Local artist, Margaret O’ Brien exhibits at Nenagh Arts Centre

by Kate Walsh

Nenagh artist Margaret O’ Brien‘s current exhibition Roads is now showing at Nenagh Arts Centre, Banba Square until Friday 19 October. Margaret is a graduate of Limerick College of Art and Design where she attained her degree in Fine Art. Working mainly in oils, (but sometimes in mixed media), she has exhibited in both group and solo shows, including having her work selected for display by the Office of Public Works. Her practice she says, “is an exploration of the relationship between time and memory”. The artist is particularly drawn to rural locations such as disused homesteads and roads rarely travelled, because she feels that they “act as symbols of change and reminders of impermanence”. Her landscapes are painted in muted colours and tones, which convey this sense of impermanence, very much like the Irish landscape itself, which is constantly changing as the seasons progress and weather alters its appearance. Sometimes the paintings are collaged with objects from the location, such as a discarded piece of plastic, a fragment of rusted metal or bog mold, which act as small reminders of the past and of a human presence, now long gone.

Local artist, Margaret O’ Brien exhibits at Nenagh Arts Centre

Local artist Margaret O’Brien pictured with some of her paintings from her exhibition: Roads, at Nenagh Arts Centre. PHOTOGRAPH: ODHRAN DUCIE

Working from memory and photographs, the current exhibition of 22 paintings explores these motifs of rural roads, deserted locations and bogs. Despite the central theme, each painting is a unique interpretation of the location chosen, with the roads acting as a symbolic reference to journeys and transience – a constant reminder that nothing stays the same. Paintings such as Martin’s House and Blue Door (Martin’s House) are poignant reminders of this.

Local artist, Margaret O’ Brien exhibits at Nenagh Arts Centre

Paintings from Margaret O’Brien’s exhibition: Roads, on display at Nenagh Arts Centre as part of the Dromineer Nenagh Literary Festival PHOTOGRAPH: ODHRAN DUCIE

Her bog paintings provide the viewer with a reminder of just how beautiful these special landscapes are, achieved using soft, earthy colours. There is a real sense of a wild and uninhabited landscape, disturbed only by the insects and animals who live in the bog.

This exhibition is part of the Dromineer Nenagh Literary Festival which begins on October 1. For the full festival programme go to http://www. dnlf.ie where you can also download the brochure.

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