A KNOCKADERRY artist has unveiled a new collection of wood work, sculptures and sketches which will be on open display at the Newcastle West library until the end of the month.
Gerard Fenniman believes that the exhibition, his first solo collection since he returned to Ireland in 2008, will be as much about self-critique as artistic display.
â€œIn a way, itâ€™s an opportunity for me to see where I am, as much as for anyone else.â€
The 22 piece collection was unveiled at the library last Friday evening, and Gerard said that it is the culmination of work which was never constricted by a defined theme.
It features carvings of salmon woven into Celtic crosses, sculptures made from reclaimed wood and individual sketches.
â€œA lot of the work looks at things like death and rebirth, though I didnâ€™t set myself a specific theme.
â€œI do this vegetable stall at the Crescent every Wednesday. Thereâ€™s this fish stall next to me, and they have these lovely salmon. I kept looking at the remains of these salmon, once all the fish had been carved off. And of course, salmon and fish have some Christian symbolism as well. I wanted to work that inâ€.
Gerard graduated from art college in 1992 and held a couple of solo exhibitions at the time. However, he spent the next few years living in London, Madrid and New York, working as a carpenter. He said that with a lifetime of working with wood, he takes particular satisfaction from finding rotten, discarded wood and using to create something new.
â€œA fella said to me one time, looking at a bowl Iâ€™d made, and asked â€˜did you kill the whole tree?â€™ I didnâ€™t. I found something that was dead, and brought it back to life, in a way. For me, I kind of thought it makes sense in the time weâ€™re in to recognise the value of what is there.â€