Saturday, May 30, 2020

An exciting exhibition of artwork by students on the GMIT Mayo BA in Contemporary Art Practices course will be unveiled online, instead of on campus, going live on Zoom on Friday, June 5 at 6pm.

This will be the first of several virtual exhibitions this summer, showcasing the work of GMIT design and creative arts students.

The first virtual exhibition by 12 final year part-time students features a dedicated website for each artist and a catalogue of the works which can be viewed 24/7 on

This year’s graduate exhibition stands out not just because of Covid-19 enforced restrictions but also because this year marks a milestone in the history of part-time course delivery on campus says Dr Deirdre Garvey, Head of Lifelong Learning, GMIT Mayo. “2020 marks the 21st year of our provision of access to part-time art education in the region. In 1999, the Mayo campus enrolled its first students on the Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art and today we celebrate this exhibition with the students of the Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary Art Practices.”

This four-year part-time degree course is delivered over one full day and one evening per week on the Mayo Campus. Students’ work culminates in this important end of year degree exhibition – the highlight of their studies and practice.

Painting lecturer Denis Farrell explains: “Each student writes their own artist’s statement about their work, participates in publishing a catalogue, and curates their art as part of a collective exhibition.  With the outbreak of the pandemic, this all suddenly had to go online, but the students rose to the task.”

Lecturer John Mulloy says: “Using the tools available to us, we managed to replicate as closely as possible the experience of a group exhibition in a free and easily accessible online format.“

Painting lecturer Hazel Walker, adds “To bring this year’s exhibition to fruition is a testament to how effectively this group of students worked together, creating a real sense of community among themselves.”

 Works in the exhibition include paintings, sculpture, mixed media, audio and video on themes ranging from the natural world and built environment to interpersonal relationships, personal identity and emotional experiences.

Naturally, many of the students have responded to the Mayo landscape as their central theme. This can be seen in Emma Donoghue’s paintings, looking at patterns and textures on beaches and hills, while Michael McGuinness is interested in the play of colour and light on the mountains. The weather and its impact on old buildings feature in Rosemarie Norton’s work, while Clare O’Sullivan uses the view of the landscape through a window as a recurring theme in her work.  Lisa McDonnell-Gonzales pays tribute to the natural world through paintings and ritualised events inspired by her Navajo-Cherokee heritage.  The idea of history is central to Luci Kershaw’s work, exploring traces of the past in paint, video, audio and text through story-telling and image-making.

 Several students have engaged in a more abstract approach to painting, such as Mona Curry, who explores the very idea of mark-making, and Breda Flynn whose work reveals various cycles of composition, developing a dialogue between abstraction and form. Sharon Whitney Wynne’s paintings are inspired by her love of fashion and textiles, using strong, bright and bold colours, while Oisin Gannon’s paintings and sculptures are part of an attempt to explore himself and his journey through life. By contrast, Samir Mahmood’s work is conceptual, interdisciplinary and research oriented, engaging with various materials, textures, objects, video, text and unfinished artworks, while Elaine Cunningham’s pieces invite the viewer to examine what is beyond the surface of her suspended translucent woven objects.

 Dr Garvey adds “Access to third level education in the region is our remit, our raison d’être. 139 students have graduated to date, 139 people who otherwise might not have access to art education, 139 artists contributing to the development of the region and creating a vibrant community of visual artists.”


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