-green ‘Kingfisher’ and her dramatic and ferocious ‘Night Hunter’ have menacing eyes that would terrify a man in a coma in Riverstown; Laura Swift’s warm-eyed ‘Hound’ in brown and white stands out from a swirl of purple and amber; Terry Power’s dramatic ‘Bee Aware’ in his Bumblebee-Kilkenny colours comes with a cautionary #love bees tale for the planet and I love her tongue-in-cheek ‘Happy Pair’ of penguins that nods towards nuns on holidays; Rosemary Chapman’s swirl of aquamarine blues and greens of small sandpipers just sucks you in… and in… because the more you look, the more you see with this artist and I love Jane O’Brien-Moran’s just-right triptych story of a powerful seagull about to take flight.
Landscape and seascape is everywhere as you can imagine. And it’s the first to sell. Maria Delaney’s ‘Wind Surfer’ red kite stands in colourful contrast to a blue sky and frothy-white sea; Terry Power’s ‘Storm at Newtown Head’ with its massive angry waves is everything it says on the tin; Bernie Kane loves old Waterford and her ‘Beach Tower at Jenkin’s Lane’. ‘Greyfriars Abbey’ and ‘Watch Tower’ on the Manor all stand reminders of a shared Norman world; Michael Sexton’s heat-hazed picture of the ‘Waterford Quay from Ferrybank’ casts warm reflections in the Suir; a Billy Bryant pastel of the road down to ‘The Pier’ is cosy-warm with memories for everyone in today’s audience, while Margaret Devlin’s ‘Pontoon Bridge, Co. Mayo and Zan Kavanagh’s wonderful wine-red lighthouse ‘Fastnet’ stamps a dramatic foot on the bleak rock and reminds us that not every picture is rooted in the Déise.
This is a great exhibition. It’s popular and it gives the opportunity to many artists to exhibit. There’s no point in painting or writing for the self. Drawer literature or art never needs approval or evaluation. Give me a watcher anytime. Well done Tramore Artists.
This column is dedicated to the memories of Tramore artists Claire Power, Celia Richards and Mary Halley whose paintings hung proudly in the exhibition for many years. Lovers of colour and story who let the light in for all of us.