Recently artist Carmel Benson’s art exhibition entitled, “How to be a Child?” ran at The Mermaid in Bray, Wicklow from the 18th of July to the 7th of September. I was lucky enough to get to see it in it’s duration. Me and my sister went to see it.
Benson is originally from Wexford but in 1999 the artist, who graduated from University College Dublin (UCD) and later majored in painting and printmaking in Dun Laoghaire College of Art and Design, moved to Roundwood in Wicklow.
Benson’s latest pieces deal with a recurring theme in her work, that of childhood. This particular exhibition centres around the 1950s in Ireland when the “Catechism” was a vital book in Catholic childrens’ lives. A book that brought fear and oppression to the child if they were sensitive to it. There is also many male words in the collection which represent the inequality between men and women. In Benson’s collection these males are restraining the threatening women while Benson’s Sheela-na-Gig motif is her reaction to the world that shaped her. A world which was dominated by the Church and filled fear and remorse in its people. I love the concept of the collection but I found that the collection fell somewhere in-between. Some of I loved, like Crouching Sheelagh and my sis loved that one too, but there was others I wasn’t as crazy about.
But for it’s message and concept and in terms of pictures especially the Crouching Sheelagh it is an exhibition that needs to be seen so if you get a chance at some stage in the future somewhere else I would advise you to check it out! 🙂
I recently went to The Mermaid in Bray with my mum and sis to see the box office smash Cavalry starring Irish legendary actor Brendan Gleeson as Father James Lavelle. The theatre is a lovely little theatre. Very intimate and cosy. My mum has always been a huge Brendan Gleeson fan and Gleeson never disappoints in his various diverse roles in cinema and this particular role was no exception to that rule as he played the kind priest who is on the verge of paying for the sins of the bad priests in the Church.
The writing by John Michael McDonagh was really superb. If you live in Ireland you see so many films where people have the same respect as years ago for the Church and that simply isn’t an authentic reflection of everyone in Irish society nowadays. What McDonagh done superbly (and rather bravely really) was to write the various different reactions to the Church and priests from people who have faith to people who despise the Church and the views of everyone inbetween. The characters are so well-rounded, even the more minor characters in the film and the movie really is a bit of a masterpiece. It shows the complexity of people and how not everybody is as black-and-white as they appear. You get worried when there is the level of hype which surrounds a movie like the hype surrounding Cavalry but it definitely lives up to it’s hype. The scenery of Sligo also looks absolutely beautiful throughout the movie and Patrick Cassidy’s music is very emotive. I also must mention the scene with Brendan and his gorgeous son Domhnall Gleeson when the priest goes in to see Domhnall’s character serial killer and cannibalist Freddie Joyce. They play it really well. It was a bit surreal but they played it really well.
It’s a family affair in Cavalry!
My personal favourite characters were Milo Herlihy played by Love/Hate’s Killian Scott, Leo played by Owen Sharpe and of course Bruno the dog. Done in a comedy way, the character of Milo’s shyness and fear of not finding someone is played out. It is a way a lot of people feel but isn’t always addressed in film. Leo just makes me laugh. He is really brash and funny but an interesting element which is touched upon through his face when talking to the priest while playing pool is that he may not be as happy as he pretends which is true of a lot of people who pretend that everything is Ok all the time. Then there’s Bruno who is just such a sweetheart. I absolutely love dogs and he’s such a dote and so loyal to Father James. I love him! 🙂
Father James with Bruno and his daughter in the movie!
The film is a stunning piece of writing with many characters you can identify with or if not many you know someone like while Brendan Gleeson takes on the protagonist with gusto and gives an amazing performance proving why he has been at the top of his game in the acting world for so long. The rest of the cast are also amazing in their various roles as well whether they are playing a major part or a smaller role in the production. This movie proves that Irish acting, writing and film in general is alive and well and ready to take on anyone at their craft.