Visitors to London this fall would do well to include In Residence, a pop-up exhibit of contemporary Irish art organized by noted Dublin gallerist Oliver Sears, in their must-see exhibition list.
Having dealt privately for many years, Sears made the decision to open his eponymous gallery in 2010. Since then, Sears has made his mark with a succession of inspired shows—including 2014’s highly-acclaimed Vase, Vessel, Void—often, although not exclusively, focusing on the work of Irish artists.
Sears’s newest exhibition, In Residence, in collaboration with curator Brian Kennedy, is a collection of works “rooted unashamedly in landscape and the figurative,” Kennedy explains. Like Vase, Vessel, Void, In Residence consists of works of fine and applied art alike, by a total of 29 artists and makers. Ceramicist Sara Flynn’s sleek porcelain vessels and woodturner Liam Flynn’s vases are shown in harmony alongside painted works by heavy-hitting contemporary talents Hughie O’Donoghue and Colin Davidson.
Also featured is Toronto-born painter Stephanie Rowe, who has lived in Ireland for the last ten years. Rowe’s small-scale, painted re-creations of film stills create the illusion of voyeuristically peeking into captured personal moments. Of Rowe, Sears says, “Her compositions inhabit a stylized sixties film world, but the subjects are often art collectors looking at objects. Somehow her paintings manage to be simultaneously exquisite art objects and a pastiche of the act of looking at art.” Rowe’s work will be showcased together with a never-before-seen private commission by Lucian Freud—worth millions—as well as a particularly evocative charcoal rendering of a horse by Belfast-born artist Laurence Riddell, who is currently showing a solo exhibition at Oliver Sears’ Dublin gallery (until October 8th). The cascading ash swirls of internationally acclaimed furniture star Joseph Walsh’s Lumenoria I table cannot (nor could be) missed.
Far from the bustle of Frieze Art Fair’s Regent Park location, Sears chose to hold In Residence in the Georgian Group’s headquarters, Six Fitzroy Square, in London’s Fitzrovia district. Sears attributes the choice to the building’s undeniable handsomeness, as well as its approachable scale. “A carefully curated exhibition in an appropriate space that runs for a month offers the viewer so much more than three white-washed walls in a giant maze,” he explains of his decision. “Art,” Sears adds, “is best viewed in space and time.”