Uaimh New Paintings
10 January - 1 February 2001
"These paintings are the final in the Uaimh series. Painted over the last four years, the imagery evolved one piece dictating the next, the scale increasing, finally arriving at this group of diptychs. I am happy to conclude the series now as my ambitions for this imagery have been resolved. The scale being the essential concluding factor, these paintings now have the individual presence that I have been striving for."
Uaimh, the old Irish word meaning cave or interior recess, is the title of this powerful new series of paintings by Gwen O'Dowd. Literally uaimh may be seen to refer to the crevices carved out by the impact of the sea on the Irish coast, but here O'Dowd is concerned less with actual landscape than with elemental emotions and the relentless transformations of nature. Sometimes menacing, sometimes alluring, the paintings are charged with an atmosphere, which suggests powerful natural forces. These are paintings with a strong physical presence. Layers of paint built up gradually result in a rich density of colour and a textured, almost sculptural, surface suggestive of the rugged structure of natural forms.
Gwen O'Dowd was born in Dublin in 1957 and studied at the National College of Art and Design from 1976-80. Since her first highly acclaimed solo show at the Project Arts Centre Dublin in 1984, she has exhibited regularly in Ireland and abroad in exhibitions touring to museums in America, Canada, Denmark and England amongst others. Her work was first shown in London at the Coram Gallery in 1994 and at Art First in 1997. This will be her first solo exhibition at Art First.
Public collections include IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art), The Irish Arts Council, Contemporary Irish Arts Society, Trinity College Dublin and Allied Irish Bank.