Exhibitions review: Impressions and Norman Ackroyd

THE GALWAY Arts Centre’s visual arts programme is ending the year on a double-high with presentations of the annual group print show Impressions - at 47 Dominick Street - and a superb solo show, Irish Etchings, by renowned English artist Norman Ackroyd at the Galway City Museum.

Galway artists Leonie King and Siobhan Piercy organised the first Impressions show 20 years ago and since then the biennial show has grown to become a major event in the calendar of fine art printmaking. It remains the longest running national open submission print exhibition in this country

This year’s Impressions has been curated by the director of Bonham’s Auctioneers Print Department, Robert Kennan, who travelled from London to make his selection of 100 pictures from some 340 submitted.

A broad variety of printmaking works is represented including etchings, woodcuts, lithographs, and screenprints and there are many familiar names with fine works in the show, like Declan Holloway, David Lilburn, Marja Van Kampen, Leonie King, and Jennifer Cunningham.

A number of prizes were awarded to works in the exhibition, the winning artists being Martina Cleary, Sue Cunliffe, Jill McKeown, Ruth McGear, Lelia Pedersen, and Kathleen Furey.

It all adds up to a bumper visual feast and is well worth a visit; the show continues until January 17.

You should also, really, really, find the time to visit the city museum to see Norman Ackroyd’s marvellous new exhibition of Irish etchings. Long regarded as one of the foremost print-makers in these islands, Ackroyd has a particular interest in the coastal landscape and seascapes of the western seaboard and has been a frequent visitor to Ireland over the years.

His monochrome prints capture the shifting interplay of land and water, rain and sea, light and shadow with incredible skill and finesse and shapes them into arresting, dramatic compositions. This exhibition also runs until January 17, and deserves to be seen by a wide audience.

As a footnote, we might also add that both Ackroyd’s prints and those in Impressions provide the opportunity of buying quality artwork at reasonable prices - something to keep in mind for all you Christmas shoppers!

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