Nuala O’Sullivan: A Respectable Woman
Opening Reception Tuesday 22 July at 7pm
Meath County Council Arts Office are delighted to present A Respectable Woman by acclaimed artist Nuala O’Sullivan in the Toradh Gallery. Nuala O’Sullivan is a Limerick based artist. She graduated with a BA in Fine Art (Painting) from Limerick School of Art and Design in 2006 before completing a Fine Art Masters Degree in 2013.
O’Sullivan’s work uses both photography and painting to explore how concealed repression can seep through from the past. Alongside this the aesthetic and culture of the 1950s have strong visual resonances for her.
In this exhibition A Respectable Woman, memory is the starting point. Memories evoked through old home movies, photographs, and stories told by people about their lives in 1950s Ireland. These memories recall the poverty of the period alongside the sense of repression and claustrophobia that permeated everyday life. However, there was also an attitude of make and do, in particular, among women. With few opportunities to have their voices heard, or for self-expression, fashion offered women a chance to articulate their own personality and style.
The challenge of O’Sullivan’s practice is to make artwork that contributes to a greater cultural understanding of how we live in the presence of the past and the relevance of 1950s nostalgia and repression to today’s society. This history plays a part in the stories we construct about ourselves and our society today. The aesthetic and culture of the 50s has strong visual resonances for the artist.
Through painting she wants to intervene and interfere with still photographic images from that time. This interference brings colour, new scale, and new meaning to the images; bringing the viewer’s attention to the surface of the painting, and in so doing show the passage of time within the final painting. Through painting these images they will have an afterlife.
O’Sullivan’s artwork offers a personal perspective of that time.