‘Home Grown’ art in Banbridge

Dougal McKenzie's Through the Fog of History.
Dougal McKenzie's Through the Fog of History.

ESTABLISHED and emerging artists from the Banbridge District are showcasing their work in an exhibition that will highlight the extent of local talent, writes Barbara Fegan.

‘Home Grown’, which opens this Saturday at the F.E. McWilliam Gallery & Studio includes the works of a number of Southern Regional College staff, previous staff and past students.

Dr Riann Coulter, Curator at the Gallery said it is an exhibition focused entirely on local artists. She said: “F.E McWilliam is by far the most well known artist from Banbridge and the point of the exhibition taking place at the gallery means that it is linked to the town.”

‘Home Grown’ will include works from 27 artists, including familiar figures such as Mark McGreevy, Paddy Bloomer, Robert Peters and Jasper McKinney, emerging talents such as Joanne Proctor and locals who are making careers in England, including Jason Mulligan and Lisa Castagner.

Dr Coulter said that the vast range of artists made for an interesting display, and that it is also worthwhile for art students from the area to come and see it. She added that local shows can be quite difficult to exhibit because it is always a hard selection when it comes to choosing work, but she was lucky to have a group of people who submitted great pieces.

“We wanted to vary the work at the exhibition and a lot of the pieces are linked to Banbridge, some artists submitted smaller pieces while others used the space in the gallery,” she said.

“It is a specific space and some people have used it for their work.” Themes of the exhibition include momentum, energy, experience and connection, which are all related to the Gallery and Banbridge District. Dr Coulter believes it will be a very popular exhibition, and because the art is for sale, would make great Christmas presents.

“It’s going to be very diverse, people wont like everything as everyone has different tastes but I am sure that many pieces will stand out. People always like to see work by local artists as the connections and friendships have already been made.”

Dr Coulter adds that it was a great experience getting to know new and young artists, she said: “It’s been a great way to encourage the artists just out of college and what an achievement to be able to showcase alongside established artists too.

“Dougal McKenzie, who used to teach in Newry is showcasing his work alonside some of his former pupils, which I think is great. I am excited to show his work as I have always liked it.”

The Exhibition which will be opened by Roisin McDonough, CEO of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland is running from Saturday 10 December - 11 February 2012. This is a free event and a true celebration of local talent.