For Culture night 2023 the Arts Council will once again proudly showcase a selection of works recently added to its extensive Visual Art Collection.
To celebrate the evening we are sharing some insight on each of the artist and artworks which will be on display:
Mollie Douthit | No one is
sitting in your chair | 2021 | oil on canvas
‘This chair was tucked into a nook of stonework. It was my grandpa’s chair. I remember him pulling up his slacks and gazing down at the TV Guide or sitting in it chuckling as we played on the floor. He’d sit in this chair often after dinner putting on ‘Unsolved Mysteries’. Certain objects always hung around this chair: newspaper, binoculars, a drink, an ashtray, a bird book, a magnifying glass. But the most exciting memory was when I would plop myself dead centre of that chair, trying to contain my giggles waiting for him to come around the corner. The moment he spotted me, his big booming voice would announce ‘Who’s sitting in my chair!’ and then he’d pick me up like it was nothing and we’d both laugh.’
Mollie Douthit | Video City | 2021 | Oil on canvas
‘It’s a scene from childhood of the now gone frozen
yoghurt shop, called TCBY in my hometown. In the painting, on the table is my
go-to combo of strawberry frozen yoghurt with sprinkles, across from which is
my mom’s favourite of white chocolate mousse, no toppings. TCBY always had real
flowers of carnation and baby’s-breath at the tables, the wooden chairs always
a little wobbly. What the title alludes to is that on the other side of the
wall was the local video rental place, called Video City.
symbiotics, as rarely would we get frozen yoghurt without bringing home a movie
and vice versa. After eating our treats we’d make our way over and, if luck
were on our side, get to pick out two tiles. I distinctly remember renting The
Jetsons movie so many times that I was probably the customer to blame for a
worn-down tape. When I reached adolescence and could ride my bike alone to
Video City, I’d spend excessive amounts of time looking at all the VHS covers,
choosing one’s that were near the bottom with strange awards won from festivals
or later going straight for the independent section. Little did I know that I
was building a library of knowledge. Returning home with my latest find,
nothing was better on a hot summer day than popping a bag of popcorn, grabbing
a regular coke, and going into our basement alone, to watch my newest find.’
Mollie Douthit | Below deck
| 2021 | Oil on canvas
‘A single chair that sat on what I
liked to think as the ‘secret deck’ at my grandparents’ lake home. If I was
feeling brave, I would wander down the steps and sit on the iron chair that
gently sprang as the legs wrapped to the ground to make the base of the chair.
The perfect place for reading in the afternoon, and a sinister glass of
lemonade if I disregarded the spiders and bugs.’
creative process begins with a memory; it could be a drinking glass from
childhood or a funny story. Often ideas for paintings arrive in her mind during
states of daydreaming — possibly during a walk or after a conversation that
elicits memories of the past. Her work re-examines all kinds of memories:
happy, difficult, bittersweet, nostalgic. It is simply the filing cabinet of
her mind being slowly pulled out and exposed through the medium of paint. Stylistically,
she places her work in the tradition of 18th century still life painters, most
notably Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin and his depictions of everyday objects.
She is also drawn to the stillness found in the work of Giorgio Morandi and
Gwen John. Contemporary influences include Alice Neel, Chantal Joffe and Peter
Drecher. “These painters allow paint to speak for itself, for the subject and
for a moment in time,” she says. “With their own language, they each extend
something beyond the surface of a painting.”
Born in the US, Douthit
studied at the University of North Dakota and at the School of the Museum of
Fine Arts in Boston. She completed her MFA at the Burren College of Art 2014.
Douthit won the Hennessy Craig Award at the 2013 RHA Annual Exhibition and has
been shortlisted for the Saatchi Art New Sensation Prize and the John Moores
Painting Prize. As well as two solo exhibitions at The Molesworth Gallery, she
has also had solo shows at the RHA Ashford Gallery and at the Northwest Arts Centre
in North Dakota. She has shown at the Saatchi Gallery in London and is a
regular exhibitor at the RHA Annual Exhibition
The Arts Council Collection was established in 1962
and now comprises almost 1,350 works of modern and contemporary Irish art.
This year we are delighted to once again welcome
audiences to the Arts Council buildings on Merrion Square to engage with some
our most recent acquisitions.
Works by many of Ireland’s leading artists will be
shown on the night including pieces by: Elizabeth Cope, Miriam De Búrca, Mollie
Douthit, Justin Fitzpatrick, Marie Holohan, Helen Hughes, Catriona Leahy,
Jialin Long, Kevin Mooney, Doireann Ní Ghrioghair, Emma Roche, Mark
Swords, Amna Walayat and Orla Whelan.
As well as this glimpse into the Arts Council Collection
for Culture Night, artworks can be seen all year round throughout the country
as part of exhibitions and long term loans in public buildings such as
hospitals, universities and schools.
the Collection and more on our website here.