MAY 25 – JUN 8 2024
Artists: Charles Tyrrell & Helen O’Leary

D U E T, with charles tyrrell & helen o’leary is a first time collaboration for these two internationally renowned artists and is a captivating visual dialogue, a seamless fusion of form and concept.

O’Leary’s unconventional approach to painting, marked by the reconstruction of materials and exploration of spatial dynamics, finds resonance within Tyrrell’s structured compositions, where the grid serves as a foundation for intricate exploration. Through this juxtaposition, D U E T encapsulates the collaborative spirit of these two artists as they navigate the visual landscape together.

In D U E T, viewers are invited to witness the convergence of divergent artistic voices. O’Leary and Tyrrell’s artworks resonate with rhythm and depth, inviting audiences to immerse themselves in the symphonic interplay of visual storytelling.

Born in Trim, Co. Meath, Charles Tyrrell’s large-scale canvases feature in all major Irish collections. Since he graduated from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, the grid has underpinned almost everything Tyrrell has accomplished as an artist. His work practice incorporates painting on canvas and aluminium as well as drawing and print.

Speaking about his grid paintings, Tyrrell said, “A grids existence is the result of a collection of independent events. They’re like maps of what it takes to organise – in terms of politics and society – all the twists and turns and compromises and accommodations that have to be made to pull everything together into some kind of unified whole. These are images over which I have little control. This idea is fundamental to my way of working. It suits my desire to allow the painting to have a certain autonomy. I don’t want to dominate the process, I want a partnership.”

Originally from Wexford, Helen O’Leary is an internationally renowned artist based in New Jersey and Leitrim. Although self-described as a painter, her artwork defies traditional structures. She constructs paintings that can stand by themselves, that have their own architecture. Her paintings hold a history of their past lives, created from pieces of previous paintings, wood and materials she stores in her studio.

Speaking about the upcoming exhibition, Helen O’Leary, said “The inventory and archaeology of memoir, place, histories, big and small, are embedded in my work. I knit with wood, bending the painting out of the ruin of its own making. Each piece is cobbled together from the detritus of earlier attempts. I build ‘history paintings’ that are created in the process of dismantling and redress. I think of my forms as the upholstery and bulge of middle age, blank places for new memory. Failure, paralysis, grief and ultimately self-determination are cyclical points on the wheel of my work.”

Charles Tyrrell & Helen O'Leary in conversation with John McHugh


Come join us for an evening of insightful conversation with internationally renowned artists, Charles Tyrrell and Helen O'Leary. The free event also marks the launch of the artists' collaboration, D U E T which will run in Claremorris Gallery until June 8th.

John McHugh, sculptor and former Director of the Custom House, Westport, will conduct an engaging interview with the artists. Delve into their artistic journey, inspirations, and creative processes during this exclusive in-person event.

Don't miss this unique opportunity to gain insights into the works of two of Ireland's foremost contemporary artists.

Charles Tyrrell

About the work

Charles Tyrrell originally comes from Trim Co. Meath. He studied painting at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. After graduating in 1974 he continued living and working in Dublin until 1984 when he moved with his family to Allihies on the Beara Peninsula in West Cork.

He has exhibited extensively in Ireland as well as exhibitions in Britain, France, Austria and Germany. He has represented Ireland on a number of occasions, notably the Paris Biennale and the International Festival of Painting at Cagnes-sur-Mere in France.

His work has always been concerned with abstraction. Originally his painting would have directly connected with Abstract Expressionism but over the years his work has steered its course through a more programmatic minimalism while leaving room for the intuitive, allowing the paintings carry many resonances.

Charles Tyrrell is a member of Aosdána, an affiliation of creative artists, established by the Arts Council of Ireland to honour those artists whose work has made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland.

He is an associate member of the Royal Hibernian Academy.

Helen O’Leary

About the work

Helen O’ Leary holds an MFA and BFA degrees from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL. Currently based in New York and Leitrim, her work has been widely recognized through awards and residencies including the Rome Prize American Academy in Rome; the Hennessy Purchase Award, IMMA, Dublin; the Purchase Award American Academy of Arts and Letters; the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship; the Pollock-Krasner awards (2); the Joan Mitchell Award for painting and sculpture; the Culturel Irlandaise, France; the Sam and Adele Golden Residency, NY; the Mac Dowell Fellowship (2), New Hamshire; the Skowhegan program, ME; and the Yaddo Residency, NY.

Among multiple and prestigious exhibitions are the American Academy of Arts and Letters, NYC; The American Academy in Rome, Italy and NYC; The MAC Belfast, Ireland; National Gallery of Art, Ireland; Lesley Heller Gallery, NYC; Maine Museum of Art, Bangor, Maine; Muscarele Museum of Art, Williamsburg, Virginia; The Butler Gallery, Ireland; The National Portrait Gallery, Limerick, Ireland; Galerie le Petit Port, Belgium; the Contemporary Arts Centre, Sidney, Australia; Patricia Sweetow Gallery, San Francisco; Zurcher Gallery, NYC; Zolla/Lieberman Gallery, Chicago, IL; Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda, Ireland; Glasgow Museum of Art, Scotland; and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Ireland.

A Professor in the School of Visual Arts at Penn State University, O’Leary co-authored the Penn State Program Representing the Irish Landscape, which includes climate scientists, poets, writers, activists, and farmers. In a list of former collaborations that include artists, writers, and musicians, there are two current and parallel projects being developed with Kim Flick with a focus on sustainability and material research. They merge painting, design, architecture, survival, pigments and the natural environment, and are titled: the “DIY DYE Cart” and the “Living Color in the Sustainable Studio.”

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Claremorris Gallery is founded on being an innovative showcase for the ongoing presentation and promotion of strong, visceral and visionary contemporary art.