From Friday 26 October to Saturday 17 November Solomon Fine Art is delighted to celebrate Ireland’s finest sculptor John Behan’s 80th birthday with an exhibition of new bronzes and drawings. A major catalogue will be published to mark the occasion with accompanying text from renowned playwright Thomas Kilroy.
Behan’s work has always dealt with displacement of people and emigration. This year, horrified by the ongoing situation in Syria and seeing thousands of desperate refugees make the dangerous passage across the Mediterranean to Europe, Behan decided to travel to Greece to volunteer with Project Elea in the Eleonas Refugee Camp in Athens. In June, to mark World Refugee Day, the Irish Embassy in Greece invited John to speak about migration as a theme in his work and he subsequently delivered an art workshop with teenage refugees in collaboration with the Athens School of Fine Art and the Greek Ministry of Culture. The forthcoming exhibition here at the Solomon will include new works made in response to these experiences.
Behan’s work is highly expressive; his pieces are marked by an initially perceived roughness that quickly melts into a surprising delicacy of form. Crafted in a myriad of different coloured patinas surface, each piece is as individual and captivating as the next, reflecting often-difficult themes of Irish history, emigration and identity in a remarkably subtle way.