Wednesday 16 October 2019

The fine art of mounting an exhibition

Artist Darragh Treacy is exhibiting in the Talbot.
Artist Darragh Treacy is exhibiting in the Talbot.
The FlashBack exhibition just moments before the doors opened.
Denise O'Connor Murphy organises 'Flashback', the annual exhibition of photographs from the archives of her late father, Denis O'Connor.


tHOUSANDS of people flock to Wexford each year for the Fringe Festival to admire the many exhibitions in venues dotted around the town.

On viewing the wide variety of photographs, paintings and other crafts, there's no question that the artists have put the work in. However, when the paint is dry and the pictures are framed, there's still plenty more to be done.

Securing one of the limited and highly sought-after venues appears to be a feat in itself for many of the exhibitors, including Wexford's Denise O'Connor Murphy.

'I am like a circus because anywhere I can pitch a tent, I will. People don't want to give you a place,' she said. 'I've had problems for the last three years trying to get a premises. Obviously the economy is picking up so it's becoming more and more difficult to secure a venue.'

Denise and her family stage the popular Flashback exhibition every year, which is always one of the busiest exhibitions during the Fringe Festival. It features pictures of Wexford taken by her father, the late Denis O'Connor. Denise has secured Crescent Quay on Henrietta Street as the venue for this year's Flashback 14 exhibition. Although the venue has no electricity at the moment, she is hoping that this issue can be resolved thanks to 'the generosity of people'.

Funding the venue is also an obstacle that artists must overcome. Holding this year's exhibition will cost Denise up to €2,000 when a venue, leaflets and other expenses are taken into account.

Artist Lar Joyce, who will be exhibiting 12 of his paintings in the Talbot, also points out the expense of taking part. However, for him, the cost is worth it for the exposure that he will get.

'You hope that you will set it up and break even and maybe even make a few pounds but getting my name out there is the most important thing,' said the Wexford-based painter.

This is the first year that Lar has exhibited at the Wexford Fringe Festival and the first time he has exhibited on his own. He was lucky enough to secure himself a place in the Talbot after another artist dropped out of the event. Thankfully friend and mentor, Dennis Cullen offered him some tips on how to go about setting up his exhibition.

'He gave me a few ideas such as how to hang them and different things I need,' he said. 'Everyone is helpful. We are all in the same game.'

Having exhibited at the Fringe Festival for the last five years, Darragh Treacy knows the ins and outs of taking part. His exhibits have been held in the Talbot each year and by now he says that people expect him to be there. However, despite this security and his experience, he can still feel the pressure.

'For the year in advance, I would be painting to be ready for it,' explained Darragh, who is the son of renowned painter Liam Treacy. 'At this stage, things are in one way exciting but in the other, quite pressured. We are getting frames and pieces varnished. The leaflets and business cards have to be ready. You have to get everything together.'

For Darragh, the key to success is preparation.

'It's a combination of being ready well in advance and hoping everything goes right,' he said. 'I've had issues in the past where for example, I ordered the wrong frame and that adds to the pressure but if you get ahead, you'll do ok.'

Wexford People

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