Salon Éire 100 presents 16 Letters: an exhibition of paintings by Geraldine O’Sullivan in association with the Irish Repertory Theatre, New York

Geraldine O'Sullivan
Geraldine O’Sullivan

Geraldine O’Sullivan is a Cork-based artist who has had numerous solo exhibitions and has been included in many group exhibitions in Ireland and the UK. In May 2016, her “16 Letters” exhibition will be featured in Salon Éire 100, which is produced by Alison McKenna. The exhibition forms part the engaging Salon Éire 100 line up of events and work by contemporary Irish artists. All of the events reflect on and celebrate one hundred years of Irish culture.

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Geraldine told us about the artworks she has created, inspired by letters from the Letters of 1916 project and may be described as Lifescapes:

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MARIE MARTIN TO MARY MARTIN
Marie Martin to her mother, Mary Martin

The exhibition of lifescape collages entitled “16 Letters” is based on letters carefully selected from the Letters of 1916 collection. The letters sent to, from and within Ireland give a sense of profound context to the extraordinary and ordinary historical events of this time. The lifescapes portray the personal and subjective written testimonies of the writers. Within the wider context of contemporary events of this pivotal period in Irish history the lifescapes transform the ordinary everyday banalities of life into multilayered images.

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Geraldine been researching the letters since 2014 and has selected sixteen letters from which the 16 lifescapes grew. Together, the letter and artwork add new perspectives to the events of the period and allow us to understand what it was like to live an ordinary life through what were extraordinary times.

Lady Clonbrock to Mrs Budson
Lady Clonbrock to Mrs Budson

“All too often our emphasis is on the grand narrative, focusing on key political figures. But as we approach the centenary of the Easter Rising, we want to try to get a sense of how ordinary people coped with one of the most pivotal periods in contemporary Irish history. The Letters of 1916 project which has been created by the public for the public has been an invaluable resource. The letters add a new perspective to the events of the period and give a rare insight to life during this historic era. This is the source from which my lifescape paintings have emerged.”

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“It is my intention to highlight the mundane and at times comical events mentioned in the letters, to create a balance between the serious and occasionally tragic events and the ordinary everyday lives depicted through the correspondence. The sixteen lifescapes cover life before, during and after the Easter Rising, Irish involvement in World War 1, and commercial and domestic daily life.

Charlie Martin to his mother, Mary Martin
Charlie Martin to his mother, Mary Martin

My work is collage based mixed media paintings which is an ideal media to create the lifescapes referred to in the letters.

The viewer will be curious and will want to find out more about the subject matter of the paintings. “16 Letters” will be of interest to schoolchildren and adults alike. I would like the exhibition to be almost like a Facebook news feed – random, but awakening the viewersʼ curiosity.

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16 Letters Invite
16 Letters Invite

The “16 Letters” exhibition will open on 25 May 2016 in association with the Irish Repertory Theatre, New York and will run for four weeks under the banner of Salon Eire 100, a multi venue three month event.

LOCATION:

Irish Repertory Theatre
132 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011 (view on Maps)

The “16 Letters” exhibition will return to Ireland in August 2016.

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