‘Cover To Canvas’

A King’s Inns Art Exhibition, 30 April – 15 May 2015

Visual artists respond to our book collections and surroundings. Volumes rarely seen, covering a vast array of subjects in many languages. Spines, covers, paper, texts, illustrations, doors, shelves, architecture… 

The points of inspiration were countless and the result is as beautiful, eclectic and culturally diverse as the books themselves.

King’s Inns books, some dating back as far as the 15th century, are in serious need of restoration. We hope to increase awareness of our aim to preserve our cultural heritage through this exhibition and raise much needed restoration funds through the sale of the art. 

Click here for Magna Carta Restoration Project

The artists immersed themselves in the research and their creativity flowed over the period of time they had to create their response to our library. Fourteen artists have created 22 unique pieces of art for our exhibition, ranging in disciplines from illustration to portraiture, photography to collage and textile, to name but a few.

Our Artists:

Alan Clarke, Brian Maguire, Bláthnaid Ní Mhurchú, Cliodhna Quinlan, Colm Mac Athlaoich, Jeanne Mérer, Joby Hickey, John Short, Líosa McNamara, Margaret Corcoran, Mike Bunn, Myra Jago, Róisín Gartland, and Steven McGovern. 

Scroll down for artists biographies. 

Over the next 2 weeks leading up to the exhibition, we shall be posting little stories about each of our artists and their work on our Facebook and Twitter pages along with the News Stories section on our website. We want to share these artists and their wonderful work with you.

Exhibition Dates and Registration:

We are delighted to announce that due to such huge interest, we are now extending the visiting times and dates for our ‘Cover to Canvas’ Art Exhibition. It will run until Friday 15th May 2015 and also open 2 evenings during that week. They are private viewings so booking is imperative otherwise admission is not possible. In order to register your interest, please fill in the registration form below.

Registration closed

The exhibition space also boasts some of our long standing portrait collection that will be on view alongside the ‘Cover to Canvas’ exhibition during your visit. An article about these portraits can be read here

Exhibition Online Catalogue:

Click here to download Catalogue

For Art Sales, you will find contact details for Louise Gartland in the catalogue. The sales of the art will go a long way to restoring some of our very precious books, preserving our cultural heritage for a long time.

If you are not interested in buying any art but would like to sponsor the restoration of one or several books, you can contact Louise Gartland about this too.

Participating Artists:

Biographies provided by artists…  

Alan Clarke 

Alan Clarke is an award winning Irish Illustrator, visual artist, and occasional writer. His images conjure worlds that are whimsical, darkly comic, magical, sometimes grotesque, but always beautifully executed. A sustained originality and novelty in the concepts behind the work, married with its painstaking execution makes his work quite unique. His book illustrations have garnered widespread acclaim. His work has been shown at several sell–out exhibitions in Ireland, as well as in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Italy and Japan, and is held in numerous galleries and private collection.

Website: MrAlanClarke.com

Facebook: MrAlanClarkeArtist 

Twitter: @MrAlanClarkeArt

Stay tuned to our King’s Inns Facebook and Twitter pages to find out about the inspiration for Alan’s unique artistic response for the ‘Cover to Canvas’ art exhibition.


Brian Maguire

Brian Maguire is currently showing with the Fergus McCaffrey Gallery, New York (please see video below). This show is part of a series of exhibitions Maguire has made following time spent in Juarez, Mexico from 2007 to 2013. This work focuses on victims of murder and subsequent absence of due process. The series includes the documentary ‘Blood Rising’, directed by Mark McLoughlin (trailer below). The exhibition and film was shown in 2012 in the European Parliament.

A painter, Maguire has represented Ireland in the 25th Sao Paulo Bienale and the 3rd Beijing Bienale. In 2000/1 the Hugh Lane Gallery showed a survey exhibition of his work titles Inside/Out which travelled to the contemporary Art Museum in Houston, Texas. His work is held in collections in the USA including Museum of Fine Art, Houston, Texas, in the Haag Gementenmuseum, Netherlands, in the UK in the Wolverhampton Art Gallery and the Victoria Gallery and Museum, Liverpool, and in the Dublin City Gallery–the Hugh Lane, IMMA, Dublin and the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork. 

From 1985 to 2010 Maguire worked as a part–time teacher in all of the Irish Prisons and also worked in Prisons across Europe and the Americas. From 2000 to 2010 he was the professor of Fine Art at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), Dublin. Since 1984 he has been represented by the Kerlin Gallery, Dublin. He currently works in Dublin and Paris. He is a member of Aosdana.

Stay tuned to our King’s Inns Facebook and Twitter pages to find out about the inspiration for Brian’s unique artistic response for the ‘Cover to Canvas’ art exhibition.


Bláthnaid Ní Mhurchú

Bláthnaid Ní Mhurchú is an Irish, Dublin based artist. She graduated from The National College of Art and Design with a BFA and a Masters of Fine Art. She is a multi–award–winning artist and has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally. As an invited artist to the Royal Hibernian Academy’s 181st Annual Exhibition she was awarded the AXA Insurance Prize for Drawing. In the same year Ní Mhurchú was also awarded The James White Award for Drawing at The Royal Dublin Society Student Art Awards.

Ni Mhurchu’s experience as an artist–in–residence at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, Yukon, Canada, (June/July 2014) had a profound effect on her work. Her core–work is pre–occupied with nature and also the interaction between humans and the natural environment. She draws on her experience of the landscapes and environments that surround her, and endeavours to express concerns regarding the ecological and sociological issues of our present time.

Ní Mhurchú was recently featured in TG4’s Arts Programme “IMEALL”. The programme focused mainly on her drawings and watercolours of Irish wildlife, which are the result of her ongoing time spent documenting at The Natural History Museum in Dublin.

Tumblr: fathomandfawn.tumblr.com

Facebook: blathnaidnimhurchuart

Stay tuned to our King’s Inns Facebook and Twitter pages to find out about the inspiration for Bláthnaid’s unique artistic response for the ‘Cover to Canvas’ art exhibition. 


Cliodhna Quinlan

Cliodhna Quinlan is an Irish artist working in textiles and painting. She has worked mainly in embroidery and watercolours but has also illustrated books, designed bags, and currently is enrolled in GMIT in a B.A. of fine art painting. She has had numerous exhibitions of her embroidery and art quilts in Ireland and internationally. As an artist she is interested in the fluidity of identity and challenging the traditional roles we set for ourselves in society and navigating changing ideologies in today’s modern fast paced living.

Apprenticed to a Mexican nagual for eight years she has been made aware of how we perpetrate these imbalances in society by maintaining them in ourselves and how we take on the roles and identities we are given by others and create our reality around these identities. To change the world we live in we must first change our own inner awareness of who we are.

She studied textile design specializing in weaving in NCAD, played music for a few years with various bands in Ireland and the USA, lived in Mexico and Guatemala for eight years and now is happy living beside the Shannon in Co Roscommon running the Ardcarne Garden Centre Cafe with fellow artist and business partner Nessa O’Brolchain.

Stay tuned to our King’s Inns Facebook and Twitter pages to find out about the inspiration for Cliodhna’s unique artistic response for the ‘Cover to Canvas’ art exhibition.


Colm Mac Athlaoich

Colm Mac Athlaoich is an Irish artist, illustrator and educator. He is a member of the Black Church Printmakers and co–founder of Monster Truck Gallery and Studios in Dublin. He has exhibited at home and abroad and his works are part of the OPW (Office of Public Works) Collection. His clients include, The Sunday Tribune, The Irish Times, The Racket Magazine, The Global Mail, Heineken Ireland, Carlsberg. Previous exhibitions include Konstforum (Sweden), Conde Duque Cultural Centre (Madrid), Temple Bar Gallery (Dublin), Monster Truck Gallery (Dublin), The Royal Hibernian Academy (Dublin), The Royal Academy of Arts (London), Academie Menerva (Groningen)

His practice employs the language of drawing, etching, painting and carving. The tangible relationship between the craft process and the finished piece is integral to the outcome. His Style is drawn from the world of illustration and design as much as it is from traditional Japanese print and twentieth Century European painting.

Website: macathlaoich.com

Tumblr: macathlaoich.tumblr.com

Stay tuned to our King’s Inns Facebook and Twitter pages to find out about the inspiration for Colm’s unique artistic response for the ‘Cover to Canvas’ art exhibition.


Jeanne Mérer

Jeanne Mérer lives and works in France. She has recently set up a new studio space in the South East of Lyon where she has embarked on a new creative process, tuning into the many cycles of nature and collaborating with herbalists as well as performing artists practicing BMC (Body Mind Conditioning) and Authentic Movement.

Childhood seeds were collected and nurtured in the many countries she grew up in: Egypt, Holland, Scotland, Borneo and England. The first seeds on her artist’s path were sown in Lyon and Paris where she experienced life as an art student specialising in graphic design. In Rome, Jeanne explored living in boxes: graphic design agency, computer screen, flat, agency, computer, flat… with a lot of Roman beauty on the side. But on the side.

In 2000, she headed off to Dublin for the germination phase. 6 years of creative research (contemporary and oriental dance, Japanese Butoh, poetic circus, street theatre, work of Hundertwasser) and practice (facilitating arts festivals and workshops, co­creating and exhibiting with various artists) led her to take a stand as an artist, with her first solo exhibition Papered Bodies.

At that point, something profound shifted and invited her on the very epic journey of running an art café in Dublin (Piedescalso) followed by a vineyard and vegetable garden in France (Les Dessous du Cep) from 2007 to 2014. This experience has transformed the way she approaches ‘art making’, ‘art being’, ‘art sharing’ and roots this deeply within the land, plants and trees surrounding her. There is an urgent need to reconnect with our bodies and the earth. Art is Jeanne’s process in accessing this ancient wisdom and co–­creating with it and the people she encounters.

Creative workshops go hand in hand with wild plant foraging, group painting sessions start off gardening in the veggie patch, performances kick off with planting a tree, exhibitions involve distilling flowers. Calling out to our bones, rattling our hearts and sowing vibrant seeds in Wild Fertile Earth.

Website: mererjeanne.wix.com/jeannem

Stay tuned to our King’s Inns Facebook and Twitter pages to find out about the inspiration for Jeanne’s unique artistic response for the ‘Cover to Canvas’ art exhibition.


Joby Hickey

Joby Hickey attended Dun Laoghaire College of Art and Design 1992/94 and was also tutored by his Father who was head of fine art in the NCAD. He uses both painting and photography as his mode of creating, making his own cameras and negative plates and often building his own photographic scenes from hand–cut dioramas. He finds it near impossible to express his overall creative influences as it feels too much of a broad–stroke–brush when there is not one singular influence, “I have never been able to get my head around that question [what are your influences?]. If I mentioned two or three elements, that would mean I am trapped in a media friendly soundbite and I think influences are a very subliminal, multi–faceted issue.” Joby is even hard pressed to describe the kind of work he produces but feels that “…the sun is everything, my Father, all of my experiences, every image I’ve seen throughout my life, every person I’ve met etc. I suppose emotions have a big play in ones work, the rest is psychological, and I can’t really explain that.” Joby truly embodies the idea of art and play with a sprinkling of science.

Joby has exhibited in numerous group and solo shows since 1993 and his work is held in many private and public collections; Leonard Cohen; Ken Loach; Martin McDonagh; C.E.O Tiffany’s New York; Dermot Desmond and J.P Donleavy Dublin and is spread across the globe; Tokyo; Brussels; Los Angeles; London; Berlin; Switzerland; Russia. He was also commissioned for the Cow Parade Public art in Dublin.

Website: jobyhickey.com

Stay tuned to our King’s Inns Facebook and Twitter pages to find out about the inspiration for Joby’s unique artistic response for the ‘Cover to Canvas’ art exhibition.


John Short

John was born in Fife, Scotland. He graduated from Edinburgh College of Art and The Royal College of Art, London. In London he worked freelance for publishers, contributed to exhibitions and undertook private commissions worldwide. He moved to Dublin in 1980 and was appointed Senior Lecturer in Illustration and Drawing in the School of Creative Arts in DIT. John continued to practice with publishers and private watercolour portrait commissions but since 2005 he has focused on producing and exhibiting location based artworks both in Ireland and internationally. His work is based on field trips to Scotland, North Africa, China, Australia and Ireland, particularly his local area on the South County Dublin coast. His work takes many formats including sketchbook drawings, large scale watercolour, ink and photo transfer images, digital prints and 3D paper sculptures. He has been the recipient of many awards including The Royal College of Art Drawing Prize, The Berger Colour Prize and recently The Royal Watercolour Society, London, Artists Award.

John works and lives with his wife and family in Dalkey, County Dublin, Ireland.

“Giving the impression of spontaneity is important in my work. Being casual and relaxed certainly helps through much practice and draughtsmanship. Often the quickest seemingly throwaway and most immediate use of materials can often capture more than a few too many strokes. Make it look effortless, controlled and well observed.”

Website: johnshort.ie

Stay tuned to our King’s Inns Facebook and Twitter pages to find out about the inspiration for John’s unique artistic response for the ‘Cover to Canvas’ art exhibition.


Líosa McNamara

Líosa McNamara came to photography as she is a natural hoarder, a constant collector and her photography career started as that natural inclination to capture and collect memories.  

She is a professional photographer who keeps her projects personal. Her style is a unique fusion of the cinematic and romantic. Always seeking the sublime, her photography has vibrant atmosphere. Unsurprising, then, that her influences from the art world Velazquez and Waterhouse and in the photographic world, Henri Cartier Breton and Anne Noble.

Website: liosamcnamara.weebly.com

Stay tuned to our King’s Inns Facebook and Twitter pages to find out about the inspiration for Líosa’s unique artistic response for the ‘Cover to Canvas’ art exhibition.


Margaret Corcoran

Margaret Corcoran was born in Dublin in 1963. She is a graduate of the National College of Art and Design, Dublin (1986), including a study period at Chelsea School of Art, London and holds a Masters in Fine Art Painting from NCAD, Dublin.

Margaret lives and works in Dublin and as an artist is represented by Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin; and John Martin Gallery, Mayfair, London. Her work is in the collections ofArthur Cox; Arts Council of Ireland; Office of Public Works; University of Notre Dame, USA; TCD Collections, Dublin.

Website: kevinkavanagh.ie/margaret–corcoran/ / margaretcorcoran.wordpress.com

Reviews: Irish Times

Stay tuned to our King’s Inns Facebook and Twitter pages to find out about the inspiration for Margaret’s unique artistic response for the ‘Cover to Canvas’ art exhibition.


Mike Bunn

As a photographer (I now prefer to be titled as a visual interpreter or inquisitor) – such is the modern use of the camera which is getting further and further away from the alchemy and disciplines of classical photography which I love – “God” gifted me at birth with an incredible memory and great vision and powers of observation. Whenever my eyes catch a moment of interest whatever it be – like a hawk or a predator I begin to focus solely on that “thing” but my interest is not “alpha” to fight, kill or hunt prey for food – but to look further at it and find out more about it by touch or by asking it questions hence the inquisitor in me, and if I feel a responsibility to that subject will with my eyes and camera try and interpret it visually with a lasting image.

For a greater understanding of Mike’s unique talents and celebrated global renown, check out this recent ‘Irish Arts Review‘ article on the Master Photographer himself.

Stay tuned to our King’s Inns Facebook and Twitter pages to find out about the inspiration for Mike’s unique artistic response for the ‘Cover to Canvas’ art exhibition.


Myra Jago

Myra Jago was awarded a Royal Hibernian Academy studio and is presently in residence until July 2015. Jago, from Co. Dublin, has practiced as a professional visual artist since attaining her MFA from NCAD in 2011. Working through oil paint, sculpture and drawing, she presented her third solo exhibition, Learning to Fly, at Eight Gallery, Dawson Street, Dublin in November 2014. Earlier that year, she installed her second solo exhibition, This, Somewhere Else, at AMNCH Tallaght Hospital, participated in The 184th Royal Hibernian Academy Annual Exhibition and group exhibitions at Sol Gallery, Dublin and The Yeats Gallery, Co. Sligo. Selected 2013 group exhibitions include The Rua Red Winter Open; Gormley’s Fine Art; The Ulster Hall University of The Air Celebrations; Copy.Right: at 33 Contemporary, Chicago and had a billboard reproduction in East Belfast for Art in the Eastside. Jago has collaborated on two occasions with Hennessy New Irish Writer (2014), Brendan McLoughlin. In May 2015, Myra will exhibit eight pieces of work at The AAF, Hong Kong Convention Centre.

Collections: AXA Insurance Collection, Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Collection, Office of Public Works Collections: St. Stevens Green, Athlone and Roscommon; Kildare County Council Collection and private collections throughout Ireland, Belgium, Italy, Japan, The United Kingdom and The United States of America. Also one of Myra’s pieces called ‘Perfect Weather To Fly’ was just accepted into The Deloitte Art Collection. 

Website: myrajago.com

Facebook: Myra Jago 

Stay tuned to our King’s Inns Facebook and Twitter pages to find out about the inspiration for Myra’s unique artistic response for the ‘Cover to Canvas’ art exhibition.


Róisín Gartland

Róisín Gartland is a conceptual artist and designer and is best known for her excellence in couture leatherworking. Róisín’s qualifications include an MFA in sculpture from NCAD and a BA Honours in Fine Art from DLIADT. As an artist and designer her work breaks down the barriers between craft, art and design. Her practice is synonymous with innovation and creativity and continues to grow and evolve. Her work is concerned with both mathematics and natural materials that invariably develop into 3–dimensional structures whether they be wearable or built. She creates environments that allow her audience to participate and interact, encouraging them to investigate their relationship with art itself.

She has won awards from Institute of Designers in Ireland, RDS, Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and her wearable work is represented in the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks and in several private collections at home and abroad. 

Website: roisingartland.com

Stay tuned to our King’s Inns Facebook and Twitter pages to find out about the inspiration for Roisin’s unique artistic response for the ‘Cover to Canvas’ art exhibition.


Steven McGovern

Steven McGovern currently lives and works in Dublin after completing a BFA in Centre for Creative Arts and Media, GMIT, Galway in 2013 and his work has been included in numerous group shows across the country. Invisible natural forces, atmospheric mass, natural order and chaos all feature in his work, suggesting a lost relationship or forgotten knowledge only revealed through erosion or decay. The ability and genius of living in multiple, contradictory worlds at once is exclusive to the human condition and his aim is to find a balance within these multiple layers of conflicting information. Through the application and selective removal of material layers his intentions are to rediscover something arcane or forgotten. Through these processes the resolution lies in producing work that exist somewhere between the material and imagined world.

Blog: stevenmcgovern.tumblr.com


Website: works.io/steven–anthony–mcgovern

Twitter: @smcgovernartist

Stay tuned to our King’s Inns Facebook and Twitter pages to find out about the inspiration for Stephen’s unique artistic response for the ‘Cover to Canvas’ art exhibition.