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Bernadette's work selected for RDS show


Bernadette Doolan

Bernadette Doolan

Bernadette Doolan


A desire to help was a Wexford artist's inspiration to paint socially conscious pieces and paintings that depict the human condition, which will be exhibited at Ireland's premier art fair Art Source, at the RDS from November 9-11.

Bernadette Doolan was thrust from ceramics into painting when she decided to help the homeless through Focus Ireland.

The Enniscorthy resident who has just won the 2018 Irish News Prize at the Royal Ulster Academy of Arts, was forced to paint when plans to make ten pieces of ceramics were ruined by a broken kiln.

'The homeless issue was prevalent even back in 2005 and I always wondered what I could do to help,' said Bernadette who won the RUA award at the Academy's 137th annual exhibition a few weeks ago for a work depicting the theme of Ireland today, titled 'Feeling Awkward, Not Fitting In'.

'Focus Ireland was holding a charity exhibition in which I committed to take part but my kiln broke and I hadn't the money to get it fixed. It was either cancel or get out of my comfort zone and paint.' All the pieces sold on the opening night.

'I tend to always wonder what can I do in certain situations so I paint scenes of social conscience to try and make the viewer think too about issues such as homelessness or other topics where people have no voice.'

Bernadette held an exhibition called '196' in which she designed 196 unique spoons to represent the amount of children who died while in the care of the State between 2000 and 2010.

The artist approaches topics of social conscience with sensitivity and respect, exploring the intangible notion of truth and acknowledging vulnerability while not apportioning blame.

'My work is not about blame or even about pointing a finger. It is simply creating awareness on these issues and making people think for themselves about them. she said.

Bernadette has also explored the fragility of identity in the context of childhood through much of her recent work.

'My work is focused on life, from childhood to old age and everything in between - our dreams, our fears.'

'Then we grow up and all we have to do is close our eyes are we are straight back there', she said.

'I don't wish to dictate through my work. I simply want to express an emotion, which can be interpreted differently by everyone.'

Over 15,000 people are expected to view exhibits from artists across all genres at the biggest art event of the year which features over 175 contemporary artists and galleries over two floors.

Art Source showcases painting, sculpture, photography, illustration, prints and ceramic art.

Visitors have an opportunity to own a piece of original artwork in Art Source's unique 100 for €100 project, with pieces available on a first-come first-served basis.

Gormley's Fine Art will be featuring a rare iconic collection of Ingrid Bergman prints by Andy Warhol as part of a US Pop Art exhibition at the show, which also features Roy Lichtenstein, Tom Wesselmann, Robert Indiana and Jean Michelle Basquait.

There is a big emphasis on visitor involvement at Art Source, and this year the show features a number of attractions for children over two floors - including a Superhero Transformation Station.

Art Source takes place at the RDS, Dublin, from November 9-11, admission is €10 adults, €8 OAPs. Children under 16 free only if accompanied by a parent or guardian. The opening times are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, November 9; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, November 10 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, November 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.