Galway visual arts highlights 2018

Exhibitions in The Kenny Gallery and the Town Hall Theatre bar

VISUAL ARTS enthusiasts have plenty to look forward to in 2018 with big shows, new shows, small shows, sexy shows, group shows, and single shows taking place throughout the city.

The Kenny Gallery kicks off its year on January 26 with a group show celebrating 80 years of Galway Arts Club, former members of which include luminaries like Clare Sheridan and Charles Lamb. Coinciding with the exhibition will be the launch of a new book by Alison Titley about Galway Art Club.

May will see the opening of an exhibition of paintings by Bernard Canavan portraying the lives of Irish emigrants to Britain. Canavan grew up in Longford and emigrated to England in 1959 with his father, where he worked in labouring jobs on construction sites and in factories. He returned to work in Dublin as a graphic artist before finally settling in London as a free-lance illustrator for the 1960s underground press titles of Oz and International Times, and magazines such as New Society and Tribune.

Canavan’s paintings [one of which is shown below] are figurative and deal with Irish and emigrant life in the UK in the 1950s and 1960s. He shows the indignity of the boat train, the apprehension of the new arrivals, the harshness of the building sites, the limited horizons, the crowded pubs and how big men were worn down.


Co-inciding with the Cúirt International Festival of Literature in April, the Kenny Gallery will show a series of equestrian paintings by Paddy Lennon while July will see a major group show around the theme of ‘Protest’. Later in the year there will be a major retrospective devoted to Padraic Reaney

Curator Margaret Nolan has staged a series of excellent exhibitions in the Town Hall Theatre bar and on Friday January 12, that venue’s first 2018 show features work by photographer Ivan McMahon comprising large landscape semi-abstract images of the Aran Islands. Saturday February 10 sees the launch of a group exhibition of paintings, sculpture and prints titled SIN, exploring desire and sexuality. The exhibition features some of Ireland’s leading artists, Charlie Cullen, Tom Mathews, Rachel Ballagh, Tony Carragher, Nolan herself and more.

On Friday March 2, Dara Finneran will launch his first solo exhibition. Dara is an engineer and has invented a huge drawing machine, similar to a spirograph from which he makes huge colourful drawings. He will give a demonstration on the launch night of his machine and produce some drawings for the audience. A highlight in the summer calendar at the Town Hall will be an exhibition by Charlie Cullen. One of Ireland’s foremost artists will bring his exhibition of James Joyce drawings and prints for Bloomsday, June 16.

Other events to keep an eye out for are Bosom Pals, featuring the poems and illustrations from the fine collection edited by Marie Cadden (who sadly passed away last month ) and the second Galway Cartoon Festival in October.



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