Irish Museum of Modern Art
19th November 2015 - 2nd May 2016

From The Studio of Edward McGuire (IMMA Residency, May 2015)

IMMA | Collections | Garden Galleries | 19th November 2015 - 2nd May 2016

In 2009 Sally McGuire, the wife of the artist Edward McGuire (1932-1986), donated 130 key items from the studio contents of Edward McGuire to the National Collection at IMMA. Reminiscent of a Renaissance Wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosities, McGuire’s studio objects reflect an esoteric interest in natural history such as the glass-cased and mounted specimens of taxidermied birds, shells, a sheep’s skull, a mummified cat. His method was organised and scientific: sitters recall a sense of the laboratory as the artist regarded them from beneath his green visor.

In considering how to curate these biographical objects and what it might mean to exhibit them alongside McGuire’s paintings and to avoid a detached, museological approach, IMMA invited Nick Miller to be the eyes and sensibility that respond to the older artist’s studio and practice, to create a ‘portrait’ of McGuire in absentia. Miller has always held the older artist in high esteem. As part of the process, earlier this year Miller spent some weeks in residency in an IMMA studio, amid a selection of McGuire’s studio items. A number of McGuire’s former sitters were invited to sit for a ‘meeting’ as Miller terms it, with ‘their recollections of McGuire as a starting point for a connection’. Miller worked on his still life paintings while listening to McGuire’s jazz collection.

Alongside contents from the Edward McGuire studio this exhibition includes a number of portraits, by both artists, of sitters such as Anthony Cronin, Garech de Brún and Tresa Browne, for example. Other sitters included Wanda Ryan - Smolin who sat for McGuire when she was a child, his first official commission and Paul Durcan who memorialised McGuire in a poem Portrait of the Painter as a creature of Paintstaking Courtesy.

About Edward McGuire
Irish portrait artist and still life painter Edward McGuire (1932-1986), is best known for his study of dead birds and portraits of writers and poets. McGuire's best-known sitters include Seamus Heaney, Paul Durcan, Anthony Cronin and Pearse Hutchinson. Many of his portraits have a surreal quality derived from McGuire's love of unusual studio props such as stuffed birds and highly stylised leaf decoration. This feeling is strengthened by the often remote and static pose of the sitter which defies the realist precision with which they are executed. The portrait of the artist Patrick Collins from the IMMA Collection, painted just three years before McGuire's death, is unusual in its avoidance of these devices

IMMA Studio residency | Working with the Edward McGuire Studio Donation: May 2015

Nick Miller and the Studio of Edward McGuire: Selected working residency images

Exhibition resources

Exhibition Guide
Folio: Edward Maguire is an RTE documentary kindly made available by RTE on the RTE player for the duration of this exhibition, originally broadcast in 1977. A portrait of Edward McGuire, the documentary also features Anthony Cronin, sitting for a portrait which is included in this exhibition. (Until 3rd April 2016) Regional broadcast restrictions may apply
Nick Miller and the Studio of Edward McGuire: Irish Museum of Modern Art : website
The Edward McGuire Studio Contents is a documentary made in collaboration between IMMA & The Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire. In 2014 the studio contents were photographed by IADT 4th year students and the resulting documentary was produced. On view in foyer of Garden galleries.
The Colour Dictionary 1958-68 | Edward McGuire (1932-86) | A film by Nick Miller.

The Colour Dictionary 1958-68 | Edward McGuire (1932-86) | A film by Nick Miller

Video: IMMA Collection | Edward McGuire's Colour Dictionary

Colour Dictionary 1958-1968 | Edward McGuire : A film by Nick Miller made on the occasion of the exhibition:
Nick Miller and the studio of Edward McGuire. The Irish Museum of Modern Art: 19 November 2015 - 2 May 2016. Music: "Blue in Green” (5’23”) 1959 © Bill Evans / Concord Music. All rights reserved. Thanks to the Bill Evans Estate. Bill Evans (Piano) | Scott LaFaro (Bass) Paul Motian (Drums).

Meetings from the studio of Edward McGuire: selected works

Nick Miller portraits -

Selected portraits: meetings with sitters, May-October 2015

Meetings with people who had sat for Edward McGuire, Including the poets Anthony Cronin and Paul Durcan; McGuire’s step daughter, Tresa Browne; His first Commission, the daughter of a friend, Wanda Ryan-Smolin and his first Patron, Garech De Brún

Watercolours from
Still Lives

Paintings: working with the McGuire Studio Donation

In responding to the material, Miller used the music from McGuire’s Jazz collection as a way to infuse life into his encounter with the objects from the studio

Paintings - Edward McGuire from
Edward McGuire

Paintings: Selected exhibited works by Edward McGuire

Including the poets Anthony Cronin, Paul Durcan and Pearse Hutchinson; McGuire’s step daughter, Tresa Browne; His first Commission, the daughter of a friend, Wanda Ryan-Smolin; his first Patron, Garech De Brún and still ives such as Owl, from the IMMA collection

Selected Links
Nick Miller and the Studio of Edward McGuire: IMMA website
Folio: Edward Maguire on the RTE player, originally broadcast in 1977
Regional restrictions may apply

Selected Press
The Irish Times (pdf) "An unusual artistic inheritance that pays off”. Aidan Dunne 03/012/15
The Irish Arts Review (pdf) "Meetings in the Studio" Christina Kenndy on Edward McGuire and Nick Miller at IMMA . Autumn 2015
The Irish Arts Review (pdf) "Miller's Crossing" , Interview, Summer 2015
The Sunday Times (pdf) “Nick Miller and the Studio of Edward McGuire. John P O’Sullivan. 24/01/16
Frieze Critics Guide | Gemma Tipton (PDF) 11/02/16
Texts & Publications
Exhibition Guide Collections: Nick Miller and the studio of Edward McGuire
Room Texts: Nick Miller
The Colour Dictionary 1958-68 | Edward McGuire (1932-86) | A film by Nick Miller