we had a great night at the Solstice in Navan !!! fantastic show thanks to the generous contribution from all artists involved , so thank you all !!!nearly sold out the venue!
“looking back .. for a change”
“An exhibition including some of my instruments , work-related drawings , paintings , live drawings , woodcarving , marquetry , photographs etc. spanning forty years will also run from 26th till the 30th november in the foyer of the Solstice arts centre in Navan
The exhibition will be officially opened by Ann Meldon Hugh , renown sculptress from Oldcastle co Meath .
A live performance on classical guitar by Pat Coldrick ( Navan and Dublin ) will entertain the guests at the opening.
Some of the items on display will also be on sale with proceeds going to local charities.
A selection items from the exhibition will go on display afterwards at Navan library for a short period “
Welcome to this exhibition “Looking back for a change”. I came up with this title as a result of going through some work from the near and distant past. It is in fact a retrospective and comes with age I suppose….In doing so, I discovered the similarities between some of the early graphic work , done mostly during my time at art college , and also the detailed technical drafting I did while working in metal fabrication.
So I realised that after all ,nothing much really changed over all the years as I’m still involved on a daily basis with either designing or fabricating something in which these disciplines and knowledge form an essential part. Every day I can fall back on my experience and use it in a creative way.This often involves making special tools to do a specific task. I hope I have passed on these skills and appreciation of the arts and beauty in some way to my own children and other people I have met over the years.
Art is not always a pretty picture or a love song…It will however always provoke a reaction of one kind or another. No matter what your chosen format and medium is though, you require ninity nine percent knowledge of that medium/material and skills to produce the end-product. In the visual arts drawing forms the back bone for any of these art forms. Creativity is the other essential one percent ingredient.
I was very lucky with some of the teachers I had from a very young age , starting at primary and continuing at secondary level .After this, and also after completing my military duty in the Belgian army (compulsary for one year ), I attended the college of art in Antwerp where, as my main tutor I had a seventy year ” young” lady artist. Every one of these tutors made me appreciate art in all it’s forms, not just painting and drawing but also music , ballet,opera sculpting etc.
The skills acquired over this period , and even before that at secondary school, are repeated in my present work.To make an instrument or to do carving and marquetry you need detailed drawings and measurements to work from.The drawings on show include the following samples ;
The” exploded”drawing of machine parts in pencil was done with the encouragement of my technical graphics teacher in secondary school. The other “exploded” drawing is of a central heating boiler/ assembly done for a company I worked for. Any drawings such as these, and also the construction drawings for an X ray machine , are now done on computer with CAD. Just a note on that trend,
I think that not to understand the skills and principles involved in doing these drawings , and to blindly accept the computer screen version, is somehow a loss to students in the present day. The computer does indeed speed up the process , automatically corrects mistakes and It also includes calcullations relating to material strenght etc. In other words, pull out the socket and many of these tasks become impossible for a lot of these new designers..No different than writing down or remembering a phone nr nowadays…it’s all stored in your mobile phone, so it allows you to “forget”?
The full size line drawings of harps, mandola and viol are done to produce accurate measurements for making templates used in marking the wood for cutting.
Likewise, to make a boat you need to be able to work out floating lines and displacement ; to do this, I use a centuries old way of shaping a hull ,which I re-discovered unknown to myself. It involves shaping a “half” hull and then presenting it against a mirror to show the complete view. The resulting cross sections allow you to work out displacements and volumes needed for the design calcullations. There are some beautifull old excamples of this method in the maritime museum in Antwerp. They say that if a boat looks pleasing to the eye, it will sail well! The photograph shows the end result of a sailing boat designed in such a way when launching in Teelin Co Donegal.
The oil paintings are attempts to find either a ballance or structure within the confines of the canvas. It’s all about learning to cope with and achieving a degree of “mastering” the chosen medium and technique. In some of these I use the brush , in others a flat pallet knife or piece of wood- veneer. Paint can be laid down and gathered up again, put in a different place or mixed with another layers. There is no specific top or bottom for these, so they can be hung in any orientation.
The large drawings are excercises from a short refresher course I did in life drawing from a model a few years ago at the national gallery in Dublin. I really enjoyed the short “immersion” after a long break from tutored drawing in the company of other people with the same approach to visual arts.
The wooden “plugs” are to make glass fibre “female” moulds to reproduce the original wooden shape. Wood can only be bent in one direction at the time. So to create a multy curved shape we can use a plyable medium such as glass fibre , paper or wood chips. It also negates the need for reinforcements to achieve internal structural strenght , as a curved shape has this by it’s very nature.
The marquetry sample is to be glued on the back of a harp .It is done using the old technique by placing two contrasting layers of veneer together and cutting through both at the same time. This allows you to place the cut-out pieces from one layer in the corresponding spaces in the other layer. As they were cut on top of each other, they fit perfectly .It also produces two usable pieces of marquetry with a different back ground.
The samples of carving are made to produce rubber casts. They can then in turn be used to reproduce unlimited numbers of copies with wood flour and resins. This is often used in fireplace manufacture and picture frames with elaborate designs.
Some cartoons , posters and designs on display are from a long time ago… before , during and after art college. They aged well !(better than me?) Most of the works from that time however were given away at the time of making or didn’t travel when I moved to Ireland in 1972, so I only have a small amount of what I produced still with me.
I hope you like the display on show and that you get something from it.Some items can be purchased on request such as the paintings , blueprints of original work drawings and photographs. From the sale I will donate 30 percent of the proceeds to Your chosen charity. Prices can be discussed for each piece.
I am available to teach any of the art or craft forms on display to induviduals or schools .I have ten years experience teaching at secondary level. I am also very interested to establish a school of excellence related to all these skills in Navan and would like to call on the local Enterprise board , council , VEC and locally elected representatives to think outside the usual box and give this sugestion some constructive thought…
When I arrived in Navan forty years ago, there were over thirty furniture manufacturers in the town doing all the skills including carving by hand and a working sawmills…all have disappeared and with that, the skills aquired over generations. It would be nice to put Navan back on the map for these skills and generate employment. Not hundreds of jobs , but a few at the time , like many raindrops can make a flood…
thank you for attending
Jan muyllaert , Ardbraccan , Navan , county Meath , 046 9029722 or mob. 086 8857558