Women Unremembered | Oonagh Hurley at LHQ Gallery, County Hall


Women Unremembered | Oonagh Hurley at LHQ Gallery, County Hall Date/Time
Date(s) - 14/04/2022 - 13/05/2022

LHQ Gallery, County Hall





Oonagh Hurley
LHQ Gallery, County Library
Carrigrohane Road
Cork City
T12 K335

Thursday 14th March – Friday 13th May 2022
Open Mon – Fri 9am – 5.30pm

Cork County Arts Office is delighted to present WOMEN UNREMEMBERED, a new solo exhibition by Cork based artist Oonagh Hurley in LHQ Gallery, County Library. The opening will take place at 6pm on Thursday 14th April 2022, all are welcome.

Oonagh Hurley is a painter based in Cork. She is a graduate of MTU Crawford College of Art and Design. She has exhibited with the Catherine Hammond Fine Arts since 2014. Her ‘Women Unremembered’ series of portraits was exhibited in The Atrium, City Hall Cork (March 2019), in celebration of International Women’s Day and the naming of the new pedestrian bridge after Mary Elmes, one of her subjects in the ongoing portrait series.
Oonagh Hurley’s work is mainly figurative, investigating the processes of remembering and forgetting. She is interested in how memories may sometimes be perceived as fixed, linear and reliable truths, and not something fluid that changes with each retrieval. Memories can alter as we grow, and our experiences colour our perspective. While her work until now has mainly been concerned with the construction of memory, personal and collective, Oonagh’ s current work addresses the opposite: how we forget. She has researched women whose significant achievements, from the heroic to the spectacular, have largely been overlooked and hidden in the writing and rewriting of history, contributing to a collective amnesia. The artist uses photographic archives and written accounts to create contemporary portraits, with the aim that they will be viewed with the curiosity of fresh eyes and prove inspirational to both men and women today.

Oonagh says of her interest in memory and hidden histories: “It is often the most mundane, incidental moments that can stir the most visceral emotions in us. We conceal, expose, select, and colour memories, intertwining reality and fiction, creating open-ended stories. We add and remove our own layers to memory as though it were as malleable and as fluid as the paint on the canvas. My paintings are made in much the same way.”

The artist does this by gathering photographs, Super 8 films, letters and media imagery that evoke the notion of memory. The chance elements that result from the artist’s pouring and layering of paint often prompt an artwork’s composition and lead to an assemblage of open-ended scenes – much like the anatomy of memory. By looking at painted portraits of women that are either forgotten or only remembered through imagery, records and written accounts, the viewer can consider the subject of the work in a different way.

Oonagh’s work was included in ‘Portraits of a Nation’, an exhibition of work in the State Art Collection curated by the OPW in 2016, selected for both RHA and RUA annual exhibitions in 2019, and she was invited to exhibit at Boyle Arts Festival in 2018. She was an award winner at ‘Cairde Visual’ 2018 at The Model, Sligo and awarded a Percent for Art Commission for Cork Opera House in 2020. The artist was an invited guest at the 4th Annual Athena SWAN President’s Symposium at UCC on International Women’s Day in 2021. Her work is in public and private collections including OPW and MTU. Oonagh Hurley will exhibit in The Blue House Gallery in Schull, Co. Cork in July 2022.
WOMEN UNREMEMBERED runs until Friday 13th May 2022. The gallery is open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5.30pm. Any enquiries should be emailed to arts@corkcoco.ie


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