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"An Irish Vision: Works by Tony O'Malley"
2000-04-08 until 2000-07-09
Phillips Collection
Washington, DC, USA United States of America

An Irish Vision: Works by Tony OMalley will include approximately 28 works spanning over 40 years of OMalleys career and will chronicle the evolution of his artistic style. His paintings represent a uniquely poetic expression in Irish art that is intimately personal and abstract. In his work, the visual description is secondary to his expression of the underlying experience of the places that he loves and paints.

Tony OMalley is one of the major figures in Irish art today. He has exhibited widely in England and Ireland since 1950, and more recently in Denmark. This will be his first one-person exhibition in the United States.

Born in Callan, County Kilkenny in 1913, OMalley began drawing at an early age. Largely a self-taught artist, he worked as a bank official, while sketching and painting in his free time. OMalley further developed his interest in art while recovering from several bouts with ill health. In the 1950s his work was accepted in several of the leading exhibitions in Dublin. He made his first trip in 1955 to St. Ives in Cornwall, the main center of abstract art in Britain. There he felt a great sense of freedom and was accepted by other modern artists such as Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon, and Bryan Wynters. Retiring from the bank in 1958, he was able to become a full-time artist and decided to move to St. Ives in 1959, although he returned to Ireland every summer to paint. In 1970 he meet his future wife, Jane, who had come to St. Ives from Montreal to study art. From 1974 to 1987, they spent winters in the Bahamas and enjoyed painting together. Due to the influence of the tropical light, OMalleys earlier brooding and somber work gave way to a more colorful palette. In 1990 he moved back to Ireland and settled in his native Callan, where he continues to work today.

An Irish Vision: Works by Tony OMalley will coincide with Island: Arts from Ireland, a festival of theatre, music, film, and literature from the Emerald Isle, which will be featured at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington from May 13-28, 2000.

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