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John Minihan

John Minihan

John Minihan is an Irish photographer, born in Dublin in 1946 and raised in Athy, County Kildare. At the age of 12 he was brought to live in London, and went on to become an apprentice photographer with the Daily Mail. At the age of 15 he won the Evening Standard amateur photography competition. At 21 he became the youngest staff photographer for the Evening Standard. For thirty years he remained in London, returning every year to his hometown of Athy to record the people and their daily lives.

The work of Minihan in Athy makes up a large part of his canon. Minihan began taking photos in Athy when he was 16. The photos are an attempt to document the lives of the ordinary people of the town in their day to day business and also in times of joy and sadness, notably during the wake of a woman called Katy Tyrrell.

In between documenting Athy on visits home, Minihan continued his career on Fleet Street, which included the iconic snap of the 19-year-old Lady Diana Spencer in the garden of the nursery at which she worked, the morning sun to her back, her legs in silhouette through her skirt. Diana had just been announced as the Prince of Wales’s love interest and photographers raced to take her photo, Minihan having the fortune to turn up first.

Over the years Minihan developed a close relationship with many writers and his photographs of Samuel Beckett show a particular affinity between the two men. Minihans photos of Beckett are some of his best known, one in particular is described as one of the greatest photos of the twentieth century. William S. Burroughs once referred to Minihan as “a painless photographer”.

Minihan is perhaps best known for his photographs of Samuel Beckett. Minihan first expressed a desire to photograph Beckett in 1969, following Becketts winning of the Nobel Prize for literature, having noticed that all the available photos of Beckett were of a poor quality;

‘We were running a story but discovered there were only two very vague images of Beckett taken many years before. It was like he didn’t exist – that was the moment I decided I wanted to meet this man and take his photograph.’

Minihan first encountered Beckett in London in 1980, while Beckett was working on a production of one of his own plays, Endgame. Minihan met Beckett in the Hyde Park hotel and showed him some of his photos of Athy to break the ice. The two met on a number of occasions over the next few years, but it was not until 1985 that they met in Paris. They arranged to meet in the restaurant of the Hotel PLM, a regular haunt of Beckett. At ten to five, with the light fading, Minihan took the photo that would go on to be called by some as the photograph of the twentieth century. John Calder credited Minihan with capturing,

‘the introspective, infinitely sad gaze of a man looking into the abyss of the world’s woes’.

Among his numerous photographic publications are Photographs: Samuel Beckett (1995); Shadows from the Pale, Portrait of an Irish Town (1996); and An Unweaving of Rainbows, Images of Irish Writers (1996).

He is currently a freelance photographer specialising in ‘the arts’. His book of photographs of Samuel Beckett was published in 1995. His photographs of Athy have been exhibited throughout the world. He was given the freedom of Athy in 1990. Minihan currently lives and works in West Cork

Minihan’s many exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world include the Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, 1984; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 1986; the National Portrait Gallery, London 1987/8 and the October Gallery, London 1990 as well as the Guinness Hop Store, Dublin 1991. (Source: Wikipedia)

Jim Wilson

Jim Wilson

Born in 1943 in New Lanark Village, to a Scottish father and Irish mother (Collins, from Clounkeen, Skibbereen).

Artist Statement

I have travelled extensively all my life and found that i was always drawn to intricate work.

My main influence was probably my Mother. She was a nurse and Seamstress. I would often watch her working, doing invisible mending and dressmaking. Her stitching was mesmerising, intricate, precise. And she always strived for perfection in every detail.
She was always working, cleaning, cooking, never prominent, always in the background, totally reliable. She had an enduring stamina, grit and determination.

Celtic, Islamic and oriental patterns attracted me and became a strong influence. I combined this with the teachings of Paul Klee. His exhibition in the Hayward Gallery in London, in 2002 was a profound experience and became a seminal moment in my artistic career.
His concept of ‘taking a line for a walk’ and ‘art does not reproduce the visible, it makes visible’, convinced me of his simplicity of approach and his joy and fun of creating both, figurative & abstract shapes.

Paul Klee:

“The act of giving form determines from itself and the process
is more important than the form”

“The original movement, the agent, is a point that sets itself in motion. A line comes into being. It goes out for a walk, so to speak, aimlessly for the sake of the walk.″

In my younger days I would copy drawings from Comics and Disney Characters. Ordnance survey maps were also a fascination.
Works of art in churches and stained glass windows were my first real experiences of art. A hand-painted line on my bedroom wall at home caused me grave irritation as it had not been finished properly.
When I went to work in Glasgow I discovered Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Paisley patterns and the Harris Tweed Cross designs caught my eye. When working in London, I not only visited all the big galleries but also loved the smaller ones in Cork St., Bond St. and Bruton St. in the West End.

Brian Lalor

Brian Lalor

Brian Lalor is one of Ireland’s most influential living artists. His timeless work stretches from printmaking in woodcut, etching and mezzotint to editing and illustrating books.

John Kingerlee

John Kingerlee

John Kingerlee (born 14 February 1936) is an Irish painter currently living on the Beara peninsula, in West Cork. He is a convert to Islam and has a second family in Fez, Morocco.
John Kingerlee was born in Birmingham, England in 1936. His Mother was related to Hogan’s from County Cork and he was educated in a school run by the Marist Fathers. After living for twenty years in Cornwall in the far southwest of Britain, he moved in 1982 to an isolated farmhouse on the Beara Peninsula in West Cork, Ireland.
On the isolated Beara peninsula, looking directly out from his home across Kenmare Bay to the ring of Kerry, John and his wife Mo lead a life which some might describe as lonely. However, what they lack in human contact they make up for through an existence which extends to growing their own vegetables in their organic garden. The Kingerlees’ alternative outlook on life somehow seems to be in complete harmony both with the space they inhabit and with the art that flows from John’s palette knife and brush.

A non-conformist at heart, John has turned his back on the traditional way of seeing and depicting landscape – as a series of parallel planes that are made to appear to recede from foreground to background by the artist’s manipulation of linear and aerial perspective. Recognising that perspective itself is a mathematical construct, John takes a different approach that is as radical as it is original. He states that he wants his art to recreate the experience of being in and moving through the landscape.

In the studio, using his own made-up pigments, he mimics the cycle of growth and decay by working with matter in a very direct and hands-on way. He applies colours, deep pools of it, red brick, reds, molten silver and zinc, platinum and titanium, sulphuric yellows and so much more to dozens of paintings in various states of becoming. He paints standing up, applying a new layer of paint (finished paintings will comprise fifty to one hundred or more layers of paint applied over a period of several years and when completed can take up to five months to dry out). His preferred tools are palette knives (one in each hand is the norm), and a decorator’s brush which he holds vertically using a stippling technique.
Kingerlee has exhibited works in Ireland, England and The United States of America. Art critic William Zimmer gave a speech about the artist and his works at the Los Angeles exhibition in October 2006, curated by Masoud Pourhabib. At the time Zimmer was an associate of Katherine T Carter & Associates, an agency hired by Kingerlee’s manager to promote the artist in America.

″With some disingenuousness Kingerlee has described himself as an outsider artist. No one this well-traveled could qualify as one and yet there is some truth in his statement. He is operating outside the art world that grabs all the attention; that which is high on technology and resembles popular entertainment more than traditional art practices. John Kingerlee’s art is triumphant because it transcends all such props. It is based in an imagination sustained by enchantment, observed reality, and superlative talent.″

William Zimmer – a New York Times art critic for 25 Years

Holger Christian Lönze

Holger Christian Lönze

Holger C. Lönze is an established bronze sculptor based near Ballydehob, Co. Cork. Since moving to Ireland in 1995, he has widely exhibited in Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK. He has worked on sculpture commissions for the public domain for more than twelve years. Born in Schmallenberg, Germany in 1968, Holger trained as a furniture maker before studying architecture in Detmold where he became assistant to the sculptor Axel Seyler. At the University of Ulster in Belfast he studied lithography and sculpture, completing a PhD on visual perception and time in art. As a researcher in environmental design for The Eden Project and Falmouth College of Arts, Cornwall he further pursued his interests in craft materials. Together with Niall O’Neil and Antony Lyons, Holger is member of Deiseal, working on public sculpture commissions. He also collaborates with the Florence-based architects Federico Curletto and Paolo Lucatini (Skulptark) on architecture projects. Holger is a member of the Umha Aois experimental archaeology group and a professional member of the Crafts Council of Ireland and Visual Artists Ireland.
Holger’s sculpture is a poetic response to Ireland’s Atlantic seaboard: its rich maritime culture, early literature, archaeology and coastline. The inspiration for his sculpture, lithographs and drawings often comes directly from his sea journeys in self-made canvas boats: the iconic curachs of Ireland. Through his realist style he brings alive the disappearing cultural traditions that he encounters along his path. His experience in the arts and crafts have led him to produce work that is traditional in technique and material whilst being contemporary in concept and context. The importance he places on sustainable living and working shines through his creative practice and his teaching. This ethos is reflected in his use of low-carbon, experimental Bronze Age methods for casting sculpture and the use of regenerative materials and handtools for traditional boat making.