13 Sep 2013 - 16 Nov 2013
Patrick McCloskey and Abigail O'Brien in the exhibition. Image by Eric O'Neill
Room: lower gallery
Sponsor: Arts Council and McCloskey's Bakery
Admission: FREE

Abigail O’Brien: With Bread

Making Water Stand Up

Highlanes Gallery, 13 September -16 November, 2013;


McCloskey’s Traditional and Artisan Bakery have been announced as the sponsor of a major forthcoming solo exhibition by artist Abigail O’Brien organised by Highlanes Gallery. With Bread, an exhibition of photographs, sculpture and video, was officially opened by journalist and writer, Susan McKay on Friday 13 September at 7.30pm.

Journalist, Tony Clayton-Lea interviews Abigail O'Brien on Friday 4 October at 7.30pm, booking advised.


While bread and the craft of making it are nearly as old as civilisation itself, Pain au levain was the first leavened bread, probably discovered in Egypt six thousand years ago. Artist Abigail O’Brien’s interest in bread, its elemental properties, the magical process that takes place in its making, its centrality in human daily life across race and culture and religion, its familial, social and cultural importance, and its rich symbolism, spans some twenty years.


With Bread has three key elements. The first is a series of large framed photographs taken in four bakeries in Ireland: McCloskey’s Bakery, Drogheda; Barron’s Bakery, Waterford; the Bretzel Bakery, and Il Valentino Bakery, both in Dublin. To the viewer, the images cannot be obviously linked with any particular bakery. Each is named after a female artist, because, O’Brien says, “the image suggests something to me about their work”.


The second element is the bread sculptures - ethnic breads that have been put through a process of firing and silvering, their nourishing and life-giving properties now suspended forever. Their titles refer to monetary currency - Peso, Euro, and Pound – and, as objects of beauty, O’Brien believes, “they still have ‘currency’ … and may even have ‘value’ in their metal substance”.


The third and final element is a video projection, titled Grande Dame, a three minute piece capturing in slow motion a levain or sourdough starter at the moment of rising. For O’Brien, this represents fecundity and fertility.


As well as ongoing funding from Drogheda Borough Council and the Arts Council, the project was awarded an Arts Council Touring Grant in early 2013. The exhibition also attracted

significant sponsorship from McCloskey’s Traditional and Artisan Bakery through baker and Managing Director Patrick McCloskey, who says, “ McCloskey’s Bakery, Drogheda’s local bakers for over 70 years, are delighted to sponsor Abigail O’Brien’s exhibition With Bread as bread is a subject that we are very passionate about.”


Highlanes Gallery Curator and Director Aoife Ruane said, “In a highly competitive market, we are grateful for McCloskey’s Bakery’s belief in the project. Their sponsorship has enabled the large format exhibition concept, national tour, catalogue, and accompanying public programme, which will see hundreds of children engage with the exhibition through our annual autumn Primary School Programme.”


Highlanes Gallery will tour the exhibition to partner venues The Dock in Carrick-on-Shannon in early 2014, and Limerick City Gallery of Art in 2015.  A full colour catalogue accompanies the exhibition, with essays by writer and psychoanalytic practitioner, Dr Medb Ruane, and poet, novelist and prose writer, Theo Dorgan, printed by Nicholson & Bass.


Biographical Note:

Abigail O’Brien was born in Dublin in 1957. She studied fine art as a mature student, graduating in 1998 from the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), Dublin. Since then her work has earned numerous awards and accolades, and she has exhibited consistently both in and outside Ireland over the last two decades.


Listings Information:

Exhibition: Abigail O’Brien: With Bread

Venue: Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda

Dates: 13 September -16 November, 2013

Exhibition Opening: 7.30pm Friday 13 September - journalist and writer Susan McKay officiates

In Conversation: Journalist Tony Clayton-Lea interviews Abigail O'Brien

Open: 6 days a week, Monday - Saturday 10.30am-5.00pm, closed Sunday

Admission: Free, donations of €2 encouraged

Online:   Twitter: @highlanes


For Further Media Information:

Sinead O’Doherty, Gerry Lundberg PR|T. +353 1 679 8476|M. +353 86 259 1070|

Aoife Ruane, Curator/Director, Highlanes Gallery|T. +353 (0)41 9803311|M. +353 85 8016706|   


Highlanes Gallery is grateful for the ongoing financial support of Drogheda Borough Council, the Arts Council and Patrons, Benefactors and Friends of the Gallery.


Highlanes Gallery, Laurence Street, Drogheda, Co. Louth, Ireland. T. 041 9803311

W. E.

<!--[endif]-->  <!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->   <!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]--> <!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->  <!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->   
calendar / other activities
Receive regular email updates from Highlanes Gallery. Sign-up to join our mailing list.
sign up
website by callan computers
bookmark this page
Home   |   About   |   Collection   |   Search   |   Shop Online Copyright © Highlanes Gallery Ltd.   |   Privacy Policy
Banbridge District Council The Arts Council Louth County Council INTERREG IIIA
International Fund For Ireland