Gropina Revisited/ Of Beasts, Boats and Things

Artist Name(s) Janet Mullarney
Artwork title Gropina Revisited/ Of Beasts, Boats and Things

This project took place in Cherry Orchard National School, a wonderfully synthetic building where artist Janet Mullarney had the opportunity to carry out a series of works throughout the first floor corridors. The building, in its simplicity, echoes Romanesque church architecture. Its breadth, scale and human proportions provide harmony, solidity and a deep sense of order. The slanting sunlight and pockets of shadow offered by the vaulted roof (so elegant seen from the outside) offer a perfect backdrop to these, at times, fragile works.

Janet Mullarney works in many materials and enjoys the tactile expression that each material confers to the subject matter. The fact that they are placed high up, out of reach in these ceiling spaces, gave her a freedom not often catered for in the public art sphere. Sponge, cloth, paper, small light vessels of found materials, wood, and resin give a variety of textures and concepts. Blue creatures wearing glass reindeer masks examine sky and land; a life-size figure plunges through the long central architrave. An exit is guarded by a sponge dog comfortably squatting on a crochet blanket. Soft clouds of ticking type material sail outside the large glass internal window of the library. The bright red brick wall closing the second story courtyard hosts the racing embrace of a horse.    

Time was another precious and constructive element. Mullarney had time to walk around the space, to feel it and enjoy it. To come and go, to add and subtract. To register children's voices floating up from a cherry-tree playground. To know which sunbeam the small intimate flock of sheep could nibble up. How and where the life-wracked boats could ride through a void. And which wall would allow the white cow its vertical gallop towards desire.

Writing about the work the artist says:

"I believe it to be a successful art project as it integrates well with the concept of the building and the work, though playful and lightweight it does not pander to children but hopefully stimulates ideas. Most especially I hope to encourage the idea that anything can be made of anything and everything can become something. In carrying out this commission I recognise what a privilege it was to work in such a context."


A catalogue on the project was published 


To see the artist's biography see her website

Commission Type Government Department
Commissioner Name Cherry Orchard, St. Ultan's National School
Commissioning process A curated process
Project commission dates March 1, 2006 - December 1, 2006
Public Presentation dates August 31, 2006 - January 1, 1970
Artform Visual Arts
Funded By Dept. Education and Science
Percent for art Yes
Budget Range 35000 - 70000 euro
Project commission start date 01/03/2006
Project commission end date 01/12/2006
Location Cherry Orchard, Dublin
County Dublin
Town Cherry Orchard
Street Address St. Ultan's Primary School, Cherry Orchard, Ballyfermot
Google Map Insert View this projects location
Content contributor(s) Janet Mullarney
Relationship to project Artist
Associated professionals / Specialists involved

Ruairí Ó'Cuív, Curator



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Nazareth Housing Association provides independent living houses for individuals and couples who are 65 and over and on the Sligo County Council housing list.  Nazareth Village is comprised of 48 houses in a garden setting.  The Village was financed as a public-private partnership between Nazareth Housing Association and Sligo County Council with funding from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.  

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