Brian Bourke | Michael Kane

Friday 1 March – Saturday 13 April 2024
Brain Bourke, Decaying Sunflowers, oil on canvas, 110 x 95 cm  | Brian Bourke | Michael Kane | Friday 1 March – Saturday 13 April 2024 | Taylor Galleries | Image: Brain Bourke, Decaying Sunflowers, oil on canvas, 110 x 95 cm | we see the heads of six past-it sunflowers against a dappled blue 'sky' – only it is presumably not the sky, as it is towards the bottom of the canvas, and the sunflowers are apparently suspended upside-down, such that we see their stems disappear off the top of the canvs; the depiction is fairly realistic, somewhat impressionist, with dried-out flower heads and shrivelling leaves; the overall effect is quite cheerful

Since our return to Ireland in the early sixties, Michael and I have worked on and organised, with our fellows, many group shows.
But now in our eighties, this will be our first two-man exhibition together – the show before we go.
– Brian Bourke

Brian Bourke was born in Dublin in 1936 and studied at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin and St Martin’s School of Art, London. He lives and works in Galway with his wife, the painter Jay Murphy.

From early landscapes and life-size nude self-portraits, Bourke’s work has evolved to encompass various series that explore his interest in observational work and fictional narrative. There is often an element of imaginary biography in his work, which has seen the artist compare himself to literary characters such as Sweeney and Don Quixote in various guises. As well as portraits of people and places, his paintings include expressive still lifes reminiscent of memento mori that feature recurring objects such as masks, animal skulls and African carvings, ink and wash drawings on paper, and painted wood carvings.

Brian Bourke represented Ireland at the Paris Biennale and the Lugano Exhibition of Graphics in 1965. He has received several high-profile awards, including the O’Malley Award from the Irish-American Cultural Institute in 1993. He is an elected member of Aosdána and an honorary member of the Royal Hibernian Academy. His work has been exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions in Ireland and abroad. In 1992, Bourke was Artist in Residence at the Gate theatre during the Beckett Festival and the work resulting from this residency was shown at the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin.

His work is included in public and private collections in Ireland and beyond.

– Sabina Mac Mahon

Born in Wicklow in 1935, Michael Kane travelled through Europe in the late 50’s before becoming, very much, a Dubliner. He studied at the National College of Art and Design (1956-59) and Graphic Print Studio (1961-63). Michael is a central figure of Irish Modernism; co-founder of both the Independent Artists’ movement and Project  Arts Centre during the ‘60s, editor of the sociopolitical journal ‘Structure’ in the ‘70s, and member of the Toscaireacht (1982-86) just after the state establishment of Aosdána.

Dublin remains Michael’s most enduring motif, he is inspired by the architecture, ephemera and everyday movements of the city’s inhabitants for which he has a remarkably animated memory, as evidenced by ‘Blind Dogs; a personal history’ published in 2023 (Gandon).

Michael and Brian (Bourke) converged in Dublin around the same time. Though stylistically unalike, they were aligned in their reluctance to accept the limitations of the cultural scene then, and keen to see a wider platform for professional artists. This exhibition celebrates two independent artists, whose singular and collaborative actions as young men, ushered in many changes for artists in Ireland.

– Josephine Kelliher

Image: Brain Bourke, Decaying Sunflowers, oil on canvas, 110 x 95 cm 
Friday 1 March – Saturday 13 April 2024
Taylor Galleries
16 Kildare Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 1 676 6055
Opening hours / start times:
Monday 10:30 - 17:30
Tuesday 10:30 - 17:30
Wednesday 10:30 - 17:30
Thursday 10:30 - 17:30
Friday 10:30 - 17:30
Saturday 11:00 - 15:00
Admission / price: Free

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