Emmet Kane at Collins Barracks


While I was visiting the Collins Barracks in Dublin recently, although my main objective was to see the Easter Rising and Asgard exhibitions, I took some time to have a quick look round in Decorative Arts section of the main building. Tucked away in a series of rooms in the south east corner of the 2nd floor was a temporary exhibition featuring the work of the Irish woodturner, Emmet Kane. I almost missed it, but the above piece caught my eye as I was passing and I decided to take a look. It was a good decision.

The Museum website tells us that

Emmet was born and raised in Castledermot, Co. Kildare. He comes from five generations of Master Craftsmen. Self-taught, Kane creates thin-walled hollow forms which defy the difficulties of the medium and whose use of colour, is more readily associated with ceramics or glass. Today, he works predominantly in native hardwoods, citing a particular fondness for Irish oak, which he textures and ebonises, gilds and colours. At times, his work looks like glass or plastic, even metal, until you draw near and see the texture or grain and wonder just how it was achieved.


The exhibition is a retrospective, featuring a large number of works, divided into sections

It provides a good survey of his work and shows how his technique and approach has developed and evolved.


I guess I’d normally associate woodturners with practical objects like furniture and bowls. But that isn’t what Emmet Kane does. He produces abstract forms that don’t have any practical use but are extremely  imaginative and beautiful


Some of the earlier works are more functional but over the years they become more and more abstract with holes and voids, spikes and the incorporation of pigments, metal and lacquer

These are some of my favourite pieces from the exhibition, but there were many more..






2 thoughts on “Emmet Kane at Collins Barracks

  1. I’m a big fan of wood turning artwork. These are very beautiful and interesting pieces – I especially like the black *bowl* with the yellow centre. It was only on the 2nd look when I realized that it is in fact layered like pancakes.

    • Yes, they are very attractive pieces. He is a skilled craftsman and artist. Where do you draw the line between the two? A pleasing, unexpected discovery.

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