Picture of The Keeling Gallery's spacious window at 41 Clarendon Street, Dublin 2
The Keeling Gallery
There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that all the artists that were previously represented by The Keeling Gallery are still busy painting away creating their own beautiful works of art. And so, if you were keen to view or indeed, purchase something from them, you can still do so, by contacting them directly. See links below. The bad news, however, is that The Keeling Gallery as we know it has come to an end, having ceased trading at the beginning of May 2015; This largely being due to financial difficulties, but also a desire on my part to get back to my own painting on a full time basis. It’s been an interesting run, but time to look to the future, and get back to the easel.
Vincent's favourite painting spot, at the Keeling Gallery on Clarendon Street
The Story of The Keeling Gallery
The Keeling Gallery was opened by artist Vincent Keeling back in November 2009. It was located then at 41 Clarendon Street, Dublin 2, and the initial idea was merely for a pop up Christmas gallery, in an attempt for Vincent to make some much needed sales after the recession had hit Ireland. However, the scale and possibilities of the space soon prompted Vincent to approach some fellow artists and friends to see if they might be interested selling some work with the gallery for the Christmas period.
Chris McMorrow enjoying a glass of wine, on the night of his solo exhibition at The Keeling Gallery
With talented artists such as Chris McMorrow, Sharon McDaid and Laura Mulligan early recruits to the gallery, and strong Christmas sales, Vincent made a major decision. That decision was to endeavour to keep the gallery going on a full time basis; In other words to keep it going through the lean months, as well as the bumper Christmas period.
Brian McCarthy and Vincent Keeling, photographed at the opening of Brian's "Boomtown Exhibition"
Thus what started as a pop up shop initially conceived as a way for Vincent to sell and promote his artwork for a temporary period of time, became a full time art gallery in the heart of Dublin 2, with ambitions to promote and sell work for a growing stable of Irish artists.
Inside view of The Keeling Gallery, with paintings and prints in abundance
The Keeling Gallery, run by Vincent with some help from family and friends, struggled to make this new mission for the gallery a success over the next several years, And in this struggle there were indeed some magical times, not least of which being several solo shows for artists such as Chris McMorrow, Laura Mulligan and Brian McCarthy, as well as numerous eventful summer and Christmas group shows.
Radio presenter Joe Duffy and artist Brian McCarthy, at Brian's "Boomtown Exhibition" at The Keeling Gallery
Also the gallery managed to attract considerable media attention, and notable visitors such as Joe Duffy, Senator David Norris and even Shane MacGowan who came in to sign Vincent’s portrait of him, all added to the buzz of the venture. However, despite these successes the economic realities of trying to run an art gallery, in the teeth of a punishing recession, eventually forced the issue, and thus Vincent decided to close the doors on Clarendon Street in August 2013.
Artist Vincent Keeling and Senator David Norris, at Louise McKeon's exhibition at The Keeling Gallery
However, when things finally came to the crunch in Clarendon Street, it wasn’t the end, for unwilling to give up the ghost of keeping the gallery alive, Vincent soon scouted out a new premises just one street over at 27 South William Street. The idea was to scale things back and try and keep the costs at a reasonable level. Thus, instead of being an expensive ground floor unit, this time Vincent went for a small space on the second floor of a wonderful Georgian building.
The Keeling Gallery's new premises at 27 South William Street, Dublin 2
Interestingly Vincent was also to use this space as a studio for his own painting work, as indeed he had done at times in the previous Clarendon Street venue. However, this time, Vincent hoped to have much more free time to spend at his easel away from the distractions of ground floor trading.
Indeed, this was the case, even more so than Vincent anticipated. In fact, so few of the old customers, or indeed new ones, were finding their way up all those flights of stairs, that it soon became apparent that to make the rent and other bills, something would have to change.
Oil painting of Elvis Presley, inside The Keeling Gallery when located at 27 South William Street, Dublin 2
As a final attempt to keeps things going, Vincent decided to set up some oil painting classes, which he had briefly done many years before. Although slow to start, this soon became a real success with Vincent finding himself with a long waiting list of students eager to learn from an experienced artist. However, with the gallery sales remaining slow, Vincent found himself having to commit to more and more days to teaching, with the inevitable consequence of diminishing time for his own work. This brought to the fore a long standing problem of divided priorities; Trying to run a gallery and teach effectively, versus, giving oneself time and space as an artist to create, and realize one’s artistic potential.
Thus with this dilemma ever present, and continuing financial difficulties Vincent finally decided to make the decision to close The Keeling Gallery for good. On 1 April 2015, Vincent vacated The Keeling Gallery premises on South William Street, and in May ceased trading as The Keeling Gallery online. Now Vincent is back painting full time, has set up a new website at www.vincentkeeling.com, and begun to sell with other art galleries. As for his ambitions, they are now happily, and firmly, focused back upon a new blank canvas.
Shane MacGowan, meeting artist Vincent Keeling, to sign Vincent's portrait painting of Shane