Go to the Butler Gallery at Kilkenny Castle before December 22 if you can to see one of the most interesting exhibitions ever held there.
The Tony O’Malley Self-Portraits: A Centenary Exhibition is the first dedicated entirely to the self-portraits of our greatest artist and painter who was self taught and whose work has captivated and haunted generations.
It was amazing to see one of the Self Portraits (SPs) painted on a news page from the Kilkenny People in 1962 and it is priced at E9,000.
For those who are a little pushed for time there is a 13 minute video loop in chronological order which shows the SPs from the 1950s to before his death in the late 1990s. It is fascinating and huge credit goes to the gallery and to Tom Feehan of Dynamite Design as well as to Ciarán Benson and Brian Lynch for curating the exhibition. But most thanks goes to Jane O’Malley, Tony’s wife who has made sure, as if it were possible to do otherwise, that the artist from Physicianstown, Callan is remembered and celebrated. For me the change in mood between the SPs on Paradise Island and New Ross are striking and for O’Malley, SPs were an immediate means of putting marks to paper whenever a mirror was available.