Imaging Ireland: Selected Works from NUI Galway's Art Collection

Monday, 14 June 2004

A new publication of selected works from NUI Galway's art collection will be launched today (Monday), by Patrick T. Murphy Director of the Royal Hibernian Academy. "Imaging Ireland" contains fifty colour plates, selected and annotated by Sioban Piercey and Ger O'Brien and includes works by Mainie Jellett, Gerard Dillon, Grace Henry, Seamus Murphy, Charles Lamb, George Russell, Walter Osbourne, Norah McGuinness and many others.

Exquisitely designed, Imaging Ireland features an introduction by Peter Murray, curator of the Crawford Municipal Gallery and a brief history of the collection by Ger O'Brien. The University's art collection is a result of bequests, donations, commissions and acquisitions over the last hundred years. Many interested parties including the Galway Art Gallery Committee, Corrib Art Society, Friends of the National Collections and The Haverty Trust, were instrumental in securing notable works.

During the last three years, the University Art Collection has been re-appraised, restored, cleaned, photographed and documented. The results reveal a collection of national significance. A distinct pattern may be determined – the development of modern Irish Art alongside a sociological and historical portrait of the changing values in Ireland in the last century.

The selection in Imaging Ireland reveals a journey from representationalism to abstraction with the most recent images showing a return to the landscape of the West of Ireland. The new acquisition policy will concentrate on artistic responses to the region but will include conceptualism, video, digital and photography as well as traditional painting.

Imaging Ireland will be on sale in selected bookshops and galleries and from the Press and Information Office at Áras Failte, NUI Galway. This important endorsement and celebration of Visual Arts on campus has been made possible by a joint venture between Galway University Foundation and the University Arts Office. The publication coincides with several new initiatives set in place by Professor Jim Ward, Vice-President for Physical Resources, together with the Theatre and Arts Committee and the Arts Office. The University Art Gallery has been a hive of activity lately with two important young Irish artists, Sinead Aldridge and Cian Donnelly invited there to present new paintings and sculptural pieces during Galway Arts Festival 2004. A new, enlarged gallery is also planned to house permanent and temporary exhibits.

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