Gary L. Nickard (b. 1954), Untitled [man leaning on stick with poem by Seamus Heaney], c. 1991-1994; giclée print, 34 1/4 x 24 1/4 inches; Gift of Gary Nickard and Patty Wallace, 2004
The Burchfield Penney Art Center remembers Seamus Heaney through the work of Gary Nickard
Friday, August 30, 2013
The Burchfield Penney Art Center mourns the passing of Seamus Heaney. He was represented in the work, Untitled by Gary L. Nickard, acquired by the Center in 2004. Nancy Weekly shares her thoughts about the piece, and the significance of Heaney:
"Heaney was awarded The Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. He is the author of at least 10 books of poetry, 5 books of prose essays, a play that is a version of Sophocles’ Philoctetes, and a translation of Beowolf, among other works. Writing about the poet at the time of his receiving the Nobel Prize, editor Sture Allén observed: “Heaney’s poems first came to public attention in the mid-1960s when he was active as one of a group of poets who were subsequently recognized as constituting something of a ‘Northern School’ within Irish writing. Although Heaney is stylistically and temperamentally different from such writers as Michael Longley and Derek Mahon (his contemporaries), and Paul Muldoon, Medbh McGuckian and Ciaran Carson (members of a younger Northern Irish generation), he does share with all of them the fate of having been born into a society deeply divided along religious and political lines, one which was doomed moreover to suffer a quarter-century of violence, polarization and inner distrust. This had the effect not only of darkening the mood of Heaney’s work in the 1970s, but also of giving him a deep preoccupation with the question of poetry’s responsibilities and prerogatives in the world, since poetry is poised between a need for creative freedom within itself and a pressure to express the sense of social obligation felt by the poet as citizen.”
Read the New York Times obituary written by James C. Mckinley Jr.:
“Seamus Heavey, Irish Poet of Soil and Stsrife, Dies,” The New York Times (August 30, 2013)
Nancy Weekly is the Head of Collections and the Charles Cary Rumsey Curator for the Burchfield Penney Art Center, the world’s only museum dedicated to American watercolor master Charles E. Burchfield and artists of the Buffalo Niagara region. She also serves as an adjunct lecturer in Museum Studies for the Department of History and Social Studies Education at Buffalo State College.