Butler Gallery Exhibit 2015

Exhibition of Photographs

1983 until 2015

Currated by Anna O’Sullivan, Director of the Butler Gallery

Butler Gallery, the Parade, Kilkenny, Ireland

Brothers, 2010 Silver Gelatin Photograph
Brothers, 2010
Silver Gelatin Photograph

Photographs, 1983-2014 – Gypsy Ray

Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, butlergallery.com


(go to program 50/interview at 17:50 minutes)



Artist, photographer and teacher Gypsy Ray was born in Illinois, and has worked extensively in the US. She has also spent time in Ireland from the 1980s and, since 2000, has lived in rural Co Kilkenny. In an era of digital technology, when photographic images have never been so easy, numerous and throwaway, Ray’s work is something of a corrective, making a case for the considered image, whether achieved with a camera or through drawing.

Ray’s black-and-white portrait photographs are exceptional for her evident empathy. Simply put, she responds incredibly warmly to people. Her subjects include many individuals you might or might not recognise, artists and writers such as Adrienne Rich, Dervla Murphy, William Rubel, Alan Counihan and Patrick O’Connor. There are also people we are unlikely to know at all but quickly feel that we do. Ray gives her subjects a chance to be themselves, and generally they respond well to that, be they children, young students at San Francisco Middle School or workers in the midst of their labour.

The all-plastic Holga box camera was launched in the early 1980s. Its limitations – including blurred edges and uneven lighting effects – have endeared it to many photographers, including Ray. She employs it for landscapes. Some are included in the show and gathered in the publication The Poetry of Place, with a text by Butler director Anna O’Sullivan. The photographs are dreamy, muted and as O’Sullivan observes mostly offer us “passageways into nature”. Metaphorically rich, they offer us a series of thresholds, leaving us poised on the edge. The edge of what? Of the realm of the unconscious, perhaps; the unknown, the infinite. Until June 21st, butlergallery.com

Tue, Jun 9, 2015, 04:00

First published: Tue, Jun 9, 2015, 04:00

Aiden Dunne, Art Critic for the Irish Times Newspaper


Published by:


I studied drawing and photography during the 1970’s in the Fine Art Programme at the University of Iowa. An institution with renown for its Writer’s Workshop it also boasted an enlightened fine art programme, one of the first in the United States to incorporate photography into its degree programme giving full acknowledgment to the medium’s creative value. I received my undergraduate degree from this university and went on to receive a Masters in photography so that I might earn my living teaching this art form. I did this for over 25 years, in Art Departments throughout Central California at institutions such as the University of California at Berkeley, San Francisco City College, the University of California at Santa Cruz Extension Programme and Cabrillo College. During my career I have managed to maintain a strong studio practice and have been fortunate to have my work, both photography and drawing, published, exhibited and placed in collections internationally.

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