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18/09/2021

Kildare's Riverbank gallery reopens with exhibition from award-winning nature photographer

June 8

Kildare's Riverbank gallery reopens with exhibition from award-winning nature photographer

Enchanted Pixie Goblets

The Riverbank Arts Centre is reopening its McKenna Gallery next Tuesday, June 8 to present Portal, an exhibition by Tina Claffey, an award-winning nature photographer who has exhibited in the US, Botswana, Zambia and throughout
Ireland.

Tina Claffey loves to get ‘lost’ in the bogs, eskers and wetlands of Ireland with her macro lens. This solo show takes the viewer through a portal to other wondrous worlds that coexist with us. Lichens become enchanted forests, mystical goblets appear that are fit for otherworldly kings and queens.

This beguiling photography exhibition will allow you to immerse yourself in ancient watery worlds that defy your sense of reality, while appreciating this ancient Irish wilderness you are exploring.

“The title of my exhibition, Portal, is a reference to the Irish for bog ‘portach’, and also for its reference as a portal or gateway to another world,” Tina Claffey states.

“I specialise in close up, or ‘macro’ photography, which forces me to slow down, and truly observe the tiny flora
and fauna within the living carpet of the bog.”

Having closed in line with Covid safety measures in December, the Newbridge venue is happy to welcome people back through their doors.

“We are delighted to present this stunning exhibition of photography by Tina as our first post-lockdown solo show in the McKenna Gallery.” states Alex Rosiak, Acting Director of Riverbank Arts Centre.

“After a long period of closure, our gallery is finally re-opening and we can’t wait to see our audiences back in the building experiencing art in person. Tina’s exhibition is entitled PORTAL, because, as she explains: ‘her photographs take the viewer
through a portal to other worlds’. The worlds we are invited to are beautiful and strange at the same time."

Artist Tina Claffey specialises in macro photography, a unique form of photography that involves photographing small objects to make them look life-sized or larger in the photo. 

“Macro photography removes our sense of scale, allowing our imaginations to wander and become lost within this
living carpet," Claffey adds.

“Each of the images in my show aims to reveal tiny portals to the magical other world within the bogs that coexist with us within this ancient wilderness.”

For many people, Covid lockdown prompted or reignited an interest in nature and our immediate surroundings. While
PORTAL is primarily aimed at adults, young people with an interest in nature will be utterly enchanted by Claffey’s
micro world, which captures details rarely seen by the human eye.

“For months nature has been our best friend, keeping us company while we were isolating and avoiding busy urban spaces.” adds Alex Rosiak.

“Forests, bogs and fields have replaced galleries and museums – we could immerse ourselves in their magical and soothing worlds while waiting for our lives to get back to normal. Our natural surroundings offered us a great sense of connection with our locality, as we couldn’t travel far.

"Tina’s photography brings us even closer to nature, allowing the miniscule and micro worlds that we often don’t notice, to enfold us and surprise us with their immense beauty and strangeness. Being immersed in nature helped us survive and sometimes even enjoy the isolation we all had to endure. I really look forward to welcoming our audiences back to our gallery and I would encourage everyone to stop by and experience PORTAL especially during June Fest.”

PORTAL by Tina Claffey opens on June 8 and runs until July 31. The McKenna Gallery at Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge is open 10am-2pm, Monday to Friday. Admission Free. For more details see www.riverbank.ie

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