Signal Open 2019

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Congratulations to the 2019 Winner Laurence O’Toole. Please find below some thoughts from the artist.

Well firstly, I was not expecting to win the best in show prize as there were many strong pieces in the show. I have noticed that the level of work submitted to the annual show, each year is getting stronger. This is a very important development, as it highlights the work being done by the Signal Arts Centre of Bray, for the arts in Bray and the people of Bray. The profile of the centre is rising and so it attracts more artists outside of its normal catchment. This is a good development, as it raises the bar for all artists, as JFK said “A rising tide lifts all boats”. I am very happy to have been awarded the prize and happy to see it hang in the Signal Arts Centre, it was a difficult piece to build, a lot of precision needed to keep it as a constant working Triptych, and gold leaf is always tricky in its own right. Onwards to next year when I will be part of a two-person show with Jade Butler of the Signal Arts Centre. This was an idea I had been toying with for years. A triptych with an environmental narrative, using Bray, Co. Wicklow as the back drop.

It seemed to make perfect sense as the setting, as it was where I grew up, where I understood and where I had most of my early experience’s – both good and bad. The opening scene is of an idyllic Bray seafront, complete with its candy floss kiosks, selling happiness, forgetfulness, and distraction. There is nobody here as I wanted the emphasis and focus on societies insatiable desire for gratification. The triptych opens up to a darker scene of Bray, it’s late and the light is gone, the clock is telling of the late hour. I first saw this clock in a Museum in Hiroshima, Japan. It was found in the wreckage of the city after a nuclear bomb had been dropped on the city to end the Second World War. It is twisted and broken and odd and unsettling. I carried that image around with me for a long time. On leaving the Museum, dedicated to the aftermath and horrors of the Atom Bomb, there is a large sign on the wall, reproduced in many languages, It read “ Please tell everyone of what you have seen here, so this may never happen again”