ON Friday an excited crowd gathered at the F.E. McWilliam Gallery to witness the opening of the gallery’s latest exhibition celebrating the outstanding work of Banbridge born sculptor F.E. McWilliam.
Entitled The Artist’s Overcoat: Exploring the Studio and Collections of F.E. McWilliam, this is the second exhibition focusing on the artist to be held at the F.E. McWilliam Gallery since it opened in September 2008.
The previous exhibition entitled, F.E. McWilliam at Banbridge was curated by Dr Denise Ferran, and featured a stunning selection of work from throughout the sculptor’s career confirming the breadth, quality and inventiveness of his oeuvre. Dr Ferran was invited to officially open the new exhibition and expressed her delight at seeing so much of McWilliam’s work together again.
This exhibition draws on the collections of the F.E. McWilliam Gallery & Studio. They consist primarily of the contents of McWilliam’s studio, originally sited in Holland Park, London, and donated to the State after the sculptor’s death in 1992. Banbridge District Council was designated as the custodians of the donation, which in turn led to the development and construction of the F.E. McWilliam Gallery & Studio. The studio’s contents range from carvings, maquettes, master models, drawings and sketch books to chisels, work benches, aprons and overcoats.
By focusing on McWilliam’s studio and its contents, this project allows many items that are usually in storage, owing either to their condition or simply to lack of space to be put on display for the public to enjoy. It also highlights the research and conservation that are an essential and on-going part of the work at the F.E. McWilliam Gallery. Displaying source material, sketch books and drawings alongside maquettes, master models and finished works provides an unprecedented opportunity to trace McWilliam’s creative process and reveals insights into his techniques and materials that are both fascinating and relevant to the future care and conservation of the collections.
The exhibition also contains work by thirteen students from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. Trevor Bacon, Caoimhe Barry, Michelle Costello, Ciaran Doyle, Ann Ensor, Daisy Gaffney, Kaylin Hackett, Josh Joyce, Aoibhin Killeen, Clare Martin, Sinead Purcell, Fi Rooney and Denis Shankey Smith, have all created new work that relates in various ways to their experience of visiting the Gallery and engaging with McWilliam’s work. These injections of contemporary practice bring a valuable experimental element to the exhibition that resonates with McWilliam’s own delight in trying new materials, processes and themes.
Curator Dr Riann Coulter commented, “We are delighted to be able to revisit F.E. McWilliam’s work and remind the public of his great talent. This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the extent of the Gallery’s collections and reveal some of the research and conservation that we have carried out in the last few years. I am particularly grateful to all the NCAD students and their tutors Sarah Browne and Prof. Philip Napier for their enthusiasm and hard work”.
The exhibition continues until Sunday 9 June 2013. Gallery opening times are Monday - Saturday 10.00am - 5.00pm and Sundays 1.00pm-5.00pm (June-July-August only).
For further information please contact F.E. McWilliam Gallery & Studio T: 028 4062 3322 or E: email@example.com or visit the website at www.femcwilliam.com