Ok I am wearing my hear on my sleeve about this one. If you want to be inspired, if you are a creative artist or an aspiring one, don't miss the KCAT exhibitions in Callan during the Kilkenny Arts Festival.
The formal art world is not the only means of artists interacting with an audience or finding a marketplace for art. Because all art isn't about that. Sometimes it is a human impulse, it comes from the heart and soul...it is best experienced through interacting with the work, the artist and the studio where the art is made.....that's the bit I love anyway....and of course it is about reflecting and exploring innate creativity and joining artists in that. It shouldn't ever be a case of separation, insiders and outsiders, the artist and the audience, the good or bad in art.
Art, on a good day, can also be about community, caring, friendship, love, inclusion, freedom. If so then it's always a good day in the KCAT studios in Callan. I was priveledged to meet personally four wonderful artists who will exhibit as part of the Callan segment of the Kilkenny Arts Festival. What struck me about them? They are hardworking and dedicated, they have vision and passion about their work. They each have their own unique way of making art, they share a studio and a life together and every so often they also share the results with some one like you or me.
It really is an impossible task to share more of the philosophy, the atmosphere or the commitment of this community of creatives, check them out for yourself. It will rub off and you will find yourself re-committing to your own creativity.......now how do they work that magic!
Georgie McCutcheon is now a very established artist. He was perhaps the catalyst for KCAT. When I met him in his studio he was working in a very gentle way carving building blocks into small segments for an installation piece which will be shown in the exhibition. The studio is remarkably neat as he continually sweeps up the dust that he creates. He kindly chatted to me and then presented me with a carving. He also designed the KCAT logo which can be seen here printed on the back of his overalls. Can't wait to see the culmination of his dedication, he is in the studio from morning until night.
Jack Foskin created a towering sculpture of a man. This man has fed his imagination to the extent that a whole world involving him is being revealed in his recent paintings. Jack is originally from Waterford and is proud to tell me that his artistic talent came from his Dad a glass engraver in the famous Waterford Crystal. The work is dramatic and beautiful, animals, fire, landscapes, inspiration from neanderthal times.
Andrew Pike says he has made an imaginary landscape based on some early childhood memories of New Zealand and some imagery from the locality. The exhibition is going to be more about sculpture and he felt it was important to try to put human figures into the piece whereas he usually prefers animals and birds. Like the other artists he is keen to discuss his many journeys around the world where he has exhibited his work. He would like to see more examples of inclusive art studios like KCAT in other parts of Ireland.
Frances Casey has carved two sets of heads into a bespoke wooden bench. The women are carved onto the back rest and the men are on the seat. He describes to me the various characters, two sisters fighting, a mother, an auntie, and a granny, a scout leader. He talked about family and community tribulations, the battles between men and women, the goodness in people. This is his expression of how he feels about it.
I didn't get to meet Mary Cody whose work will be on show in the L'Arche Cafe in Callan. However I did get a sneak preview of her project Sky, Stones, Sea will be made up of visually stunning paintings with a silky sheen and layers of colour.
Andrew Pike, Jack Foskin, Karl Fitzgerald, Jason Turner, Francis Casey and George McCutcheon will show their work in the Callan Workhouse from 5th August. Mary Cody will be in the L'Arche Cafe Callan.
For more information about KCAT and the integrated studio sessions and courses see www.kcat.ie
Thank you to Jean and Anja for making my visit possible.