21 March – 13 April 2024
Opening reception Thursday 21 March 5.30-7.30pm. Guest speaker: Roger Bennett, woodturner and writer
Curated by Stephen O’Connell
Quercu – the oak – brings together a new body of work by Alan Meredith, on the occasion of his first solo exhibition in Ireland. The exhibition draws together separate, but related, ideas that the artist has been exploring in his practice for several years and reveals, if not the culmination of them, then certainly an advanced continuation and heightened expression of these ideas.
Oak is important. As if predetermined, the artist grew up at The Oak, the location of his ancestral farmlands in County Laois, and it is here that his studio and workshops are now based. The Oak is the site of making.
It is also the dominant material in much of the artist’s work. The Residual Geometry series is hewn from a single tree that grew at that very same site. It is resurrected here as an interconnected body of furniture that closely echoes the form of its source material and is reflective of that place of origin.
The Curio Cabinet series is a dramatic reinterpretation and rendering of a quotidian form. Encompassing work on a diverse scale, a point of reference interestingly discussed by Stephen Tierney in the essay that follows, the cabinets range from the monumental to the compact, and reflect the artist’s success in realising sculptural pieces that confound and delight the viewer.
The Dearcán vessels are amongst the most recognisable of Alan’s work and are perhaps the most emblematic of his continued dialogue with the material, testing its strength and limitations. Following the Golden Fleece Special Award last year, we are excited to present the artist’s new large-scale pieces with their signature innovative folds.
Oak is also significant in terms of heritage and tradition, both national and artistic. Conscious of this, Alan Meredith carries forward a particular tradition of artists, craftspeople, and sculptors, realising forms inherent in their material. The body of work shown here represents Alan’s steadfast pursuit of these forms, always striving to realise a sense of optimal balance. This exhibition offers a moment for the artist to pause, after the arduous expenditure of time and energy, and for us, the audience, to reflect on his journey thus far and to wonder where yet it might go.
Stephen O’Connell, gallerist and curator
Alan Meredith began working with wood from an early age, his work to date straddles the boundaries of contemporary craft, sculpture and architecture and has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. Graduating with a Masters in Architecture from University College Dublin in September 2015, Alan currently works from his studio in County Laois, imagining and creating one-of-a-kind and speculative pieces for both public and private clients. Completed projects include; one of a kind furniture, public space design, and a collection of sculptural wood-turned vessels. Recent Awards include; The Golden Fleece – Special Award 2023, while Alan’s work was Exhibited at ‘Collect’ – The Leading International Fair for Contemporary Craft and Design, London and at ‘Salon’, Park Avenue Armory, NYC 2022. The work is stocked in numerous galleries in Europe and the United States. Alan is a member of the Design and Crafts Council Ireland – Portfolio Critical Selection for 2021/22 and the Homo Faber Guide.