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Work of the Week | 15 November 2021

CAG.2265 Nano Reid, Thrush, c.1959, watercolour on paper, 25.4 x 34.3 cm. Presented, 2006 (Great Southern Collection). © the artist’s estate.

We’re marking artist Nano Reid’s 40th anniversary with this WORK OF THE WEEK!

Thrush (c.1959) by Nano Reid immerses the viewer in muted watercolour tones of yellow, blue, green, and black. The eponymous thrush is the most immediately recognisable form as it perches alert amid the suggestion of foliage. “Nothing but bounce and stab,” is how poet Ted Hughes (1930-1998) characterised the thrush’s decisive behaviour.

The song thrush (Turdus philomelos or Smólach ceoil) is a familiar sight in Irish gardens and builds its neat nest of twigs and moss in a low down but sheltered position. Sometimes confused with the larger mistle thrush (Turdus viscivorus or Smólach mór), it is known for its distinctive repetitive phrases, which many people have delighted in rediscovering during the long walks and quieter times of the past two years.

Nano Reid (1900-1981), who died on 17 November 1981 in her native Drogheda, was a highly individual and bold painter. Her intuitive style, as evidenced here, combined abstraction with figuration and was often inspired by her local Louth landscape. In 1950, Reid and fellow painter Norah McGuinness (1901-1980) were to become the first artists to represent Ireland at the Venice Biennale.

We are pleased to lend three works to Nano Reid: ADAMANTINE, an exhibition celebrating the artist’s life, work, and legacy, which runs at the Highlanes Gallery until 22 January 2022.

Thrush (c.1959) by Nano Reid is featured in MENAGERIE: Animals by Artists (Floor 1) until 6 March 2022.

Tune into The Arts House with Elmarie Mawe on Cork’s 96FM and C103FM every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about each WORK OF THE WEEK! Listen back to this week's chat here:

Crawford Art Gallery · WORK OF THE WEEK 67 NANO REID - THRUSH

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