FIONNUALA COLLINS : WORDS FOR PICTURES The old man on the vintage bicycle nearly cycled into the back of a parked car, unsure whether to bless himself in fear or fall to his knees in shame at the startling vision he saw on the gable end of a house in the middle of Waterville, Co. Kerry in the summer of 2000. The beautiful nude lady was fourteen feet high with long blonde hair streaming down, but not covering, her naked breasts. As she stepped out of the huge yawning shell into the lapping waves, she strode into the dawn of time, carrying nothing but a pint of Guinness which she held aloft like a deadly beacon. This was not exactly "The Birth of Venus" by Botticelli. The stunning mural that stopped traffic, gave old and young men palpitations, drew condemnations and protestations of shock from townspeople and from some visitors alike soon became a cause celebre in Waterville that summer. Before long some local wag had christened it "The Guinness de Milo!" In reality this provocative, seductive and stunningly executed mural on a gable end was "The Birth of Fionnuala Collins." It was a daring declaration by a young artist, a call to sit up and pay attention, a challenge to perceived notions of art in public places. This clarion call from a gable end would echo in public and private places, announcing the arrival of a truly original and daring talent on the Irish art scene. In the very short time since that public display of a prodigious new talent and startlingly original artist, Fionnuala Collins has gone on to surprise and delight us with the intensity and scope of her vision. Whether painting the weather-beaten faces of Moore Street traders at their stalls or the intensely proud expressions of young horse owners and handlers in Dublin's Smithfield Horse Fair, she captures human life in all its moods and motions. Her centenary tribute exhibition on the Abbey Theatre in 2004 celebrated a whole range of great actors of the National Theatre in all their glory - Donal Mc Cann caught in half wistful, half mischievous reverie and Tom Hickey and Niall Toibin, as Paddy Maguire and The Bull Mc Cabe, squaring up to each other menacingly in Moscow's Red Square in two of their most memorable roles with the company on tour. Her portraits are moments fixed in time yet forever conquering clocks and calendars. In her oils on canvas and wood Fionnuala Collins ranges from the broad colours and sweeping shades of a Cill Rialaigh landscape to the fiery "duende" of a Spanish flamenco dancer caught in mid-ecstasy. Her portraits of old men in Tig Rosie's pub with lived in and time smoothed faces are illuminated from within. Her cows in a field have attitude and her ballet dancers, after Renoir and Degas, pause coyly to adjust their shoes and tutus on the way into the Ballroom of Romance in anytown Ireland. Anything could be happening in a Collins painting - indeed it probably is. What is exciting is the discovery of a young artist who teaches us new ways of looking, who startles us into asking questions about the way we perceive the world and who invites us to share her delight in the wondrous diversity of things being different and what they are. Seamus Hosey RTE Radio Producer Fionnuala Collins, born 9th May 1973, has been inspired to paint since the age of five. Since setting up full-time as an artist five years ago, her work has achieved much public acclaim and placed her at the centre stage of modern Irish art. Her most inspiring exhibitions to date have been Fionnuala's art captures the commonplace fantasy at play in the tiniest moments of the human's journey. Her need to paint is reflected in the accuracy of her portrayal of the human struggle, human dignity, feminism, street scenes and the glory of nature. She sets out to provide her audiences with a comforting escape from human drudgery. Testimony to her artistic vision is the popularity of and demand for her work. Her numerous exhibitions in pubs, galleries and restaurants throughout Ireland and Europe has made available to a vast and demanding audience a crunching insight into the human’s experience. Fionnuala’s work is driven by an empathic need to share her vision of beauty, life and, most particularly art with the every day public. This catalogue provides an insight into the landscape of her work to date. Fionnuala Collins' talent is a gift that has yet to bestow itself upon the public at large. In this selected collection of her work we are holding the vast potential of an unknown quantity which will undoubtedly mature to become a hallmark of our time. The appeal of this artists work lies in her ability to empathise with the common place & to capture on canvas the subtlety of human experience. Her portraits of women captures the historical social ideals as women as strong independent and yet sensuous role models. Her cow scenes reflect back to us our own childish search for simplicity. Her landscapes reflect and present to us her spiritual vision of the human longing to escape pain and bitterness . from her street scenes we both the conflict between the new & the old, speed and quicken ,greed and loss which is particularly relevant to the moment and, the Celtic tigers continued striving to balance financial well-being with social harmony. Fiona Fahey Journalist and writer Looking at the paintings , I find I like best the landscapes with flowers, and the cows in a landscape. What appeals to me is not just the subject, but also the way they are painted. The red of your tulips-or are they poppies- is so strong and vibrant. I like the way the way Fionnuala painted some sunflowers in detail and the rest as a sea of yellow, enlivened with blues and greens. When I look at these, I am not allowed forget that they are paintings! As for the cows in a landscape, I think I am drawn to these paintings because they remind me of the west and south west of Ireland. The world I like to escape to! The painting of the cow looking over the stone wall against a background of little fields enclosed by low stone walls, certainly rings a bell with me. Richard Nash Nash Mineral Water
Biography: AWARDS Cill Rialaig young artist 2000 EDUCATION 1991-1994: Limerick School of Art & Design (Diploma in Fine Art obtained in 1994) COMMISSIONS Painted 3 murals, the first being "Venus de Milo with a pint of Guinness", Venus rising from a shell a copy of Botticellis', the painting is on a gable wall, 14ft high painted in Gloss exterior paint. Now a postcard for Waterville, The second "Ballet Dancers", a copy of Degas is life size; the third is a Renoir copy of two dancers. All three paintings are in Waterville, Co. Kerry commissioned by Noelle Campbell-Sharpe Various portrait commissions of children, families, Grand parents Collectors include, Brendan O`Carroll, Mick Lally (Actor Glenroe) Harry Crosbie Wesley Burrows (Writer Glenroe) J P McManus, "The Russell Court Hotel, Harcourt Street, Dublin 2, and Senator Michael .D.Higgin, Johnny Ronan, SOLO EXHIBITIONS 11TH OF April 2000, "The Front Lounge" Parliament Street, Dublin "The San Francisco Gay Pride Parade and other works" 28th of May 2000, "The Globe", George's Street, Dublin "The Smithfield Horse Fair" 17th of August, 2000 "Tig Rosie's, Dun Geagan, Ballinskelligs, Kerry "Iomhanna D'uibh Rathach" ("Faces of Iveragh") Sponsored by Murphy's. Opened by Noelle Campbell-Sharpe. 28th of October 2000, "The Anchor bar", Cahersiveen, Kerry "Iomhanna d'Uibh Rathach II" Sponsored by Guinness Opened by Donovan (Singer of "Mellow Yellow") 27th of November 2000, "The new law library" Church Street, Dublin 7 "the Faces of Moore Street" Sponsored by Irish Distillers and Ballygowan water opened by Brendan O'Carroll (creator of Film "The Mammy ” with Angelica Houston- Jack Nicholson ' s wife) 17th of November 2000 "The Late Late Show", RTE, Television 2 portraits from Moore street and 2 portraits from Kerry , interview by Pat Kenny. 4th of December 2000 "The Arts Show" NTL Television. Interview and display of "The Faces of Moore Street" exhibition. Feb 2001 "Open House" RTE, Television Interview and display of "The Faces of Stone Batter". A show of all the faces in my local Pub Walsh ' s. . Feb 2001"The Faces of Stoney Batter" opened by Mick Lally, Actor in Glenroe RTE, in Walsh ' s pub, Stone batter. 9th of May "The Faces of Glenroe" The Origin Gallery, Harcourt Street, Dublin 2, Opened by Wesley Burrows. "Ireland A.M" RTE, Television Interview and display of paintings. 10th of November 2001, Lios Aengus, Chill Ronan, Inis Mor, Aran Islands. Series of portraits "Faces of Inis Mor", Opened by Senator Michael D.Higgins. 3rd of April 2002"My Night with Reg", A series of paintings depicting scenes from a play by Kevin Eliot, in The Front Lounge Parliament Street, Dublin, Opened by Sean Colgan the Director. 14th of December 2002 "The Irish Journey" A series of paintings depicting Ireland, opening by Antoni O'Breskey, Kitchen Gallery, Via de Padule 25 Bagno A Ripoli 50012, Florence, Italy. 11th of November 2003, "Cows" Russell Court Hotel, Harcourt Street, Opened by Frank Kelly (Father Ted). 3rd of January to 25th of January 2004, "Exhibition of 5 years work" in Ardgillan Castle, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin. 18 th November 2004, “ Scenes from the Abbey Theatre 100 years ” The Gallery, Greystones, Co.Wicklow Opened by actor Mark Lambert. 12th of December 2004 “ Scenes from the Abbey ” The Flowing Tide Pub, Abbey Street, Dublin Opened by Seamus Hosey RTE. 21st of March 2005 "Showgirls and other works" 101 Talbot Street, Dublin 1, Opened by Antoni O'Breskey 13-15 th May rds 2005 25 th -27 th November rds 2005 31st March to the 2nd of April Art Ireland, Summer Show, RDS 2006 10th of April 2006 , Bank of Ireland ,Foster place, Dublin 2 "Horses and other works" opened by Sheamus Hosey 31 st May -4 th of June Listowel Writers Week , 2006 26th of August, "Summertime" Oratory Gallery, Cahersiveen, opened by John O'Donoghue, Minister of Arts 17 th -19 th Art Ireland , November 2006 12th of December 2006 "Seeing the Light" exhibition in Barberstown Castle, Co.Kildare February 5th 2007 ,The Front Lounge, Dublin "Women in Focus" with Photography by Aidan Weldon ,opened by Roisin Ingle GROUP EXHIBITIONS 29TH of December 1999 "Dareag Na Milaoise", A Millennium Exhibition, Institute of Education and Celtic Culture, Green Street, Dingle, Kerry. 8th of July 2000 "The Ballroom of Imagination and Desire", Waterville, Co. Kerry "The Origin Gallery Summer Exhibition", of Irish & International Artists. 19th of August 2000 "Cill Rialig Art Exhibition", Dun Geagan, Kerry Sponsored by Nash Mineral Waters, Opened by Josephine Chaplin, and daughter of Charlie Chaplin. 23rd of February 2000 "Working against the Void", interpreting the poetry of Padraig Fallon through painting and sculpture, Athenry Heritage Centre October 2001, Group show "The James Gallery" Dalkey 29th of March 2003 "The Irish Journey" Piazzale BelleArti, Via Pietro da Cortona 8, Rome, Italy. Organised by Raffaello Glinni and Gianni Glinni.Italy 5th of June 2003, " Irish Journey" Il Gabellino, 58020 Bocheggiano, Montieri, Grossetto, Italy Monday 14th of July- Sunday 20th July 2003 Padru, Sardegna-Ireland, Premio Internazionale di Pittura Sardinia, Comune di Padru. Italy July 29 th of July to 2 of August “ Festival European Des Arts 2004 ” Bacilly, France. November 29th 2006 , The Botanic Gardens, "Flower Power" REVIEWS 14th of June 2000 "The Northside People", Page 1 "The Smithfield Horse Fair", by Niall Bourke. 11th of July 2000, "The Irish Times", Page 3 "The Ballroom of Imagination and Desire", by Dick Hogan 8th of July, "The Star" page 5 "Water Venus Shell Shock", "The Birth of Venus", mural 14ft high in gloss exterior paint. 11th of July "The Irish Examiner", page 7 "Hot under the collar locals love their Venus Mural, by Donal Hickey. 14th of July 2000, "The Kerryman", page 1 "Naked Venus catches the eye in Waterville", page 8 "No Jiving in Waterville's Ballroom of Imagination", by Breda Joy. 24th of July 2000 "Kerry's Eye", page 7 "Dire Straits star contributes to local art show. 26th of August Saturday 2000, "The Irish Examiner", page 2 "Art aplenty at Waterville as Exhibition delights Audiences", 29th of August 2000, "The Irish Times", The Irish Times , Tues August 29 th 2000 by Elgy Gillespie "Portraits in Tig Rosie,Dun Geagan. They show ,in broad brushstrokes, the planes and gnarls and creases in the handsome faces of the older Ballinskelligs menfolk". "Faces from the past", 1st September 2000, "The Kerryman", Portrait exhibition reveals Iveragh character", by Breda Joy 3rd of September2000, "Foinse", "Bialanna daora an Daingin", by Michael de Mordha. 9th of September 2000, "the Irish Independent" Saturday colour supplement pages 18-20"YOU'VE BEEN FRAMED" by John Daly. 3rd of November 2000, "The Kerry man", page 5 "Capturing the character of Iveragh", by Breda Joy. 28th of November 2000, "The Evening Herald", page 16 "Moore Street captured on canvas", “ Get your bananas ,five for fifty.I could practically hear the traders yell from within the canvasas. This is the launch of Fionnuala Collins Faces of Moore Street ” by Caroline Morahan 9th of May 2001, "Good Bye to Glenroe" Evening Herald.. 5th April 2002, "Caroline in the City", page 21, Evening Herald.. 12th December 2002, "City Firenze", "Colori D'Irlanda", "The Irish Journey". 14th December 2002, "La Nazione" "Una serata Irelandese con Musica e quadri", "The Irish Journey 12th November 2003 "Father Jack gives his blessing to 'Sacred' art" Evening Herald, Wednesday by Jason O'Callaghan. 16th of November 2003 "Holy cow! Jack ' s a gentleman" Sunday Tribune, by Sarah McInerney. 24 5h November 2004 “ Bray People ” “ Face in the Crowd ” “ Artist Fionnuala Collins with one of her stunning paintings at the gallery in Greystones where her art exhibition will be running until the end of the month of November ” Front page, by Liz Kearney December 2004 Business Plus magazine “ Hang Maureen on your wall ” 13 th December Evening Herald page 20 “ The Diary “ “ Collins ' paintings are a real steal ” Depicting everyone from Mick Lally, Patrick Kavanagh, Cyril Cusack, Maureen O ' Hara, Donal McCann and Don Wycherley ” June 8th, 2006 The Kerryman, "Icons new and old feed the Imagination" by Donal Nolan "The vivid work on displayin the Seanchai during the week was all from the talented hand of Fin Collins." 10th of June, 2006 "The Irish Field, Saturday. "Miley Cash is dipicted in thispainting from Ballinasloe by Fin Collins....at the Seanchai Literary and Cultural Centre in Listowel, Co. Kerry. 31st August 2006 , The Kerryman." Fin's Art on show at Oratory" by Kevin Hughes, " minister John O'Donoghue opening Summertime, an exhibition of paintings by Artist Fin Collins. 6th of December 2006 , The Northside People, "Flower power inspires Fionnuala" by Niall Bourke The Irish Times, Saturday Magazine , "My Kingdom for a Horse" by Roisin Ingl
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