Camden Art Fest


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An exhibition of paintings and sculptures by 12 artists are on display at the wonderfully restored Camden Fort Meagher, Crosshaven, Co. Cork until the end of September.

Dr. Sean Dunphy (AKA Dr. J.B. Dunphy) was invited to give the opening address to a large international gathering, including participants from USA, Finland, Estonia, UK, France, etc.

Dr. Dunphy complimented the volunteers for the great restoration of this unique Fort overlooking Cork harbour – and the artists who presented their work for this exhibition, so beautifully arranged by artistic director Dorothee Roberts.

“As some of you may know I work as a general medical practitioner at the Cork Road Medical Clinic in Carrigaline. I share my clinic with a homeopath, a French cranial osteopath, a psychologist and an art therapist. We share lots of useful information and videos on our blog which is free to use

As I’m not an art expert, I decided to take a humorous look at what others have said about art and artists. People often complain that art, music and fashion has gone too far. So the question I pose is ‘How Far is Too Far?’

So I started my research with my favourite poet/songwriter and sometime artist Leonard Cohen – who the Cork wits nicknamed ‘Leonard Moan’ and sure enough he came up trumps.

“I came so far for beauty,

I left so much behind,

My patience and my family,

My masterpiece unsigned.”



From there I checked out an old reliable Oscar Wilde – the quotation I chose was influenced by the fact that my nephew Miles Dunphy is one of Ireland’s foremost upcoming fashion designers currently based in London ( “One should either be a work of art or wear a work of art.”


Fellow Corkonian Graham Norton once commented on Michaelangelo’s David “now there’s a guy who works out.” I’m not sure if he’d agree with Rita Mae Brown’s opinion “that if Michaelangelo had been a heterosexual , the Sistine Chapel would have been painted basic white and with a roller.”


Renoir once commented that “I would never have taken up painting if women did not have breasts.”


And Salvador Dali famously said that I do not paint a portrait to look like the subject, rather does the person grow to look like his portrait.”


Patrick Kavanagh who wrote my favourite song made famous by Luke Kelly  Raglin Road “there is something wrong with a work of art if it can be understood by a policeman.”


Tom Hobbs suggested that “Van Gough would have sold more than one painting if he had put tigers in them.”


John Ciardi said that “modern art is what happens when painters stop looking at girls and persuade themselves they have a better idea.”


Raymond Mortimore

“Many painters have made beautiful works out of repulsive objects – Picasso enjoys making repulsive works of art out of beautiful objects.”


I like Nancy Banks Smith’s observation on modern architecture “in my experience, if you have to keep the toilet door shut by extending your left leg, it’s modern architecture.”


Frank Lloyd Wright whose house I stopped in outside Chicago, “a doctor can bury his mistakes, an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.”


I find that one learns something new everyday. A few weeks ago my daughter Liz wrote a full page feature on Crosshaven – in which she noted that Crosshaven had been mentioned twice in James Joyce’s Ulysses. That was news to me, I thought that, like most people I knew all there was to know about Ulysses, even though like most people I had never read it! Except for Molly’s soliloquy at the end of the book which David Norris explains brilliantly.


Although I did know that two of Joyce’s nieces were borders at Crosshaven Convent School at the time.


Which returns me to my theme, ‘how far is too far?’


In Joyce’s earlier work ‘Portrait of an artist’ Stephen Dedalus who academics describe as Joyce’s alter ego tells his buddy that he has decided, in spite of being raised Catholic and schooled by Jesuits, he has decided to turn his back on God and become an atheist. His buddy suggests why not join the Church of Ireland instead?? To which Stephen replies “I’d never go that far!”




The exhibition features work by well-known local artists Raffael Cappieri, Liz Charleson, Mandy Dale, Fiona Devlin, Liz Kavanagh, Maeve McManamon, Charlie Mountjoy, Lousie O’Shea, Constance Roberts, Dorothee Roberts, Carmel Smyth and Mick Wilkins.