“It is salutary that in a world rocked by greed, misunderstanding and fear, with the imminence of collapse into unbelievable horrors, it is still possible and justifiable to find important the exact placing of two pebbles”
Jim Ede (b.1895), a collector and former curator of the Tate Britain was known for his philosophy that the quality of an environment (and of life!) could be greatly improved by the inclusion of, and more importantly, the careful and considered juxtaposition of art and natural objects, believing that one could enhance the beauty of the other. His former home, Kettles Yard in Cambridge, now a museum, is a tranquil place where modern art, natural curio and decorative objects sit side by side, regardless of their value, in harmonious arrangements, with as much consideration given to the placing of a hairbrush or a pebble as to a sculpture by Henry Moore.
“When I first read Ede’s lines in a book gifted to me at Christmas I felt a surge of gratitude towards their author. The majority of the time that I had spent in the studio during the previous few weird and scary years had in fact been spent contemplating pebbles. While a virus raged and the Earth caught fire I polished and assembled them. I stuck one to another. When not consumed with my own collection I peered over and painted portraits of the precious pebbles of museum collections. Now, thanks to his words and philosophy, I felt okay about my seemingly ridiculous preoccupation. It was okay to obsess over two pebbles and how they should be placed because two perfectly placed pebbles could create a moment of harmony and calm in an otherwise imperfect world”. Bennie Reilly
The Louvre of the Pebble is an exhibition of painting and mixed media sculpture informed by an interest in museology, nature and history. The works in The Louvre of the Pebble are based on accumulations of photographic documentation collected at museums around the world and an abundance of natural curio and bric-a-brac gathered and scavenged over time. Precious stones, objects and artefacts are presented as painted ‘still life’ and assembled into three-dimensional ‘trophies’ and decorative arrangements.
Reilly has exhibited across Ireland, Europe and in the US and has had solo exhibitions in the RHA, Dublin, Triskel Arts Centre, Cork, Roscommon Arts Centre and the Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise. Her work is represented in a number of public and private collections including The Irish State Art Collection, the Arts Council of Ireland, and the Butler Gallery Collection, Kilkenny. She is currently developing a public sculpture for Skerries Beach in North County Dublin which will be completed in 2022.
Photos by Paul McCarthy