Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2/11 to 6/3: "Rural Ireland" Exhibit at BC

Mass in a Connemara Cabin by Aloysius O'Kelly
"Rural Ireland: The Inside Story"
-- Free Exhibit at Boston College

* Guest Post by Emma Crawford

Boston College's McMullen Museum of Art, strives to cultivate learning by presenting innovative multidisciplinary exhibits for the surrounding community while providing political, historical, and cultural context. Every exhibit on display at the McMullen Museum celebrates artistic excellence by exploring the visual traditions of diverse cultures.

Beginning February 11, 2012, in collaboration with Boston College's Irish programs, the McMullen Museum will present, "Rural Ireland: The Inside Story". Inspired by Claudia Kinmonth's groundbreaking 2006 study, Irish Rural Interiors in Art, the exhibit depicts the lives of Ireland's rural poor.

Visitors to the McMullen Museum will be able to view the vast collection depicting scenes from the everyday lives of Ireland's rural poor. Many of the works reveal the wide spread poverty and deprivation during the Great Famine from 1845 to 1849, offering new evidence surrounding the various folks living in the countryside.

The works also bridge a connection to the time of the depression here locally, when there was an unprecedented amount of residents losing their homes and apartments in Boston. Most of the works in this exhibit have never been displayed in the United States before.

Claudia Kinmonth, a furniture historian, spent years studying the rural culture of Ireland. Through the exploration of imagery, Kinmonth focused her studies on the interiors of rural farmhouses, artifacts, and clothing.

During her extensive examination of Ireland's rural culture, she discovered something that challenged previous assumptions about Ireland's artistic heritage. For decades, it was assumed that artists of Ireland only painted the Irish landscape and the 'the big houses' of the Irish elite for their subject matter.

Through these studies, Kinmonth discovered previously unknown works of art that depicted the lives of Ireland's rural poor. She uncovered paintings that showed people cooking over an open hearth, depicted where they slept, and showed the people celebrating marriage arrangements, weddings, and wakes, creating a new social history of Ireland's country folks.

The exhibit will include pieces, like:

- John George Mulvany's (1766-1838) "A Kitchen Interior", on loan from the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin;
- Sean Keating's (1889-1977) "The Playboy and Pegeen Mike", part of the Burns Library Collection at Boston College;
- Howard Helmick's (1840-1936) "The Dispensary Doctor – West of Ireland", on loan from Pym's Gallery of London; and
- Aloysius O'Kelly's (1853-1936) "Mass in a Connemara Cabin", courtesy of Gorry Gallery, Dublin.
Note: An opening reception will be held on MON 2/13 from 7pm to 9:30pm.

"Rural Ireland: the Inside Story", will be on display at the McMullen Museum from February 11, 2012 thru June 3, 2012. Located on the Boston College campus, on the first floor of Devlin Hall, the hours of operation are Monday-Friday 11:00 – 4:00 and Saturdays and Sundays 12:00 – 5:00, while admission is free and open to the public.

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Emma Crawford is a creative writer from Murray State University. As an aspiring writer she specializes in writing about travel destinations, tourism and art.

Want to write something for Cheap Thrills Boston? Let me know.

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