Custom House Studios and Gallery The Custom House Studios The Quay, Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland T +353 (0)98 28735 Gallery opening hours Mon-Fri, 10.00 - 17.00 Sat / Sun / Bank Holidays 13.00 - 16.30 Location Map >>

These five artist metalsmith’s have come together through a shared passion for their material - metal. In an era steeped in technology, meet five artisans who have their hearts and hands firmly engaged in the world of the physical and raw. They forge, etch, draw and open out metal into 3 dimensional and 2 dimensional works, combining contemporary practices with ancient techniques.  This exhibition illustrates the diversity of metal and showcase its myriad possibilities, from the delicate tracery of Jane Murtagh’s work, to the solid architectural forms of Moss Gaynor, to the subtle lines and sensual curves of Michael Calnan’s, John Hogan and Gunver Anhøj ‘s work.


The essence of these artists’ work concerns the movement of metal and the story it evokes. The story behind each piece is fundamental and each one is almost as exciting as the work that is created in response to it. The artists’ ideas and stories are inspired and visualised through a combination of interests in the natural world, the world of architecture and industrial design. From large scale welded metal constructions to delicate, highly finished objects - the sculptures portray the material and the makers behind it, and this unique exhibition will reveal their stories through the dynamism of metal in a way that will challenge the viewer’s notions of the material.


Moss Gaynor is a sculptor based in Clonakilty, West Cork. He works primarily with ferrous and non-ferrous metals, often combining the base material with other media such as stone, wood and glass. It is the ever changing dynamic of West Cork, where land meets sea meets sky, which provides an endless source of inspiration for his work. Whilst the natural world may be the catalyst, it is his interest in the man-made world of architecture and industrial design that informs much of the aesthetic of the finished piece.


Jane Murtagh lives and works in Cratloe, Co. Clare and has been practicing as a full time artist metalsmith, working in non-ferrous metals and developing a visual language combining contemporary practices and sensibilities with ancient techniques in metalworking - casting, repoussé, etching, patination and gilding. Man-made and natural features in the surrounding landscape have informed much of her recent work. She has a particular interest in developing a visual narrative around economic botany and 17th & 18th century cartographers and collectors.


Mayo artist metalworker, John Hogan began his career in hand forged ironwork and has since then developed a large portfolio of work including large scale public sculptures and garden sculptures, as well as smaller wall sculptures. John’s work for this exhibition is an eclectic mix of contemporary forged pieces borne from an equally eclectic mix of inspirations.


Michael Calnan is a contemporary blacksmith, working in partnership with his wife, Gunvor Anhøj in a studio based on the grounds of Russborough House, Co. Wicklow. The work he creates emanates a degree of simplicity and elegance irrespective of the mass and size of the material.


Gunvor Anhøj was born in Denmark in 1973. She currently lives and works at Russborough House, County Wicklow. From early childhood she loved making and used to sit and carve wooden objects in the garden of the family home. For a living she trained as a horticulturalist and was first introduced to iron when required to plough the fields the old way using horses and a one-furrow plough. Following her intrigue with both the material and the tradition of the blacksmith she then trained in at the Hereford College of Art and Design.