Biography

Dublin-born and educated, Ursula Kavanagh attended art school in Dublin, London, Paris and the United States. She received her M.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1988 and her B.F.A. from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1978. Her imagery deals with symbol, myth and ritual in a variety of media, including, painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, performance, photography and film. She has been exhibiting her work nationally and internationally since the early-1970s. She has won major awards throughout her career and her work is in public and private collections worldwide. A widely experienced traveller, she has returned to live in Dublin. The Stone Wall Series reflects the on-going influence of the extraordinary landscape of the Aran Islands, where she lived from 1997-2009. 

She has recently returned to Performance, along with her studio work, creating ritual pieces at sacred and mythological places in Ireland: Skellig Michael; Ireland's Eye; The Giant's Causeway, the Aran Islands, and at various locations in Dublin.
    
Her work underwent a profound change when she came to live on Inis Mór in 1997, having lived in the United States for 25 years. Deeply influenced by the landscape of the island, she created major works which have been shown in solo and group exhibitions in Ireland and Europe.

Living in New York from 1986 to 1997, symbol and ritual became deeply integrated into her practice, spiritually and psychically. Along with her studies in art therapy, her research and thesis on the work of Carl Jung, his writings on archetypal symbolism, mythology and the importance of dreams, visions and ritual, she created major works which were exhibited in solo and group exhibits in New York, and in various venues throughout the United States and Ireland.

Each summer she returned to Ireland to create site-specific installations on various lakes and beaches of the Island. Using the landscape as a backdrop, the works were created using natural materials and destroyed by the elements. While living on the Aran Islands, she continued these yearly ritual works in celebration of the Celtic festivals.

In Chicago from 1972 to 1986, her work was influenced and inspired by her studies in Archaeology as an undergraduate at The School of the Art Institute; her travels and research on the Goddess in ancient cultures; the work of Marija Gimbutas, her magnum opus on the Goddess, and the works of many writers and artists inspired by feminism and the Goddess Movement. These works were shown in many solo and group exhibitions in New York and Chicago, and published widely.

She participated in the “Vision Quests – The Edinburgh Arts Journey” – organized by the Richard Demarco Gallery in the seventies, performing at the Edinburgh Festival, attending workshops by Joseph Beuys, Buckminster Fuller, Paolo Soleri and Sally Potter; travelling and performing throughout Britain and Europe, these experiences had an enormous impact on her work and the importance of her Celtic roots.

She studied performance with Thomas Jaremba as an undergraduate at The School of the Art Institute in Chicago and performed and lectured in Chicago and in various venues in the United States throughout the seventies and eighties.  She has recently returned to performance.


CV

Education:

1986-1988  MFA School of Visual Arts, New York, New York, U.S.A.,

1974-1978  BFA School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois,U.S.A.

1971-1972  Byam Shaw School of Painting, London, England

1965-1968  Academie de la Grande Chaumiere, Paris, France;
    Private studies in painting with Mildred Lachman Chapin
    Ecole du Louvre

1964  National College of Art, Dublin, Ireland.


Selected Solo Exhibitions/ Installations/ Performances

2016 Schéalta ar Clochán an Aifir, Giants Causeway, Antrim (performance/video)

2015 Lughnasa, Ireland's Eye, Howth, Dublin (performance/video)

2014 2 Anna Livia Plurabelle, Samuel Beckett Bridge, Dublin (performance/video)
 
2013 Rite on Skellig, Skellig Michael Island, County Kerry. (performance/video)

2012  Release from Hades, Samkura, Clo Ceardlann na gCnoc, Donegal. (performance)

2010  The Pool Series/Locháin Inis Mór, Custom House Studios Gallery, Westport. County Mayo

2009  Inis Mór, Árann Dialann Pictiúr/A Visual Journal, The White Room Gallery, Galway

2008  Carnán Sídhe, installation: sea polished stones, Trá na mBuailte, Inis Mór, Aran Islands

2007  Ciorcal, Installation: sea-polished stones, Trá na mBuailte, Inis Mór, Aran Islands

2006  Dealbh Lúnasa, Installation: sea-polished stones, Trá na bhFranncach, Inis Mór, Aran Islands

2005  Sea Mound, Installation: sea-polished stones Trá na mBuailte, Inis Mór, Aran Islands

2004  Ciorcal Slata Mara, Installation: sea rods, Tra na mBuailte, Inis Mór, Aran Islands

2003  Rite: Equinox, Installation: sea-polished stones, Trá na bhFranncach, Inis Mór, Aran Islands

2002  Carn Dearg, Installation: sea-polished stones, Kilronan, Inis Mór, Aran Islands

2001  The Stone Series/Teanga na gCloch, Galway Arts Centre, Galway

2000  Sun Wheel for the Winter Solstice, Installation: sea-polished stones, Kilronan, Inis Mór, Arann

1999  Grail, Installation: sea-polished stones, Trá na mBuailte, Inis Mór, Aran Islands

1998  May Bush, Installation: hawthorn, gold torcs, Kilmurvey, Inis Mór, Aran Islands

1997  Fire Circle, Installation: turf, straw, grasses, Port Corruch, Inis Mór, Aran Islands

1997  The Shadow Series, A Different Light Gallery, New York, New York, U.S.A.

1996  Bardo/Out of the Labyrinth, A Different Light Gallery, New York, New York, U.S.A.

1995  Labyrinth, Project Arts Center, Dublin

1994  Cearnóg, Installation, sea-polished stones, Poll na Bpeist, Inis Mór, Aran Islands

1993  Yoni, Installation: sea-polished stones, Golden Strand, Dugort, Achill, County Mayo

1992  Sea Spiral, Installation: Keem Strand, Achill, County Mayo

1991  Moon Spiral, Installation: sea-polished stones, Annagh Strand, Achill, County Mayo

1990  Ireland/America - A Reclamation, Irish Arts Center, New York, New York, U.S.A.

1990  Open Circle, Installation: sea-polished stones, Porteen Strand, Achill, County Mayo

1989  Celtic Mandala, Installation: sea polished stones, Dugort Strand, Achill, County Mayo

1988  Annagh Luna, Installation: silver pine branches/lake, The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Co. Monaghan

1985  The Arethusa Series, A.R.C. Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A

1983  The Estrella Series, A.R.C. Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

1981  Graven Images, The Inner Works Gallery, Santa Monica, California, U.S.A

1979  Rebirth Ritual, Performance, SAIC Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A

1978  Newgrange/Chicago, Performance, South Boulevard Beach, Evanston, Illinois, U.S.A.

1976  Celtic Goddess, Performance: Howth: Richard Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland

1975  Alienation, Performance, The Museum of the Art Institute, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

1974  Registration, Performance, The Museum of the Art Institute, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.


Selected Group Exhibitions/Installations/Performances

2016 Among the Stones, with Hiromi Okumura, Giant's Causeway, Antrim (performance/video)

2016 Clones Art Studios, Monaghan, "Postcard 1916" (Group show)

2015 Rite on Ireland's Eye, with Hiromi Okumura, Ireland's Eye Island, Dublin (performance/video)

2014 2 Anna Livia, with Hiromi Okumura, Samuel Beckett Bridge, Dublin (performance/video)

2014 Heroes & Villians, A.R.C. Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

2013 40th Anniversary at A.R.C. Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

2012  Achill Sculptures (’89-93”) Heinrich Boll Centre, Achill, County Mayo

2012  Samkura, Clo Ceardlann na gCnoc, Gortahork, Co. Donegal

2011  The Pool Series/Locháin Inis Mór, Irish Museum of Contemporary Art, Dublin (IMOCA)

2010  Collective Contemporary Art, CCA/RDS, Royal Dublin Society, Dublin

2009  Member’s Group Exhibit, The White Room Gallery, Galway

2007  Margin, Office of Public Works, Dublin

2005  Úr- Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, France

2004  The International Project of Gaeltacht Art, Tógra Idirnáisiúnta
 d'Ealaíona Gaeltachta: Cló Ceardlann na gCnoc, Donegal

2003  Dearcadh, Kilmainham Gaol Museum, Dublin

2001  2001 Spaced Oddities, SAIC Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A

1997  25th Anniversary, A.I.R. Gallery, New York, New York, U.S.A.

1996  A Path of Stones to the "Realt" and Equinox Dawn Ritual: Sculpture Society of Ireland,
 Sculpture Symposium, Achill, Co. Mayo

1995  The Inner Palate, S.V.A. Gallery, New York, New York, U.S.A

1994  Shared Visual Journeys, S.V.A. Gallery, New York, New York, U.S.A.

1993  20th Anniversary at A.R.C. A.R.C. Gallery, Chicago, Illinois,U.S.A.

1992  Choice, A.I.R. Gallery, New York, New York, U.S.A.

1991  10th Anniversary Celebrations, The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Ireland

1991  Places/Echoes/States of Mind, Bank of Ireland Exhibit Centre, Dublin

1988  Selections from the M.F.A. Projects, Visual Arts Gallery, New York, New York, U.S.A

1987  The Back Gallery, A.I.R. Gallery, New York, New York, U.S.A.

1986  Five Artists, A.I.R. Gallery, New York, New York, U.S.A

1985  Labyrinth Collaborative, A.R.C. Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A

1985  Between the Worlds: The Art of Women's Altars, Orange County Center for Contemporary
 Art, Santa Ana, California, U.S.A.

1984  Women Beyond Anger, Beacon Street Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

1983  Women’s Spirituality, Gnosis Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A

1982  Choice Two, A.I.R. Gallery, New York, New York, U.S.A

1981  Some Girls, Dearborn Gallery, Chicago,Illinois, U.S.A

1980  Woman/Woman Works, The Women's Building Gallery, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

1979  Nocturnal Dimensions, Suburban Fine Arts Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

1979  A Collaborative Healing Ritual; performance; The Tarxien Temple, Malta

1978  The Edinburgh Arts Journey, Richard Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland

1977  Soft Sculpture, SAIC Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

1976  The Edinburgh Arts Journey, Richard Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland

1975  The Evanston Express, performance; Evanston, Illinois, U.S.A.

1974  The Edinburgh Arts Journey, Richard Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland

Selected bibliography

2015 Eller, Cynthia: The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory, p.24

2014 Hwang, Helen: Magoism: "Ursula Kavanagh: Newgrange/Chicago" in "Womanspirit". (Art from the 70s)

2013 Goldstein, Iris.  40th Anniversary at A.R.C. Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. (Catalogue)

2012  Samkura, Clo Ceardlann na gCnoc, Donegal

2010  Carey, Helen, Collective Contemporary Art, Royal Dublin Society, CCA/RDS (Catalogue) p.6

2010  Mayo Today “Ursula Kavanagh Exhibition in Westport”  June 6

2010 Mayo County Council News, “Ursula Kavanagh at Custom House Studios/Gallery”, June 11

2009 Dunne, Aidan: Inis Mor/A Visual Journal, The Irish Times (The Ticket), May 1, p. 17

2009 Creative West Galway Art Trail/Volvo Ocean Race Festival ,May-June, p.34

2008 Úr - The International Project of Gaeltacht Art (Catalogue/Internet)

2006 Pratschke, Sheila: "Annaghmakerrig/25 years",The Lilliput Press, p.191

2005 Cahen, Xavier, Exposition: Úr au Centre culturel Irlandais, Paris, Pourinfos.org, Feb '05

2004 Ó'Neachtain, Páraic, The International Project of Gaeltacht Art

Togra Idirnáisiúnta d'Ealaíona Gaeltachta, An Tuath Nua, TG4, Nov. 19

2003 Dunne, Aidan, "Dearcadh: Kilmainham Jail”, Dublin, The Irish Times (The Ticket),) Oct. 9, p.17

2003 Clancy, Luke: Dearchadh, Visionaries of 1791-1803, Kilmainham Gaol, CIRCA, Winter '03, p. 87

2003 Hartigan, Marianne, "A Hard Cell: Dearcadh, Visionaries of 1791-1803",SundayTribune,Oct19, p.39

2003 Ryan, Michael, "Dearcadh At Kilmainham Gaol Museum", Nationwide, RTE 1/TV, Sept. 26

2001 Brody, Sonja "Ursula Kavanagh at the Galway Art Centre", Galway Now Magazine, February issue, p.60

2001 O'Flaherty, Sheamus, "Ursula Kavanagh at the Galway Arts Centre", Radio na Gaeltachta, Feb. 7

2000 McDonald, Theresa, "Achill", I.A.S. Publications, p.16

1999 Turner, Kay, "Beautiful Necessity",The Art & Meaning of Women's Altars,Thames & Hudson, pp. 26, 8,133

1998 Marler, Joan: "From the Realm of the Ancestors: An Anthology in Honour of Marija Gimbutas

Knowledge, Ideas and Trends, Inc. pp. 461-462

1997 O'Brien, Breege "Achill Island Sculpture Symposium", Muintir Acla Magazine, Spring '97

1996 Clancy, Luke, "Moving Statues on Achill Island, The Irish Times, Sept. 14, p. 10

1996 Prior, Aisling, "Achill Island Sculpture Symposium", (catalogue/Sculpture Society of Ireland)

1995 O'Donoghue, Donal, "Ursula Kavanagh at the Project Arts Centre", RTE Guide, April 22-28, p. 85

1995 Orenstein, Gloria, "Ursula Kavanagh - Labyrinth; An Artist's Journey into the Celtic Otherworld" (Catalogue)

1994 Broude, Norma & Gerrard, D:The Power of Feminist Art,Harry N. Abrams, Inc.NY, pp. 177,178,181,184

1993 Warren, Lynn, "A.R.C. Gallery - 20th Anniversary" (Catalogue) p.37

1990 O'Riordan, Julianne, "Ursula Kavanagh Exhibit at the Arts Center", Irish Echo, April 14-20, p. 10

1990 Mulkerns, Helena, "Reclaiming Irish America", The Irish Voice, New York, April 29, p. 31

1990 Orenstein, Gloria, "The Reflowering of the Goddess, Pergamon Press, New York, p. 82

1988 Serlin, Ilene, "To Buddhism and Back", Lilith Magazine, pp. 23-24

1988 Wynne, Patricia, The Womanspirit Source Book, Harper and Row, San Francisco, pp. 94-95

1986 Shani, "The Artist and the Goddess", Windy City News, Chicago, Illinois, March 27, pp. 14-15

1985 Buckingham, A.J.,"Ursula Kavanagh “The Arethusa Series at A.R.C." Reader,Chicago,Illinois,Feb.1, p. 6

1984 Aubin, Barbara, "Ten Years at A.R.C. and Artemnisia" Women Artist News, Summer issue, p. 17

1984 Migdal, Ruth, "Arts in Review" WNIB Radio, Chicago, Illinois, March 27

1983 Turner, Kay "Lady Unique Magazine" Austin, Texas, Autumn Cycle 6, pp. 6,9,11,15,109

1983 Hayden, Harold "Artist has a Hull of a Good Exhibit, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago, March, p. 68

1983 Allison, Bethe, "Ursula Kavanagh/Fern Samuels at A.R.C. Gallery, New Art Examiner, May, p. 17

1982 Staples, Brent, "Lecture Notes: Misses in Mythology”, The Reader, Chicago, April 9, p. 2,4

1982 Ritter, Jim "Artists Seek Lofty Goals in Colonies, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago, Illinois, pp. 2, 4

1979 McCauley, Maureen "Galas" The Catalyst, Chicago, Illinois, Sept. 15, p.1

1979 Becker, Arlene, "Night People Form Dark Fantasies", Evanston Review, Chicago, Illinois , p. 10

1978 Demarco, Richard, Edinburgh Arts Exhibitions and Events (Catalogue) August

1976 Demarco, Richard, Edinburgh Arts Exhibitions and Events (catalogue) August

1974 Demarco, Richard, Edinburgh Arts Exhibitions and Events (Catalogue) August



Residencies / Awards / Grants

2012 Artist-in Residence, The Heinrich Boll Cottage, Achill, Co. Mayo

2012 Artist-in-Residence, Clo Ceardlann na gCnoc, Donegal

2012 Digital Media Residency,The Firestation Artist’s Studios, Dublin

2005/03 The International Project of Gaeltacht Art/Cló Cheardlann na gCnoc, Donegal  

2005 Artist-in-Residence,Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, France

2003 Dearcadh, Kilmainham Gaol Museum, Dublin

1996 Sculpture Symposium, Sculpture Society of Ireland, Achill Island, County Mayo

1991 Artist-in-Residence,The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, County Monaghan

1988 Artist-in-Residence,The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, County Monaghan

1982 Illinois Arts Council Grant, Chicago, Illinois,U.S.A.

1978/74 The Richard Demarco Gallery "Edinburgh Arts Journey", Edinburgh, Scotland


Collections

Works in public and private collections throughout the United States,Ireland, United Kingdom, France.
(List available on request)


 

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