Limerick artist returns to hometown after 10 years

Artist Donald Teskey is returning to exhibit in Limerick city for the first time in over 10 years.

Teskey grew up in County Limerick and graduated in Fine Art from the Limerick School of Art and Design in 1978.

His work has been exhibited in the UK, USA, Canada, China, Germany, France, Finland and South Africa, and he has held several international residencies.

“LSAD helped me evolve as an artist, I became interested in drawing, painting, and abstract expressionism. There was the influence of tutors and fellow students. An energy there that motivated. It was fresh and lively,” he said.

Teskey didn’t consider himself a landscape artist at Limerick School of Art and Design but after graduating he wanted to do something “very different”.

“I started to do urban based landscape drawings focusing on tonal aspects and detail. This lasted about 10 years and I had a good deal of success. It was a very formative time. I had moved to Dublin and sold paintings and did solo shows. It was a very optimistic and promising time, there was corporate interest and support to develop Irish art,” he said.

This changed and Teskey said he “was driven away by the frenetic, unpleasant development in Dublin.”

Teskey returned to painting in the 1990s in what he described as a natural progression for his work.

“I could no longer keep focus on detail. I transitioned to painting larger and freer compositional devices,” he said.

He found that the subject matter of nature and coastlines suited him with their “large forms, colliding, dynamic compositions”.

“I’ve always been interested in nature. Even in my early work in the city I would seek out wild overgrown places between demolished buildings on the edge of cities. Nature collided with the hardness and massiveness of architecture,” Teskey added.

He seeks out natural architectural forms in nature for example “massive dark areas” and “rock formations”.

Teskey said that exhibiting in Limerick City Gallery in 2005 was a real opportunity to stretch out and create an immersive exhibition.

The artist’s latest exhibition is called Weather Gauge, suggesting an accumulation of all these sensations in his work. He wants to “allow someone to get a sense of what a place is like through a painting”.

“The scale is different but it is equally immersive. There’s no such thing as a weather gauge, it’s a combination of instruments of measurement. This is like the senses working together to get an overall immersive feel of something,” he said.

The paintings mainly feature north Mayo which the artist described as “untouched and special”.

Weather Gauge will run in the Hunt Museum now until February 19.

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