Abigail O’Brien RHA: With Bread


WITH BREAD – Book Launch

A record number of visitors have attended Abigail O’Brien’s With Bread exhibition and tour. Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda has just published a tour report which saw over 21,000 people attend and engage with O’Brien’s exhibition over three venues between 2013 and 2015.

With Bread, an exhibition of photographs, sculpture and video explored the artist’s ongoing interest in bread, its elemental properties, the magical process that takes place in its making, its centrality in human daily life across race and culture and religion, its familial, social and cultural importance, and its rich symbolism. The exhibition which was curated by Aoife Ruane, opened at Highlanes Gallery in September 2013, followed by showings at The Dock in Carrick on Shannon in 2014, and concluding its tour, which was awarded an Arts Council Touring Grant, at Limerick City Gallery of Art earlier this year. Sunday Times Art Critic Cristín Leech-Hughes review of the exhibition said ‘O’Brien casts her subject – ever-expanding dough – as a force of nature. Once started on its path, it grows out of its allocated, confined space vigorously, messily, unapologetically, overtly, abundantly.

In her hands, the predictable but varied results of an everyday chemical process, the process of making bread, becomes almost alchemical.’ Abigail O’Brien’s critically acclaimed exhibition which was sponsored by McCloskey’s Traditional and Artisan Bakery, Drogheda was also highly commended in the annual Business to Arts Awards in 2014. Post-exhibition, a full colour catalogue with essays by writer and psychoanalytic practitioner, Dr Medb Ruane, and poet, novelist and prose writer, Theo Dorgan is available at the RHA and Highlanes Gallery.