Colin Middleton, Paysage des Reves Mauvais, oil on canvas, 48 x 61cm, 1940. Private Collection, Courtesy of
The Surreal in Irish Art is the first exhibition to explore the influence of surrealism on Irish art. Presenting the work of over twenty artists, it features paintings and sculptures by well-known pupils of surrealism; pieces by artists who have engaged with the legacies of surrealism; plus work by artists whose practice has affinities with the surrealist movement.
Originating in France in the 1920s, surrealism was a revolutionary cultural movement aligned with left-wing politics, and focused on challenging social constraints and exploring the unconscious. Although several of the leading figures were writers, the movement is best remembered for art works characterized by unexpected juxtapositions including Salvador DalŪís The Persistence of Memory, 1931, where clocks melt in a surreal landscape.
F.E. McWilliam was the only Irish artist to be directly connected with the surrealist movement. He exhibited with the British surrealists in London, and the influence of surrealism can be seen throughout his work from his early figurative sculptures of the 1930s, to the well-known legs series including Legs Static, 1978. Taking F.E. McWilliamís work as a starting point, The Surreal in Irish Art explores the lasting legacy of surrealism in Ireland.
The Surreal in Irish Art was curated by Dr Riann Coulter for our cross border arts partner the F.E. McWilliam Gallery & Studio where it was on view this summer.
Thurloe Connolly, Dorothy Cross, Ralph Cusack, Gerard Dillon, Rita Duffy, Fiona Finnegan, Andrew Folan, Beatrice Glenavy, Patrick Hennessy, Nevill Johnson, Dusan Kusmic, John Luke, David Eagar Maher, Alice Maher, Andrzej Mazur, Stephen McKenna, F.E. McWilliam, Catherine McWilliams, Colin Middleton, James Millar, ZoŽ Murdoch, Jack Pakenham, Kathy Prendergast, Noreen Rice, Dermot Seymour and Elizabeth Taggart.