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Sunday Family View of the “Skellig Brothers”

Last Sunday started like a school day: up at 7am and down for a turbo breakfast. It was a cold foggy morning in Wicklow and we’d lost an hour of sleep due to the summer-time change over. With all our gear packed we hit the road heading for Dublin. During the drive the sky transformed from grey to blue and suddenly spring was in the air.

Arriving at the Urban Retreat just in time to set up, and Noelle put the girls to work promoting the Sunday Family View of the “Skellig Brothers” with flyers for the café guests next-door. Both the Sun and the Family turned up with a whole collection of friends and collectors and their offspring. Straight away we were into masking making, face painting soon followed by spontaneous pavement art and paper boat races in the Grand Canal Dock.

While the kids were entertained I took the time to network and talk people through the exhibition. Noelle closed a few sales. My Skellig Brother Scott was in New York in body but with us all in print. A big article of his romance with Caroline had come out that morning in the Sunday Independent.

Sunday Family View of the “Skellig Brothers”

Kids first at Urban Retreat.

And the Daddies didn't come up short either.

The "creative hub".

Pavement art.

Enjoying the March sunshine.

Skellig Kids.


Sunday Family View of the “Skellig Brothers”

There will be a special Sunday Family View of the “Skellig Brothers” exhibition. Families are encouraged to visit the show where the young ones will be entertained with face painting and mask making. There will be some complementary brunch and I will be in attendance. “Skellig Brothers” is an exhibition of new seascapes by Irish artist Rod Coyne and New York painter Scott Redden. The work was created en plein aire during a residency at Cill Rialaig, Co. Kerry in 2010.

Skellig Brothers” Paintings by ROD COYNE (IRE) and SCOTT REDDEN (US) URBAN RETREAT GALLERY – March 10 – 10 April 2011

HQ Building, Hanover Quay, Dublin 2

Tel: 01 633 7865

Email: urbanretreatgallery@gmail.com

“Skellig Brothers” Opening Night

Our opening night was a complete success. The reception was planned form 6-8pm but we went on till well after 10.30. Sales were brisk and the red dots were out in force. It was great for my skellig brother Scott and myself to have such an enthusiastic crowd to celebrate the fruits of a whole years work.

And certainly a high point was Brother Anthony Keane of Glenstal Abbey who officially opened our show. If I say “What a lovely man” it sounds so corny, but I make no apologies for saying it. I got to spend a few hours together before the show and chat about the work. Later he said the most amazing and insightful things about our exhibition. The guests were taken in by his charm and his unique take on our seascapes. At one stage he even had us down as two painting-priests with our easels at the waters edge, or words to that effect.

Courtesy of Caroline Hubner we have great photos of the reception, and Anja Coyne kindly put them online: http://www.rodcoyne.com/opening_night.html They are well worth a look.

Hanging the “Skellig Brothers“

Well, it has been a long day but now the work is done. The show is hanging and looking very good, if I say so myself. The location is spectacular, the gallery clean and contemporary, and the paintings are strong and powerful. I hope you will be among those joining us tomorrow night for the Grand Launch of our “Skellig Brothers“ exhibition.

Below are a few photos from today’s work…

Getting ready to hang.

Rod does the percision work.

Scott: the man with the coffee, and Ger: the man with a plan.

The show starts taking shape.

Scott inspects his work: varnishing day.

Scott and Rod are the skellig brothers.

“Skellig Brothers”

Today I hang our  “Skellig Brothers” exhibition in Dublin. The van is loaded, the paintings are framed, and my skellig brother is somewhere over the Atlantic en route to Ireland. It’s an exciting, daunting time and hard not feel a little nervous after so many months of preparation.

this is an exhibition of new seascapes created en plein aire during a residency at Cill Rialaig, Co. Kerry in 2010. Commission on sales from the show will go to support the Cill Rialaig Artists Retreat.

I have to get going now and will quickly add our press release to explain more about show…

Twenty four years ago ‘two little boys’ teenagers – one a Dubliner (Rod Coyne) the other a New Yorker (Scott Redden) met and become the best of chums at the Crawford College of Art in Cork.

Scott’s Uncle the highly respected Jeff Steiner Scott was the principal then and both boys said goodbye after 2 years in Cork. Rod was finding no way to earn a living in Ireland as an artists and emigrated to Germany where he met his wife Anja and Scott went on to Hunter College New York where he got an MFA in Painting and found favour and lots of collectors through the Dillon Gallery, Oyster Bay New York and the Laurel Tracey Gallery New Jersey.

Seas apart they kept in touch over the years. Rod came back to Ireland in 1999, ten years after leaving. “The place seemed starving, untidy and melancholy in 1989 – ten years later on my arrival back it looked like my country had tidied up, shook itself out of its gloomy atmosphere and was punching above its weight culturally as well as economically.”

Rod discovered Cill Rialaig the artist’s retreat set up by former publisher Noelle Campbell-Sharp in Ballinskelligs and unveiled in 1991 by Charles Haughey (An Taoiseach). He was amongst the first Irish artists to get a residency in the newly restored cabin studios of the once abandoned pre-famine village.

And that was when he found the Great Skellig and was mesmerized so much by its majestic height he spent days and nights sketching, photographing it from all sorts of vantage points – “I liked the view from Bray head on Valentia Island, but painted it from St. Finian’s Bay, Glen Pier and best of all after a good walking hike from Bolus Head where all the Skellig Island’s glory is revealed as well as Puffin Island and the Blaskets over in Dingle.

Rod then went on to sell out shows at ORIGIN Gallery and featured in exhibitions at the RHA, RUA as well as exhibitions in London, Europe and the USA – the newly refurbished Shelbourne Hotel acquired a number of his works. He and his wife Anja and their two children now live and work in the Vale of Avoca.

It was not til 2008 that Scott Redden renewed his acquaintance with Ireland when he was awarded a 2 week residency at the Co. Kerry retreat. Coincidentally, his old friend Rod Coyne was there at the same time and it was he who introduced the American to the world heritage side of the Skelligs. A further residency for both artists last year has culminated in a unique exhibition which they’ve entitled “Skellig Brothers” opening 10th March at Urban Retreat Gallery.

This story of how a Dublin born artist and a Manhattan based artist found ‘brotherly love’ will be told to art collecting patrons of Cill Rialaig and its Urban Retreat Gallery will be all the more interesting as the story will be told by another Sceilig admirer and boat building enthusiast, Brother Anthony Keane, Glenstal Abbey.

Brother Anthony is co-founder with Gary MacMahon of the AK ILEN company presently involved in the rebuilding of Irelands last sea-going wooden sailing ships.

Launched in 1926 by the pioneering voyager and maritime designer Conor O’Brien the 56’ Ilen has been in the Folkland Islands before 1998 when it was repatriated by the boat building duo above but it was almost lost to Chile!

Like Cill Rialaig ILEN is a registered charity and runs the Big Boat Build Workshops dedicated to education through wooden boat building and sailing on the sea. Several workshops in Skibbereen are attracting teenagers to 70-year-old enthusiasts – the newly unemployed are all welcome and under the supervision of qualified shipwrights.

It’s appropriate that today’s artists and boat builders come together to remember the monks who were thought to have spent years constructing the boats that would carry them down the Shannon and out of Limerick into the Atlantic Ocean ‘in search of paradise’.

And a further romantic postscript to the story of our two little boys is that Scott found his new partner coincidentally a German artist and writer at Cill Rialaig last year.

Skellig Brothers” Paintings by ROD COYNE (IRE) and SCOTT REDDEN (US) URBAN RETREAT GALLERY – March 10 – 10 April 2011

HQ Building, Hanover Quay, Dublin 2

Tel: 01 633 7865

Email: urbanretreatgallery@gmail.com

preview: www.rodcoyne.com