Cllr Aengus O'Roruke pictured with Artist Olena Karpenko and Luan Gallery Curator Aoife Banks at the Abbey Road Artists’ Studios.

Award winner kicks off new residency at Athlone’s Abbey Road Studios

Artist Olena Karpenko has kicked off her residency at the Abbey Road Studios in Athlone as part of the Westmeath Artists’ Awards. On Thursday, December 1, Olena Karpenko was selected from over 100 applicants and 30 exhibiting artists in the Luan Gallery to receive the overall Westmeath Artist Award. The award comprises of a bursary of €1,500, the opportunity to exhibit in Luan Gallery, and a residency in Abbey Road Artists’ Studios.

Olena was joined by Cathaoirleach of the County Aengus O’Rourke on Thursday last to formally commence her residency in the prestigious Abbey Road Artists’ Studios. Olena is a Ukrainian artist who is currently living in Athlone. Through the award, Olena will also receive a studio visit, a mentorship session with a curator along with a host of professional development supports from Luan Gallery.

Speaking of the award, Westmeath County Council Arts Officer Miriam Mulrennan noted: “The Abbey Road Artists’ Studios are an invaluable resource for the visual arts community in Westmeath. Artists need time and space to create new work, and the studios provide artists with a physical place where they can allow new work to flourish. We hope that the combined supports on offer through the Westmeath Artist Award will provide Olena Karpenko with the tools and supports she needs. We want to give artists a solid grounding from which new ideas, new work, and new connections may develop.”

Speaking of Olena’s work Sarah Searson, guest selector for the overall Artists’ Awards, said: “Karpenko’s work is abstract, playing with layers, colour and forms, with over-layers of colour washes, made with acrylic and mixed media on paper. Her practice strongly references her passion for abstract expressionism. The works selected are from a series titled Terra Patera which is a reflection on the war in her home country of Ukraine”

Over 30 artists from across Westmeath were selected to exhibit their work at the Luan Gallery as part of the artist’s awards. Each exhibiting artist was also awarded a bursary of €500.

The inaugural award coincided with the beginning of the Luan Gallery’s ten-year anniversary celebrations.

The exhibition continues in the Luan Gallery until Sunday, February 5, with seasonal closures from December 21-27 inclusive.