• Gems from the Butler Gallery Collection: Echoes of the Past and Whispers of the Future

    Exhibition January 12th – February 24th 2013Michael Farrell

    This exhibition was been curated by the Butler Gallery Adult Critics and Red Square Critics’ Group.

    From the foundation of a modest collection of nineteenth century watercolours, donated to the Kilkenny Art Gallery Society by George Pennefather in 1943, the Butler Gallery permanent collection has since continued to flourish through gift, loan and purchase. The Butler Gallery has an on-going commitment to keep this diverse collection fluid, exhibited and enjoyed by the public. The collection will soon have its own home in a dedicated wing of the new location of the Butler Gallery at Evans Home, opening this extraordinary resource in a more permanent way to the people of Kilkenny and its visitors.

    In the spirit of the enthusiasm with which this collection began, at the hands of the people of Kilkenny, the Gallery has invited two groups formed within its Education Programme to delve into this rich resource making their selection to shape the first exhibition of 2013, a year which also marks the 70th Anniversary of the Butler Gallery. Red Square has been active since 2010, inviting 15-19 year olds to explore and critique the arts in Kilkenny. The Butler Gallery Adult Critics first came together during the Bealtaine Festival in May 2012, because of a shared interest in learning more about contemporary visual art. The group met regularly during the summer months, first collaborating with the Red Square Young Critics during the Kilkenny Arts Festival.

    In considering their approach to this exhibition, which opens on the cusp of 2013, the group sought to recognise the simultaneous existence of hope at a time when darkness can surround us, both literally and metaphorically, seeking out work that was at once fragile, yet full of strength. This selection features works that have become beloved favourites of the people of Kilkenny, as well as work newly acquired by the Gallery in 2010 and 2012.  Through their selection, the group wished to reflect the broad character of the collection, embracing a variety of genres and artists such as Mainie Jellet, Patrick Scott, Michael Farrell, Tony O’Malley, Aideen Barry and James Turrell.

    This exhibition marks the groups’ first foray into the curatorial process, working together with curatorial mentor Maeve Mulrennan (Galway Arts Centre) and supported by Butler Gallery Education Curator Bairbre-Ann Harkin and Director Anna O’Sullivan.


    Thurs. 31st Jan 11am | Butler Gallery, Kilkenny Castle
    Tour, Talk and Tea: A Legacy of Strength
    A conversation, exploring the legacy of the trailblazing women artists featured in the exhibition.

    Sat. 16th Feb 11am
    Mayor’s Walk: The Butler Gallery Collection
    Mayor Sean O’hArgain hosted a guided walk, with members of this Butler Gallery curatorial team, visiting work from the Butler Gallery Collection currently on loan to public buildings and businesses around Kilkenny City and finishing with a visit to Gems from the Butler Gallery Collection: Echoes from the Past and Whispers of the Future at the Butler Gallery.

    Thurs. 21st Feb 7pm | The Heritage Council
    When Art Gets Political…
    Taking Michael Farrell’s work Presse Irelandaise  as a point of departure, Maeve Mulrennan (Head of Visual Arts, Galway Arts Centre) discussed other Irish artists making art about political issues, including Shane Cullen and artists represented in the Butler Gallery Collection such as Robert Ballagh and Brian Maguire.


    The Butler Gallery wishes to thank our fledgling curators from this intergenerational group; Patricia Brennan, Gerard Brophy, Liam Merrins, Cara O’Doherty, Mary O’Hanrahan, Michael O’Hanrahan and Mary Whitty.

    With grateful thanks to the funders of the project; the Arts Council Young Ensemble Scheme, Kilkenny County Council and the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Programme 2007 – 13.

    For more information contact Butler Gallery Education Curator Bairbre-Ann Harkin at +353 567761106 or bairbre.ann@butlergallery.com