The Pull of the Sea – a new exhibition by Jo Ashby and Hilary Morley. Fri 28 Jun 5pm

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The Pull of the Sea – a new exhibition by Jo Ashby and Hilary Morley. Fri 28 Jun 5pm

28/06/2024 @ 08:00 am - 20/07/2024 @ 04:00 pm

28 Jun 08:00 am - 04:00 pm

Working Artist Studios

We are delighted to invite you to the launch of this wonderful, new exhibition of work by two superb artists, Jo Ashby and Hilary Morley, entitled, ‘The Pull of the Sea’, at Working Artist Studios on Friday 28th June at 5.00pm. The show will run until 20th July. The exhibition will feature drawings, painting, collage, poetry, haiku and video. Jo Ashby works in West Cork and Hilary Morley works in Galway, but this exhibition is linked by their joint fascination with things maritime.


“We are established visual artists who live and work close to the sea and have shared creative periods together in West Cork, Galway and at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig.  As individuals we have made work that celebrates the colour, drama and communities of a shared Atlantic coastline, so it seemed natural to collaborate in exhibition format.  Developing classical practises such as painting, collage and drawing, along with experiments in mixed media and writing, our aim is to present an exhibition that will be innovative, thought-provoking and joyful.

‘Tarraingt na Farraige / The Pull of the Sea’ is a visual art exhibition that will respond to the different coastal communities that we live in – an immersive joint exhibition of original artwork, poetry and Haiku, which will open in Working Artists Studio Gallery in Ballydehob, West Cork on 28th June 2024.  We will work with our environmental poet, Sacha Hutchinson and the The Sherkin Island Haiku Group of which Jo is a member.

We both produce works that respond to the ‘Pull of the Sea’, but in very different parts of the country. West Cork, a magnet for artists from all over the world, is celebrated for its breath-taking landscape and shorelines in deep blues and greens.  Galway is associated with lilac hues and lingering western light settling on its Connemara coastline; home to those who speak Irish/Gaeilge every day.  This exhibition will bring a little piece of Galway to West Cork and in 2025, a little piece of West Cork to Galway!

Contemporary hallmarks associated with coastline are common to both places. Plastic pollution and coastal erosion are increasingly evident, but so too is the mass-awakening, particularly since lockdown, to the restorative energy of the sea.  

‘Tarraingt na Farraige / The Pull of the Sea’ is a celebration of place which presents a personal interpretation of the sea close to where each of us lives.”  


For this exhibition, Jo Ashby will turn her attention to the shore, engaging in detailed examination of the wrack line; the tangle of seaweeds and fauna washed ashore by the sea.  With pollution at an all-time high, these deposited mounds contain a ‘buffet’ of flotsam and jetsam; plastic particles, containers, ropes, and the occasional treasure.  She will use acrylic paint, coloured inks, graphite and found debris to create her artworks.

Hilary Morley celebrates the community of sea-swimmers, with collage representations of divers and ‘belly-floppers’ leaping from the Blackrock diving tower near Galway.  She celebrates the inclusive nature of sea recreation and portrays various age groups and ethnicities gathering joyfully in intricate collage works using painted papers and recycled newsprint.

This exhibition will also demonstrate our capacity to create large and dramatic drawings in graphite and charcoal.  We will observe the colour and drama of our respective coastlines using paint, ink, found objects, handmade papers, old maps and mixed media.  We will also exchange artworks to see how the other progresses with a beginning sketch drawn up by the other.  Joint and solo sketchbooks developed over the course of making work for the exhibition will also be included.  We also have some shoreline sounds that could be played in the space.


Artist Statements:

Jo Ashby is best known for her seascapes of West Cork. She usually paints in acrylics, building up layers of glazes to create depth and ambiguity. Acrylic paints and inks give stability and integrity to her mixed media work, which may include collage or the inclusion of found objects from the shore. Jo has exhibited widely in the UK and Ireland and is an elected member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists in the UK and a professional member of Visual Artists Ireland. (CV attached)

“I have always been very conscious to exclude the human figure in my seascapes or landscapes, focusing instead on my direct observation and response to subjects in nature I know well. In the past, dry stone walls, old tracks and the ruins of old stone farmhouses have been a feature of my work as I observe how nature reclaims from our intrusion. At this time of climate urgency, it seemed important to turn my attention to the debris that is now commonplace on our beaches, whilst celebrating the beauty of our beaches and the shoreline.”  

Hilary Morley is a mixed media artist. She specialises in collage and charcoal drawing. She reflects personal experiences in her work, sometimes through dramatic representations of landscape and the familiar sights of rural county Galway. She has exhibited widely, and has curated national touring exhibitions for multi-disciplinary artists. She is a professional member of the Engage Art Studios in Galway and Visual Artists Ireland.

 “Tarraingt na Farraige / The Pull of the Sea’ is so well suited to the kind of work I create, says Hilary.  My work relates to popular beaches in Galway, and the people I encounter as a daily swimmer.  A hive of activity year-round, the diving towers and piers have become icons of escape; places people can the discard shackles of daily life.  These are places where age and creed are forgotten, where everyone shares a single goal of conquering the might and cold of Atlantic waves!”


Sacha Hutchinson is a poet from Dublin who lives in Galway.  Her poetry has appeared in many poetry journals including  Ropes, Skylight 47, The Curlew, Live Encounters, Pendemic, Drawn to the Light Press, Lothlorien Poetry, How to Heal the Earth and Storms. She was shortlisted for Over the Edge New Writer of the Year 2019 and longlisted for Black Eyes Publishing Poetry competition 2022. She won the Saolta Arts ‘Poems for Patience’ competition as part of Cúirt International Festival of Literature in 2022.  Her poetry featured in ‘Salthill Reverie’ as part of the Galway International Arts Festival in 2023.  She is a member of the Hare’s Corner Collective, Galway.

“In my poetry I gather words from daily journal entries. They include observations of the changing coastal landscapes where I live. As a reflection of these landscapes, I often include birds, both resident and visiting. Nature’s vulnerability is mirrored by a significant decrease in bird numbers through habitat loss, climate change, overfishing, plastic pollution…By recording what is still left I hope to increase awareness, as so much is dependent on these coastal meadows, hedge rows, trees and clean seas. We need to remember that it is important to coexist and preserve this natural beauty which is all around us.”

The Sherkin Haiku Group comprises about 12 members, some of whom are professional writers,  poets and artists.  They capture the ever-changing wild beauty of nature and life and represent the close community bound by creativity and a shared love of Sherkin Island in West Cork.  With three lines and seventeen syllables, Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry. 


  • Start:
    Jun 28 @ 08:00 am
  • End:
    Jul 20 @ 04:00 pm
  • Event Category:




Working Artist Studios

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Ballydehob, Cork P81 H771 Ireland

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