Art shows bring world to village


Paintings by the late Derek Hill feature alongside tapestries by a local woman from south-west Donegal at an exhibition running over the Christmas holidays at the Artists' Resource Centre in Ardara.

The village of 600 people is fortunate to have a venue where works by artists of international repute have been shown over the past three years in a building once used as a carpenter's warehouse.

The exhibition, In Tandem III, which runs until December 31st, features work by Derek Hill and tapestry artist Margaret Cunningham, and paintings by Emma Louise Johnson, who has also worked as a curator of exhibitions at Ardara.

A local man, Mr John Cunningham, opened the resource centre in 1997 after returning from Spain where he completed an MA in fine art. Attendance at opening nights tends to be better than at most Dublin galleries, he says.

The policy is to show the best of local art, but to place it in context. "There is no reason it can't be shown alongside the work of major international artists," he says.

Not just an exhibition space, he says, it is a "much more involved enterprise", and part of the reasoning is to entice people out to see modern art by showing it alongside work by people they might know. "People will go to see work by neighbours, friends or colleagues and you then introduce them to another way of looking at things."

The resource centre, located in Wood Road, also has studio spaces, darkroom facilities and a sculpture garden in addition to the exhibition space. Funding from various sources, including the Donegal local development company, helped to pay for renovations to the disused warehouse.

Mr Cunningham says In Tandem III, the third instalment in a programme of contemporary visual art, is in fact three separate but interrelated shows.

Derek Hill, who died earlier this year after making Donegal his home for many years, is represented by a seascape of Tory Island and a portrait of his gardener, Eddie Moore. Hill donated his art collection and his house to the State and the works are on loan from Duchas.

Margaret Cunningham is a tapestry artist from Glen colmcille. She has recently returned from exhibiting her work in New York. Influenced by the dramatic landscape of her native county, her tapestries are now included in public and private collections in Ireland and abroad.

Originally from Limerick, Emma Louise Johnson has also exhibited nationally and internationally, and a selection of her work includes Abstract Studies and Natural Disaster Series.

The exhibition is open from 10.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday .