Sunday, 30 October 2016

An architect and an artist brings his
work to the Wexford Festival Opera

‘Divine Teardrop’ by Peter Cassidy … part of his exhibition coinciding with the Wexford Festival Opera (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2016)

Patrick Comerford

One of the joys of the Wexford Festival Opera is the way it attracts so many other cultural events to the town and to Co Wexford, including readings, plays, exhibitions, recitals, lectures, poetry, drama, walking tours and music.

There are exhibitions in the most surprising locations, and artists and designers set up their stalls and display their work in sometimes the most unlikely places.

Peter Cassidy hardly needed the festival to attract him to exhibit his works in Wexford this year. Although his architectural practice is based in Dun Laoghaire, he has been living in Co Wexford for the best part of two decades.

Between the lecture by John Julius Norwich on Friday morning, and the staging of Vaughan Williams’s short opera, Riders to the Sea, on Friday afternoon, I visited some of the exhibitions that had been attracted to Wexford by the festival, and particularly enjoyed Peter Cassidy’s exhibition of his paintings in a corner of the foyer in the Clayton White Hotel.

Peter studied in Bolton Street College and qualified as an architect in the mid-1980s, and Peter Cassidy Architects was established in 1993 as a small niche practice in Dun Laoghaire, specialising in providing a high quality of professional architectural service delivered in a personal and focused way.

His projects completed to date include new residential and commercial developments, new medical centres and care homes, restoration work at residential and institutional buildings for public and religious organisations, alterations to clerical, health and other buildings and private houses.

Having lived most of his life in Dublin, he now lives in Co Wexford with his family at Rathmoon, which is both his home and his studio. His design of Rathmoon was inspired by Irish ring forts and crannogs, and was completed in 2002, although he says the garden has taken longer to complete.

Over the last 30 years, most of his time has been spent working as an architect. But painting has always been a big part of his life.

He studied Fine Art in Dun Laoghaire College of Art and Design, and has a number of commissions over the years, including large scale works for Saint Michael’s Church in Dun Laoghaire. He has work hanging in both public and private buildings.

It was on the strength of his crucifixion painting, completed in Saint Michael’s in 1991, that he was awarded a scholarship for a year in the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy.

His exhibition in the Clayton White Hotel is his third exhibition and continues until Tuesday [2 November 2016].

At Peter Cassidy’s exhibition in the Clayton White Hotel (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2016)

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