This month County Wicklow-based vibrational and abstract artist, Niamh Cooke, will showcase up to 30 oil paintings at her first ever solo exhibition at the tranquil Knockrose Garden in ‘The Scalp’.
The exhibition of her latest works, which will run from Friday, 26th of August until Sunday, 4th September (11 am – 5 pm daily), reflects Niamh’s return to the canvas in her advancing years to express her unconscious self with colour, shape and flow.
Niamh who lives in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, draws her inspiration from personal experiences, the environment, and cultures around the world. She says colour is key to her work and describes her latest pieces as ‘expansive and free’. Niamh says, ‘Colour is very evident and important to my work, as is staying out of thought and what others think.’
Niamh says, for her, the global pandemic created a heightened need to create, to release mass and personal frustration. She hopes others will receive the joy she felt when painting these exhibits. Each piece in this collection offers its observer ‘a few moments of quiet reflection and, hopefully, a feeling of renewal’ – a potential antidote to our ever-increasingly stressful lives.
Niamh’s intention towards healing has been a common thread throughout her entire career spanning physiotherapy, counselling/healing therapy and now art; after completing a course in art therapy, she even used art as a therapeutic tool during her work with her clients.
Niamh has been immersed in all aspects of art since 2000, after retiring from all her client-based work. At that time, she honed her techniques of working with oils, watercolour, and life drawing. She participated in her first exhibition in Coolagad, Greystones in 2007. Then in 2009, captivated by the colours, details and movement of light, she developed a passion for stained glass in Brittany, France, and she exhibited some of her stained glass work at Knockrose in 2015 along with two other artists. Over the past number of years, Niamh has returned to the canvas to paint with oils.
A proud octogenarian and mother to seven grown children, in Ireland and abroad, and grandmother to 13, Niamh hopes her work will intrigue and provide a daily moment of healing, peace and joy.
In addition, part of the proceeds from the sale of her work from this exhibition will go to Yoga for Hope, established in 2009 by Niamh’s friend and yoga teacher, Mella Murphy, to help raise much-needed funds for The Hope Foundation*.
Also, award-winning County Wicklow potter, Geoffrey Healy will be the guest speaker at the opening night reception. According to Niamh, “Geoffrey’s work flows from his intentional stream of feelings and I’d like to think that I’m now doing the same with my paintings.’ Embracing freedom, she advises those working on their techniques to ‘allow time for messy art and to entertain a no-limits space.’
For more details about Niamh’s work and her exhibition see www.niamhcookeartist.ie.