LP at 20, the Luan Gallery
2019 marks twenty years since the formation of Limerick Printmakers (LP), a printmaking studio & creative space that has in the intervening years, become an integral part of the cultural landscape of the mid west with over sixty active studio members. Formed in 1999 by Melissa O’ Brien, Claire Boland, and Kari Fry; then recent graduates of the Limerick School of Art & Design’s (LSAD) printmaking department, Limerick Printmakers has evolved into an active studio that emphasises creativity, inclusivity, community, and experimentation.
The exhibition LP at 20 is a celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the opening of Limerick Printmakers and its history to date. The studio now delivers a diverse remit designed to promote and champion printmaking as an art form through education, artist residencies, exhibitions, graduate awards, printmaking and multidisciplinary projects, national and international collaborations, along with a vibrant community engagement programme.
LP at 20 is also a declaration of intent by the studio of its commitment to continuing to facilitate and support the creativity of a diverse group of talented artists, printmakers and photographers in the Midwest of Ireland and beyond. As the municipal gallery for County Westmeath and the first purpose built visual art gallery in the Midlands, Luan Gallery is deeply committed to supporting contemporary artists, collectives, educators and studios such as Limerick Printmakers. They have hosted 56 exhibitions illustrating the work of hundreds of artists in the main gallery spaces with complementary community-based exhibitions at various venues, together with an extensive outreach educational programme of talks, tours, workshops and classes since opening in November 2012.
Key to the ongoing development of art venues and studios is the establishment of partnerships and collaborations regionally, nationally and internationally. As a relatively new municipal arts venue keen to programme a printmaking exhibition of note, Luan Gallery approached Limerick Printmakers in early 2019 to discuss the possibility of exhibiting. Luan Gallery were delighted to discover a new collection of work had been created for an exhibition marking the milestone of the formation of the studio and agreed to host it, after its inauguration at the Hunt Museum, Limerick.
Carmel Duffy, Manager at the Luan Gallery
‘Reaching this milestone anniversary is testament to Limerick Printmakers incredible community of talented artists, administrators, educators and directors. LP is a thriving studio and will, without doubt continue to succeed through upholding its core values of support, encouragement, sense of community, education, inclusivity and above all nurturing its members creativity and passion for printmaking.
We are thrilled to present this new collection of contemporary printmaking to Luan Gallery audiences in collaboration with Limerick Printmakers during its 20th anniversary year. In doing so we hope it connects a new cohort of followers to Limerick Printmakers and creates opportunities and future collaborations for LP members’.
To best showcase the breadth of artistic practice that exists within the current studio cohort of studio members, LP invited a cross section of established, mid career and emerging artists to each make two editions of new large-scale work using subject matter of their own choice. The artists profiles span age ranges, printmaking preferences, and approaches to their process but are unified by the importance printmaking plays in realising their work.
The resultant collection of new large-scale prints illustrates the innovation, technical prowess, and spirit of experimentation that is central to printmaking, an expansive art form that encompasses fine art alongside elements of both design and craft. Printmaking techniques utilised by the artists include a range of both relief and intaglio techniques including aquatint; silkscreen, monotype, collograph, and stone lithography, with individual artists also incorporating the use of hand cast plates, embossment,chine collé, gold foil, and hand stitching.
The artists featured in this exhibition are Eoin Barry, Deitrich Blodau, Mike Byrne, Aine Finnegan, Brian Fitzgerald, Deirdre Gallagher, Helena Grimes, Gavin Hogg, Carol Kennedy, Dan Kenny, David Lilburn, Des MacMahon, Ultan McAvinue, Mary O’ Dea, Tony O’ Loughlin, Suzannah O’ Reilly, Kate O’ Shea, Fiona Quill, Rowena Quill, Jim Sheehy, Verona Stellet, Clodagh Twomey, & Isabella Walsh.
Jess Tobin of Limerick Printmakers explains
‘Celebrating such a milestone is obviously an ideal opportunity to look back on developments that the studio has made, often in challenging circumstances.
I strongly believe that it’s also vital to look to the future and to be ambitious for both the studio itself, its studio members and for printmaking as a whole. Printmaking is such an adaptive, dynamic art form that is only elevated and enhanced by its core ethos of sharing knowledge, techniques, and physical spaces. The concept of community is integral to printmaking and active studio spaces are central to this. We are delighted that Limerick Printmaker’s premiere exhibition with Luan Gallery commemorates such an important milestone in the studio’s history, and that the studio’s past, present and future is reflected in such a heterogeneous yet inclusive body of work.’
LP is proud to be funded by the Arts Council of Ireland, as it has been in multiple forms since 2003. This funding has supported the development of LP’s facilities, which in turn has assisted the progression of the studio’s varied programming.
LP also wishes to acknowledge the support of LSAD/Limerick Institute of Technology particularly Des MacMahon, all LP board members both past and present, Limerick City and County Council including Sheila Deegan of the Limerick Culture and Arts Department, Limerick City Enterprise Board, Limerick Network Enterprise, Deitrich Blodau, Charles Harper; Mary Parkes at the Limerick Adult Education Centre, and the many individuals and organisations that have played a part in LP’s founding and history. Special thanks and thoughts are with Joe Buckley, the owner of LP’s original location on Robert Street.