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Work of the Week | 20 February 2023

CAG.3141 Brianna Hurley, Beautiful Landscape of Castalia, 2019, acrylic and pencil on canvas, 100 x 120 cm. Purchased, the Artist with KCAT, 2021. © the artist.


Beautiful Landscape of Castalia (2019) by Brianna Hurley is a richly coloured nocturnal scene, which joined the Collection in 2021.

The deep red soil, crescent-shaped trees, cool white cliffs, and expanse of orange plain bathed in moonlight suggest something otherworldly. In the distance, a settlement is visible under a mesmerising field of stars.

Although named after Castalia Hall in Ballytobin, County Kilkenny, the artist has developed her own world – the planet of Castalia – painting by painting. Indeed, this imagined and dramatic landscape features in numerous other recent works by Hurley and is the subject of her fully illustrated book, The Story of Castalia (2022), which is now available from our shop.

Reminiscent of Dune and Avatar, Hurley’s Castalia considers the value of difference through the lens of science fiction and follows a female hero who resists destruction and discrimination.

‘Art is a way of getting into imagination and feeling freer.’

Based in County Kilkenny, Brianna Hurley (b.1998) is originally from Bucharest, Romania. She takes inspiration from her travels in Spain, interest in architecture, and love of playing basketball. She is a full-time member of KCAT Studio – a multi-disciplinary arts and educational centre in Callan – where she continues to develop her painting and drawing practice.

Beautiful Landscape of Castalia (2019) by Brianna Hurley is featured in OTHER WORLDS: Harry Clarke Watercolours until 19 March.

The Arts House: Conor Tallon chats with curator Michael Waldron about a work from the Collection every Sunday morning on Cork’s 96FM and C103 Cork. You can listen back to this week’s chat here:


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