Monday, July 22, 2024

Former RTÉ Northern Editor Tommie Gorman launches local exhibition

A large gathering attended the launch by former RTÉ Northern Editor Tommie Gorman of Mindful Expressions, a solo exhibition by Mullingar artist Sarah Curran in the Atrium, in the County Buildings last Thursday, 14 December.

Sarah works as an SNA in St Finian’s College and has painted most of her adult life. She has a particular interest in working on animals and the Irish landscape and the works on display in the exhibition reflect this. In her remarks Sarah expressed her gratitude to all who came to the event. “I’m very grateful that you could all come this evening. It’s my first solo art exhibition. I was with Brosna Art Group for a long time. I used to exhibit with them. It means a lot to me having all my friends and family around me.”

In his address Tommie Gorman said it was lovely to be invited to launch the exhibition which he described as an individual triumph for Sarah. He commented on her perseverance “that she has made the space in her life to get to the stage where she has an exhibition like this.” He described it as a milestone in her life and complemented her for having “the drive to do this…something that helps to define who you are. It’s a really wonderful achievement and it’s encouragement for all those close to you as well.”

“I love the work. I know a number of the scenes. I look at those parts in Donegal and you see the Atlantic sky, and that freshness and wildness. Last summer we were in Belvedere House. I see the scenes there and they remind me of walks we had. It was a huge surprise to me because the same architect who was involved in Hazelwood House in Sligo was involved in Belvedere. When I see the colours I see that’s the place.

“Then I look at the sensitivities of the robins, the animals. You can actually feel the personalities of the animals. You can see what draws us to animals and the uniqueness of each animal. There’s something captured in those works that’s really beautiful.” Tommie said that Sarah wasn’t just painting by numbers. “You’re getting into personality of things and the sense of the place.”

In his opening remarks Tommie recalled a visit to Mullingar for a national choir competition when he was a pupil in St John’s NS in Sligo. “Our spirit is in this place. We won the competition and a big cup. Every member of the choir remembers that day. That was our introduction to music and the instinct to sing…Part of me regrets that I didn’t develop that streak”. He said the courage to go into a public space and talk, came from those childhood experiences with the choir in national school.

Topic spoke with Sarah about her interest in art, love of the outdoors and why painting is a passion for her.

“I’ve always painted, for as long as I can remember, since I was in school. It’s something I really enjoy and something I’ve been told I’m good at. My father painted as well. He used to exhibit in a local art group. It’s in the family. Two of my children are very creative as well.”

Sarah described how she loves being in nature and is a big animal lover. “That’s very much reflected in my paintings. I love to paint animals, dogs, cats, but also wildlife. I love the texture and the eyes are very expressive. I also love the sea. I went on a painting course, Ealaín san Aer, in the Inishowen Peninsula last year, painting outdoors and I loved that experience. The landscape and the seas, the beaches are beautiful there.”

For Sarah painting is also a way of relaxing. “It’s very therapeutic. I find even with the kids I work with they get very absorbed in their work and their painting, and some of them are very creative. It is a way of expressing yourself and it is a way of relaxing for me as well. When you get into the zone, it’s a great way of relaxing.”

She said she was “very proud” of the exhibition and to have such a distinguished guest like Tommie Gorman, a to launch it.

However, the occasion was also tinged with sadness that her parents weren’t there to see it. “I’m really sad that my Mum and Dad can’t be with me today. My Dad particularly, was an artist himself and loved to paint. He would be very proud. My parents aren’t with me anymore but they’re very close to my heart.”

Mindful Expressions is on display in the Atrium, County Buildings, Mullingar until Friday 15 January, 2024

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