Dublin City Arts Office
The LAB, Foley Street, Dublin 1

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Past Exhibition

Same but Different

Bernadette Doolan

May 24 - June 11 2024

The Cube Gallery

Co-Curated by Julia Moustacchi and Clara McSweeney 
Exhibition Preview: Thus 23rd of May 18:00 - 20:00

Bernadette Doolan’s work explores the fragility of the human condition primarily through depicting aspects of childhood. This interest relates to the resilience and strength children own even through their vulnerabilities. It is perspective explored through reflection of her own childhood and an awareness of how socialization modifies our behaviours.  The sense of vulnerability which a child can experience is more often than not where our strengths reside. Her work has been described as having an ‘emotional weight with psychological intensity that is not necessarily representing the physical, but one’s internal voice’.

Doolan makes art about resilience. The young girls in her paintings are conduits for potentially conflicting emotions, including vulnerability and strength. “For one to experience strength we must therefore know how it feels to be vulnerable”. In her paintings Bernadette’s use of the empty space allows for the viewer to step in, the vastness can cause an unease yet allows a deafening silence among the emotion she is portraying in the figure. This tension is where the conversation starts.

Doolan works intuitively, making the first mark or gesture with the instincts of childhood, without over-planning. "I want to honour the spirit of childhood, of getting back up," she says. "When we fall over, we fall out of our heart and into our head and then everything is decided by our head not our heart. Everything starts getting influenced by thought processes about whether that should or should not be done." Her work is a cry of resistance against an over-reliance on adult logic and judgement, or perhaps a call for a return to the wisdom of early intuition.

About the Artist 

Bernadette Doolan’s work explores the fragility of the human condition primarily through depicting aspects of childhood.  This interest relates to the resilience and strength children demonstrate even through their vulnerabilities.  It is perspective explored through reflection of her own childhood and an awareness of how socialization modifies our behaviours.  Her work has been described as having an ‘emotional weight with psychological intensity that is not necessarily representing the physical, but one’s internal voice’.

As a self-taught artist, Bernadette began her career making ceramic sculpture and her practice has since developed into painting.  She doesn’t constrain herself to one medium but instead allows both to feed and stimulate her creative expression.

Bernadette has exhibited nationally and internationally.  She was an invited artist to Youyi, Art Beijing, China (2021), Youyi, Hangzhou, China (2019), Irish artists in Nepal, Katmandu, India (2018), Seen and not heard, Crawford Gallery, Cork (2019), Cairde Visual, Model Arts Centre, Sligo (2019) and Watts Up, Bernardaud Foundation, Limoges, France 2014.  She also exhibits regularly in the annual group shows at the Royal Hibernian Academy, Royal Ulster Academy, Society Women Artists London, Bath Society Artists, South West Academy U.K., and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters.

 Awarded the Perpetual Silver Prize by the Royal Ulster Academy (2015), Irish News Award by the Royal Ulster Academy (2018), and the Rosemary & Co. Award by the Society Women Artists London (2019), Bernadette was also shortlisted for the Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Exhibition (2019), and the John Richardson Residency, France (2021).

Her work is held in the Wexford County Collection and in private collections nationally and internationally.

Find out more about her work here.

Past Exhibitions

Living but a Day: Encounters

Living but a Day: Encounters

Chloe Austin

May 24 - June 11 2024

RETROFUTURE

RETROFUTURE

Hazel O' Sullivan

May 24 - June 11 2024

Emergency Knowledge: The Missing Archives

Emergency Knowledge: The Missing Archives

Vagabond Reviews

April 12 - May 11 2024