Mayo artist's look at the 1980s in Brown Thomas’ Art & Style Exhibition

Are you old enough to have watched the original series of Fame? Do you remember waiting for the new potatoes to arrive? Check out Brid Egan’s display of oil paintings featuring in the Brown Thomas Style & Art window exhibition on Shop Street, Galway.

When we were fully present -an exhibition of five paintings by the Knock born artist - is a thought-provoking commentary on the social and technological changes from the 1980s to the present day.

Through paintings depicting common scenes from the 1980s, the comparison is made to today’s lifestyle and its preoccupation with commenting on, as opposed to living in, the present

“In this current body of work,” says Brid, “I am looking at the way we have changed as a nation in the last 30 years. How things were so different in the 1980s for example.”

Brid concedes that while technology has improved our lives, “it’s two steps forward, one step back”.

“If you asked someone going ballistic at a Waterboys concert in 1985 what one thing would improve his experience, here’s what he wouldn’t say: I would really like to stand here and make a video of this….. Again, when you went to a concert back then you were fully present. You lived in that moment without trying to stay in touch with some other moment, somewhere else. You were able to live in the now, because there was only one now.”

Her painting entitled ‘We just watched Fame’ depicts the almost cult-like following the programme had among teenagers in the 1980s when nothing would distract youngsters from absorption in the lives of Benny and Leroy as portrayed weekly on television.

“When we all sat down to watch Fame, we all sat down to watch Fame. We didn’t sit down and tweet about it or text our friends about it, we just watched Fame. We escaped into its world for an hour and forgot about everything else,” says Brid.

Egan makes an interesting observation about food in the 1980s as depicted in her painting ‘Dad, yes are these the new potatoes?’

“Eighties food had one big selling point. It didn’t matter. Food just wasn’t that important. The only conversation most of us heard about food went as follows. Dad: “Are these the new potatoes?” Mum: “Yes. Aren’t they grand and floury?” Dad: Yes. They are.” If you ate a horse back then, it was because you meant to,” concluded Brid.

Brid Egan graduated from GMIT (Cluain Mhuire Art College ) in 2009 with an Honours degree in Art & Design and was named Student of the Year. She converted her Galway home into the Rosa Parks Art Gallery.

Other young artists displaying work as part of the Brown Thomas Art & Style Exhibition are Alannah Barrett, Arlene McPadden and Cecilia Danell. The exhibition, curated by established Irish artist Angela O’Kelly, runs in Brown Thomas Galway until mid August.


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