Stunning exhibition reveals enduring popularity of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way among the nation's artists

Stunning exhibition reveals enduring popularity of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way among the nation's artists

A NEW exhibition allows visitors to experience the beauty and drama of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way as perceived by a range of artists from across the country.

The Hunt Musum in Limerick this month launched A Wild Atlantic Way, a series of atmospheric and strikingly evocative paintings by 30 artists.

The exhibition, which runs until October 2021, features work created between the 1800’s and 2019 by Irish born artists or artists drawn to Ireland by the beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way.

12 Bens, View of Connemara, Paul Henry (PIC: Estate of Paul Henry)

“This major exhibition accentuates traditional habits and ways of life - remembering people and history through painting,” the museum explains.

The inspiration for the exhibition first came to Naomi O’Nolan, Head of Exhibitions at the museum, when she spent time on the West Coast of Ireland during the first lockdown of 2020.

A Fair Day, Roundstone, Maurice MacGonigal (PIC: Estate of Maurice MacGonigal)

“For centuries, the majestical West of Ireland and the uniqueness of its coastline has attracted artists from all over the world,” she explained.

“This exhibition focuses on the allure of the West Coast of Ireland to artists both past and present and how they have captured the ways of life and customs of people living and working on the coastline as well as the power and the beauty of the land and seascape.”

Night at Claddagh, 1933, Lilian Davidson (PIC: Estate of Lillian Davidson)

The variety of artistic practice ranges from the earliest work in the exhibition, Samuel Lover’s The Kelp Burners (1835) to Donald Teskey’s ‘Turn in the Weather’ (2016) and John Shinnor’s portrayal of Loop Head (2019), which the museum claims “bear testament to the enduring attraction of the West of Ireland to artists”.

The theme of travel is further illustrated in the exhibition with a selection of illustrated travel books by artists and travellers from the 19th century to today.

“A Wild Atlantic Way offers a glimpse into how artists viewed and still view the West and the different approaches they take when responding to it, through their mastery in many different styles and techniques,” the museum confirms.

The exhibition opening on July 9 was timely too, as Limerick has just been designated as a Wild Atlantic Way Gateway City by Failte Ireland.

Jill Cousins, Director at The Hunt Museum, said: “As Limerick seeks to create new and improved visitor experiences, we’re delighted to present this major exhibition, endorsed by Failte Ireland and linked to Limerick’s new designation as a Wild Atlantic Way Gateway City.

“It will  give visitors another reason to visit the city. With so many themes explored and works by very well-known artists, this staycation-inspired exhibition really has something for everyone.”

Galway Girl by Alfred Fripp

A show of both national and international significance, the exhibition will feature approximately 50 works, many from private collections which are not normally available for public viewing, together with some pertinent pieces from National Cultural Institutions.

Over the summer, The Hunt Museum will host numerous events and activities to support the exhibition, including: Family workshops, En Plein Air with local artists such as John Shinnors and Charlie Harper, a Masterclass in Landscape painting with Joseph Kelly, podcasts by experts and the living artists alongside online lectures and talks.

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