Red Books, (oil on prepared books), 2013, a site-specific piece of artwork by the renowned artist, Hughie O’Donoghue, has been installed in the University Library.
Red Books, comprises 27 paintings, 26 of which represent a letter of the alphabet. O’Donoghue used volumes of The Times Atlas of the World as the support (many of them ex library books); the individuals in each painting depict figures who have proved inspirational or enlightening to the artist, including painters, writers, social activists and pioneers in varying spheres of endeavor, beginning with the aviation pioneer and author Amelia Earhart and ending with the revolutionary Emiliano Zapata.
The artist used the 100-year span prior to the commission as the chronological parameters of the work, and the artwork can be ‘read’ on a variety of different levels, from the metaphor of the open book and its enlightening potential, to the single empty book whose contents have yet to be filled.
Regarded as one of the leading figurative painters of his generation, O’Donoghue divides his time between his studios in London and Bangor Erris, Co. Mayo, where Red Books was executed.