Dogs, horses, elephants and more: animal magic in a new Dublin show
Peter Curling, Dede Gold and Mark Coreth join forces for a perfectly beastly exhibition
Mark Coreth Roaring Baboon
Everywhere you find human beings, you find animals – so it should come as no surprise that they’ve played a central role in our artistic imagination throughout recorded history. From Stone Age cave paintings to Damien Hirst’s animal vitrines, the mythical beasts of medieval manuscripts to the terracotta statues which grace many of our gardens, our relationship with creatures great and small, wild and domestic has been reproduced again and again in our visual culture.
An exhibition and sale at the Irish Architectural Archive this month displays the work of three hugely successful, and very different, contemporary painters of animals.
Peter Curling’s name is familiar to Irish art-lovers: he has been a leading figure in the market for sporting and equestrian art here for more than a quarter of a century. In his first show in Dublin since a sellout exhibition in 2005, he is exploring new media and new subjects. His idiosyncratic large canvases depicting horses in action – mud flying, nostrils flaring – will hang beside much smaller, more intimate landscapes from Tipperary, West Cork and southern France. There will also be some life studies and a group of recent portraits.
Dede Gold is originally from Waterford but has spent much of her working life in London and the Cotswolds. Following her most recent solo exhibition at The Sladmore Gallery in Mayfair in 2016, she has put together an impressive collection of canine characters, from soulful bulldogs to mischievous terriers, with the occasional equine interloper.
Exhibiting in Ireland for the first time, meanwhile, is Mark Coreth, the UK’s leading sculptor of animals. Amongst his many commissions are a shoal of rays in London’s docklands, a figure of a boatman outside Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and a life-sized bronze sculpture of the world-famous racehorse Frankel. Much of his recent work highlights the precarious balance in which our global eco-system is currently held, including the Ice Bear project, where he made an enormous polar bear skeleton and encased it in a giant block of ice. The ice was then allowed to melt as people touched it, revealing the haunting bronze skeleton inside.
For this exhibition Coreth will show more conventional animal sculptures, many of them inspired by a childhood spent on a farm in the Kenyan uplands.
Recent Work by Dede Gold, Mark Coreth and Peter Curling is at the Irish Architectural Archive from Friday, November 23rd, to Thursday, November 29th, 10am to 4pm, closed Sunday 25th.