NUI Galway will present an exhibition of the work of prolific Irish artist, Thomas Ryan, who works in oils, pastels, pencil, charcoal and watercolour, and has been painting for over 60 years. Thomas Ryan is renowned for imaginative re-workings of historical and religious episodes and he is also heralded as an important chronicler of the changing face of Ireland, through his portraiture, and paintings of exteriors and interiors of buildings.
The exhibition will include two of his large historical paintings, ‘The Flight of the Earls’ and ‘G.P.O. 1916’, both oil on canvas and painted in the great European Tradition. These paintings, which were selected for the exhibition by Thomas Ryan and the NUI Galway Arts and Theatre Office, normally hang inside Dublin Castle and Leinster House, respectively, and have been generously loaned by the artist and the Institutions.
Fionnuala Gallagher, Arts Officer at NUI Galway, said: “This is a real coup for the University and the city and we are delighted to accept works of such calibre. This is a unique opportunity to witness a master in our midst.”
On show as part of the exhibition Thomas Ryan: Selected Workswill be portraits, self-portraits, religious paintings, interiors, still lives and landscapes, many loaned from the artist’s home, for this ‘retrospective’ of his career. Two portrait highlights on show are a pastel drawing, ‘Seán Keating, aged 82 years’ and a drawing of the late Professor of Marine Science, ‘Padraic O’Céidigh’, which is part of the NUI Galway Collection. In addition, there is a selection of watercolours from a recent project, Dublin and Thereabouts, when Mr Ryan painted the buildings and places that took his fancy in Dublin, 2010-2011, all painted directly from the subject, and mostly in one sitting.
Born in Limerick in 1929, Thomas Ryan trained in the School of Art, Limerick under Richard Butcher and at the National College of Art and Design, under Seán Keating and Maurice MacGonigal. He was President of Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts from 1982 to 1992, is a Founder Member of the European Council of National Academies of Fine Art (Madrid), and an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy, London and Scottish Academy, Edinburgh. His work hangs in major collections and he was the designer of the one pound coin and millennium fifty pence. He lives in County Meath, and produces most of his work in his studio.
Thomas Ryan: Selected Workswill be officially opened on Tuesday, 15 May at 5pm by the University’s Secretary, Gearóid Ó Conluain and Thomas Ryan will be in attendance. The exhibition will run from 15 May to 7 June in the Mechanical Soils Lab (adjacent to Áras na Mac Léinn) from 11am – 4pm, Monday to Saturday.