The beau monde mannequins of Brown Thomas have entered the realm of contemporary art as the chain turns its windows into galleries for the next three weeks.
BT stores in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway will bring the work of 36 emerging Irish artists to a mainstream audience in an event titled Art and Style, that sees their work complemented by the best of BT fashion.
The Dublin store will showcase the work of 17 artists, including that of Dee Walsh, whose intricate paintings examine maps of the capital; sculpture and installation artist, David Folan, fresh from his solo show in New York; Dee O’Shea, who works with video and sound; and artist Aisling Conroy.
Cork will feature the creativity of nine artists and manager of the city’s Brown Thomas store, Caroline Counihan, said they are “thrilled to be collaborating with local artists”.
“There is a wealth of creativity and talent in the area and we are offering a platform for these artists to showcase their pieces on Cork’s main thoroughfare. At Brown Thomas we constantly strive to discover and nurture new talent and we feel that our customers share our enthusiasm for newness and original work.”
That enthusiasm was evident yesterday when the windows were unveiled, much to the delight of artist Mags Geaney, who relished the opportunity to bring the style of her 79-year-old mother Philly, who suffered a stroke in 2009, to such a broad audience.
“My mother always had great fashion sense, but, after her stroke, we were forced to clear out her wardrobe to make space for new clothes, emphasising comfort over style, said Mags from Passage West.
“In the exhibit, I painted my mum’s clothes on models from, for example, Vogue magazine, in a celebration of her life and all the fun she had wearing these clothes.
“Brown Thomas is a meeting point for people and the amount of exposure this affords me is fantastic,” said Mags.
Michael Gurhy, an artist and student of fashion design at St John’s Central College, is a fan of all things Gothic and has arranged a display of his ostrich-feathered bags to replicate a murder of crows.
“It’s great at a time when art funding is being cut that Brown Thomas is giving us a platform to show our work. It’s brilliant to blur the boundaries between fashion and art,” said Michael, who highlighted the creative input of BT’s Hilda Hennessy and Cathy Lawson.
Photographer Miki Barlok’s exhibit stands adjacent to Michael’s and features a photograph of a model wearing a design by the latter. Painter Raphael Llewellyn’s work focuses on ideas of time and transformation. Aoife Barrett’s eye-catching print work is inspired by the role of explorers. Also featured are painters Sarah Patricia Gleason and Diane Peters, and Debbie Godsell and Evelyn Broderick, who both use the medium of print.
The works are for sale, starting at €200.
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