Wednesday, 12 January 2011



Born Free, the new exhibition by Cork born artist Philip Gray, was opened by adventurer Pat Falvey , in a packed Cork Vision Centre yesterday evening.

Falvey’s speech, with a Follow Your Dream theme, was gripping. And Gray himself, who has followed dreams, was on something of a mission as he urged local people to pull together.
Philip Gray, and Pat Falvey (right)

And his theme was neatly (wrong word, I suppose!) illustrated by one of the highlights of the interactive evening. Attendees (in their hundreds) were invited to paint a random mark onto a large blank 5’ x 4' canvas. Philip then transformed this canvas in a live painting demonstration into a unique finished piece on the night.

Ken Buckley of Buckley Fine Art (who organised the show) told me the finished painting will be presented to the City of Cork and will hang in Cork Airport with a plaque recording the names of all the amateur daubers. "Together we can make a difference" is the title of the work and every daub or doodle was followed by a donation to the Simon Community to add some real meat to the hopeful title.

Just goes to show there are many people out there in the city and county, at all levels, willing to get up and give something to get this area back on its feet. The more we pull together, the further we will go.
Making a mark!

Gray: “My extreme journeys into the unknown bring new challenges that push the boundaries of my mind, body and soul.  These voyages of discovery, sometimes dangerous, are a stimulus to drive me forward creatively and explore new worlds of emotional expression.  With these explorations of seldom travelled places, I have found a new source of energy that I attempt to translate into visual form. “

Gray is probably best known for his “extreme art” and you can find out more about him and his work (underwater, close up to volcanoes and on the highest mountain)  here at

Together we can make a difference (after Gray had transformed the many marks of the attendees)
Much of the work at the current show, which runs until January 27th, is from his trip last year to Everest. The paintings are big, reflecting the subject but, almost always, there is a figure in the vast landscape. All of us are figures in our own landscapes. All born free. Only some follow the dream.

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