A brand new art gallery and studio is opening in Sligo. The Open Door Gallery is located in Branley’s Yard, Rathcormac, Co. Sligo.
Póilín McGowan and Tanis Gordon Smith, are two artists who are based at Rathcormac Artisan Food & Craft Market which is on every Saturday from 10am – 3pm. They came up with the idea to open a studio and gallery in Rathcormac.
Tan explained “We both work in very different ways; Poilin is constructive and guiding, I balance colours and seeing what gels. People ask me ‘How did you do that?’, I say I dipped my brush in the paint and it appeared. With art you cannot fail, you can only create. Apply yourself to whatever you feel like doing, you never know what will happen. It’s all about pushing boundaries and gaining confidence.’
Tan is originally from Calcutta and grew up in London. He remembers listening to actors in the Royal Shakespeare Company and finding inspiration from hearing them speak – he realised he didn’t talk enough. ‘I’m going to be like you’, I thought, ‘I’m going to say what I think and express myself and give myself the freedom to explore and see what happens. I moved to Sligo in 1990 and opened a shop called Thailandia on Markievicz Road selling things from the Eastern world. I realised it was probably too soon to have something like that in Sligo but we were open for three years and it became a meeting point. We used to have school kids coming in including Tabby who was fascinated by a reel to reel tape playing I had. It’s fantastic to see that Tabby has become a dedicated artist in his own right, he’s extremely talented and remembering him back in his uniform being inspired by everything around him is a special memory. It’s also fantastic to see his partner Anna Leask who has become a talented artist too.”
Tan’s first solo exhibition of his works was at the ‘Tig Fillie’ gallery in Co. Cork. At this time, he used slate as his medium creating two and three-dimensional pieces of sculpture.
Gordon attended the Sligo PLC Art course and went on to Sligo I.T to do the Fine Art Course. After a period of time he went on to live in Spain for three years, during which he continued with his slate works and began exploring working in Oil painting. He developed his skills in this medium and became fully committed to painting on canvas.
His style is eclectic, he moves in all directions being inspired by memories and the abstract eye in which he views his world. The subject of his painting is an infusion of abstract/fantasy/realism/contemporary and modern art. He tells me of his delight in being able to balance colours together allowing the paintings to create themselves and in turn stimulate the viewer.
His main source of inspiration is Gerhardt Richter and Kurt Jackson, combining both these sources he adds his own unique style to the work pulling together colour, composition and sheer passion.
Póilín Mc Gowan completed her Fine Art Degree in Sligo I.T in 2004. Since then she has several group and solo exhibitions around the country including the Hyde Bridge Gallery and most recently Elements – a solo exhibition in the Hamilton Gallery in her home town of Sligo.
Her passion for the land and the sea is very evident in her work, deep greens and blues fused with russet browns and greens depicting change and mood of her surroundings, connect both water and earth together. She views these landscapes and seascapes as an endless source of inspiration which continues to pull and entice her into exploring her work practice, taking it beyond her imagination.
Her style is semi abstract and this opens her painting methods to manipulate the ever changing nature of her subject. This allows her sensitive creativity to explore and develop the finished piece.
She is inspired by the work of Bernadette Kiely, Cormac O Leary and many others past and present who enhance her own creative flow.
Póilín is currently teaching various art groups and is now combining her talents alongside Gordon Smith to open this new and exciting gallery and studio in Branley’s Yard, Rathcormac. Together they will be available for classes in art, for both adults and children, to stimulate and involve future artists to create and find their own hidden talents. You can find out more about the Open Door Studio and Gallery over on their Facebook page.