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Sarah & Michael Longley Passing Places - New Work from the Highlands


Peppercanister Gallery

Sarah & Michael Longley Passing Places - New Work from the Highlands Peppercanister Gallery Dublin 18 April  –  4 May 2013

Peppercanister Editions


This book was published by the Peppercanister Gallery on the occasion of the exhibition Sarah & Michael Longley Passing Places - New Work from the Highlands 18 April – 4 May 2013 Peppercanister Gallery, Dublin, Ireland Copyright © the artists, the authors and the Peppercanister Gallery. Peppercanister Gallery 3 Herbert Street, Dublin 2, Ireland T: +353 (0) 1 6611279 E: All rights reserved. No part of this publications may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, elecrical, mechanical or otherwise, without first seeking the written permission of the copyright owners and of the publisher.

Editor Hannah Brogan







Artist’s Statement


Plates and Poems


About The Gallery



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Sarah Longley is a native of Belfast but has recently relocated to the Scottish Highlands. As a painter, she favours a range of subject matters including the human figure (both her own and that of friends and family), intimate domestic interiors, still lifes of flowers or fabrics and outdoor scenes. Her artwork customarily reflects her surroundings in a personal way. Longley’s recent move to the Scottish Highlands has provided her with ample inspiration. She enjoys capturing the ever changing world outside by working outdoors, noting that it energizes her work. Whether it’s a garden view or a remote landscape stretching to the horizon, Longley uses the outdoors as a means of exploring form and colour as well as capturing the changing seasons. This exhibition at Peppercanister Gallery will include Longley’s most recent body of work, painted in her new habitat and while she was pregnant with her second child. She will be joined in exhibiting by her father, internationally distinguished poet, Michael Longley, who has composed a number of poems inspired by visits to the places captured in his daughter’s paintings. Painting and poetry enjoy a close relationship, a relationship that is based on expression and feeling. On display, side-by-side, will be images of life and place providing incredible insight into the creative ability of this talented artistic family.



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Interview with Sarah Longley, April 2013

Your artwork responds to some of the greatest artistic traditions: still life, portraiture and landscape. Are there any artists, past or present, that you draw inspiration from? Yes there are several artists in particular who have been a huge inspiration. I love Bonnard and Vuillard and often look to them for compositional ideas. The way they see the world and translate it into paint with so much originality makes me want to find my own way to represent things. I also love Stanley Spencer, in particular his urban landscapes which turns very ordinary scenes into something wonderful. I admire David Hockney for the way he has a go at everything (in terms of subject matter and media) and his love of drawing. Gwen John has always been a favourite portrait artist. More recently I’ve been interested in the Scottish artist Victoria Crowe: her wintery Pentland landscapes have been a great source of inspiration for my recent work. How has being a mum to young children imapcted on your art and artistic practice? Being a mum has made it harder to find the time to work! At the moment it’s almost impossible and I just have to snatch moments when I can, such as sketching the baby. This helps to keep me sane. I think becoming a mother has opened my mind in a new way since children force you to live in the present and to see things with fresh eyes. My daughter Maisie, who is three, has so much wonder for everything and experiences the world with such immediacy, all senses blazing. It seems like a sensible way to live and a good way to approach painting.

Thinking back to your own childhood, what are your earliest memories of art and your love for it? One of my earliest memories is making a mess in my granny’s kitchen painting Winnie the Pooh with poster paints, not just once, but many times. I was obsessed! Then there were the trips to Neil Shawcross’ Saturday morning art classes where we were encouraged to paint as messily as we liked, often on a big scale. I remember painting clowns, Ulster fries, cats, dogs, dragons, anything! It wasbrilliant fun. I remember telling Neil one week that I didnt know what to paint and he asked me to think of a letter and then paint an animal beginning with that letter. Simple. I always loved drawing too, mainly with big sets of felt tip pens, which I treasured. Now it’s gone full circle and I’m painting dragons again with Maisie. 9


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Artist’s Statement

In the middle of October 2012 after eighteen years of living in Edinburgh I moved with my partner to the North-West Highlands, pregnant and with a two year old in tow. We settled in to our traditional crofter’s cottage and braced ourselves for the winter ahead. We look out past an early nineteenth century barn towards Loch Alsh, a tidal sea loch frequented by otters. Our very steep back garden reaches up high into the woodland behind and right next to us a burn runs down to the sea alongside a tree-lined path and a mossy drystone wall. Quite a change from noisy Dalry in Edinburgh! I began to paint straight away, aware that my time was limited (my baby was due in January) and inspired by the wonderful October colours. My sense of artistic trepidation was outweighed by my utter delight in this marvelous new world in which I found myself. There seemed to be no end of subject matter: the ever-changing loch with it’s flat salt marsh, the autumn/winter trees, the burn, the old barn and of course the beautiful, watery light. I worked outside as much as I could manage in my condition, luckily I didn’t have to wander too far to find a good spot to paint. The top of the garden provided me with the perfect vantage point as it looks out over many levels and layers of foliage, plants (toadstools!), trees, sea and sky: a stunning panorama which I tried to capture in my big drawing ,’The Top of the Garden’. I could also retreat to my studio (a converted shed) when the weather was awful, and work on a series of interior views from the house. We have survived our first winter here and I’m sure the process of drawing and painting the area has helped to make it feel like home. I’ve loved exploring my new surroundings and being forced to look at them closely. I’m now looking forward to trying to depict it through the changing seasons and variable weather. I feel that I’ve only just begun.

Sarah Longley



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Sarah Longley Winter Bouquet oil on board 30 x 29cm


left to right: Sarah Longley The Sun Room oil on board 30 x 29cm Sarah Longley The Top of the Garden charcoal on paper 122 x 163 cm


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Amelia, your newborn name Combines with the midwife’s word And, like smoke from driftwood fires, Wafts over the lochside road Past the wattle byre - hay bales For ponies, Silver and Whisper Between drystone walls’ riverRounded moss-clad ferny stones, Through the fenceless gate and gorse To the flat erratic boulder Where otters and your mother rest, Spraints black as your meconium, Fish bones, fish scales, shitty sequins Reflecting what light remains.


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left to right: Michael Longley For Amelia Sarah Longley Loch Alsh (From the Erratic Boulder) acrylic on paper 88 x 58cm Sarah Longley Pregnant Self-Portrait oil on board 68 x 60cm


Sarah Longley Out to Skye oil on board 61 x 43 cm


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Sarah Longley Maisie’s View oil on board 30 x 29 cm


left to right: Sarah Longley Snowy Path acrylic on paper 109 x 104 cm Michael Longley Fetlocks


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I had thought of wind-chimes To accompany your sleep, But they are too airy, so I imagine the fetlocks Of a neighbour’s Clydesdale, Icicles in harsh weather Tinkling at each earthy stride


Sarah Longley Autumn Interior oil on board 61 x 43 cm


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Sarah Longley The Ferny Wall acrylic on paper 107 x 107 cm


left to right: Sarah Longley New Bedroom oil on board 30 x 29 cm Michael Longley Birth-Bed


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I waken in the bed where you were born Weeks ago: the March light from Avernish Kindles in leafless self-seeded saplings Water-sparks, and rinses the scallop shells And white horseshoe that decorate the porch. Thiis is my unassuming nunc dimittis While I wait like Simeon to cradle you Swaddles in light and shadow - vernix And lanugo - even the wattle byre’s Rusty corrugated-iron roof’s ablaze.


During the power-cut Maisie wondered: ‘Where is me? I have disappeared.’

left & above: Michael Longley Haiku Sarah Longley Maisie Reading oil on board 61 x 43 cm


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Sarah Longley Low Tide acrylic on paper 89 x 61 cm


Sarah Longley Living Room Window oil on board 61 x 43 cm


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Sarah Longley Lichen Tree and Burn acrylic on paper 107 x 104 cm


Your cry translates greylag-geese alarms And, invisible out there in sea mist, The prawn-fisherman’s puttering outboard

left & above: Sarah Longley The Sad Tree oil on board 61 x 43 cm Michael Longley Cry


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Sarah Longley Rainy Window with Feather oil on board 30 x 29 cm


Sarah Longley The Barn and Photos oil on board 30 x 29 cm


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Peppercanister Gallery


Solo Exhibitions

1999: Drawings for Catriona White Prize, Edinburgh College of art 2001: Peppercanister Gallery, Dublin 2003: Peppercanister Gallery, Dublin 2005: Peppercanister Gallery, Dublin 2006: Peppercanister Gallery, Dublin 2009: Peppercanister Gallery, Dublin 2009: Seasons, Mullan Gallery, Belfast 2011: Sissinghurst Revisited, Peppercanister Gallery, Dublin 2012: People and Places, Mullan Gallery, Belfast


Selected Group Exhibitions

1997: Royal Ulster Academy, Annual Exhibition, Belfast Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast 1998: Queens University Senior Common Room, Belfast Compass Gallery, New Generation Exhibition, Glasgow Royal Scottish Academy, Annual Student Exhbition, Edinburgh Royal Ulster Academy, Belfast 2000: Royal Ulster Academy, Belfast 2001: Royal Hibernian Academy 2001 - 2008: Peppercanister Gallery Spring, Summer & Winter Shows, Dublin 2000: Queens University Senior Common Room, Belfast 2002: Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London Gallery H. D. Nick, Exhibition of Irish Art, Aubais, France 2004: Boyle Arts Festival, Co. Roscommon 2008: Mullan Gallery Christmas Exhibition, Belfast 2011: The Scottish Gallery, Christmas Exhibition, Edinburgh 26 Treasures Exhibiton, Ulster Museum, Belfast


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1997: University Prize for Outstanding Merit 1998: Catriona White Memorial Prize for Drawing Emer Gallery Prize, best work by a student at the RUA 2001: Short listed for Sainsbury Scholarshp to Rome Short listed for Gilchrist-Fisher Award for Landscape Painting Nicholson & Bass Prize for best drawing in the RUA 2004: Emer Gallery Prize for best self-portrait in the RUA 2007: Emer Gallery Prize for best self-portrait in the RUA



Arts Council of Northern ireland Haverty Trust Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork Ulster Television Edinburgh College of Art Department of the Environment, Northern Ireland Self-Portrait Collection, Limerick University Arts Council of Northern Ireland


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Peppercanister Gallery

About The Gallery

The Peppercanister Gallery came into being as a result of the Murphy family’s lifelong involvement in the arts. Antoinette Murphy is a trained artist and art historian and has taught and lectured on Irish art extensively for many years. She established the Peppercanister Gallery at 3 Herbert Street, Dublin 2 in the autumn of 1999 with her son Bryan. Bryan began his career in Sotheby’s London office, before working at The Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin. He took over as Director of Peppercanister Gallery in 2010. The gallery is located in an elegant Georgian building near to Dublin’s bustling city center, and just a short stroll from The National Art Gallery. Known as Baggotonia, the area comprises Dublin’s historic ‘left bank’ and is associated with many of Ireland’s greatest artists and writers, including Francis Bacon, Mainie Jellett, Mary Swanzy, Oscar Wilde, Oliver St John Gogarty, W B Yeats, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Brendan Behan, Patrick Kavanagh and Flann O’Brien not to mention no less than four winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature — W B Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney. The annual programme includes a series of solo exhibitions and Group Shows. Gallery artists include the following: Liam Belton RHA, Neil Shawcross RUA, RHA, Breon O’Casey, Abigail O’Brien RHA, Charlie Whisker, John Bellany, Deirdre McLoughlin, Sonja Landweer, Anne Donnelly, Graham Gingles, RUA. Joseph O’Connor, Sarah Longley, Ann Griffin-Bernstorff, Robert Janz, Brian Ballard, RUA. Liam Roberts, and Albert Irvin RA. Works by the following artists are also featured regularly in the Gallery: Mary Swanzy, HRHA. Evie Hone, HRHA. Mainie Jellett, Tony O’Malley, HRHA. Gerard Dillon, Louis le Brocquy, HRHA. Patrick Scott, HRHA. Camille Souter, HRHA. Basil Blackshaw, HRHA.

Bryan Murphy Director


Peppercanister Gallery 3 Herbert Street, Dublin 2, Ireland T: E:

+353 (0) 1 6611279.


Sarah & Michael Longley | Passing Places - New Work from the Highlands  

A collection of paintings and original poetry from the exhibition, Passing Places - New Work from the Highlands, featuring Sarah and Michael...

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