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Contact: That was Then, This is Now - an exhibition of new work by the members of Contact Studios, Limerick opens on Thursday 9th November @ 7.30pm.  All are welcome. 

Contact Studios: That was Then, This is Now
Celebrating 20 Years of Contact Studios

Kathleen Bartlett – Julie Brazil – Ann Daly – Carl Doran –Maurice Foley – Ciaran Nash Anne Marie Morrin   
Gerry O' Mahony – Nuala O' Sullivan – Sheila Richardson - Sheila Stone – Isabella Walsh

Founded in 1997 by members of the Real Art Project (RAP) and the Mid-West Health Board (HSE), Contact Studios is the longest established independent visual art studio in Limerick. Contact Studios has provided a creative environment and work space for over 100 professional artists and has served as a major platform for graduates of Limerick School of Art & Design to stay and work in the city. Until October 2016, Artists paid rent for the studio not with money but with their time and talents, by providing tailored art classes for Le Chéile, a local mental health organisation.

Contact Studios: That was Then, This is Now, is a celebration of a studio that has contributed consistently and prodigiously to the Limerick arts community for 20 years, and provides a showcase for some of the best Art and Artists currently working in Limerick.

Having lost our studio space of 20 years on the grounds of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Mulgrave St. last July, we find ourselves in temporary accomodation, in the Cahill May Roberts Building, courtesy of Limerick City & County Council, and City Build. We have a commitment from the Council to provide a new facility, enabling artists – current and upcoming, to remain and work in the city.

Looking ahead, we intend to continue making Limerick City a realistic location in which to practice Art, to bring Art into the Public Domain by means of exhibitions and open days, and to engage with the public through providing services we are uniquely qualified for.

As a group who continuously adapt and evolve, we look to the Past and are proud of our achievements, while we look to the Future with determination and confidence.


Contact Studios Members’ Biographies

Anne Marie Morrin is a lecturer in Visual Art Education in the Mary Immaculate College. As a researcher and teacher, she is interested in interdisciplinary approaches to visual art education; educational environments as pedagogy; reflective journals and other forms of art based research. Before taking up her current position as in Visual Art Education at MIC, Anne Marie worked   in a variety of educational and cultural settings including, theatre, fashion industry, galleries, schools and community projects.
Morrin’s art practice directly influences her practice as a teacher – and vice versa. Within this binary role, Anne Marie places the role of practice and enquiry central to the acquisition of knowledge. Memory, place and identity, are themes she continue to explore.  

Carl Doran is originally from Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, and has been based in Limerick City since 1995. He is known primarily as a Visual Artist, and has been a member of Contact Studios since 1998. He has written and illustrated two books, ’Mathilda & the Belligerent Blackbird’, and this year, ‘Skippy’s Tale’, as part of the ‘Cats’ Tales’ series of works. He has undertaken a number of Public Commissions, including ‘Dogs’ Tales’ as part of Limerick City of Culture, ‘The Peoples’ Postcard Project’ in Ballymun, and ‘The Object Renewal Project as part of Welcome To The Neighbourhood with Askeaton Contemporary Art. www.carldoran.com

 Isabella Walsh is a multidisciplinary artist with a background as an archaeologist. She holds a BA in Fine Art (Printmaking and contemporary practice). A large part of her artistic work consists of documentary, expressing through different media, her response and interpretation of a place in time. During the last 11 months she has documented Contact Studios - through photography and collaboratively through writing and design of a short booklet. In this new space she has turned to drawing, both as a means of recording and of coming to terms with the encounter

Gerry O’Mahony A graduate of Limerick School of Art & Design, O’Mahony employs a vocabulary of symbols and characters in work which distorts the line between painting and drawing. The work though not allegorical, flows between the visible and the concealed, the effervescent and the obscure. He works in series, often on a number of paintings at a time, shifting back and forth between various pieces to create a body of work. The pieces in this exhibition explore the power of words to produce a positive or negative response.

Ciaran Nash works across many disciplines and presently investigates the language of protest movements and the history of civil disobedience. Select awards include Irish Arts Council Travel Bursaries in 2015 and 2017 and a Limerick Arts Office artist residence from 2017-'20. Nash’s work explores crossovers between mediums and creative genres, including sound art, performance, sculpture, and photography. Recent exhibitions and projects include performative and installation pieces as part of his 'Occupy_SomethingSometimeSomewhere' project which has been developed on a short residency at Art Lab Roja 2017 in Latvia and at both Mart Gallery and The Complex, Dublin in late 2016.

Kathleen Bartlett has been a member of Contact studios, Limerick, since 2013. A graduate of LSAD, her studio practice comprises painting, model-making, photography, video and sculptural work. Her work explores the phenomenology of ‘other’ spaces through practice-based fine art. The subject matter of her current work is the exploration of ruins and their intersection with the phenomenology of other spaces, with particular focus on an extensive case study of a recent ruin: Doonass House. Katybbartlett@gmail.com

Maurice Foley, originally from Kerry, graduated from Limerick College of Art in 2001. Since then, he has practised as a painter, and exhibited his work in solo and group exhibitions. He is a member of Contact Studios.

Nuala O’Sullivan is a Limerick based artist who uses both photography and painting in her work. Her art practice explores themes of identity and public persona and the aesthetic and culture of the 1950s holds a particular interest for her.   She has exhibited extensively in Ireland and abroad including Draiocht, Dublin; Church Gallery, LSAD; and Enniskillen Arts Festival. Group exhibitions include New York Foundation for the Arts, New York, ‘Essays from the House of Memory’, Ormston House, Limerick and ‘Personal Selection’ LSAD. www.nualaosullivan.com.

Sheila Richardson MFA Contemporary Irish Painter. The external world of landscape and still life mirrors my emotional interiority. I look to painting for ways of being. Journeys, life transitions, loss and solitude, relationships are current themes and are explored through symbolic imagery. I use brushes, palette knives and other mark making tools to manipulate the paint on the surface. I use acrylic paint as it dries quickly, so I can work spontaneously and intuitively. Colour is an important aspect of my work and illuminates rather than depicts. More recently art making has become a process of research and learning which informs not only the process of painting but my studies of the psychology of art and creativity. Cappamore Studio 2017
Co. Limerick

Julie Brazil is an artist based in Limerick city. She graduated from Crawford College of Art and Design with a BA in Fine Art Painting and continued her academic studies in the University of Limerick receiving her Doctorate in 2012. Julie is an art educator in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick and has been involved in art projects with Primary Schools including Studio Classroom. She was selected as Art Educator in Residence in the National Gallery of Ireland in 2015. Julie is a member of Contact Studios and exhibits extensively. Recent exhibitions include Make (2015) by art educators from MIC and LSAD; a collective show in Hive Emerging, Waterfordand a solo show Landslide (2015) in Leixlip library, Kildare. Her work is included in both public, including UL Art Collections, and private collections.

Ann Daly studied Fine Art at the College of Marketing and Design, Dublin graduating in 1992. Ann has exhibited in The Limerick City Gallery, Bourne Gallery - University of Limerick, Friarsgate Art Centre, Co. Limerick & Quay Arts, Co. Tipperary. She is currently represented in a leading London gallery alongside contemporary artists such as Tracey Emin, David Hockney and Bridget Riley. Ann works from her studio (Contact Studios, Limerick), painting landscapes of the West Coast with oil and wax using palette knives and brushes. She paints with instant passion in order to capture the fresh landscape of the sea. The canvas is worked layer upon layer, wet on wet developing an impasto effect. Working with the contrasts of light and dark, she is drawn to the moods of the west coast skies, sea and rocks and completely immerses herself of the memories of childhood where Ann finds the image most powerful. Her work is inspired by the layered and rough brush technique of older artists such as Rembrandt and more recently contemporary artists such as Paddy Graham and Donald Teskey. 

Sheila Stone. My work draws its influence from nature. I work in an intuitive way allowing the subconscious to guide my choice of colour and form. These paintings often reflect a quiet meditative quality which mirrors a personal interest in meditation. I am also a ceramic artist and for the past number years have divided my time between painting and ceramics. In the most recent body of work I have been exploring the possibility of combining ceramic montage in my multimedia paintings. Three years ago shocked by the terrible avoidable loss of life I created a ceramic mural comprised of 1,132 ceramic bas relief faces mounted on board. The purpose of this art work was to visually draw attention to the plight of these workers. The name of this mural is Faceless it commemorates the 1,132 people killed when a garment factory in Rana Plaza in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed in April 2013.