Mick O’Dea is known for his interest in military history and his paintings of the War of Independence, using source material culled from found and researched photographs. O’Dea’s exploration of this territory can be traced in some degree to childhood games, and his dramatic installation of paintings and drawings entitled ‘Plastic Warriors’ at the Donaghmore Workhouse some years ago. Interviewed by Brian McAvera in this journal, O’Dea recalled the impact of seeing graffiti left by Black and Tans in a locked room at this location. He also cited the artistic influence of George Grosz and Otto Dix, German artists who documented their country’s wartime experience.

O’Dea relies on photography as a primary source material, and as a starting point for his canvases capturing each historic mise-en-scéne in warm sepia tones accented with blues and greens. Piquing our interest is the fact that O’Dea, who also trained as a sculptor, will include three-dimensional elements in this show. A judicious use of lighting is planned to further enhance the immersive treatment of this display. The exhibition title refers to a traditional song written in the aftermath of the Rising and the First World War, which alludes to the executions of the rebels and the unappreciated sacrifice of those who died abroad. A variation of the exhibition will be shown in Ballinglen Art Foundation, Ballycastle and Ballina Arts Centre in late July and August 2016.

The Foggy Dew: 15 January – 21 February

For more on Mick O’Dea see The Artist’s Studio by Angela Griffith Summer 2013, p64 and State of Surveillance, an interview with Mick O’Dea by Brian McAvera Spring 2010, p62.

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