Art society’s annual exhibition

Art society’s annual exhibition

8 May 2019

IN founding Downpatrick Art Society in 1969, Eleanor Pedlow was ahead of her time.  Her aspiration to draw all sections of the community together, with the common interest of participating in painting, stands in contrast to darker events of this year.

The group began with four founding members and has continued to flourish, as can be seen in this year’s annual display, which was opened in the St Patrick Centre last night by the distinguished artist, Neil Shawcross.

The exhibition encompasses a range of themes and styles. Many of the works are inspired by local landscape. 

In Olive Davison’s Tollymore Turbulence, a gushing stream rushes past the coppers and greens of an autumnal day, fallen leaves and racing water suggesting movement of time amidst stillness.

Wendy Cromie’s Killyleagh takes an unusual perspective, with fairy tale castle towers sloping through pastel streets to a yacht foregrounded below. The location is simultaneously recognisable — and magically different.

A love of nature can be detected in the flowers and animals that feature. Maureen Lowe’s watercolour May’s Out is a close up of delicate spring blossom while snow dominates in Mairead Patton’s North Tor, Slieve Bernagh, making the mountain ascent daunting. Marilyn Prior’s whiskered bunny is full of Easter cheer and there is humour in Brenda O’Connor’s Mouse Watch in the black cat that patiently awaits its prey.

Allusions to history are made in James Carney’s two pieces done in pen and ink; in one two women in an old fashioned bar clearly disapprove of ‘The state of him’. Mairead Patton captures Hanlon’s for posterity in another work. Here the pen and wash technique adds nostalgia and a sense of the contribution the establishment has made to the town over time.

There are paintings with stories to tell — who are the two in conversation in Brenda O’Connor’s The Reunion? Others such as Alison Gifford’s Red Sky, St John’s Point, John Murray’s Murlough Beach and Roisin Alexander’s Quoile Pondage, Sunset are a study on light.

Eleanor Pedlow continued to produce work right up to the year before her death at the age of 95. She has much of which she can be proud. Her daughter, Lorna, has contributed several pieces to the exhibition. She also leaves the legacy of a thriving artistic community.

Don’t just take my word for it — go and discover for yourself!

The exhibition runs at the St Patrick’s Centre until May 18 and is open from 10am to 4.30pm.