Curated by Sarah Kelleher and Brian Mac Domhnaill
31 August – 21 October
Opening reception Thursday 31 August 5.30-7.30pm
Programme of associated events to be announced
Taking Form: Students of the Year 1973-77 | Maud Cotter, Eilis O’Connell, Vivienne Roche – marks Cork Arts Society’s 60 year anniversary with a landmark exhibition that celebrates the organisation’s important role in supporting ambitious Irish art practice. Bringing together rarely seen early work, as well as new sculpture by three of Ireland’s most esteemed artists, this show highlights an important moment in the development of Irish art – when Lavit Gallery’s Student of the Year award recognised the talent and potential of three young innovators graduating from the Crawford College of Art, whose parallel endeavours contributed to a renaissance in Irish sculpture.
By focusing on the narratives of Maud Cotter, Eilis O’Connell and Vivienne Roche, the curators draw attention to a significant art historical moment both locally and nationally, when a dynamic and innovative approach to sculptural practice emerged from Crawford College of Art. Taking Form includes important and rarely seen early works that demonstrate each artist’s bold approach to fabricating in metal, their obsessive attention to the nuances of craft and their commitment to the power of the sculptural object. Furthermore, Taking Form offers an insight into the continual evolution of each artist’s practice, with mid-career and recent works that explore their singular engagement with materials and deeply distinct exploration of the intersection between sculpture and drawing, including a major new piece by Maud Cotter that responds specifically to Lavit Gallery’s new space in Wandesford Quay.
The individual and shared experiences of Maud Cotter, Eilis O’Connell and Vivienne Roche form an important part of this project and are documented and presented in the exhibition through rarely seen archival material, maquettes and working drawings relating to significant public projects. The exhibition at Lavit will be accompanied by a comprehensive program, including talks with artists and curators, lectures and discussions as well as guided tours. This program will be hosted in collaboration with MTU Crawford College of Art & Design and Crawford Art Gallery, which was home to the art college in the 1970s.
Maud Cotter (b. Wexford, Ireland 1954) lives and works in Cork, Ireland. She studied at the Crawford School of Art, Cork in the 1970s and was a recipient of the Cork Arts Society Student of the Year Award in 1974 and 1975. Recent exhibitions include : what was never ours to keep, (solo) at MOCA, Jacksonville, Florida, USA; a consequence of ⁓ (solo) at the Irish Arts Center, New York; a consequence of – a dappled world, (solo) at Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Dublin, 2021 (accompanied by a publication with a new text by Jonathan Griffin alongside texts by Ed Krčma (2016), Michael Lightborne (2019) and Sarah Kelleher (2018)); The Twin, Coventry Biennale of Contemporary Art, Coventry, UK, a consequence of – a breather of air, (solo) at The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon, 2019; backyard sculpture, domobaal gallery, London, a consequence of – without stilling (solo) at Limerick City Gallery of Art, Matter of Fact (solo) at domobaal gallery, London, 2016; 2116: Forecast of the next century, Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork, 2016 touring to Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, MI, USA. Compression, Ormston House Gallery, Limerick, curated by Ed Krčma, 2015; Fourth Space, Inaugural Exhibition, Uilinn, West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen, Co. Cork, 2015; The Air they Capture is Different, The MAC, Belfast 2013. She was Initiator/Curator for The Land of Zero, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, 2014 and has lectured in Art and Architectural colleges in Europe and America. She is a founder director of the National Sculpture Factory, Cork and a member of Aosdana. In 2025 Maud Cotter will present a solo exhibition at Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda, Ireland. The Hugh Lane Gallery, The Crawford Gallery, and Arts Council Ireland have all recently acquired works by Maud Cotter for their collections.
Eilis O’Connell (b. Derry, Northern Ireland 1953) is a sculptor based in County Cork, Ireland. She studied at the Crawford School of Art, Cork in the 1970s and was a joint recipient of the Cork Arts Society Student of the Year Award in 1973, 1976 and 1977. She later studied at the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston and was subsequently granted research fellowships at The British School at Rome and P.S.I. in New York. A two-year residency at Delfina Studios London in 1988 resulted in her moving there until 2002 when she returned to live in Ireland. She is represented by Solomon Fine Art in Dublin and Pangolin London. She has represented Ireland and Britain at the Venice, Paris and São Paolo Biennales and her small sculptures were shown at the Guggenheim Museum in Venice. In 2023 Eilis O’Connell: A Family of Things, the first major survey of her work, launched at F.E. McWilliam Gallery in Banbridge, Count Down. In 2018 her series of outdoor sculptures were exhibited at E1027, the world-renowned home designed by the Irish architect & furniture designer Eileen Gray (1878-1976) in Cap Martin, France. O’Connell’s work can be found in numerous high profile public locations in London (Canary Wharf, London Docklands Development Corporation), Cardiff, Newcastle, Bristol, Wolverhampton, Southampton, Milton Keynes and in Dublin, Belfast, Dundalk, Mallow and Cork in Ireland. She is a founder director of the National Sculpture Factory, Cork, a former member of the Arts Council of Ireland, a member of Aosdána, and a member of the Royal Hibernian Academy and international Fellow at the Royal Society of Sculptors in London.
Vivienne Roche (b. Cork, Ireland 1953) is a sculptor who lives and works near the sea in County Cork, Ireland. She studied at the Crawford College of Art in the 1970s and was a joint recipient of the Cork Arts Society Student of the Year Award in 1973. She later studied at the School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Over the last 35 years she has worked in large-scale bronze, glass, steel, sailcloth, stuccodore plaster, and reconfigured landscape. She has exhibited widely in Ireland and has participated in a number of exhibitions internationally, notably in Sweden, Finland and France. She is represented in public and private collections in Ireland, and abroad, and has created many large-scale public commissions throughout Ireland, many of which have light as a central focus such as NC Iris (Dublin 2006), Whitelight Garden (Dublin 2006), Light Ensemble (Cork 2008) and Light House (Killarney 2009). Her most recent public art commission is The Book of Climate Bells for Esker Educate Together N.S. Lucan (Dublin 2017). She is a founder director and first chair of the National Sculpture Factory, Cork, a former member of the Arts Council of Ireland, a former Board member of the National Gallery of Ireland, a former member of Governing Body CIT, now MTU and currently a member of the Royal Hibernian Academy and Aosdána.