Saturday, November 2, 2013


Group 8 presents the launch of Nuala Ní Chonchúir's chapbook of flash fiction from Tower Press, by writer Maureen Gallagher.

Saturday 9th November, 6pm, Tosnú Art Gallery, Brackernagh

Nuala will read. Food and wine will be served. The chapbook will be for sale and Nuala will sign.

All welcome - free admission.

Facebook event page here:

Monday, September 16, 2013


Group 8 are now ten and to celebrate the arrival of our newest member, Walter Coughlan, here are bio notes for each member of the collective:

Tommy Campbell is a sculptor working in the medium of Bog Oak. He is inspired by his surroundings and the materials he uses. Mainly a self-taught artist, he has had workshops with Dutch sculptor Peter Kooning and the late Brian Little.

Walter Coughlan is a ceramicist. He studied Art and Design in Limavady college of Further and Higher Education, Co. Derry, completing a diploma in 2004, specialising in print photography and ceramics. He then went to Limerick college of Art and Design, doing product design in ceramics completing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 2009. Walter runs the Kilconnell Art Space, where he teachers ceramics and pottery and holds occasional exhibitions.

Brendan Greally graduated from GMIT in 1998 with a Diploma in Art & Design and from Crawford College of Art & Design in 1999 with a Degree in Fineart. He is a highly versatile painter who engages with a variety of thematics that share a common thread – that of his immediate environment. The artistic treatment of his subject matter is carefully, and consistently considered in his sophisticated methods of paint application.

Grellan Ganly has a Degree in Art & Design from GMIT. His work is heavily influenced by history, particularly that of Irish folklore and Celtic mythology. He works in both oil painting and kiln fired ceramics. Both media possess an underlying fluidity and mystery that combine in a way that constantly challenges the viewer as to the various layers of meaning contained in his work.

Joyce Little is a visual artist working in the medium of paint, print and installation. Her area of interest is that of the contemporary woman. Her work is thought provoking, culturally critical and at times irreverently humorous and satirical. She studied in Grafton Academy of Fashion Design, NCAD, GMIT, and she holds an MA in Visual Arts Practice from IADT. She recently attained a Diploma in Youth Arts from NUI Maynooth.

Zara Little-Campbell is a writer from Ballinasloe. She attained an MA in Creative Writing from Trinity College, Carmarthen in Wales. Her poetry has been published in Sigla and Crannóg. She co-edited Rewind and a selection of her poetry was published in the same anthology. Zara won the Jonathan Swift Award for poetry in 2008 with her poem ‘Sycamore Trees’ and was shortlisted for the Short Story Award in 2009.

Nuala Ní Chonchúir is a short story writer, novelist and poet, born in Dublin and living in Ballinasloe. Her fourth short story collection Mother America was published by New Island in May 2012. Nuala’s chapbook Of Dublin and Other Fictions will be published this month in the USA; her second novel will be out spring 2014.

Fiona Ormsby is a Textile Artist who graduated with a Degree in Art and Design from GMIT in 2006 and an Honours Degree in textiles from GMIT in 2007. She also completed a H. Dip Art Education in Crawford College of Art and Design. Her main area of inspiration is the natural landscape and the intermingling of nature with modern building and technology. She works primarily in the medium of textiles and predominantly through machine free hand embroidery.

John Soden was born in 1973. He is a self taught artist and from an early age had a keen interest in drawing and painting. He studied Art at Leaving Cert level at St. Joseph’s College, Ballinasloe. John paints in oils which are best suited to his impressionistic and expressive style of painting. He has exhibited pieces at the Kilconnell Community Arts Event in 2010 and held a solo exhibition of his work in April 2011, as part of the East Galway Art Trail. John also exhibited paintings in Anton’s café, Galway in September 2011. 

Úna Spain graduated from GMIT in 1997 with a Diploma in Art & Design and was awarded an Honours Degree in Photography from DIT in 2009. Her most recent body of work consists of photography, Super 8 film and a limited edition artists book collectively entitled Marking Time which looked at three ‘erstwhile’ sites in Ballinasloe and people formerly associated with them. The critic Aidan Dunne described this work as a ‘brilliant, composite insight into the social and psychological reality of change on a local scale in Ireland’ (Irish Times, June 17, 2009). Úna exhibited at Tulca and The Kenny Gallery in 2011.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Group 8 founder member, Joyce Little, was recently featured in  Ballinasloe Life magazine. The issue is free to browse or download here and the article about Joyce and her artistic life is on page 12. Keeping it in the family, member Úna Spain took the lovely photograph of Joyce that accompanies the article (and is also on the front cover!).

Thursday, August 8, 2013


We had a productive Group 8 meeting last night and confirmed our theme for our 2014 annual exhibition: Garbally. It is the local big house (built by Lord Clancarty in the 17th century) and is now a boys' school. It has beautiful grounds and lots of history. We will be brainstorming and creating over the next few months to come up with gorgeous art and writing for our exhibition in March.

We also welcomed ceramicist Walter Coughlan, who runs the Kilconnell Art Space, on board. You can view some of Walter's beautiful works on the YouTube video above. Walter arrived at the meeting in his vintage Mustang. A fabulous car that had us all in swoons.

We have plans for a Culture Night exhibition too, on 20th September in Tosnú Art Gallery in Ballinasloe - so stay tuned for that.

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Úna Spain - St Brigid's
Congratulations to Group 8 member Úna Spain whose photographs of St Brigid's in Ballinasloe receive high praise in todays' Sunday Times Culture magazine. Critic John. P. O'Sullivan reviews the Gallery of Photography group exhibition 'Uncertain State', which features Úna's work.

He singles out Úna's images for special praise, using many superlatives: 'beautiful compositions', 'striking images' and 'fascinating'. This is well deserved notice for Úna who is a consummate artist.

The exhibition runs until 11th August so there is still time to catch it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Group 8 member Úna Spain is exhibiting in Dublin at the Gallery of Photography as part of the group show Uncertain State until Sunday 11th August. Úna's work records poignant traces from St Brigid’s de-commisioned Victorian institution for the mentally ill in Ballinasloe.

From the gallery's site:

Uncertain State looks at how photographic artists are representing this period of austerity and uncertainty in Ireland. Their work addresses important issues at the heart of where we are now: contested and hidden histories, effects of the global financial crisis and the radically altered social and physical landscapes. The ten artists in Uncertain State go beyond surface readings to reflect the emerging concerns in post-Celtic Tiger Ireland: the treatment of asylum seekers; institutional abuse; sexual abuse; emigration; the legacy of the property crash; identity; disadvantage & marginalisation; and the legacy of conflict.

The exhibition is presented as part of the Temple Bar Photography Summer School. The issues raised by the exhibition will be reflected in the 2 days of summer school talks. 28th -30th June 2013. 

Congrats, Úna. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013


A few pics from our hugely successful launch night.

Bernadette Finn admires John Soden's work
Úna Spain & Joyce Little, prepping - Úna's work in background
iRadio's Fergal D'Arcy launching the exhibition
Úna O'Connor and Lyra O'Connor-Carr
Artists John Soden, Grellan Ganly & Tommy Campbell - Brendan Grealy's work behind
Finbar McLoughlin with Úna Spain's work
Writer Margaret Hickey reads Zara Little-Campbell's poems
Juno McLoughlin
Lyra O'Connor-Carr
Nuala Ní Chonchúir reading her prose
Johnny Johnston and friend, provided emigrant songs
Writer Mary Melvin-Geoghegan studies Joyce'Little's artwork
Michael McCullagh and Maureen Cahalan - Zara's work behind
Group 8: Tommy, Grellan, John, Brendan, Nuala, Úna & Joyce (Zara & Fiona Glynn not in pic)

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Today is set-up day and, as always with our exhibitions, we are giving a sneak preview of the work. Please join us tomorrow night at 7pm in Hayden's for the launch. Wine, food, song, readings and lots of beautiful art.
Glazed ceramic head - Grellan Ganly
John Soden hanging his paintings
Jack Soden - helping!
Nuala Ní Chonchúir's phototext book American Wake
Catalogue and wall cards
Joyce Little hanging her work
Brendan Grealy's work waiting to be hung
Úna Spain prepping her lightboxes
Testing the launch wine

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Group 8 Gathering exhibition launch

The Boat, bog oak, Tommy Campbell

Group 8 launches its fourth annual exhibition of art and writing, The Group 8 Gathering, on Friday the 15th March at 7pm in The Regency Room in Hayden’s Hotel, Ballinasloe. The exhibition will take place between the 15th and the 18th of March 2013, daily from 11am to 6pm, including Saint Patrick’s Day. 

The Group 8 Gathering is the result of collaborative work the group undertook around the theme of emigration and returning home. Ballinasloe has seen its share of emigrants and even inspired one of the most famous images of emigration: Erskine Nicol’s ‘The Emigrants’ which is housed in London’s Tate Gallery. The painting shows a red-shawled woman at Ballinasloe train station on her way, with others, to Galway to board boats to America. The Group 8 Gathering draws on historic and present day experiences of emigration through installation, photography, fiction, paintings, sculpture and poetry.

Group 8 is comprised of seven visual artists and two writers: Joyce Little – visual and multimedia artist; Tommy Campbell – sculptor; Grellan Ganly – visual artist; Úna Spain – visual artist; Brendan Grealy – visual artist; Nuala Ní Chonchúir – writer; Zara Little-Campbell – writer; John Soden – painter; and Fiona Glynn – textile designer.

The group’s mission statement sets out what we hope to achieve: ‘Group 8 is a non-profit, professional arts group, united in the belief that art worthy of exposure can express the vitality of a community, and foster awareness, imagination and co-operative learning between the artist and their community.’ The group also hosts literary events.

The Group 8 Gathering, and its accompanying catalogue, will be launched by Fergal D’Arcy. All are welcome to come and see sculpture, photography, installations, and paintings; listen to live poetry and fiction readings, music from Johnny Johnston, and enjoy a glass of wine. Admission is free.