Gaoth Dobhair artist brings his work home to Donegal for solo show

Though Seán Cathal, the creative director of TG4, has been painting for decades, he has never exhibited his work before.

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Gaoth Dobhair artist brings his work home to Donegal for solo show

Artist Sean Cathal O Coileain pictured with one of his paintings at the opening of his exhibition in An Gaillearai in Gweedore recently. (Photos by Eoin Mc Garvey)

An Gailearaí in Gaoth Dobhair is hosting a solo show by artist Seán Cathal Ó Coileáin in the first exhibition of his decades of work.

Though Seán Cathal, the creative director of TG4, has been painting for decades, he has never exhibited his work before. Originally from Gaoth Dobhair, Seán Cathal makes his home in Spiddal.

“Cuireann An Gailearaí í Láthair: Seán Cathal 1997-2017”, runs at An Gailearaí, at the Áislann Ghaoth Dobhair, in the Gaoth Dobhair Business Park in Derrybeg. 

Art historian and critic Ciarán Mac Gonigal said he has see Seán Cathal’s work evolve over some years.

“The work is at once personal and universal in its references,” Ciarán said in an analysis of Seán Cathal’s work. “Many of the elements of each work are explicable at many levels. First the painter knows what he means and intended by the work ... but unlike many other painters his subject can also, in his opinion, be approached by the viewer with equal facility of understanding. That is to say, their understanding. After all who can truly know what lies in another’s mind. Makers of visual things, be they paintings, sculptures, graphics or designs know that the eye sees first and the brain interprets it. Going to a concert, theatre, opera or even a church service, one sees first and then hears.

“The painter Seán Cathal is so much more of a metaphysical painter than one of narrative in that he deals with the first principles of things, including the abstract concept or concepts of  being, knowing, time, space and, crucially for him, identity,” Ciarán said.

Ciarán said, “He includes many visual references which have a locally charged element or series of elements but are interpreted by him in a much broader framework.”

Ciarán said the arts officer of Donegal County Council and the curator of the gallery, Una Campbell, worked together to make the exhibition happen.

”They are to be commended for this voyage of discovery,” he said. “Seán Cathal has more to say, and this is but a stage in that process.”