Two worlds meet at the F.E. McWilliam Gallery

Crowds gathered at the F.E. McWilliam Gallery recently to mark the opening of a new exhibition, entitled Between Two Worlds: David Crone, Mark McGreevy and Dougal McKenzie.

Featuring the work of three well known artists, all of whom have strong connections to Northern Ireland, the show is a vibrant celebration of contemporary painting.

The exhibition was opened by Anne Stewart, Curator of Fine Art at National Museums Northern Ireland who is a great supporter of the Gallery and a member of the Programming Committee. Councillor Olive Mercer, Chairman of Banbridge District Council, welcomed the artists and public, in her first official role at the Gallery.

David Crone, arguably the best known of the three, was born in Belfast in 1937 and has long been admired as one of the most talented and respected painters in Ireland. He has also had a long teaching career, first at Annadale Grammar School, Belfast, and then at the University of Ulster where he was lecturer in painting from 1975-2001. Through his teaching Crone has had more influence on Irish painting than the majority of his contemporaries.

Born in Dromore in 1975 and based in Dublin since 2005, Mark McGreevy was a pupil of David Crone’s at the University of Ulster. He takes inspiration from the computer games, comics, music and fashions of his teenage years from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s. His vibrant palette, featuring neon pink, sherbet yellow and day-glow green is strikingly unusual in Irish art.

Born in Edinburgh in 1968 and educated at the Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, Dougal McKenzie first moved to Northern Ireland in 1990 and now lives in Banbridge. After periods of teaching in Limerick and Newry, he has recently returned to the University of Ulster as a lecturer in painting. McKenzie also takes inspiration from the popular culture of his childhood and youth. Yet, his interest in history extends beyond his own experience to particular events which have included 1746 Battle of Culloden and the Munich Olympics of 1972.

Also attending the opening were two artists whose work is currently on display in the F.E. McWilliam Sculpture Garden. The monumental work 7500 by Shane Donaldson, a 20 year old student from the University of Ulster is made from 7500 nails and railway sleepers. Donaldson’s work is a striking addition to the garden and promises to be very popular with visitors. Laura Graham’s tower Whitewash, is both a sculpture and sound installation based on the Bleacher’s Watchtowers that were once a familiar part of the linen industry. A recording of sounds associated with the preparation and weaving of linen, including scrutching and the workings of a hand loom, is a haunting reminder of a lost way of life.

Gallery Curator, Dr Riann Coulter said, “It has been a great pleasure working with these artists and with Feargal O’Malley, who has co-curated Between Two Worlds. I think both the exhibition and the work in the garden will be popular and we look forward to welcoming both local visitors and tourists to the Gallery over the summer months.”

Between Two Worlds: David Crone, Mark McGreevy and Dougal McKenzie, runs from June 22 – August 31.