Exhibition of Bronze Sculpture and Etchings
by John Behan RHA
8th - 28th August 2003
Speech delivered by Loretta Brennan-Glucksman on the occasion of the official opening of "Cross-Section" by John Behan - Friday 8th August 2003
"The art of John Behan evokes a stream of consciousness for me - myths - links - words - forms - music - Druids - forests - forges - fire - sparks - famine ships - skeletal limbs extending through the mists - reaching out to us to link us to our tribe. As he weaves his spell John Behan lets us feel not only pain and deprivation; but also the tensile strength of a dream - a new life free of hunger and exploitation.
The process implied in John Behan's work is intrinsically satisfying to behold - all that is entailed in the sensuous acts of forging, casting, moulding - the beauty and strength in John's mind and heart, following through his hands to form another piece of startling importance - another of those links with the atavistic beginnings of ourselves. It is a conundrum that he can use the elemental hardness of bronze, and yet create figures of balletic grace and movement as "Men Pouring Bronze".
In his wondrous Bulls John seems to channel his own innate dignity and strength into this magnificent creature - they seem to vibrate with vitality. It is a part of his generous gift to us that John continues to push himself to expand the media by which he can draw us into new experiences. New delights are ahead as we savour the delicate strokes of the etchings. Contemplate the accessibility of the symbolism of the wall hangings, and then return with renewed gratitude to the tactile and emotional impact of the sculpture.
John has entitled this exhibition "Cross-Section", and it is a very satisfying assortment of his work. He grows as an artist not by abandoning his past but by nurturing it and building upon its strengths. As a person, too, he hews closely to those people and places which have been important to his through the years - witness the long and pleasant association with the incredible Kenny clan and this excellent venue. Artists of such power as John Behan are the shamans who connect us with what may be better in all mankind. John helps us to savour what is, and frees us to anticipate what might be.
I am delighted to have the great privilege of declaring this exhibition now open.
The American Ireland Fund