A Man for all Mediums
I made a quick dash to Derry/Londonderry last Saturday for the closing event of “A Man for all Mediums”, a retrospective exhibition of the work of the late Eamonn O’Doherty, sculptor, artist and friend. The Exhibition, at the London Street Gallery, was organised by John Fitzgerald of Irish Art, Oslo.
John had contacted me at the end of July for some background information on a project Eamonn and I had worked on together in 1992; the restoration of the statue of Governor Walker by John Smyth, which had presided over the City’s historic walls until demolished by a bomb blast in 1973. I’d sat down to write a few notes, but as the memories of a challenging undertaking and most of all of Eamonn’s gregarious company flooded back, those few notes multiplied into hundreds of words. I duly emailed the result to John, who impressed enough to promise to publish my recollections as one of the catalogue essays. I was surprised but delighted by this response, and pleased to see it in black and white alongside the contributions of Brian Lynch and Patrick MacEntee.
I kept in sporadic contact with Eamonn after that project, and when in his later years he moved from Dublin to Ferns in my native county Wexford, I would occasionally call in on my visits back to the home place. In hindsight I regret not calling more often, always assuming there would be more time, until the cancer that he had kept at bay for several years returned in 2011 to end a rich and fully lived life.
Although Eamonn was best known for his public sculptures, the Exhibition at the London Street Gallery showcased the range and diversity of his work, including his contribution to Irish traditional music. An unexpected treat are Eamonn’s print works; his woodcuts of scenes in France are a particular delight.
On Saturday John Fitzgerald gave a comprehensive talk on the work in the show at an event attended by many of Eamonn’s friends and family members. I was glad to have been able to make a small contribution to the occasion, and I look forward to a promised second outing of the show in a Dublin venue.