The ‘BYAP 30 Years’ art exhibition was curated by the acclaimed artists Guggi and John Duffy, both of whom have strong links with Ballymun.
Guggi grew up in the vicinity of Ballymun and spent time living in the iconic Ballymun Towers during the early 1980s. Before concentrating full-time on painting, he began his career as a musician with the cult band Virgin Prunes, notorious for their performative spectaculars on the European underground. He is now established as one of Ireland’s most renowned contemporary artists.
From his early tentative explorations in the mid-1980s, Guggi – primarily self-taught – has evolved into one of the most accomplished and recognised painters of his generation. His distinctive motifs of bowls and other vessels – portrayed with clean, neat lines – have transformed through freer outlines, giving his paintings the more spontaneous, instinctive energy of a painter truly confident within his practice.
Guggi’s most recent paintings mark a notable departure from the steady evolution of his work since he first exhibited his depictions of common everyday objects in Kerlin Gallery in the early 1990s. The structure of these paintings has become more informal and abstract, creating a deceptive simplicity that heightens their stillness and meditative presence.
Guggi has exhibited widely in Ireland and abroad. Most notably, he has had solo shows in Kerlin Gallery, Dublin (1990, 1993); Osborne Samuel Gallery, London (2004); Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York (2001); Solomon Gallery, Dublin (2000, 2002, 2005); Yoshii Gallery, New York (2010). He has also participated in a number of two-person shows with Sybille Ungers, including Ric Urmel Gallery, Gent, (1991) and Gallerie Schurr, Stuttgart (1990). Select group shows include National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin (2008); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2004); Cape Town, South Africa, (2004).
Guggi’s work is collected by both private and corporate collectors in Ireland and abroad.
He lives in Dublin with his wife, the artist Sybille Ungers, and their family.
Further information: www.guggi.com.
Some of Guggi’s recent work:
A self-taught artist, John Duffy was raised in Ballymun and began painting in 1992. His first exhibition was held in 1996 and, since then, he has participated in group and solo exhibitions in axis Ballymun, Origin Gallery, Blue Leaf Gallery and The Helix in Dublin, and Norman Villa Gallery in Galway, to name but a few. He has also participated in several public art projects, most notably working on the largest public art commission by Breaking Ground in Ballymun, ‘Amaptocare’ (2003-2005), with artist Jochen Gerz.
John’s most recent collection, ‘Coming Down in Colour’ (Blueleaf Gallery 2010), marked a new direction in personal and visual exploration from his earlier bodies of work, which were concerned with personal loss and memories. These included ‘Portraits of a Life’ (axis Ballymun, 2002); ‘The Guardians’ (The Helix, 2004); ‘One for Sorrow, Two for Joy’, addressed in text by Brian Maguire (axis Ballymun, 2005); ‘From the Darkness into the Dawn’, addressed by Robert Ballagh (Dublin City Hall, 2007).
In ‘Observations, Meditations and Vibrations’, addressed by Lorcan Walsh (axis Ballymun, December 2008-January 2009), John revisited these themes through a collaborative exhibition, which included an audio track of his poetic verse. What these earlier works bring to his new series is a constancy of tempo; an immediacy and honesty of line; hieroglyphic scars bearing enormous substance and impact and a vibrant definition of emotion, individuality, community, shelter, hope, light; the visible and invisible elements of ‘home’.
John Duffy projects a powerful outward-looking perspective of emotional interiors that is driven unconsciously from within. His work on ‘BYAP 30 Years’ – both on curating the exhibition and leading the development of the public art project – completes a circle, in a sense: John worked with BYAP in the past, facilitating art programmes for clients. Some of the work included in this exhibition was produced by BYAP clients under his guidance.
Further information: www.jduffy.net.
Some of John’s recent work: