Galway arts festival and painted poems: This week’s best visual arts shows

A collection of labourers’ cottages in Co Wexford is among the other highlights

Sovereign Realms

Margo Banks. Solomon Fine Art, Balfe St, Dublin Until August 3rd

Margo Banks’s precisely observed, dynamic, mixed media depictions of animals have tremendous vitality. As she puts it, she sees wild creatures as disinterested in our world: “They enjoy an autonomy and a lucid sense of self that is beyond our appreciation.” She likes that self-confident otherness, their certainty that they are in their own “sovereign realms”.

Labourers’ Cottages of County Wexford

Simon Bates. Irish Architectural Archive, 45 Merrion Sq, Dublin Until July 31st

Simon Bates has been documenting labourers' cottages since 2016. Originally built between the 1890s and the 1930s, they are plain, sturdy, classically proportioned dwellings. While now one can always make out the basic structure, over the years the cottages have been variously embellished, amended and extended by their owners. Also showing at the Irish Architectural Archive, until August 30th, is A Visual Window to an Ecclesiastical World, an exhibition of Church of Ireland architectural drawings.



David Magee. Lavit Gallery, Wandesford Quay, Clarke's Bridge, Cork Until July 20th

A retrospective of the work of the Cork-born, London-based photographer David Magee. He regards his subjects not so much as places, locations, but as the feelings that imbue the places. “I aim to portray not just what exists, but what is not obvious; that imperceptible element …” A limited edition book, bound in handmade Japanese paper, accompanies the show.

Cutting the Lake

Helen Gaynor. Public space and studio space, Creative Hub, Bullring Mall, Malin St, Wexford (opposite Wexford library) Until August 15th

“An Anthology” is how Helen Gaynor subtitles this body of work. She also writes poetry, and does not distinguish between the acts of writing and painting, so the term anthology makes sense. She also notes that “painting can be autobiographical even when it doesn’t mimic reality”. Each “visual poem” for her is an exploration and a process of discovery, connected at a deep level regardless of surface differences.

Galway International Arts Festival exhibitions

Venues include Festival Gallery William St, Cluain Mhuire GMIT Centre for the Creative Arts, Kenny Gallery, Galway Arts Centre, 126, O'Donoghue Theatre NUI Galway July 15th-July 28th

Sam Jinks's hyperreal sculptures head the visual arts bill this year, at the latest location for the peripatetic Festival Gallery. Also: a national open printmaking show at Cluain Mhuire; Joe Hogan's basketwork at the Kenny Gallery; an arts-science collaboration at the Galway Arts Centre; Diane Copperwhite and Ciara Barker at 126; Alice Maher and Aideen Barry's 6Skin, Sarah Hickson, Annlin Chao, all at the O'Donoghue Theatre.