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Pair of exhibitions put photos on show

Two photography exhibitions continue at the Court House Gallery, Ennistymon, this month, following their launch last weekend.


Off Season, featuring the photography of Niall Kerrigan and The Fabric of the West of Ireland, featuring the photography of Patrick McHugh opened at the gallery space last Saturday and runs until May 30.

The concept of Off Season comes from the months when holiday homes/villages are unoccupied, the atmosphere this creates and the sense of life in suspended animation; reminiscent of the famine villages.

The display captures shops in small, seaside towns waiting for the tourist business to come back; colourful playgrounds and amusements sitting empty.

Unlike the famine villages, there is a justifiable expectation of renewed life but for the moment during the off season they are virtually deserted.

Buildings and amenities lose their function and there is a dereliction that creates an atmosphere that has suggested itself as the setting for menacing tales to unfold in, in both literature and film.

According to the photographer, there is also a great beauty to this abandonment. “It allows everything to be seen at its most fundamental, allowing a clarity of vision and attention to detail impossible during high season. Since moving from city life to a seaside village five years ago this aesthetic has seeped into my consciousness and Off Season is my attempt to portray its desolate beauty,” he said.

Niall Kerrigan is an award-winning graphic designer originally from Dublin but now based in Killala, Mayo.

Meanwhile, The Fabric of the West of Ireland looks at the textures or fabric of the West of Ireland that affects Patrick McHugh’s work wherever he goes, be it in a personal, editorial or advertising capacity.

“I find texture or fabric tends to be evident in much of my photography. The texture or fabric of a face, a surface, a tree or a landscape seems to be ever evident. This exhibition shows some personal work and some of my published editorial work with a strong emphasis in black and white photography,” he said.

Although born in Ireland, Patrick spent his early years in Greenwich Village, New York City, returning to spend his teenage years in Ireland. After graduating from St Flannan’s, Ennis, he rode the wave of emigration out of Ireland, returning to New York to study at the School of Visual Arts and at Parsons School of Art and Design.

Assisting in New York and London at some of the more established photography studios gave him an introduction to the world of editorial fashion and advertising.

After building a fashion portfolio in Madrid, he opened a studio near the Guinness headquarters in Dublin, Ireland and four years later again returned to New York to set up in Greenwich Village.

Patrick spent a decade concentrating in the Big Apple on editorial magazine and catalog fashion photography.

In 2001, he moved to one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Barcelona, basing his office in the intrinsic barrio of El Borne for several years.

He is an established fashion and advertising photographer based in the West of Ireland. Dividing his time between commercial and personal photography projects, his work has appeared in a wide array of national and international magazines.

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