Doolin Saturday Market and Craft Fair

Doolin Saturday Market and Craft Fair
Photo: Mary Sheehan

Friday, June 26, 2009

Great Balls of Fire!!

Photo by Ilsa Thielan.

The Lightning Strike Gallery has been a blast! The quality and variety of artwork displayed in the café area of the Doolin Saturday Market and Craft Fair this season has made working and visiting the Market even more beautiful. Here are a few notes about the artists whose work will be exhibited this week, as well as those seen over the last few weeks.

This week, the Lightening Strike Gallery features the work of Karl Hughes

Karl was born in Manchester and moved to South Africa at the age of 18. He spent his early twenties torn between study, learning the mechanics of photography while working as a photo-lithographer, and travel, hitching around South Eastern Africa whenever possible. Travel eventually won out and he hit the road, meandering through Africa and Europe, toward the edge of the Atlantic, ending up and settling in Doolin. While distant lands have continued to beckon, leading Karl to almost every continent, over the past 18 years Doolin's warm heart has brought him home every summer. Karl has dabbled in many mediums, but he loves photography best for its honesty in capturing the visual nature of reality.

Travel and a connection with people have been underlying themes in his life and photography. This series of portraits are based on Karl's travels among the tribal peoples of Thailand and Laos. He captures the exotic and marries it to the inherent and shared humanity of his subjects. This is Karl's first exhibit.

Last week, June 20th, the Lightening Strike Gallery featured the work of Ilsa Thielan. Ilsa lived in Fisherstreet, Doolin for nearly 20 years, surrounded by music, stories and history going back far into prehistoric times. She had studied Art, Literature and Photograpy in Germany, and it ws in Doolin and the surrounding Burren where she found her spiritual home and inspiration for her artwork.

Ilsa created and ran the Ivy Cottage Resturant in Doolin with a small gallery to exhibit her work until 1999. Then she moved closer to the Burren to devote her life totally to her photography, poetry and the occasional work of tapestry.

Her love for music and having lived for so long right there where the heart of the music beats, in Doolin, inspired her to travel to musical events all over Ireland. Eventually music lured her to travel abroad, further and furhter. Music became the inspiration for her creative work.

In January of this year, Ilsa weny to Timbuktu in Mali, Africa and from there way out into the Sahara to the "Festival in the Desert", which is a music festival of theTourareg Nomads and which had been visited by Irish musicians Paddy Keenan, Liam O'Maonlai, Mary Bergin, Gary O'Briean, and others. A fascinating musical exchange had happened between Irish musicians and Mali musicians. Being out inthe desert with the Touareg, the "Kel Tamashek", the people who speak Tamashek, and their music, was one of the most powerful experiences Ilsa ever had.

This exhibit, entitled "From Doolin to Timbuktu" is the result of that experience.

On June 13th, the Lightening Strike Gallery featured the work of Vicky Lennie. Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, and a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art, Vicky Lennie has been living and working in West Clare for 13 years. On moving to Ireland in 1996, explorations of her new home led her to a series of land and seascapes, emotional responses to the environment, and the movement of elemental forces. She was soon involved in life-drawing sessions with local artists, which rekindled the fascination she had for the subject and brought the nude to the forefront of her work. The return to the seascape as subject matter came after a break of four years during which time her two children were born.

Many of Vickie’s seascapes were painted on site, through the window of her camper van. “By working in this way, with an ever-changing scene in front of me, I aim to give the viewer a sense of actually being there, over a period of time. The beauty of paint is that it makes visible the actions of the artis as the work was being made.”

Past exhibitions include a three woman show at the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, Dublin, 2000; Doolin Artists annual group shows, 2000-2003; solo show, Tides Gallery, Liscannor, 2001; and a three-woman show at the Belltable Arts Centre, 2004.

The Lightening Strike Gallery will continue to bring Clare artists to the Doolin Market each Saturday this summer. Some upcoming shows are from artists including J.J. (Jack) McCormack, Cindy Griffin, Sonya O'Brien, Michelle de Villiers, Kathy Sambrook, Jennifer Hornsby, and others! We hope to see you soon!

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