Mary McTigue, Executive Director of the ICC, is especially glad that Mr. Crotty’s work is being featured early on in this new series of pub exhibits at the Centre. She notes that Vincent Crotty holds a special place with many at the Centre for his exquisite piece called “Side Couples Swing” hanging above the ICC Pub bar. Those familiar with the uniquely striking collections of Vincent Crotty’s landscape and figurative paintings know that there are just as many stories to each of his paintings as there are strands of light in each of his works. Dave Barrett, Lifetime Member of the ICC and Founder of the ICC Library Volunteer Committee is especially fond of the story about how the commissioned painting “Side Couples Swing” made its way to the Centre.
Barrett recalls that the Centre asked him to drive his pick-up over to Crotty’s home the day of the Irish Connections “ICONS” Festival on Saturday, August 11, 2007. Barrett was to pick up the painting that Crotty had painted as a recipient of the Eddie Barron Memorial Commission sponsored by the Irish Cultural Centre of New England. Barrett was happy to help out with this simple task on the day of the unveiling ceremony. He showed up at Crotty’s home on the rainy day only to discover that the painting was a 10 foot long, large-scale piece. As he tried to figure out how to load and secure it in the truck, Crotty casually mentioned, “oh, sure, be careful, now, it’s still a bit wet in spots.” This only added another layer of challenge to sneaking the painting onto the festival grounds without anyone seeing it before the unveiling. It didn’t seem like a good idea to cover up the work still wet with fresh paint with a sheet, but it had to be done. It was a bumpy ride back to the Centre and an awkward sight to see the fellows carrying the 10 foot canvas as inconspicuously over all of the fields and past the people gathering for the special unveiling to the ceremonial spot. Luckily, the painting made it, the unveiling happened and “Side Couples Swing” now makes its happy home at the ICC.
During the Opening Reception on Thursday at the ICC, people remarked on Crotty’s talent for using light in each of his pieces. Crotty’s light is not a magical layer or afterthought casting a mystical sheen over its subject to render the viewer a bit mystified. Crotty’s light shines strong and pure from behind and within the center of his paintings doing what light does – providing illumination of realistic detail. It is this quality of light that creates the sound of the step dancers, the cold of wet damp snow, the warmth of moonlight on a night sea, the stature of everyday things around our homes and workplaces.
Mind the 8’ x 10’ oil of “Mrs. O’Brien” as you pass out of the pub and into the main hall of the ICC. She will greet you quietly and make you glad that you have a chance to be warm and snug this December in the ICC Pub with your family, friends and distinctive Crotty Irish scenes of landscapes, musicians, instruments and the nocturnal sea.
For information on ICC Pub hours, its live music program, Crotty’s Irish Faces and Places Exhibit and upcoming events at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England please visit www.irishculture.org.