Press release 13/12/2017
Annual exhibition of Turner watercolours opens with new work by Irish printmaker, Niall Naessens.
‘Good Morning Mister Turner’ - Niall Naessens and J.M.W. Turner
National Gallery of Ireland
1-31 January 2018
Kindly supported by Sarasin & Partners
The annual exhibition of Turner watercolours in the National Gallery of Ireland will, this year, feature exciting new work by Irish printmaker, Niall Naessens.
‘Good Morning Mister Turner’ - Niall Naessens and J.M.W. Turner brings together the Gallery’s Vaughan Bequest of 31 watercolours by JMW Turner (1775-1851) and a series of etchings and drawings by Naessens constituting a meditation on landscape.
Naessens has long been interested in the work of the great nineteenth-century artist and sees this interaction with Turner as a conversation across the centuries. Responding to the Gallery’s collection of Turner watercolours, Naessens acknowledges the unavoidable influence that the artist exerts over the field of landscape today. He approaches Turner’s work obliquely, not as images to be imitated or even interpreted, but as a means of looking at the landscape.
Anne Hodge, Curator of Prints and Drawings, National Gallery of Ireland, says:
“The art of both Turner and Naessens combines the ordinary and the extraordinary. Both artists manipulate landscape, subtly changing things to suit their purpose. Showing the work of these two artists in the National Gallery of Ireland demonstrates how Turner is still a forceful presence, inspiring and prompting today’s artists to create new and exciting work.”
An artist’s book comprising 13 small etchings in a yellow box, with the title ‘Good Morning Mister Turner’ stamped on the front complements the 11 framed prints and 5 drawings created by Naessens for this exhibition.
This work by Naessens includes elements that have featured in his prints for some time: a focus on line, on framing devices and the use of multiple print techniques in one plate. The presence of the human figure is a new departure in his work, while humour is a subtle underlying aspect. While Naessens keeps his focus local, Turner explored landscapes far beyond his London home, from Scotland to the Swiss Alps. This show will invite visitors to compare and contrast, and to enjoy the connections and differences between these two artists separated by time.
Niall Naessens says: “Making work for my room share with Turner has been a provoking challenge. The rationale of showing my work beside the Vaughan Bequest of watercolours at the Gallery is to pay homage to J.M.W. Turner through the creation of new work under his influence and to initiate dialogue about making and looking at landscape art through the juxtaposition of our works.”
‘Good Morning Mister Turner’ - Niall Naessens and J.M.W. Turner opens in the Print Gallery from 1st to 31st January 2018. Admission is free. The exhibition is kindly supported by Sarasin & Partners.
An accompanying illustrated catalogue is edited by Anne Hodge, with essays by Luke Naessens, Anne Hodge and Niall Naessens available for sale in the Gallery Shop. There are also talks, watercolour courses and a supper event to coincide with the Turner exhibition in January. Pick up the winter issue of WHAT’S ON’ or see www.nationalgallery.ie.
Printmaker Niall Naessens lives in Brandon on the West Kerry coast. A graduate of NCAD in MFA, he learned printmaking at Graphic Studio Dublin under the watchful eye of Mary Farl Powers, a brilliant printmaker and formidable administrator. He worked as a master printer in Graphic Studio for many years. In 2004 he moved to Kerry with his family. His work is represented in many public collections including AIB; Office of Public Works; Chester Beatty Library, DCU Contemporary Art Society of Ireland and the National Gallery of Ireland. Recent solo shows include Graphic Studio Gallery 2015; Cork Printmakers 2015; Siamsa Gallery Tralee 2014.
For further information on Niall Naessens's work and additional etchings, please contact Catherine O Riordan, SO Fine Art Editions: [email protected] / www.sofinearteditions.com
The Vaughan Bequest of Turner Watercolours
In 1900 the National Gallery of Ireland received a bequest of 31 Turner watercolours and drawings from English collector Henry Vaughan (1809-99). In his will, Vaughan divided his collection between the national galleries of London, Edinburgh and Dublin. He stipulated that the watercolours should be exhibited every year, free of charge, for the month of January. The works arrived in Dublin in September 1900 in a custom-made wooden cabinet, and went on show in the Gallery for the first time in January 1901. The Gallery has continued to adhere to the tradition in displaying the watercolours for one month in the calendar year, thereby ensuring that the collection remains in pristine condition.
Joseph Mallord William Turner was born in 1775, the son of a London barber. He began his career as a topographical artist but quickly developed an experimental style and strove to raise the profile of landscape painting. He was hugely influential in his lifetime and inspired generations of artists. The Vaughan Bequest at the National Gallery of Ireland is a representative collection of Turner’s work on paper. Highly finished works, engraved for various print series, hang side-by-side with evocative sketches from his annual tours of Switzerland and Italy. The collection gives a real sense of his development as an artist and his enthusiasm for landscape.