The Doorway Gallery is delighted to host an exhibition by Iwona Nartowska O'Reilly called 'Celtic Legend'.

The exhibition of her new works explores Celtic mythology and legends. Some of the stories depicted are St Brigid, Queen Meabh and The Children of Lir, they are all brought to life through the medium of encaustic painting. This ancient method of painting involves using heated beeswax to which coloured pigments are added.

"This series of paintings is my interpretation of some of the Celtic mythological stories. It's a result of my lifetime attraction to legends and mythology, which in recent years has experienced rebirth, perhaps primarily due to my reading bedtime stories to my daughters.

The idea of depicting Irish legends had been ruminating around in my head for some time, fuelled further by an abundance of traditional festivals and an awakening in Irish folklore.

I believe that the last 15 years spent living in Ireland has helped me to understand and portray the spiritual and mystical meaning in the stories. I tried to get the feel of the depicted characters and scenes and ground them in the present maintaining continuity and relevance.

The encaustic medium used for creating these art pieces carries a deeper meaning for me in this instant. It is as timeless as the legends it depicts." Iwona Nartowska O'Reilly

Iwona Nartowska O'Reilly was born in Poland in 1974. She graduated from Stanislaw Wyspianski School for Fine Arts in Jaroslaw, Poland. She lives in Co. Carlow with her husband and two daughters.

Iwona works in mixed media encaustic, where she combines the millennia old technique of painting with wax and other drawing mediums such as charcoal, pencil and pastels.

Encaustic painting involves using heated beeswax to which coloured pigments are added. The wax is then applied to a surface - usually prepared wood, though canvas and other materials are often used. The simplest encaustic mixture can be made from adding pigments to beeswax, but there are several other recipes that can be used - some containing other types of wax, damar resin, or other ingredients.

In direct reference, Iwona states, "The last few years have seen me gradually changing my painting medium from oil to encaustic, which has allowed me to discover new possibilities in art and has added texture and depth to my works."

"Raised in rural Poland, I feel drawn towards robust, chunky and textured quality of encaustic. The medium requires vigorous paint handling, which I find quite liberating. Also, as I started to make my own paints, the whole painting process became substantially more personal and the use of wax added an organic quality to it."

Iwona possesses a distinctive figure drawing style that accentuates the movement of the body and muscle tone. The use of wax provides the paintings with a strong and robust appearance. The encaustic medium is very well suited for portraying movement and action in painting This becomes apparent when the brush interacts with the painting surface, occurring at a much quicker rate than other mediums, due to the rapid setting of wax. This technique was especially evident in her last solo show with The Doorway Gallery 'Ruffians and Gentlemen' that focused on rugby players and hurlers.

Iwona Nartowska O'Reilly "is establishing a reputation for her paintings of hurlers and rugby players." Michael Parsons

"She strives to convey emotion perfectly in her work." Sophie Kelly, Carlow People