Limerick Printmakers at 20
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. LP was proud to continue its partnership with the renowned institution The Hunt Museum in staging this exhibition. The exhibition was officially launched by actor and comedian Pat Shortt on Thursday 14th February at The Hunt Museum and continued to Monday 22nd April.
Naomi O’ Nolan, Head of Exhibitions and Collection at The Hunt Museum explains how the exhibition deepens the established connection between the museum and Limerick Printmakers:
‘There has always been a close relationship between The Hunt Museum and Limerick Printmakers, stretching back to one of the museum’s first open days when Limerick Printmakers hosted hugely popular printmaking workshops from the museum’s gallery. The fact that LP at 20 will launch on the museum’s twenty-second birthday in the same gallery beautifully exemplifies the synergy that has existed between the two organisations for many years. We look forward to hosting this selection of work from contemporary Irish printmakers’.
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. Just as vital for artists are spaces to exhibit their work and we are delighted to continue our hugely positive relationship with The Hunt Museum by realising this exhibition.’
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.