Tag Archives: dry stone walls

Inis Oírr – A Reflection, Ivan McMahon

The Aran Islands have been a source of inspiration to artists for generations. One of the first people to photograph them was John Millington Synge whose images, made around the turn of the 20th century, centred on the islanders and their daily lives. More recently, in 2007, Irish painter Sean Scully produced his exhibition and book Walls of Aran, which focused on the iconic and timeless dry stone walls that criss-cross the islands.

 Film-maker and photographer Ivan McMahon has created a series of photograph which comprise striking black and white landscapes of Inis Oírr. McMahon’s photographs are closer to the work of Scully than Synge but have their own potent and distinctive visual stamp. They might more accurately be described as rockscapes rather than landscapes as McMahon explores the tones and textures of rock formations that have been shaped and sculpted for millennia by sea, weather, and time.

McMahon has titled all his images after deities and figures from Irish mythology.  He is interested in natural, rather than man-made, structures though ‘Na Sídh’ presents a dramatic interplay between the two as hulking, fissured slabs of cliff are sandwiched between low rocky walls at the top and bottom of the image. Elsewhere, natural forms seem to echo man made ones as in ‘Dagda’ which suggests ancient castellated battlements, or perhaps the prow of a mighty stone ship projecting outward toward the sea.

The catalogue carries two resonant quotations about the work; from The Iliad there is ‘Gods are hard for mortals to recognise’ and from renowned French photographer Robert Doisneau there is ‘To suggest is to create; to describe is to destroy’.

InisOirrNaSiedhIvanMcMahon

 Inis Oírr – A Reflection (Ivan McMahon photographs) exhibition runs at the Town Hall Theatre bar in Galway throughout January 2018.

Where grass is grass, where stone is stone

Where grass is grass and not cut every month. Where stone is stone and is not polished.

Sean Scully

Words and Image: Sean Scully, Walls of Aran (2007)

Loose schedule for 4 day sketch out during Feile na gCloch

Féile na gClochsketchers

Feile na gCloch 2017

4 day Sketch-Out Loose Schedule

Thursday 14th Sept

If you arrive early, you might like to enjoy casual sketching along the shore line beyond Tigh Ned’s from 2pm – 4pm.

An Halla 4.30-7PM Welcome and talks (see brochure). An Halla is in the school up behind the sports ground. It is roughly located at number 3 on the map (see below).

Friday

Morning 9am – 1pm sketching the Plassy shipwreck. Meet at 9am sharp at An Halla. The shipwreck is about a 20 minute walk. We will leave An Halla at 9.10am. If you are late, please make your own way to the sketching location. Beyond the beach, walk out past the airport, keeping left along tarmac roads.

(Raining option – Aras Éanna exhibitions. Aras Éanna arts centre is sign-posted from the villages. It is a large grey building towards the west of the island)

Lunch – in Tigh Ned’s down near the harbour

Afternoon 2pm – 4pm sketching the beach and Harbour. Meet on the harbour wall at 2pm. If late, make your own way to the sketching location and get stuck in.

(Raining option – Tigh Ned’s near the harbour)

5PM-7PM talks at An Halla including ‘Tales of the Inis Oírr Zibaldone. Exploring worlds through an artist’s notebook” by sketcher’s Jessica Peel-Yates and James Moore at 6pm.

Dinner Tigh Ruairi 8PM (Dinner not included in price of the weekend)

Social gathering after dinner Tigh Ned’s or Tigh Ruairi’s

Optional – performance by MacDara at Áras Éanna at 9pm. MacDara Ó Conaola is an authentic and highly renowned traditional and sean-nós singer from Inis Oírr. The concert will last one hour. Aras Éanna arts centre is sign-posted from the villages. It is a large grey building towards the west of the island.

Saturday

Morning 9am – 1pm sketching at O’Brien’s Castle / Caislean Ui Bhriain. Meet at 9am sharp at An Halla. O’Brien’s Castle is about a 10 minute walk. We will leave An Halla at 9.10am. If you are late, please make your own way to the sketching location. Follow the tarmac road between the sports field and the campsite, turning right up the hill at the sign to the Seaweed Cafe and continue up the hill.

(Raining Option – Cafe Una near the harbour)

Lunch – in Tigh Ned’s down near the harbour

Afternoon 2pm – 4pm Sketching the Dry Stone Wallers

(Raining option – TBC)

Dinner Tigh Ruairi 8PM (Dinner not included in price of the weekend)

Social gathering after dinner Tigh Ned’s or Tigh Ruairi’s

Sunday

9 am – 1pm Sketching Teampall Chaomháin, the sunken church. Meet at 9am sharp at An Halla. Teampall Chaomháin  is about a 10 minute walk. We will leave An Halla at 9.10am. If you are late, please make your own way to the sketching location. Beyond the beach, look out for the gravetones on a small hill.