independent

Monday 23 October 2017

Exhibition for designer Eileen Gray

AN Enniscorthy woman who is regarded internationally as the one of the finest designers ever to come out of Ireland, will be the subject of an exhibition and a lecture at Wexford Arts Centre in October.

Wexford Arts Centre is teaming up with Lost Weekend in Selskar to organise an exhibition dedicated to the life and work of Eileen Gray, one of the most remarkable Irish designers of the 20th century.

It will feature a collection of production displays and licensed designs of Gray's work in the Lost Weekend design shop and an exhibition of facsimile images depicting her life and drawings in D'Lush Cafe in the Arts Centre.

The exhibitions will open on Saturday, October 16 and the following day, Sunday, October 17, at 4 p.m. Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, directors of Grafton Architects will give a talk about Eileen Gray's work and life.

She was born near Enniscorthy in 1878 into an aristocratic ScottishIrish family and was raised in the genteel Victorian Brownswood House in a privileged and secluded environment.

She left Ireland for England and eventually settled permanently in Paris in 1902.

She began her career by becoming an apprentice to a Japanese artist who worked in lacquer, a fashionable trend of the day. Her early commissions were highly regarded for their craftsmanship and artistic merit.

Her clients were prominent members of Parisian society who gave her opportunities to invent new forms of furniture design.

The recognition she received in later life came from her contribution to modernist furniture and architecture. Her practical ideas and designs for furniture, houses, public spaces, children's day care centres and art centres brought a new approach to shape, line, use of colour, materials and textures and continue to inspire contemporary designers and architects today.

In the 1970's, Gray granted Aram Designs Ltd. In London the rights to manufacture and distribute her designs worldwide and today ClassiCon in Munich manufactures her designs under a licence agreement with Aram - some of her furniture is available in Lost Weekend.

The Wexford exhibition will continue until October 31.

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