Friday 23 February 2018

My cultural life: Gallery owner Tara Murphy

Tara Murphy, director of Solomon Fine Art
Tara Murphy, director of Solomon Fine Art
O'Reilly Bears
Handsome Devil

Tara Murphy is gallery owner and director of Solomon Fine Art, and director of PORTFOLIO @ Solomon. She attended UCD, where she received an honours degree in history of art and French and a postgraduate diploma in arts administration. She began working at Suzanne Macdougald's Solomon Gallery and in 2013, when Macdougald decided to retire after 40 successful years in the business, Tara took over the gallery on an independent basis. Tara has helped develop the space into one of the most successful galleries in the country, representing more than 40 contemporary painters and sculptors. In her spare time, Tara is a voluntary ski instructor at the Ski Club of Ireland, Kilternan, and is a keen sailor in Dun Laoghaire.

Artwork: Patrick O'Reilly bears

O'Reilly Bears

I'm fortunate enough to own an art gallery so it's nigh on impossible for me to choose a favourite artwork without causing offence. But I've ­collected lots of very beautiful things over the past 20 years to mark milestones and special occasions in my life - a Rowan Gillespie sculpture (our wedding), a painting of Mount Street by Donald Teskey (my SSIA savings), ­Patrick O'Reilly bears (for the births of our two kids - see an example of his bears above), and an exquisite little nude by Barrie Cooke. It hangs beside my bed and I would grab it in the event of a fire.

Book: Ablutions

I am currently reading Ablutions by the American writer Patrick deWitt. I was lucky enough to hear him talk about the book at a Dalkey Book Festival event in Finnegan's pub (our local), which was, of course, a wonderful ­setting for this semi-autobiographical tale of a louche ­barman working in a seedy Hollywood joint.

Album: Humanz


Music has always been important in our family (my dad was a musician and concert promoter) and even though I can't play or sing a note, we have music constantly blaring out of our speakers day and night at home. With two kids also controlling the Sonos, it's fair to say it's a pretty eclectic mix. One new album we all love at the moment is Humanz by Gorillaz (above). It's a real grower.

Design: Vintage leopard-print raincoat

Irish designers really hold their own when compared to their international contemporaries. I've bought pieces by Irish jewellery makers Una Burke and Rudolf Heltzel and coveted the drop-dead gorgeous furniture of Zelouf+Bell.

For fashion, I've been wearing vintage all my life, having worked in my mother's vintage shop A Store is Born before I joined the art world. I always make a beeline for Mum's beautiful pointed art deco scarves, silk kimonos and 1950s beaded cardigans.

A classic leopard-print raincoat I bought years ago has become my ­staple summer and festival cover-up.

Film: Handsome Devil

Handsome Devil

John Butler's heart-warming film (above) perfectly encapsulates tricky adolescent life in a south Co Dublin rugby school (yes, I went to one). The soundtrack is also wonderful - I've been listening to the film's Spotify playlist non-stop.

Solomon Fine Art is currently showing 'Of Birds and Beasts' - new sculpture by Ronan Halpin. It ends on June 17.

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