Geraldine O'Reilly

Fragments, Metaphors and Smithereens

A three person exhibition. O’Reilly’s artwork for this exhibition was the result of researches whilst on a residency at the Irish College, Paris, France in 2014. The college opened at its present address in 1775.  A seminary for the Irish who wished to study for the priesthood when it wasn’t allowed in Ireland under the British – it was also a meeting place for the Irish coming and going to the European continent. After the Second World War it became a Polish seminary. In 2000 it was returned to the Irish and restored by the Irish Government when it became the Centre Cultural Irlandais. O’Reilly created a series of etchings using traditional and photo etching processes which hopefully resonated something of the history of the college and its place in the Irish Diaspora. O’Reilly thinking of the many who walked the floors of the college over the centuries combined some of those floor patterns with female forms taken from the sculptures in the Luxemburg Gardens.  Four of the prints are in a 3d format and are based on tiny knitted votive objects found in the archive of the college. O’Reilly imagined them being lovingly knitted and sowed which could then be carried in the palm of a hand. She also created an image based on finding small ivory discs in which the names of former seminarians were written.