Eileen MacDonagh’s Cathedral.
Cathedral: the word calls up images of grand colonnades, imposing height, and light: light from above - the same qualities of light and height that are found here in the Gallery at Visual and in the stone quarry, and that prompted the creation of this installation: a colonnade of trees whose vaulted branches touch the light. All the elements of this simple structure are echoes of the sublime that the artist experiences in both gallery and quarry, refined to draw us in to a mixed emotion of reverence, wonder and beauty.
Working locally to Carlow for the past 21 years Eileen MacDonagh has made a tremendous contribution to the arts nationally and internationally. LITHOSPHERE presented new work by the artist and surveyed a career dedicated to the tender command of elements; stone, timber and the geometries found in nature.
Echoing MacDonagh’s Medusa Tree (2009) which sits in the forecourt of VISUAL and the George Bernard Shaw Theatre, the artist created a forest of 8 metre high trees, taking on the scale the Main Gallery, the largest white gallery space in the country. Alongside this installation other works illustrated the breadth of her career to date. This presented to the public a unique opportunity to experience sculpture in facilities that were designed to showcase the immense affect of large scale work.
Eileen MacDonagh (b. Sligo, 1956) has been working as a sculptor for over thirty years. She has participated in Sculpture Symposia all over the world and has completed almost 20 public art commissions around Ireland. In 2004 she was elected to the Aosdána and stands as one of the countries pre eminent artists working with stone. MacDonagh lives and works in Athy, Co Kildare.
A case bound full colour catalogue with texts by Canadian art critic John Grande and arts advisor Jenny Haughton supported this exhibition.
Irish Times March 30th