Graphic Studio at IMMA (Dublin, Ireland)

Graphic Studio: 50 Years in Dublin
Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA)
8 September 2010 – 3 January 2011

Anne Yeats
An exhibition featuring a wide cross-section of prints by some 30 leading Irish and international artists, created over the past 50 years, opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday 8 September 2010. Graphic Studio: 50 Years in Dublin celebrates the 50th anniversary of Ireland’s first printmaking studio with a particular focus on their distinctive Visiting Artists Programme. The show also highlights the studio’s establishment by five members who, through innovation and progressive thinking, made Ireland a centre of world class printmaking.

The exhibition presents a diverse range of prints from those founding members – Patrick Hickey, Leslie MacWeeney, Liam Millar, Elizabeth Rivers and Anne Yeats – right through to the newer generation of artists integrating print into their wider practices, including Diana Copperwhite and Geraldine O’Neill. The show also presents prints by such celebrated artists as Patrick Scott, Dorothy Cross and the late Barry Flanagan. Writing in the accompanying catalogue, Irish Times art critic Aidan Dunne is struck by “how good an historical record [the exhibition] provides of Irish art – and not exclusively Irish art – from the mid-20th century onwards.”

Since 1980, these and other artists have been involved with the studio’s Visiting Artists Programme started by Mary Farl Powers, where international and Irish artists are invited to the studio to work with master printers developing a body of prints that expands the boundaries of their usual practices. This creative collaboration manifests itself in special and often unexpected ways as can be seen in the exhibition. The show reveals itself as an important historical archive, telling the story of the often crucial relationship between printer and artist. From the start of the programme, a small number of master printmakers at the Graphic Studio, including Tom Phelan and current studio Director Robert Russell, have been guiding and mentoring artists through the printmaking process. These shared skills combine to create editions that are unique to the Graphic Studio, as can be seen in the longstanding artistic partnership of William Crozier and Robert Russell whose latest edition is currently being made especially for IMMA’s Limited Edition sales.

The exhibition also marks a forthcoming donation of works to the Irish Museum of Modern Art from the Graphic Studio Archive on the occasion of their golden anniversary. This is in addition to the Mary Farl Powers Archive donation made by her family in 2009.

Jackie Ryan, Chief Executive Officer of the Graphic Studio Dublin says of the show, “Working with IMMA to realise this exhibition…has been a tremendous journey. That its timing coincides with the donation to IMMA of the Mary Farl Powers Archive is deeply enriching. The legacy that Farl Powers left the studio, in the establishment of this programme, helps assure its international placement in the next 50 years of our history…We are proud that in association with this exhibition, Graphic Studio Dublin is donating a significant number of works from our archive of prints, from both Visiting Artists and our Members to IMMA’s permanent collection, ensuring that fine art print, and Graphic Studio Dublin’s contribution to it, are firmly enshrined in Ireland’s visual landscape.”

Graphic Studio Dublin was established in 1960 to teach traditional printmaking skills and to provide studios and technical assistance to artists to make fine art prints. Its Graphic Studio Gallery was established in 1988 dedicated to promoting fine art printmaking in Ireland and abroad, educating the public about fine art printmaking and exhibiting and selling fine art prints on behalf of its member artists.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a full-colour, illustrated catalogue that will contain essays by the exhibition’s curator Eimear O’Raw, Curatorial Coordinator: Irish Museum of Modern Art, as well as Aidan Dunne and Jackie Ryan, along with an introduction by Enrique Juncosa, Director of the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

Graphic Studio Dublin is supported by The Arts Council.

Irish Museum of Modern Art