It’s an extraordinary achievement, and it’s breathtaking – Visual in Carlow, the venue for contemporary art (and a little theatre) that opened last night. The central gallery is huge, but there is also a series of other galleries of different sizes and purposes. Terry Pawson Architects have done a remarkable job; they seem to have an extraordinarily good understanding of what visual-arts spaces should be like.

Currently, the main gallery holds a selection of large-scale abstract works – Maud Cotter, Sean Shanahan, Richard Gorman, Cecil King, Patrick Scott, Sean Scully, Eilís O’Connell, Charles Tyrrell, Michael Warren. There’s a superb work by Daphne Wright in the Studio Gallery (also a very large space), a funky installation by Polly Apfelbaum, other installations by Tadhg McSweeney and Ciarán Walsh. Last night saw a performance by Amanda Coogan, who is also curating a series of performances in the Digital Gallery, and there’s also a bit of Joseph Albers thrown in there too.

caption: A view into the main space at Visual yesterday evening, with Medb Ruane about to speak; photo Peter FitzGerald

It all has to be seen.

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