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Tadhg was an artist whose work will resonate widely


For the many who attended the launch on Saturday night of the posthumous exhibition of the work of Cill na Martra artist Tadhg McSweeney, the evening was a revelation.

In her remarks opening 'Complex Simplicity' at Ionad Cultúrtha an Dochtúir Ó Loingsigh, artist and film-maker Vivienne Dick spoke of the many adventures and attributes of her friend, Tadhg McSweeney, before the screening of a rarely seen documentary about the artist during his years in London at the end of the 1980s.  

According to Vivienne, a member of Aosdána, Tadhg had travelled all over the world, once coming to London from Siena in Italy on a Honda 50 moped laden with pigments for painting frescos as well as spending time in France, Germany and also in Los Angeles.  

"He was clearly enthralled with the pure colours and the technique involved," Vivienne explained. 

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"He painted a fresco on a wall in a back garden in Islington and on the wall of my son's bedroom in a council high rise in Swiss Cottage," she added. 

According to Vivienne, Tadhg was most at his ease in his home at Cnoc Sathairn (literally Saturn's Hill) in Cill na Martra.  

"But in the end, he loved this country," she recalled. "The first time I came to Kilnamartrya, I felt like I had entered another world - one I suspected existed but had never accessed before." 

As an artist herself, Vivienne had huge admiration for the work of Tadhg McSweeney and she believes his reputation will grow in the coming years.  

"Though figurative, the work sometimes veers towards the abstract with a deep awareness of how light influences our perception of colour.  

"He spoke about the importance for him of expressing his original vision, without being impeded by irrelevant details.  

"I believe that in the future Tadhg McSweeney's work will resonate with a much wider public", she added  

"Tadhg McSweeney was an artist true to his own vision - like Emerson, he was always himself. he understood that 'to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else, is the greatest accomplishment'." 

In her film, part of a 1989 series produced by legendary film-maker Bob Quinn, Tadhg is seen cycling around London, walking the streets and through the parks and painting in his studio.    

That film, part of the 'Pobal' strand for RTE, was one of two to be screened that night in the Ionad's theatre.   

The other was a segment from a longer film about the artists of Múscraí by internationally acclaimed director Dónal Ó Céilleachair, originally from Macroom.

In this documentary, Tadhg McSweeney is shown at work at home. 

The exhibition will remain at the Ionad Cultúrtha in Baile Bhúirne for a month, and there are plans to bring it to a wider audience throughout Ireland in the coming months.  

The trustees of the farm and artistic estate, which Tadhg bequeathed to the community on his death in August of last year, want to ensure as wide an audience as possible will get to see the works.