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Presence – Limerick Printmakers
  -    -    -  Presence – Limerick Printmakers

Presence – Limerick Printmakers

Opening Reception Saturday October 29th at 1pm.

The MART Gallery, 190A Rathmines Road Lower, Dublin 6.

Exhibition Runs October 29th – November 18th  | Wed-Sat 1-6pm 

The MART Gallery is delighted to present Presence, An exhibition of photography & print from selected members of Limerick Printmakers, curated by Sara Dowling and coordinated by Jess Tobin.

Featured Artists: Chris Clery, Angelina Foster, Carol Kennedy & Verona Stellet, joe Lane, Clara McSweeney, Suzannah O’Reilly, Clodagh Twomey, Isabella Walsh.


This exhibition, ‘Presence’ is titled as a comment, not only to the necessity of physical exhibition showcasing following the last few years – but also to the importance of stretching members visibility outside of Limerick and in collaboration with Dublin-based studios such as MART Gallery and Studios in Rathmines.

Selected through an Open Call process, ’Presence’ features work from a selection of nine of Limerick Printmakers 70 members, representing a diverse range of print & photographic processes, individual artist sensibilities and ambitions.

Both Limerick Printmakers & MART Gallery & Studios share a keen belief in supporting artists through access to networks, community and development in addition to space access and use of technical facilities. This too is an ethos that was originally reflected in the initial Open Call brief in March – where members were asked to submit work of any medium that they wished, but to also strongly consider their relationship with process and how this was reflected in their practise in any way. Many took this as an opportunity to examine and acknowledge the space or studios at Limerick Printmakers and how the technical elements of their submissions were reliant on these facilities. Others reimagined previous works in a new light – using this exhibition as an opportunity to push their practise into new areas by way of scope, medium experimentation or collaboration.

It has been no surprise that despite the odds, LP members have remained active in the face of creative adversity, and have embraced this opportunity to exhibit once more with open arms. The selected work speaks for itself, as it includes a number of entirely new works being exhibited for the first time in Ireland, and among the diversity – many identifiable connecting themes can be observed. From a curatorial perspective, this was a welcome coincidence and only spoke to the sense of community and collective ambition held by LP members despite the barriers caused by the pandemics restrictions thus far.

Artists such as Angelina Foster and Clara McSweeney sensitively explore colour and texture in the communication of message, providing a collective colour palette that sets a resonating tone for other works in the space. This is echoed in Carol Kennedy and Verona Stellet’s piece which is a new collaboration for them both, as well as the work by Clodagh Twomey – specifically annotating the words Presence and Recognition which have helped to inspire the exhibitions title. Other words by Joe Lane and Suzannah O’Reilly place importance on the communication of language through word and picture – with collage, overlay and technical direction all at play. This can also be recognised in Chris Cleary’s work, where we see variable colour composition and techniques integral to the works process. Lastly, Isabella Walsh’s photographs contribute a reflective and meditative energy, a diptych of experimentation in exposure.

I extend an incredible thank you to all of the LP artists who submitted work to the Open Call, all of the selected artists whose work is showcased in this exhibition, and of course the teams at both Limerick Printmakers and MART Gallery and Studios for their collective continued recognition of artists support and opportunity carving at such a crucial time.

The exhibition continues at MART Gallery & Studios in Rathmines until Friday 18th November, and is made possible with the support of the Arts Council of Ireland.

~ Sara Dowling


Artist Statements / Biographies  

Chris Clery Artist Statement

Inspired by the writing of Italian poet Dante Alighieri, specifically the inferno saga of the divine comedy and his description of hell and everything that resides in it. This work is a homoerotic spin on the hellscape imagery found in the words of his poetry. In his work, each circle of hell represents one of the seven deadly sins. Psychopomps are deities, angelic and demonic in various religions whose responsibility is to escort the deceased souls from Earth to the afterlife. They have been depicted at different times and in different cultures as anthropomorphic entities. The deity’s headpiece is like a portal to the inferno which depicts queer men expressing love as others suffer punishment and damnation. This headpiece is a warning for other journeying souls to the chaotic aspects of queer existence. Balancing two maps displaying the geography of hell on their arms, each circle of hell correlates to aspects of queer culture and the social/economical complications within the community. The imagery of this work suggests the religious and heteronormative aggression queer people suffer from, but like the deity balancing the circles on the arms like a scale, It also shows the self-hatred found within the queer community and the aggression they inflict on each other.

Chris Clery – Artist biography

I graduated in fine art printmaking and contemporary practice from Limerick school of art and design  in 2019. I am currently a member of the Limerick Printmakers where I create work and enjoy being in the printmaking community. I explore my perception and understanding of sexuality, masculinity, and the male gender within my work. I focus on etching, silkscreen, photography, and collage processes. I express my own sexuality and idea of masculinity in my work and how it fits in the world. My practice is esoteric by nature and is inspired by depictions of religion, Greek art, culture, and mythology. I create imagery that is depicting male figures within tropical pastoral settings that have been corrupted and I have recently been exploring hellscape imagery and representation of sin and body/animal splicing to convey my outlook on queer life as a millennial.

Angelina Foster – Artist Statement

As an artist and printmaker, I am inspired by words, stories, and symbolfrom Irelandʼs past. My passion is to foster interest in Irelandʼs words, heritage and culture and to make them available to all through accessible and engaging art experiences. My hands-on immersive workshops and art experiences give everyone the opportunity to explore their own creativity and be inspired by traditional stories and techniques. Launched in July 2022, Blueway Art Studio, my socially engaged practice is based on collaboration with groups who have a shared interest in heritage, creativity and climate action. I am a member of Wom@rts, Limerick Printmakers and Mn· na nEalaÌn Collective, I have professional membership of Visual Arts Ireland, Original Kildare, Business to Arts and of PeannairÌ,(the Association of Irish Calligraphers).


Joe Lane –  Artists Biography

Joe Lane is a design educator and researcher at the Limerick School of Art & Design. His role as a full time lecturer is complimented by work as a multi-disciplinary designer for a range of clients. Joe has established a letterpress print studio where he designs and prints letterpress works which have been exhibited nationally and internationally. His work explores how traditional techniques and processes can be combined with and complemented by contemporary digital methods and production methods. Joe currently sits as a Director on the Limerick Printmakers board.  

Joe Lane – Artist Statement

Joe’s practice combines digital design tools with letterpress printmaking traditions. His work is typography-led where he plays with language, form, composition and colour focusing on communication through the expressive use of wood and metal letterforms, shapes, rules, wood blocks and plates. He finds inspiration everywhere, from conversation, observation and from interactions in and with nature.

Carol Kennedy & Verona Stellet – Artist Statement

Verona Stellet and Carol Kennedy both submitted separate proposals for this exhibition. Verona’s consisted of a collage of embossed rust prints with incorporated linocut print; Carol’s was a layered monotype using eco-friendly inks. When asked by the curators to create a collaborative piece they agreed to do so — a task they undertook on a joint residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in July 2022 They both found it very challenging because their initial submissions were worlds apart. However, they agreed they both wanted something that worked as a single combined piece instead of two pieces sitting side-by-side. It took a lot of discussion and debate on how to unite their two very different processes. The rust piece needed to be printed first to get an imprint on paper.  In addition, it couldn’t be reprinted again in a short time, as the plate would need time to oxidise again for the rust colours to form.

Carol found the thought of this very daunting as she works intuitively and not in such a structured manner. After Carol had laid down the first colour Verona realised that the embossed element, which was part of her work, was lost and she found it difficult to let go of what was an important part of her work. However, after some deliberation an approach was agreed, with Carol building up layer-by-layer trying to unify the work. During this slow process a mutual vision emerged which embodied Carol’s colourful approach combined with Verona’s print of a rust coloured metal disk. Eventually, they reached a point where both were fully satisfied with the piece. They learned a lot from the collaboration – not least that it is not for the faint hearted!

Carol Kennedy Bio

Carol Kennedy lives and works in Neagh, Co. Tipperary, Ireland. She works predominantly in the mediums of printmaking and photography. She graduated with an Honours Degree (distinction) in Contemporary Fine Art Printing from Limerick School of Art and Design, Ireland and a Postgraduate Diploma in Business in Cultural Event Management from Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland. She is a member of Limerick Printmakers and coordinator of Switch Video Art Project.
Her work is inspired by experienced ephemeral moments, which she intuitively captures. She also uses feelings associated with such moments as a departure point for her work in an endeavour to make these fleeting moments more tangible. Carol has been awarded The Tyrone Guthrie Artist Residency Bursary and Professional Development Grants by Tipperary County Council. Her work has been curated and exhibited extensively nationally and internationally and features in public Collections such as Tipperary County Council and the Office of Public Works.

Verona Stellet – Biography

Verona was born in Lübeck, Germany and now lives in Newport, Co. Tipperary where she also works from her studio. She studied Fine Art/Sculpture at the Limerick School of Art and Design and graduated with a National Diploma in Art (distinction). Verona works mainly in sculpture, printmaking, mixed media, drawing and photography. She is a member of the Limerick Printmakers and Visual Artists Ireland. Her work has been shown in solo, duo and group exhibitions in Ireland and in-group shows in Germany,
the UK, Spain, USA and Hong Kong. She has been a recipient of funding from the Arts Office of North Tipperary, including an award for a solo show, the Tipperary Artist Award and a Tyrone Guthrie Residency Bursary. She has also been awarded a joint residency in the Heinrich Böll Cottage, Achill Island, by the Heinrich Böll Association. Her work is in the public collection of Tipperary Arts Council and private collections. The physicality of her practise creates a strong connection with the materials and the ability to manipulate them into new ways of expression. From coastal zones Verona collects natural, marine or other man-made debris from which she creates sculptures and installations. In her sculptural pieces this detritus attains an aesthetic quality thus creating an ambivalent confrontation between the beautiful and the repellent. Some of her print works correspond thematically with her sculptural work and echo the found material, for example marine netting, rust and plastics.

Clara McSweeney  – Biography

Clara McSweeney is a Fine Art Painting and Contemporary Practice graduate from Limerick School of Art and Design. She received the Innovation in Practice award 2020 for her degree show body of work. She is currently working as a Marketing and Tourism freelancer for The Hunt Museum in Limerick City after completing her postgraduate degree in Cultural Event Management. She is also practising as a visual artist and is an active member of Limerick Printmakers and The Darkroom Dublin. Her present achievements to date included being awarded, runner-up in The Screaming Pope Prize 2021 at K-Fest emerging arts festival, completing a two-month residency in PADA studios and gallery in Barreiro Portugal, completing a four-month graduate residency at The Darkroom Dublin and showcasing ‘Women from the Inside’ a collaborative project in The Belltable Limerick. She was awarded several artist funding awards since graduating from Limerick School of Art and Design in 2020. These include The Professional Development Award and the Agility Award from The Arts Council of Ireland. Also The Individual Artist Bursary and Grants under the Arts Act from Limerick City and County Council. Some upcoming achievements include being awarded the Venice Biennale exhibition mediator role with Temple Bar Gallery and Studios in the Irish Pavilion for November 2022.

Clara McSweeney – Artist Statement

Discovery and process are key elements in my emerging art practice. I enjoy unearthing and finding new ways to incorporate different experimental analogue photography processes in my work. Currently, I am exploring Super 8 film, cyanotype processes, darkroom development and printing and pinhole photography. “I take influence from the environments that I stumble across. I interact with dilapidated architectural spaces to give the viewers a sensation of the landscapes that I have experienced”. Abandoned or delict spaces fascinate me at the moment as I personally feel the great loss associated with these spaces after losing my childhood home in the past. Many people would find these spaces too unnerving or polluted to venture into. However, I wish to portray the hidden beauty and fascinating history nestled beneath the crumbling decay, only waiting to be discovered.


Suzannah O Reilly – Artist Statement

Process plays an integral part of my artistic practice; it informs why and how I make work. Fundamentally, printmaking is a series of process led techniques and applications to produce work. The application of these processes has been at the core of my work for three decades. By exploring Planographic, Relief and Intaglio printmaking techniques and by using traditional and new technological tools and materials my practice has grown and developed. In the past couple of years, I have been using cyanotype, wood blocks and monoprint techniques in my work. The wood blocks I to print from were once used as cutting matts for a router and laser cutting machine and their surface is rich in texture. By printing these boards, I am re-appropriating the marks, while also collaborating with the mark makers and their tools. For many years I have worked with others on collaborative projects and prints and this experience has led me to this current body of work where I am collaborating with myself. My younger self but my older concerns and creations, using plates and imagery from different stages of my practice and bringing them into the present.

Suzannah O Reilly  – Biography

Suzannah is a practising artist, printmaker based in Limerick and Tipperary. She studied Printmaking in the Limerick School of Art & Design (LSAD) and later completed a master’s by research at the Crawford College of Art in 2004. In 2015 she co- founded Parallel Editions, a Fine Art Publishing house in Limerick She is a working member of the Limerick Printmakers (LP) since 1999 and was a board member for ten years (2008-2019). Suzannah teaches various printmaking techniques in LP and is a lecturer in printmaking at LSAD. Process plays an integral part of her artistic practice; it informs why and how she makes her work. Her own practice in print has led her to work in collaboration with different organisations and disciplines promoting and expanding printmaking methodologies and practices. She has experience in curating and organising exhibitions most notably taking Plan A & Plan B, a collaborative exhibition from LP members to Impact 9 in Hangzhou China 2015.
Other exhibitions   she has been part of are Impressions Biennale, GMIT, Galway. (2010, `12, `15, `16) Synergy, Bourne Vincent Gallery, University of Limerick.(2014)  RE Open Exhibition, Bankside Gallery, London.(2012) Never never be an Artist,  The Source Arts Centre, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.(2012)   Matrix, Graphic Studio, Dublin. (2010) EVA+ 2003 selected by Virginia Perez- Ratton. Her work can be found in many private and public collections including the Limerick City Gallery of Art, OPW, Tipperary Co. Council, Limerick City Council, and Regional Hospital Limerick. UL and the Hunt Museum.


Clodagh Twomey – Artist Statement

Clodagh Twomey is a Designer and Printmaker living and working in Limerick.
She is a member of Limerick Printmakers and lectures in Design at the Limerick School of Art & Design, TUS. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is part of private and public collections.

Title: Presence and Recognition

Medium: Cyanotype, Silkscreen and Pencil

This work explores the experience of being present in a landscape. The metaphor of the Archimedean Twin Circles is used to describe the need to maintain a balance between a sense of place and the artist’s reflections on a landscape. While moving through a location, horizons change, perspectives alter
until that moment of recognition occurs and the image is captured.

Title: Place

Medium: Cyanotype on Cotton

This cyanotype was created in response to an exploration of landscape, the work was made using a combination of plant material and digital negatives.

Isabella Walsh Artist Statement

I approached the sacred mountain seeking answers. I walked away contemplating my place in the universe – the insignificance of the individual in terms of geological time. To the gods we are but insects… Analog photography is a psychological investment in the future – patience and delayed gratification are intrinsic – often weeks pass before I see any results. It is a deeply meditative process. I use old medium format cameras in particular because I like how the older lenses compress space. The film in this instance was sent home from the Canary Islands by lorry in a metal box subjecting it to extremes of temperature and humidity, the likely cause of the extra sparkle in the images.

Image A is Tindaya, a mountain sacred to the Mahos, indigenous people of Fuerteventura. It is Trachyte, a different type of rock to the rest of the island. There are apparently hundreds of ancient carvings of feet on the slopes and the summit, all pointing toward the biggest active volcano on Gran Canaria where they believed the devil lived. Signs at the base request that visitors respect their cultural heritage by not going up, which I obeyed.

Image B is of a small colony of insect dwellings, possibly some kind of native wasp or bee and made from clay which I discovered near the base of the mountain, and my foot.

Isabella Walsh Biography

Isabella Walsh (b.1983) is a multidisciplinary artist from Co. Limerick, with a BA(hons) in Fine Art Printmaking from Limerick School of Art and Design. She has held solo exhibition was in Limerick City Gallery of Art (2017) and Gallery Interlude, Limerick (2018). Isabella has collaborated on residencies in the Park Kiosk, Limerick (2015), The Arba Minch Art Project, Southern Ethiopia (2015, 2016) and Occupy Space – Seattle (2016). She is represented in the OPW and the University of Limerick collections. Isabella is a member of Contact Studios, and is currently based in Wickham St Studios. She also works as a sculptor and prop modelmaker in the film industry.

My artistic practise has two main branches – solitary and social. I respond to the people and places I encounter, the experiences I have, intuitively and sensitively. I enjoy creating art objects, particularly through drawing, printmaking and photography. I also enjoy working with others, collaborating on art projects, facilitating events and teaching. The process of exchange that takes place can sometimes create long lasting connections between people. I am fascinated by storytelling, in visual, oral and literary forms. Time, place and human intervention on the environment are also central tropes in my work.