Jane O’Malley’s use of drawing laid the foundations for her artistic career. This exhibition and accompanying publication was a survey of the artists black and white works on paper, never seen before in such volume and range. Jane has an eye for beauty and a gift for creating a strong sense of place, which is reflected in much of her subject matter. This survey will, for the first time, showed a very strong and surprising body of work that revealed a starkness of line devoid of the usual high colour most closely linked to her work.
The drawings, many gathered from Jane’s notebooks, sketchbooks, and her visual diaries, span a lifetime of work, of travel, of working alongside her husband, the artist Tony O’Malley, and of time spent alone. Jane displayed a confidence in her use of line right from the beginning. She loved to draw as a child and the more she drew, the stronger the work became. This collection of works on paper charts a journey from St Ives in Cornwall to Clare Island in County Mayo, and from there to Physicanstown in County Kilkenny, with many exotic trips to the Bahamas, the Tropics and Lanzarote. It reads almost like a travelogue. No matter where they landed the O’Malley’s captured the essence of life around them.
In his last days Tony O’Malley kept reminding Jane to keep working “Janie, promise me you will keep on with your work”. True to her word, Jane has continued to draw and paint and has added to her exceptional body of work. This diverse selection of works in ‘Black & White’ display a range and skill set that is the backbone of all her work over the past forty years. These works are full of curiousity and joy and provide an intimate glimpse into a life richly lived.
Curated by Butler Gallery Director, Anna O’Sullivan
About the Artist
Jane O’Malley was born in Montréal, Canada, in 1944. From 1969 to 1990 she lived and worked as part of the artists’ community in St. Ives, Cornwall where she met and then settled with her husband, the painter Tony O’Malley. A member of both the Newlyn and Penwith Societies of Artists, O’Malley travelled frequently to the Scilly Isles, the Bahamas, St. Lucia and Lanzarote before returning to live in her husband’s home county, Kilkenny, in 1990.
O’Malley has shown widely in the UK and
Ireland, with solo exhibitions at Taylor Galleries, Dublin; Riverrun
Gallery, Limerick; Montpelier Studio, London; as well as Plymouth Arts
Centre, the Salt House Gallery and Penwith Gallery in St. Ives. Her work
has been included in group exhibitions at the Stour Gallery,
Warickshire; Dyehouse Gallery, Waterford; Black Church Print Studio,
Dublin; and the RHA Gallagher Gallery. O’Malley’s work is part of
private collections in Ireland, America and Europe, and features in the
public collections of AIB, Bank of Ireland, the OPW, Dublin City
University, the Arts Council of Ireland, Prudential Life Assurance and
Kelly’s Strand Hotel, Co. Wexford. O’Malley is represented by Taylor