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Ireland ready for my erotic art exhibition, says Darlene; US artist set to shock with her 'aroused' pictures.

Byline: JIM GALLAGHER

RURAL Ireland is about to be rocked by the country's first ever erotic art exhibition.

American painter Darlene Garr is set to shock locals in Kilkenny with her raunchy collection of "sexually charged" works which she launched yesterday.

The explicit paintings include graphic and detailed images of male and female genitalia.

And most of the men appearing in "Sex, Luv and Inspiration" are in an aroused state.

The controversial artist said last night: "Ireland is definitely ready for this exhibition and it is badly needed.

"I imagine there might be some opposition but the Irish are far more broad minded than I ever imagined.

"If there is any kind of outcry I will handle it with intelligent conversation. This country is crying out for more erotic art."

But last night a spokesman for the Catholic family values organisation Family Solidarity said:

"This sort of thing should be kept in the bedroom and should not be on public display."

Unrepentant Darlene, who got Fair City's Dave Duffy - taxi boss Leo Dowling - to open the exhibition, said she had thought about doing the show for years.

"I did a similar one in New York a long time ago and it was very successful.

"I never imagined I would be able to do one in Ireland because when I first came here I thought the country would be too religious.

"But whenever I did an erotic piece it would sell straight away. Other artists also told me the same thing - if they did anything with an erotic bent it was gone straight away.

"I felt there was a need for an erotic art studio and I decided I would spearhead it. It is something we should do."

Darlene is now looking for other artists with erotic work for an exhibition during Kilkenny's art festival in September.

"I love painting different parts of the human anatomy and people enjoy seeing it," said Darlene.

"I know some people might be shocked because some of the paintings are really in your face, but others are rather subtle.

"But there seems to be a real need for it because people are dying to come and see it. People are intrigued and they are asking me about the exhibition all the time."

"Of all the places is Ireland, Kilkenny is the spot because it is known for its art because there are so many artists here.

"Where you can't get people into a gallery in Dublin you get people from Dublin driving down here just to buy a painting."

Former model Darlene, who was born in Spokane, Washington State, moved to the Republic six years ago to paint our famous rugged coastline.

She ended up falling in love with the country and after three years painting in Dublin moved to Kilkenny.

"When I came here I was surprised at how broad-minded the people were.

"I was actually shocked at how liberal Ireland was and it has got even more relaxed in the last few years. It was not the closed society I expected.

"You have this wonderful sense of humour - and some of my paintings are done with humour and fun.

Darlene's exhibition runs through the summer at the Garr Studio, Loughboy Farm, Waterford Road, Kilkenny, Thursdays to Sundays from noon to 7pm, or by appointment by ringing 086 839 9332.

CAPTION(S):

EROTIC AROUSAL: American painter Darlene Garr surrounded by some of her erotic paintings in her gallery, Garr Studio, in Waterford road, Kilkenny; IMAGERY: A detail from her less graphic painting 'Orgasm', left, and 'Sea of Love', right
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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jun 9, 2002
Words:595
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