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COVER The cover illustration is from Gwen O’Dowd’s Uaimh Series. The editors of ÉIRE-IRELAND wish to thank Gwen O’Dowd; Kerlin Gallery, Dublin; and Alston Conley of the McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, for permission to reproduce the cover painting. Paintings in O’Dowd’s Uaimh Series will be displayed from October through midDecember 1997 at the McMullen Museum of Art as part of Boston College ’s exhibition Re/Dressing Cathleen: Contemporary Works from Irish Women Artists. A catalogue, including essays on the art written by scholars from many disciplines, will accompany the exhibition. By choosing to title her series of geological landscapes with the Irish word uaimh (pronounced “oó-wev”), Gwen O’Dowd suggests many resonances for the dark recesses and chasms she painted in the west of Ireland . Cultural critic Angela Bourke notes that O’Dowd’s title for her representations of secret openings or gashes in the body of the earth—of “the anatomy of landscapes”—invites the viewer to explore “what is seen and what is hidden.” Uaimh can mean a natural cave, or the mouth of a tunnel or souterrain; it can be a hollow where water has collected, or even a grave. In the legends of manuscript and oral tradition, it affords access to everything that lies beneath the surface of what is seen: beyond it are the pagan Otherworld and the Christian Hell, and what we now call the unconscious. Treasure may lie buried there, awaiting someone brave enough to enter. Claude Cernuschi points out that in the tradition of Abstract Expressionism the artist offers no visual clues whereby we might gauge the scale of her images. Human figures or easily recognizable objects from the landscape are absent from these paintings; instead they offer us ambiguous representations of mysterious, often disturbing, natural geological formations. COVER 279 WORKS CITED Bourke, Angela. “Exploring the Darkness: Gwen O’Dowd’s Uaimh.” Re/Dressing Cathleen: Contemporary Works from Irish Women Artists. Eds. Alston Conley and Jennifer Grinnell. Chestnut Hill, MA: McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, forthcoming 1997. Cernuschi, Claude. “Visual and Ideological Pluralism in Practice: Contemporary Irish Women Artists in Context.” Re/Dressing Cathleen: Contemporary Works from Irish Women Artists. COVER 280 ...


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