Rathfarnham House as it was known until the mid eighteenth century was situated on the outskirts of Dublin. It is one of the most earliest recorded and largest of the fortified buildings in Ireland. It was commissioned in circa 1583 for Adam Loftus and remained in the family for seven generations until 1723. Rathfarnham Castle went through a series of changes and ownership until 1986 when the Office of Public Works purchased the buildings and restored the house with the removal of the extensions built by the Jesuit Order who purchased in 1914.

nagOffsite is concentrating on the first floor to install the works of the nagGallery artists. As with all nagOffsite projects the discipline is to be sympathetic to the space and to make contemporary artworks and historical architecture work together even through juxtaposition. The exhibition starts in the Entrance Hall where the current decoration is mainly late C18th Classical revival. This classical theme has been contrasted by the hard edge lines of the paintings by Gareth Jenkins and a Gauze painting by Kohei Nakata which sits quietly on the carved wooden replacement for a grand marble C18th fireplace. The Display Cabinet has been used to show other works by Kohei and the chawan of Masashi Suzuki.

This room leads straight to the Dining Room which is left unrestored to demonstrate its history since the C16th which is shown by an arched doorway again complimented in juxtaposition by another painting by Gareth whose other works stand sculpturally in the room. The enormous stone fireplace which displays a history of carbon is the same process used by Ian Charlesworth's drawing which stands by its side. Either side of the curved bay extended in the C18th are works on paper by Kohei Nakata and Jane Proctor.

To the left is the Saloon again using classical Greek and Roman motifs which is the earliest example of the Greek style in Ireland. The ceiling panels which were commissioned by the Jesuits are by Patrick Tuohy ( 1894 – 1930 ) and again contrast the sharp lines and reduced contemporary works of Marie Hanlon and Roseanne Lynch who both use glass or perspex to play with the line and show how the changing light re forms the work. Again the classical and traditional sit comfortably sharing the space with the contemporary and reduced.

Off the Saloon room is the South East Tower Room which shows the C16th aspect of the defensive building in the large gun loop in the eastern wall with the gentle domesticity of the decorative plasterwork that would have been viewed as a parlour or family dining room in the C18th. The installation of the works by Jane Proctor, Kohei Nakata and Masashi Suzuki give the space a Japanese sensibility of quiet humility contrasting the ornate Greek Revival motifs.

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