Fergus Bourke: Eye, Hand and Heart Photographs 1963 – 2003
Fergus Bourke is one of Ireland’s foremost photographers. This major retrospective represents work from Bourke’s extensive career of over four decades. It is a distillation of forty years of quiet observation, each image a magical synthesis of eye, hand and heart.
With warmth, compassion and humour Bourke’s early street scenes capture the now vanished world of tenements and children’s games. The images reveal hidden corners of the living city where, as the photographer says, “the camera depicts a reality but the viewer detects a mystery”.
The exhibition also features selections from Bourke’s much-loved ‘Kindred’ series of double portraits. Here, the microdramas of personal relationships are not only played out within the frame, but also reach out to involve the viewer. His recent work is devoted to portraying the ever-changing landscape of the west of Ireland. So whereas the portraits were made in Bourke’s daylight studio in Sandymount, “Now”, he says, “the whole of Connemara is my studio”. From long study, he knows the quality of the light before storm and after rain; he knows how to frame the rugged beauty of the land; and he has the patience to wait for the clouds to form a magnificent sky.
The exhibition is the Gallery’s third solo show of Fergus Bourke’s work, and marks the 25th anniversary of the Gallery of Photography.
About the artist: Born in Dublin in 1934 Fergus Bourke has exhibited widely in Ireland and internationally. His work is in many private and public collections including that of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. His books include: Mother Ireland with Edna O’Brien, Kindred – The Portrait Collection 1983-1991; and most recently Connemara Blues with John O’Donoghue and Landscapes of the Soul. He is a member of Aosdana and lives and works in Connemara.