Helena Gorey grew up in rural Kilkenny, where her ancestral roots are hundreds of years old. The Orchard continued Gorey’s ongoing concern with place. This exhibition looked at the restoration of an orchard planted in Kilkenny by her grandfather in the 1930s.
Using various media, Gorey focuses on the myriad colours and wild plants that prevail throughout this orchard. This results in a selection of works on paper, black and white photographs printed on matt paper, paintings and a video work. Gorey’s approach to painting is intuitive and systematic, working and reworking her paintings to reveal her love of landscape and her sensitivity to colour in a minimal abstract language. This practice permeates her handling of all her chosen materials.
Gorey’s reclamation and investigation of the family’s orchard focuses more on the smallness of the orchard’s plants and blossoms rather than the magnitude of the apple tree. Primrose and hogweed proliferate rather than weighty branches. Likewise the video beautifully reveals the shadows of the leaves of a hazel tree reflected on a white painting, fading in and out throughout the course of a day, a living manifestation of Gorey’s gouache on paper works.
About the Artist
Helena Gorey was born in Kilkenny in 1961. She studied Fine Art at Limerick School of Art and Design. She has exhibited extensively in Ireland and her work is represented in many private and public collections including The Irish Museum of Modern Art, The Office of Public Works, the Arts Council, the Contemporary Irish Art Society, and the National Self Portrait Collection.
With grateful thanks to The Arts Council for essential annual funding and to the OPW, FÁS, The Heritage Council and the Kilkenny Local Authorities for additional assistance.