Legendary Dublin painting and sketching club celebrate 150th anniversary 

New Free Exhibition ‘Shorelines’ to open on Life of the Sea

by Alison O'Hanlon
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Shorelines, a vibrant new exhibition chronicling the varied seascapes of Dublin, will come to The Substation at Dublin Port, courtesy of the Dublin Painting and Sketching Club (DPSC) and Dublin Port Company (DPC).

The exhibition will contain brand-new works from some of Ireland’s most exciting and dynamic artists, who will bring an immediacy to the life of the sea across paintings, etchings and sculpture.

Shorelines runs from 8th-20th March at The Substation, Alexandra Road, Dublin Port. It is open to the public from 11am-4pm, Monday-Saturday, and admission is free of charge for all. 

This exhibition marks the 150th anniversary of DPSC, a co-operative of artists which holds Nathaniel Hone, John Butler Yeats and Bram Stoker among its past members. Today, the club’s 80-strong membership includes some of the country’s most illustrious painters, sketch artists and print makers.

Among the rich catalogue of works is Kathrine Geoghegan’s Bull Island Tangle, which portrays seaweeds washed in on the tide at North Bull Island. Through vivid acryllics with oil glazes, this stunning work finds beauty in the familiar and puts a spotlight on the treasures of Dublin Bay.

Artist Dave West with his piece Low Tide, Balbriggan Harbour, featuring in Shorelines, an exhibition at The Substation at Dublin Port chronicling the varied seascapes of Dublin. Picture Robbie Reynolds

Dave West’s richly textured High Tide, Balbriggan Harbour strikes visitors with its strong colours and refined representational approach. West’s eye for detail uncovers an interplay between light, shadow and reflection across a row of boats at berth in this captivating piece painted en plein air at Balbriggan Harbour.

The range of works on display reflect the varied perspectives and approaches the club has nurtured throughout its rich history.

The DPSC was founded by renowned maritime painters Dr William Booth Pearsall FRCSI and Alexander Williams RHA. An etching by Pearsall featured in the club’s 1880 exhibition is the first etching ever produced in Ireland as an original artwork. The work depicts a tall ship moored at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay.

In the late 19th century, members would take to the Iris, a shallow-draft yacht owned by member George Prescott, to sketch, paint and photograph along the Poolbeg Peninsula, in often perilous weather conditions. 

Artist Kathrine Geoghegan with her piece Bull Island Tangle. Picture Robbie Reynolds

Shorelines, supported by Dublin Port Company, is a celebration of both the club’s history and also the vibrant culture of traditional art practice in Dublin today, with a focus on maritime subjects. The current exhibition follows on from a series of open-air painting sessions and exhibitions at Dublin Port, as part of DPC’s Port-City Integration programme.

Darragh Treacy, President of the Dublin Painting and Sketching Club, said “It is an honour to celebrate the club’s 150th anniversary with Shorelines in The Substation at Dublin Port. Our members have put forward a great selection of works that show a range of perspectives on all things nautical. At a time when artists are increasingly squeezed out of the city, showcases of work like these are more vital than ever.”

Lar Joye, Port Heritage Director at Dublin Port Company, said “The threshold between the city and the sea has always been a fascinating subject for painters and artists, and the Dublin Painting and Sketching Club has featured some of the original visual storytellers of Dublin’s life as a Port-City. In the year of the club’s 150th anniversary, it is really important for us to bring this selection of maritime-inspired works to The Substation, DPC’s new interpretive space which aims to open up the Port to the public.”

This is the latest item in a dynamic calendar of programming at The Substation, a venue for exhibitions, events, lecutres and performances. It follows the success of Solidarity: The Dockers of Dublin Port, an exhibition on the subculture of the dockers curated by The Little Museum of Dublin. 

The Substation is part of DPC’s Distributed Museum, which includes The Diving Bell on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay and The Pumphouse, a venue for artist residencies and workshops in Dublin Port’s Heritage Zone.

The Distributed Museum route will be connected through 5.3km of dedicated cycleway and pedestrian walkways in the Port estate and the surrounding area. The Distributed Museum is part of DPC’s Port-City Integration programme to increase public access and celebrate Dublin’s Port-City heritage.

Featured Image: Artist Aidan Hickey with his piece The Custom House, 1842

Pictures Robbie Reynolds

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