Kildare Arts Service : Public Art : Public Art Entries : Oisin caught in a time warp

Oisín Caught in the Time Warp

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Title: Oisín Caught in the Time Warp

Artist: James McKenna

Year of creation: 1990

Location: Kildare County Council offices, Naas, Co.Kildare

Medium: Pine

Size: 2.5 tonnes

About the piece:
‘Oisín Caught in the Time Warp’, was created from timber planks, painstakingly shaped, dowelled and bolted together over five years. James McKenna resorted to ‘boat building’ techniques to construct the belly of the horse. The belly was kept hollow with the idea that dancers might emerge from it to perform. The artist Benedict Byrne helped restore the piece before it was sited in the Kildare County Council new offices.

About the artist:
James McKenna was a renowned Kildare artist and a prominent figure in the visual arts and in literary circles from the 1960s until his death in 2000. Born in Dublin in 1933, McKenna studied at the National College of Art and Design. He was a founding member of both the Independent Artists Group and the Sculptors’ Society of Ireland and exhibited with the Irish Exhibitions of Living Art.  He was awarded the Macaulay Fellowship for Sculpture in 1960 and became a member of Aosdána in 1983. 
He exhibited widely and his work was included in many international sculpture shows in the 1980s and ‘90s, a retrospective of his work took place at the Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Co Kildare, in 2002, and a follow up exhibition took place in IMMA in 2008. The Riverbank’s principal gallery is named after him – ‘The McKenna Gallery’.  He is well known for several of his public and private commissions including his large limestone monument ‘Resurgence’ at the University of Limerick; ‘Female Figure and Tree’, 1979, at the Central Bank in Sandyford, Co Dublin, and the ‘Gerard Manley Hopkins monument’ in Monasterevin, Co Kildare.  He was also a noted playwright of ‘The Scatterin', At Bantry, ‘Citizens Tree’, ‘The Battering Ram’, ‘People without Fame’ and other works, along with a volume of poems.

The above information must be credited to Desmond Egan & Niamh Hoare from the publication ‘James McKenna Sculptor 1933-2000’