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Cancelled exhibition and being an artist during a pandemic with Neil Dunne

Neil Dunne in his studio. (courtesy of the artist).

“Expanded print practise” is how Neil Dunne, a Liberties-born and raised artist would define his art. 

He started silk-screen printing while studying in NCAD (National College of Art and Design) where he obtained both his undergraduate and master degree in fine art and “instantly fell in love” with this field. 

Recently though, Dunne started to use paint and came up with a combination of both painting and printing. 

“I use the tools of printmaking within my paintings.” As a result, his work can’t be strictly defined and this is how he manages to “keep creating work exciting” by “try[ing] to engage with as many mediums as [he] can and rarely just settle on one or two.” 

Dunne was in the midst of the preparation of his first solo show with SO Fine, an art gallery in the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre when the COVID-19 pandemic started. 

Outlier, the exhibition was postponed twice before finally starting in September. But after a couple of weeks, it ended with the Level 5 restrictions. 

The pieces exposed are still visible on the website of the gallery and some of the pieces are going to be exposed during a group show around Christmas time.  

His artworks can be purchased on his website (https://www.neildunne.art/) as well as several art galleries in Dublin and one in Paris. 

For Dunne, “a lot of creative have suffered because of these lockdowns” but he felt a community growing. “It was extremely encouraging to get so much support and feedback from people throughout the time”. 

“If I could lend any advice it would be to remove any form of expectation and just make, filter ideas and feelings onto paper and constantly make.” 

In the eyes of Dunne, “being creative in any capacity can help relieve stress and worry […] the concentration on one thing for an hour blocks out the rest of the world”. 

In those difficult and peculiar time, art reaches a new dimension and “has a role outside of its commercial viability” says the artist. 

Even if art galleries are closed, the internet is still here for everybody and can be used to support the art and the artists. “It might be a great time for each of us to involve ourselves a little more with the artists and processes.” 

The impact of the pandemic on art is still hard to see but the culture world will suffer. In the eyes of Dunne though, it is important to stay positive and he believes that “a lot of great things will emerge from this”. 

This positive attitude, Dunne gets it from his past. He came into adulthood at the end of the Celtic Tiger and a recession was coming. 

He spent the beginning of his college years “with the idea that there won’t be a job on the other side of this degree”. But it turns out that he and his classmates all created “really exciting projects” despite the times.  

Even if the situation is slightly different now he believes that “a new emergence will be on the horizon”. 

“It’s important to approach a situation like this with the mind-set of one door closing and another opening.” 

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