Exhibition of works by Kilkenny-based artist opens in French chateau

Correspondances’ an exhibition of work curated by Ciara Hambly, director of the leading cross-border gallery and cultural centre, Hambly and Hambly, has opened as part of a new international partnership between the Fermanagh-based gallery and the historic Château de Dampierre in France and continues until June 19.

The opening of the exhibition allowed Hambly and Hambly to showcase the work of renowned Kilkenny-based artist, Eamon Colman, an elected member of Aosdána, as well as the work of world-class Irish artists, Katarzyna Gajewska (Dublin/Poland) and Gary Robinson. (Lonford).

Visual artists Gajewska and Robinson, Belfast-based songwriter and musician Clara Tracey were recipients of the first John Richardson memorial French Residency Award, established by Hambly and Hambly in memory of the gallery’s director, the late Ciara Hambly’s father, John, who supported her wholeheartedly. creative efforts to promote the arts.

The scholarship offered winning artists a two-week residency under the mentorship of Eamon Colman in the idyllic French village of Dampierre sur Boutonne. The inaugural artistic residency ended with “Correspondances”, the public exhibition and showcase of the artists’ work in the castle gallery and the original gardens of the Château de Dampierre.

Irish musicians Rory Pierce (renowned composer and multi-instrumentalist) and Brid Cannon (violin) played at the opening of “Correspondances”, which takes its title from the poem by Charles Baudelaire, the French poet who broke tradition and romantic rules by adopting new models of modern poetry. The poem is widely seen as a tribute to nature and our multi-sensory response to it, drawing inspiration from how everything in life is interconnected and interdependent, how one sense enhances the other.

“Correspondences” also alludes to the correspondences between the paintings of the three artists and the way they speak to each other; their relationship also with the music of Rory Pierce’s Iona Sound trio, who gave an intimate concert of classical and folk music on the opening night of the exhibition. More importantly, the title of the exhibition is a nod to the emerging “Correspondences” and the artistic cordial understanding between Hambly & Hambly and Le Château de Dampierre, between Ireland and France and their new beginnings.

Hambly and Hambly director Ciara Hambly said the ultimate aim of the residency and exhibition was to give artists from both north and south of the Irish border the opportunity to develop their practice and showcase their working on an international platform.

“The John Richardson French Residency Award is a huge opportunity for Irish art. Our aim is to support world-class Irish artists, bring them together from north and south of the border and propel them onto the international stage. It’s something I’m very passionate about because I feel like Irish art isn’t celebrated enough internationally yet,” Ciara said.

About 400 artists from all disciplines applied for the 2022 grants which were selected by a panel of 10 judges. Even more candidates are expected to apply for the 2023 residency in the disciplines of visual arts, music and literature following the success of this year’s program.

Kilkenny-based scholarship judge, artist and mentor Eamon Colman, former president of the European Council of Artists, said the award was a unique opportunity for artists.

“Ireland as a nation has excellent residency programs but very few international opportunities. This is a great opportunity for emerging Irish artists to develop their work and for Ireland to build its artistic relationship with the France. I have immense admiration for all that Hambly & Hambly have done since they created the gallery six years ago. It took a lot of work to get this residency off the ground and it should be applauded. opportunities it has opened up have been exciting for me both as a mentor and an artist, and it has exposed the scholarship recipients to new international audiences,” said Eamon.

Fellowship-winning visual artist Gary Robinson said the “full residency experience was unforgettable” for him. “Having the time to focus, reflect on my process and simply create new art in this small French village was amazing. I would highly recommend artists of all disciplines to apply for the 2023 residency and would like to thank Ciara for all his hard work creating this brilliant and unique opportunity for artists to consider,” said Gary.

Musician and songwriter, Clara Tracey, who has been invited back to France to perform at nearby Chateau Mornay later this month following her thrilling outdoor performance on the opening weekend of the exhibition, said the experience had been “dreamlike” allowing her to infuse her imagination with the rhythms and landscapes of a sleepy French village.

“The whole experience was absolutely magical. I had never been able to set up a complete studio outside before this residency. I found myself composing with the birds in the garden and tasting the bells of the 11th century church up the street. I know I will always have a special connection to this village, the surrounding region and the castles, and am forever grateful to Ciara and the John Richardson Residence for leading me here,” Clara said.

Visual artist Katarzyna Gajewska, who was unable to participate in the residency due to illness, said she was delighted to have received the grant and to see her work exhibited in an exhibition with artists from high caliber like Colman and Robinson.

The exhibition continues at the Château de Dampierre until June 19.

Applications for the Hambly and Hambly, 2023 John Richardson Memorial French Residency open June 1. For application information pack, email frenchresidency@gmail.com

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