The Loft Gallery in Clonakilty is celebrating 15 years in business. To mark the occasion, proprietor and artist Kate Fitzgerald is exhibiting a solo show of her own work until the end of September. The collection of layered and textured acrylic paintings entitled ‘Passing Time’ is inspired by Inchydoney beach and surroundings in Clonakilty. Different settings, lighting conditions and paint techniques combine to evoke atmospheric impressions of land and sea.
Trained as a printmaker, Kate’s work is influenced by this. Some of the processes she uses are relief and embossing, which create a raised and realistic surface on her paintings. “I love working with light on a subject matter,” says Kate. “Light changes everything. Every time I go to Inchydoney, everything is different.
The title of the exhibition ‘Passing Time’ refers to the wakeful nights Kate spends creating her paintings. For the past 10 years, Kate has been in constant pain from the extensive scar tissue and nerve damage on her spine. Unable to work as a printmaker due to the physical nature of the job, she has focused her creative energy on painting. “I find it very hard to put the paintbrush down, I get lost in my work.”
The exhibition has garnered huge attention locally with many of the pieces already finding a home.
To complement her framing business, which she established in 2001, two years ago Kate opened a dedicated new space upstairs for showcasing local artists.
With facing windows, a high ceiling and a specialised hanging system in place with no drilling required, it is a classic exhibition space, flooded with natural light. At night, the street lighting outside gives it a warm and inviting feel.
The gallery has been a huge success and since opening has showcased a broad spectrum of work, from installations to paintings. “It’s surpassed my expectations.”
A past student of the Crawford College of Art and Design, Kate was born on Western Road, not far from where the gallery is located. She was assistant to Maud Cotter in the National Sculpture Factory before moving home to Clonakilty to open her business.
The framing business is also very busy and is well known for the quality of its work. “I’m very lucky to have Eileen Foley working fulltime for me,” says Kate. “Our customers have great confidence in her and value her opinion.”
Upcoming exhibitions include Sculptor Moss Gaynor in the Autumn and artist Anastasia O’Donogue-Healy in the Christmas Show.
‘Passing Time’ by Kate Fitzgerald runs at The Loft Gallery, Western Road until the end of September. Kate also does commission work.