Bravura: A musical passage requiring exceptional agility and technical skill
A show of daring or brilliance
Bold and brave
BRAVURA happens each year at the Blue Egg Gallery Wexford to coincide with the Wexford Opera Festival. BRAVURA 2017 celebrates the work of makers from Ireland, the UK, Germany and the USA, curated by Mary Gallagher. The exhibition opened officially at noon on Saturday 21st October and ran until 5th November 2017. The guest speaker was Eithne Scallan, local historian and writer.
BRAVURA 2017 featured work by some artists who are exhibiting in the gallery for the first time including Alan Meredith whose fumed oak vessels capture beautifully the organic properties of the material married with the precise geometry of the lathe. Shown here for the first time also was the beautifully patterned bowls in Parian porcelain by Anne Butler and the striking ceramic bowls, bottles and wall pieces by Sarah Jenkins inspired by her love of landscape. The exhibition also featured some wonderful vessels by Mike Byrne along with a small series of his prints, and the beautiful vessels by Christiane Wilhelm whose work featured in the very first exhibition in the gallery.
Earlier in 2017, I showed some work by the American artist Stephen Yusko. For those of you who missed that show this was a chance to see his stunning forged metal and glass houses.
For the past two years jewellery by Inga Reed, the Kilkenny based jeweller, has been part of the BRAVURA exhibition. For this year’s exhibition Inga created a small series of necklaces in semi-precious stones.
Verve captures perfectly the zest, intensity and sparkle of this exhibition. It features the work of four artists, all of whom are interested in exploring colour, pattern and texture in their work. The textile artist Angela Forte has made a series of hand-woven tapestries especially for this exhibition which sing of her joy in colour and pattern. Circles, roads and stars are fixed in the weave and speak vividly of a lifetime of journeys and contemplation.
Vivid colour and strong shapes are also obvious in the work of the other artists, all creating three-dimensional work in different mediums. Gráinne Watts creates wonderful, daringly coloured and patterned ceramic pieces that will seduce you. Cecilia Moore uses a variety of materials in her practice. The pieces in this exhibition are intriguing, patinated vessels in silver and copper based metals, made using the technique of “raising”. Texture and colour are also central to the work of Paula Stokes. Her off-centre glass vessels capture colour in a very concentrated form; this is further enhanced by the sandblasted finish which give them an unexpected softness.
This exhibition opens officially at the Blue Egg Gallery, John’s Gate Street, Wexford on Saturday 8th April 2017 at noon; the guest speaker will be architect, Angela Rolfe. The exhibition continues until Saturday 6th May.
JUGS (May-June 2017)
This exhibition will feature a feast of jugs in clay and glass by about 30 makers from Ireland. It will be curated by Hilary Morley and Mary Gallagher. The opening day is Saturday 13th May. The exhibition will then run until Saturday 10th June. It will move to McCambridge’s in Galway city for the annual arts festival (17th – 30th July)
ABOUT THE HOUSE (June-July 2017)
The starting point for this exhibition was the lingering image of Rowena Brown’s houses which I first saw at Ceramic Art London in 2015. Their still and solid shape embodied the comforting and universal symbol of the house/home while raku firing gave their broken textured surfaces a sense of reminiscence tinged with loss.
In this exhibition a number of artists will explore the image of the house through their own medium: Fran Brosnan, Rowena Brown, Cathy Burke and Maria Connolly in clay, Stephen Yusko in metal and Mary Ruth Walsh in print and drawing. This exhibition will run from Saturday 17th June to Saturday 15th July.