Over the last ten years a number of contemporary artists, taking the castle as their base, have been invited to venture out into the surrounding terrain and to bring back a 'sketchbook' of visual images about whatever aspect of the Connemara landscape has particularly engaged their attentions. The books, published with Occasional Press, recording these encounters are unique accounts of personal expeditions, each giving us a new insight into that wild and beautiful Atlantic landscape.
The latest of these works is a collect “In Connemara” by Mick O’Dea RHA and it formed the greater part of the principal visual arts exhibition this year at the 40th Clifden Community Arts Festival.
A unique evening of talks and discussion with Mick O'Dea followed by dinner will be held at Ballynahinch Castle on the 23rd of November. O’Dea, will share his story, his adventures and insights into his many works.
Check in is from 3pm onwards with the talk commencing at 5.30pm followed by dinner in the Owenmore Restaurant.
Born in Ennis, County Clare in 1958, Mick O’Dea studied at the National College of Art and Design and the University of Massachusetts from 1976 to 1981. In 1997 he was awarded an M.A. in European Fine Art from the Winchester School of Art having studied in Barcelona and Winchester.
Mick O’Dea is the current President of Royal Hibernian Academy and follows in the footsteps of former Presidents Carey Clarke, Stephen McKenna, Des McMahon and Arthur Gibney.
His skill as a portrait painter has brought him many commissions, including ones from Hong Kong, Europe and the USA. He has been commissionedand recently completed the official portrait of President Michael D Higgins, which will hang in Leinster House throughout his term of office and will move to Áras an Uachtaráin after his departure from office. He is currently completing a commission for Ballynahinch Castle of the late Nobel Laurette Seamus Heaney, which will hang in the hotel.
As a landscape artist he is consciously receptive to the ever shifting patterns of light. All his work is at once energetic and contemplative, multidirectional yet focused, coloured sparingly yet luxuriant. He generates a sense of urgency which is translated and made manifest by the quality and the immediacy of his work.