Nenagh Artist’s Exhibition Is Worth”Another Gander”
“Bogwood is part of our heritage and it’s great to see that celebrated through the work of Richard Gough “declared artist and former Art Teacher in Roscrea, Mr Richard O’ Meara, Clune, Templemore, when he officially opened the,”Worth Another Gander” exhibition of sculpture and wildlife photographs by Richard J Gough of Upper Knockalton, Nenagh, at LIT, Tipperary (Thurles Campus) last week. It runs until March 8th and admission is free.
The large attendance from all over Tipperary included Danish lady, Ms Vinnie Ravnkilde, Seamus Hanafin, MCC, Anne O’ Meara, Clune, Mrs Betty Gough, Nenagh, Jim Troy and Neil Ryan of Thurles Camera Club, Jean Forbes Cooke of LIT, Tipperary (Thurles Campus) who was thanked for her “tireless efforts in promoting and staging the many exhibitions in LIT, Tipperary (Thurles Campus) over the years” “Without Jean’s enthusiasm the Arts in Tipperary would be very much the poorer“ stated Mr O’ Meara. And this is, indeed, a sentiment with which many throughout the county and further afield would concur.
There, too, were Mr Ciaran Lynch and Maria Lawlor of LIT Tipperary(Thurles Campus) and Maria’s charming and oh so courteous daughter, Rachel, who had a fior failte and refreshments for the many visitors to this truly beautiful and inspiring exhibition of a truly gifted artist. The attendance also included Tom Ryan, Ballinree, Cashel and Paddy O’ Dwyer of Boherlahan Journal renown
Mr O’ Meara has known Mr Gough for more than 20 years and has, he said, kept a close interest in his work, especially his sculptural creations, while also admiring his photographic skills. He said Mr Gough” gives voice to his community through his photography and sculpture.”
He added: “It is not easy to continue fostering the craft and skill of sculpture, particularly when mass production often comes so quickly and cheap. In the light of that, when an artist gets overlooked and ignored, it can lead to years of inactivity which results in self-doubt.” We need to reward and recognise intelligence, creativity and innovation, which is something our present points system does not accommodate.
“Bogwood works have been made and exported for the last 200years. During the 19th Century bog oak became fashionable as a material for making wooden jewellery, small decorative items and souvenirs for tourists. The craft received a great boost when Queen Victoria admired examples of bogwood during her visit to Killarney. Because of its colour, bog oak became fashionable for use in mourning jewellery. It was worn by women in England and Ireland following the death of the Queen’s con sort, Prince Albert, in 1861.
One of the best known bog oak carvers was a Kerryman, Cornelius Goggin, who was given the title of”Bog Oak Carver To Her Majesty”. His pieces were very much sought after by specialist collectors. So, Richard Gough, you are in very good company. Anybody who hasn’t a piece of Richard Gough’s work in their collection will be much the poorer for that omission”. Underlying everything he does is a strong and very distinctive personal vision. His photographic imagery represents and includes vignettes and imagery of nature’s wonders, changing seasons and changing times”.
Mrs Jean Forbes Cooke of Lit Tipperary (Thurles campus) welcomed everybody to “this fantastic exhibition” which was organised to coincide with National Tree Week, 2012. She said that Dick and Betty have been friends of LIT, Tipperary, for 12 years. Jean also welcomed steadfast friends, Richard O’ Meara and his wife, Anne.
Mr Richard Gough said that the bog wood was in the region of three thousand to four thousand years old “You are talking about revitalising something that has been dormant for all that time and bringing back a bit of life into it.” He worked in bog oak bog yew and pine for the wood sculptures. He found the bog woods in the bogs of Tipperary mainly, following drainage.
Richard Gough has served as Fire Officer in North Tipperary for some 30 years and was based in Nenagh, while covering Thurles, Roscrea and Templemore. He was in England also, including Heathrow Airport, for some10- 15 years. He met his wife, Betty, in London. Richard Gough is a native of Boherlahan and Betty (nee Grogan) is from Bansha. He can recall the An Tostal festival in the ‘Fifties’ when he and the late Paddy Kelly of Balllinahinch rode to the Rock of Cashel on two white horses as O’ Neill and O’ Donnell. Now, that was a right royal occasion at the rock. Richard Gough’s wife, Betty, writes also and she enjoys painting.
Richard and Betty have two sons, Desmond in Cavan and Julian in Berlin. Julian had a play produced on BBC Radio 4 only a couple of days after our interview with his father. Quite a creative family.
Richard Gough’s wood sculptures deal with subjects from “Fire Helmet Bowl” in bog oak to “Dream Dancers” in bog oak on walnut. His photographs on canvas cover subjects such as “Swan Taking Off” “Red Admiral Butterfly”, “Three Swans In Flight “ and “Sunset” And Jean Forbes Cooke had her own personal story in relation to her native place in Westmeath about the “Children Of Lir” and the “Wild Swans At Coole”. Nach alainn is iontach i an Duchas