O’Rourke Exhibit Comes to The Rourke

The historic architecture O’Rourke encountered during his travels were a big inspiration for his prints.

The Rourke Art Gallery and Museum in Moorhead, Minnesota announced the opening of an exhibit showcasing the co-founder’s work on Friday, Sept. 14.

According to The Rourke, the exhibit is in celebration of what would have been James Tiernan O’Rourke’s 85th birthday earlier this summer. Entitled “The Complete Relief Prints of James Tiernan O’Rourke,” the exhibit will display O’Rourke’s woodcut and linoleum cut prints in their entirety.

Architecture plays a common theme in O’Rourke’s printmaking. From regionally historic buildings to breathtaking Irish castles and cathedrals of Estonia, O’Rourke was fascinated with architectural form everywhere he went. “Throughout all of his time as a gallerist, teacher, museum director and arts leader, James never stopped making art. Much like the sites he had visited in Europe during his Army years, the history of this region and its historic architecture were major sources of inspiration for his artwork.” The Rourke added, “James would often say that he simply loved art, artists, and art patrons (in that order). His interests outside of art were great dinners, dry martinis, historic houses and his beloved cats.”  The only criteria for him to turn a building into a print was if the structure evoked “serenity and order.”

As for the artistic style of the prints, The Rourke states, “O’Rourke’s art is defined by its striking line quality and its structured yet lyrical design. Here and there one can detect suggestions of German expressionism, Cyrus M. Running, the Beggarstaff Brothers, medieval woodcarving and Henri Matisse but, at the same time, it’s all distinctly James O’Rourke.”

In addition to the exhibit, The Rourke is set to publish a catalogue raisonné of O’Rourke’s relief prints entitled “The Complete Relief Prints of James Tiernan O’Rourke,” the same as the exhibition. The book’s release date has yet to be solidified, but The Rourke ensures it is forthcoming.

For those interested in viewing the exhibit, they may do so during regular gallery hours until Oct. 21.

Leave a Reply