For the month of July art and geography combine in two distinctly different exhibitions at Blue House Gallery, Schull. Firstly, artists from the now long established D.I.T Degree Course on Sherkin Island will be shown in an exhibition that charts the development of this singular initiative in bringing third level learning to a remote outpost of Europe, the island community of Sherkin. Since the course was established in 2001 it has attracted mature students from all over the region. Artists from the course who have become widely known include Diarmuid Breen, Janet Murran, Donagh Carey and Tess Leak, whose collective work emphasises a profound sense of place and technical mastery. There is a darkness in the work of these artists who studied on Sherkin and it contrasts with the lighter tones to be found in the work of many metropolitan artists, begging the question: ‘Is there some residual or inherent melancholy to be found embedded in the landscape of the island and all that it has experienced, here evoked by those who were tutored there?’
Following on from the Sherkin Show, the village of Allihies and the artists who live there come together in an exhibition that emphasises difference rather than common origins. The earthy exuberance of Cormac Boydell contrasts with the austere liniarity of Charlie Tyrrell as though they hardly shared a common tongue, while Tim Goulding explores his surroundings with a Zen-like sense of essences, shades upon shades of drifting membranes cast upon the landscape which is, in fact, a reiteration of that evoked by the Sherkin painters. From Danny Osborne’s fissures belching magma to Goulding’s gorse fires, the precariousness of all life is held in suspense.
The small Boiler Room Gallery, tucked away upstairs, shows first Frieda Meaney in a solo exhibition of recent work, and later, a small Terry Searle memorial exhibition, following his recent death. Terry devoted many years to guiding and sustaining the West Cork Arts Centre when it was in North St., before it metamorphosed into the rusty charms of Uillinn.