Some of the highlights from The 187th Royal Hibernian Academy Annual Exhibition.

They say what you learn in the classroom at school isn’t relevant or useful in real life. But what of all those drawings of your shoe in art class? Or the classmate posing for your 30 minute sketch? Art is timelessly relevant and evidently so at the 187th Royal Hibernian Academy Annual Exhibition.
Opened tonight, Monday 22/05/17, the show is diverse, awe inspiring and exhilarating. Here are some of the many highlights to enjoy during your visit.

From the deep, rich yet muted, jewel tones of Hollis Dunlap‘s “Man in Violet and Green” [124], the lively pallet of Peter Bradley‘s Carousel [47],  the sobering subject matter and social conscience of Jack Hickey‘s “Apollo’s Calling” [214] or the glorious hyperrealism of Blaise Smith‘s gleaming “China” [485] there is something to captivate every audience.[124] [Also the catalogue numbers, if you need a reference to purchase]




You can almost hear the crash of the Atlantic Ocean and taste the surf, standing before Donald Teskey‘s imposing “Ocean Memory” [505] In fact, I don’t know if it is the Atlantic. I am a girl from the West of Ireland and might assume or simply relate. Colin Davidson‘s “Portrait of John Hume” [99]  has a lesser heavy but equally steely blue and grey pallet and raw energy about it, even as it portrays a still moment.


The academic accuracy and expertise evident in Nicholas Benedict Robinson‘s “Hathaya R” [438] make you want to paint as much as you can for as long as you can. Don Niccolo Caracciolo Award and Medal winner and personal art hero of mine Catherine Creaney‘s “With Flowered wallpaper” [86] is another staggering feat in realist portraiture. As is the enviable skill and talent of Kyle Barne‘s  showing his ‘Man with Blue Ears” [6] portrait and winner of The Whyte Award.




There is something very confident about showing a drawing. But when you are, as accomplished an artist as William Nathans, the expertly executed “Micheal” [363] serves not only as a stand alone piece but almost as a trailer for his paintings. A teaser that entices you to want to see even more of his work. Speaking of trailers, like many artists, I enjoy paintings and sculptures of skulls. I will admit, Jason Ellis‘s works “Macrocephalus I & II [136] are all the more enjoyable having seen Alien Covenant recently.

I haven’t even yet mentioned Mick O’Dea’s portrait of “Michael D. Higgins” [385] or another of Blaise Smith’s works, the wonderful and I’ll venture controversial “Eight Scientists” [482] Winner of The Ireland – US Council and Irish Arts Review Portrait Award. I haven’t mentioned going to the bar to find Conor Walton‘s sunset coloured “An Ape’s Limbs Compared to Man’s” under the stairs. But there are many I haven’t mentioned. And my quickly taken snaps from my phone do not do these pieces of art justice. The exhibition runs from May 23, 2017 – August 12, 2017. Go to see it. Be inspired. Keep drawing.




Oscar Wilde
“every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion. It is not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter who, on the coloured canvas, reveals himself.”

Conor Walton “An Ape’s Limbs Compared to Man’s”

Colin Harris “The Birth of Venus” [202]

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