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With Bread
Abigail O’Brien

With Bread Abigail O'Brien

With Bread Abigail O'BrienWith Bread
Abigail O’Brien
Highlanes Gallery

Text by Aoife Ruane and Dr. Medb Ruane.


79 pages
300 x 220 mm
ISBN 9780957294615


While bread and the craft of making it are nearly as old as civilisation itself, Pain au levain was the first leavened bread, probably discovered in Egypt six thousand years ago. O’Brien’s interest in bread, its elemental properties, the magical process that takes place in its making, its centrality in human daily life across race and culture and religion, its familial, social and cultural importance, and its rich symbolism, spans some twenty years.

With Bread has three key elements. The first is a series of  photographs taken in four bakeries in Ireland: McCloskey’s Bakery, Drogheda; Barron’s Bakery, Waterford; the Bretzel Bakery, and Il Valentino Bakery, both in Dublin. To the viewer, the images cannot be obviously linked with any particular bakery. Each is named after a female artist, because, O’Brien says, “the image suggests something to me about their work”.

About the Artist
Abigail O’Brien, PHRA, is a contemporary Irish artist and the first female president of the Royal Hibernian Academy since its establishment in 1823. O’Brien’s work explores themes such as ritual and rites of passage, and the domestic realm. Her work employs many media including Photography, Sculpture, Video, Sound and hand-made embroidered objects.

About the Publisher
Highlanes Gallery is a public art gallery and visual arts exhibition centre in Drogheda, Ireland.The gallery opened its doors on October 4, 2006 and was the culmination of many years planning to deliver a dedicated visual arts space for the Irish north east region, of an International standard in terms of design, management and environmental control.