Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Good mention for Art of Protest by Deirdre Falvey in the Irish Times today:

"Women’s rights are just one of the manifestations of protest in Kenny Gallery’s wide-ranging and provocative Art of Protest, incorporating social commentary and campaigning, political satire and street art, curated by artist Dean Kelly. The work ranges from Jim Fitzpatrick’s Che to Shane Berkery’s Donald Trump to Christopher Banahan’s Margaret Thatcher (Wicked Witch of the West), to Dolores Lyne’s Ironing for Ireland – a Repeal banner draped over an ironing board in protest preparation (with ironic teatowel prints also for sale)."

Friday, September 9, 2016

Jennifer Cunningham's 'Artscapes'

I was delighted to help launch my old pal Jenny Cunningham's latest venture last night at Galway City Library.  What follows is the beginning of an opening address delivered by yours truly:

ARTSCAPES - Jennifer Cunningham & Students - Opening Remarks, Dean Kelly.

I am delighted and honoured to be here this evening to open 'Artscapes'. This special event represents the culmination, in this superbly eclectic exhibition, of all of the hard work of Jennifer Cunningham and her students.

Jennifer's own practice is one of exploration of the self and of becoming self-aware. It also deals with our immediate environment and the unsettling notion of the ‘unheimlich’ or the uncanny - how familiar surroundings may appear strange to us... a sort of cognitive dissonance, a fond discomfort, love-hate appreciation of the familiar - which has carved a niche for this important artist in a national context, and increasingly internationally. Up there with Martin Gale's almost lost children in the landscape, or John Doherty's lonely Irish country towns.

I first met Jennifer when we were both at Art College in Galway in the late 1990s. She was an open and inquisitive young first <<or second>> year, to my big shot status as a third year - you know how these hairs-breath differences can matter when you're young but as she has gone from strength to strength in her own work as an artist, and later as an inspiring teacher in Dublin and in her own Galway classes, not for an instant has the Morrissey adage of ‘hating it when your friends become successful' been the case here... I really couldn't be more proud of her!

However, ironically perhaps, for an artist who harnesses the appealing, albeit unsettling imagery of the uncherished, Jennifer has always been a most caring artist and teacher.  Never covetous of knowledge, hers is an open, inclusive and enthusiastic approach. She inspires as a person, and I can only imagine also as a teacher <<I've never personally had that privilege>>. Jennifer has such a deep knowledge of very many techniques; from the fundamental of drawing and her favoured print-making, but also in painting in oils, acrylics and watercolours; and in film-making... and a great number of those techniques are evident in this exhibition... etc. etc. etc.

Exhibition continues for a month at Galway City Library. 

More information:  www.jennifercunningham.ie


Thursday, June 16, 2016

How I almost got a massive head... late 1990s

It was before the Millennium that I made the last of the pictured 'massive heads' for Robbie Williams, Chris Evans, Tom Jones and the like. There was something of a craze for the things at the time, following a successful run of our U2 heads on Chris Evans TFI Friday, Channel 4 TV.

I had designed, built and painted a herd of the things in quick sucession with Macnas in Galway.  As well as those pictured were Boyzone, Roy Keane, Noel and Liam Gallagher and a heap of others.

It was fun while it lasted... brought to mind having spotted the things on a fan site again this week.

Tom Kenny delves into the early history of Macnas - when I was still only a nipper - tracing the Footsbarn and Els Commediants roots of the 'big head' tradition in his latest Old Galway column >>>

(Images Macnas / Macteo / Arcana / Artist's own archive).

Friday, May 6, 2016

Galway Theatre Festival Art Exhibition, May 2016

It was a great pleasure to exhibit at the recent Galway Theatre Festival Art Exhibition at the Niland Gallery, and various locations in the Latin Quarter in Galway.  

Curated by the talented Margaret Nolan the exhibition also shows the work of Jay Murphy, Brian Bourke, Donnacha Cahill, myself and many others.

Friday, November 6, 2015

75|75 ...the story of an Irish Bookshop & Art Gallery in 75 objects.

In November of 2015 I had the great privilege of curating an exhibition of photographs, artworks and ephemera celebrating the 75 year history of Kennys Bookshop & Art Gallery in Galway.  What follows is my introductory note.  You can download a copy of the exhibition catalogue here  >>>
Curator’s Note - "How do you tell the story of a place like Kennys - a place with such a rich cultural heritage. To do it justice perhaps you start by allowing an objective eye to help the natural modesty and subjectivity of family. So, it has been my very great privilege to be entrusted to help tell the continuing story of this great institution. 
It has involved a number of decisions, beginning with the elementary choice of starting the history at the beginning, with the opening of the bookshop in 1940.

The next decision involved figuring out which types of materials to include - photographs, artworks, books, ephemeral objects, film - all of these would prove to aid in weaving a compelling narrative. 

Perhaps the greatest challenge lay in deciding what not to include in the collection. You could include hundreds of pieces, thousands of books, a myriad of faces, and still not encompass a comprehensive history. In deciding to limit this exhibition to 75 pieces, one for each year celebrated in this anniversary, we hope to provide an interesting cross section - an edited series of vignettes and snapshots in time, revealing nuggets from an abundant cultural seam. 

We take this opportunity to thank Joe O'Shaughnessey for his kind permission to use and reproduce a number of his iconic photographs in the exhibition and in this catalogue, without which the show would be immeasurably less."