You will have seen his work on the Hill of Uishneach and in Belvedere House & Gardens, but this week local woodcarver Richie Clarke is to hold his first solo exhibition, which opens in the Atrium gallery in the County Buildings on Thursday evening, July 10, at 6.30pm.
His exhibition Hidden in Wood presents a series of carvings in a variety of woods and themes ranging from mythological characters to the natural world.
The centre piece of the exhibition titled The Sons of Tuireann, based on a mythological Celtic story, stands 2.5-metre (8ft ) tall.
Richie has been woodcarving for 20 years, and has developed his craft in tandem with a career in carpentry and joinery.
With work ranging from imposing 3.5-metre log carvings to 3-inch character carvings, his main influences are Celtic mythology, Irish folklore, and fantasy literature such as Tolkien, Joe Abercrombie and George R R Martin.
“The beauty of carving a mythological figure is that it comes with an enchanting story and a cultural aspect with which people can connect,” said Richie.
Examples of his log carving work can be found locally at Belvedere House & Gardens (The Oak King ), The Hill of Uisneach (Lugh of the Sun ) and Vastina House (Amergin the Druid ).
This Thursday evening Richie Clarke’s first exhibition will be officially opened by artist and sculptor Gerry Waldron in the Atrium exhibition space of the County Buildings in Mullingar. All are welcome.
“Wood as a material is in constant flux. It reacts to its environment - it is still breathing, almost living. This is why I am drawn to it - because it has a soul. When I carve something into it, I feel that l have imparted new life into the piece of wood and it can become something that provides a greater connection and engagement with the wood itself.
“Look closely, because even when you don’t see them…they are watching you!” smiled Richie.
See more about Richie and his work at www.clarkewoodcarving.com