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Emmet Kane - A Journey Book

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Craftsman or artist? Creator of work or manipulator of nature? Form over material, or material the master of the form? To walk among Emmet Kane’s creations in the first retrospective exhibition of his life and work such questions may occur later, once you have fully gathered the sheer scale and diversity of his work in wood.

Emmet was born and raised in Castledermot, Co. Kildare. He comes from five generations of Master Craftsmen. Self-taught, Kane creates thin-walled hollow forms which defy the difficulties of the medium and whose use of colour, is more readily associated with ceramics or glass. Today, he works predominantly in native hardwoods, citing a particular fondness for Irish oak, which he textures and ebonises, gilds and colours. At times, his work looks like glass or plastic, even metal, until you draw near and see the texture or grain and wonder just how it was achieved.

The exhibition is curated by Dr Jennifer Goff, responsible for the Furniture and Eileen Gray collections who first spotted and acquired Kane’s work for the permanent collection in 2008. The exhibition explores Kane’s remarkable journey of development as an artist and woodturner from 1988 through to the present day, and features a huge array of work: from functional vessels and bowls, wall hangings, artistic pieces (both large and small), and recent small scale intimate works.

The exhibition is designed to help communicate to visitors the story and skill of Kane’s artistry and craft in a totally accessible and understandable way, through the objects themselves, images, graphics and short informative accompanying text. The work, produced over close to thirty years, will be displayed on the second floor of the south wing of the Museum at Collins Barracks, in an extensive, dedicated space that covers more than 160 square metres.

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