Lace Paint Hair

Lace Paint Hair‘ is a group exhibition of work by Fiona Harrington, Eimear Murphy and Cian McLoughlin at the National Gallery of Ireland. The gallery recently reopened its doors in July following over 100 days of lockdown. During this time the gallery continued to develop its relationship with these contemporary artists resulting in an exhibition of hand-made lace, oil paintings and mix-media works which were produced during lockdown.

Install Shot of ‘Lace Paint Hair’, 2020


Fiona Harrington is a visual artist who produces works using hand-made lace. With a background in textile design and fine art, Fiona has gone on to develop a unique style of contemporary Irish lace for which she has provided demonstrations and exhibited internationally. The works presented by Fiona in this exhibition not only showcase the beautiful craft of lacemaking but also pay homage to the Irish lace industry and the women who worked and prospered as a result of it.

‘Production Line’, Bobbin Lace Pillow with Headford Lace, 2020

Fiona’s work ‘Fragile Economies’ combines two industries which saw women prosper, namely lace and poultry keeping. Lace was the second largest industry in Ireland at the turn of the twentieth century and provided difficult working conditions for its disadvantaged workers. The work ‘Production Line’ represents the construction of a single garment which would take several women months to make. As a result of the Covid-19 lockdown the artist’s wedding was postponed which is reflected in this work as it contains the ribbon which will be used in her own ‘hand-tying’ ceremony.


Cian McLoughlin is a Dublin based painter who predominately produces works of portraiture and urban landscapes. With a background in architecture and film studies, he went on to be a full-time, prize-winning painter with works exhibited throughout Ireland, as well as in the UK and the US.

The works presented by Cian in this exhibition focus on the subject of crowd behavior and, in particular, the moment at which crowds reach the peak of their life cycle. The artist had been exploring the nuances of crowd behavior for a couple of years which were all turned on their head with the arrival of Covid-19 and the implementation of restrictions and physical distancing. The artist is seeking to explore the duality of these experiences as he continues to develop the series.


Eimear Murphy is visual artist who produces works using non-traditional materials. With a background in fine art and art history, Eimear has been awarded a residency, received a landmark sculpture commission and received the Next Generation Artist Award 2018-19.

The works presented by Eimear in this exhibition utilise materials such as paper, stone and human hair. As she did not have access to her studio during the Covid-19 lockdown, Eimear turned to these unconventional materials to focus on the subject of connection. The titular piece is made up of human hair ‘home cuts’ of over sixty individuals which were collected during lockdown.

The show is running from 25th July – 30th September 2020 at the National Gallery of Ireland. To see more of the artists’ work visit their respective websites and Instagrams: