A Sparkling Party

Kevin O’Dwyer
Bluecoat Display Centre, School Lane
2nd October – 13th November 2010

Reviewed by Gayna Rose Madder

Kevin O'Dwyer’s first solo exhibition in over ten years, A Sparkling Party features a collection of outstanding jewellery, silverware and sculpture by an artist who is not afraid of combining bizarre and surreal imagery and shape with really quite mundane articles such as teapots and vases ('vessels'.)

O’Dwyer has represented Ireland in more than forty international exhibitions and has been featured in upwards of two hundred publications including Ireland’s Treasures: 5000 years of Artistic Expression by Dr. Peter Harbison. He has recently received a National Endowment for the Arts award to work as artist in residence at Pratt Fine Arts Centre in Seattle, Washington, under director Michelle Bufano.

Sparkling Party features extravagant flourishes and forms which span any perceptible boundaries between art and craft. A pair of candlesticks with another, even more flamboyant centrepiece, are clearly functional but make a powerful statement, existing in and demanding their own space, and time to absorb their impact.

These works are sculptural, architectural and - although this is controversial - functional. A tiny teapot which would not pour a full cupful of tea carries much more than its own weight in a magnificent silver coil; beautifully ostentatious fronds float upwards in the items featured here from the series Below Sea Level.

This is a unique exhibition by a world-renowned artist, and very different to anything you are likely to see in the Biennial: so please don't be distracted by all the other wonderful work going on. This is well worth a visit!

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