Thursday 24 January 2019

Outdoor Art

Fettitt's Lane has become an exhibition space for third year art students at Wexford campus. Maria Pepper reports

Student Johanna Martin gets hands-on with her art work in Fettitt’s Lane
Student Johanna Martin gets hands-on with her art work in Fettitt’s Lane
One of the paintings, by Edward McGuinness, depicting the late Frank Sinnott

Neglected Fettitt's Lane in Wexford has been transformed into an outdoor art space thanks to the creativity of third year Fine Art students in the Wexford School of Art and Design at Carlow Campus who had some help from the outdoor staff of Wexford District Council.

The students chose the historic lane off the Main Street as a location with a difference to showcase their end of year work in painting, sculpture and instllation, hanging work on vacant shopfronts and walls and turning the area into a mini-Montmarte which can be enjoyed by locals and visitors for the next few months.

The exhibition entitled 'Here and Now' was officially launched with a celebration which included entertainment by local musicians and refreshments served by Westgate Design Restaurant and was attended by the Mayor of Wexford Cllr. Jim Moore, District Manager Angela Laffan, County Arts Officer Liz Burns and Fine Art Course Director Oliver Comerford.

The Mayor described it as a unique location and said there is great potential for similar collaborations in other areas between the local authority and artists who have the capacity to 'challenge us all', adding that the artistic community could count on the Council for support.

Arts Officer Liz Burns commended the students on being brave enough to put their work on display in a public realm which can be challenging as they have no idea who their audience may be, but also exciting, she said.

Ms. Burns said the County Council was delighted to collaborate on the project and remarked that the exhibition had lifted the spirit of Fettitt's Lane which was in need of regeneration .

Fine Art student Darragh Fanning thanked the local authority for its help and support, especially foreman John Ross and his outdoor team who power-cleaned and painted the Lane in preparation for the project, as well as helping to hang and install the exhibition.

Course Director Oliver Comerford congratulated the students and said they could rightly feel proud of their achievement. The 13 BA Hons Art student exhibitors are Mary Archer, Alison Bermingham, Edwina Byrne, Darragh Fanning, Laura Flood, Johanna Martin, Edward McGuinness, Ronan Moore, Theresa Nolan, Claudia Roche, Jamie Sinnott, Richard Walsh and Sonya Weston.

The title 'Here and Now' is intended to suggest an awareness of the present moment whilst also bringing attention to the physical location itself. Fettitt's Lane was once used as a passage way for local fishermen and this history is reflected in some of the artworks. The area has now been transformed into a colourful place for the public to experience.

The works include paintings that draw on a wide range of cultural imagery and ideas using mediums such as oil and acrylic. Included is a striking portrait of the late Frank Sinnott by Edward McGuinness. The sculptures explore the role of perception and narrative, employing the innovative use of materials such as cement and steel. Some highlight pressing social and political issues while others remind us that there is joy to be found when lost in the enchantment of everyday life.

A similar exhibition was held in Fettitt's Lane in 2013 and the remnants of some of the artwork still remains.

The Wexford art campus is a vibrant community which encourages students to work in all kinds of mediums, in an innovative and authentic way.

The Fine Art Degree programme aims to develop each student's commitment, knowledge and creative skills to participate within the global art culture. Among the mediums taught are photography, painting, performance, sculpture and printing.

The exhibition is free to all and is a great opportunity to view the work of up and coming Irish artists. It will continue for the next few months.

Wexford People

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