Vase, Vessel, Void

Esker Vessels by Sara Flynn, image by Norwood Photography

Esker Vessels by Sara Flynn, image by Norwood Photography


September 24 2014

The exhibition Vase, Vessel, Void is a result of the response of a curator of applied art to the selected work of a gallerist and collector. I had the pleasure of editing the fascinating dialogue, which took place between curator Brian Kennedy and gallerist Oliver Sears for the exhibition catalogue recently. It was a conversation which provided a great insight to the genesis of a exhibition which has brought together paintings, prints, photographs and objects by leading Irish and international artists. Reason enough to go and see this show one would imagine.

However, for those who continue to place applied art in a separate (usually sub) category to fine art, this exhibition sends out some very clear and long overdue messages.

Vase, Vessel, Void presents some of the greats of 20th century studio craft, such as Alison Britton, Gwen Hanssen Pigott and Gordon Baldwin, alongside names such as Peter Davis, Chuck Webster and Ben Nicholson. In exploring the movement from still life to the functional and towards abstraction, this exhibition clearly demonstrates that, rather than looking at boundaries, our focus should be on the commonality of approach, technique and knowledge and the relationship between maker and material, regardless of whether that material is paint or clay. In addition Vase, Vessel, Void clearly contextualises the work of contemporary Irish makers such as Sara Flynn and Liam Flynn as they comfortably sit side by side with work by William Scott and Robert Motherwell.

Vase, Vessel, Void continues at Oliver Sears Gallery until October 2nd.


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Frances McDonald