Exhibition by artist Mairead Holohan at Ballymaloe Grainstore for the month of June 2018
An exhibition entitled ‘Around the Mountain’ is a response to the area of south Carlow that Mairead currently lives in. She is inspired by the country-life around her, particularly the vanishing world of rural Ireland. As a Kilkenny woman, she moved to this part of Carlow in 2003 to live the country dream with her husband and daughter. This area was as close to unspoiled as she could find without moving to the west.
Her house and studio are surrounded by high stone walls reminiscent of the west of Ireland. It is a forgotten Ireland in some ways. Here there are fields full of horses, ancient tractors once loved still used from time to time that speak of quieter, gentler, slower days, old stone buildings with rusty corrugated roofs and beautifully wrought Iron gates with layers of paint. All these things hold memories of the people who lived and used them.
Objects in their natural environment hold the essence of the lives lived in that place. The old stories are vanishing as the oral tradition are disappearing with the older generations. In her own visual artwork, Mairead tries to capture that essence. She also likes to paint the mystical landscapes of the bogs and beautiful, vibrant colorful flowers.
While combining art making with tutoring she has been developing her skills as a watercolor artist she is particularly interested in how watercolor behaves, the uniqueness of waterbased paint, the core of what watercolor is. How best to use this medium to convey an essence. To work with it and accept what it gives Her. While the subject matter is quite often secondary to her and not of utmost importance to her she is particularly interested in what the paint does.
She is most interested in developing her own style and feels that her recent selection as a finalist in the Royal Watercolour Society Contemporary Exhibition, 2017, in the Bankside gallery has given her a huge boost as she is going in the right direction.
Mairead is a native of Kilkenny who now lives in rural South Carlow, at the foot of the Blackstairs. She has a purpose-built studio in one of the most scenic parts of Carlow, not far from beautiful St. Mullins. She runs workshops in painting and Silk scarf painting there on demand.
Mairead has a varied and interesting life, preferring to go with the flow and live creatively. She lived in London in the Eighties where she worked in fashion and as a sales exec for a photo library as well as running an antique shop in west London. For a period in the nineties, she worked with horses in Ireland.
Following a serious fall from a horse, she returned to painting.
She now enjoys the tranquility of rural Ireland, where she can combine her two great passions, horses and painting. She is married to a market gardener and has two children.
She works part-time as a community Education art and craft facilitator with a variety of groups as a Community Education tutor for Kilkenny/Carlow ETB, KCAT School for students of all abilities and on the Artists panel for the Butler
Gallery and the DCCOI. She is also on the panel for External Authenticators for QQI art and Design for ETB’s in the area.
She also works part-time as a Carer for Camphill, Jerpoint.