They came from near and far, leaving foundries, quarries, studios and smithies to attend a show of their work, Wall & Plinth at Dublin's Peppercanister Gallery. The sculptors who are in a group show - including Eilis O'Connell ARHA, who came from Cork; Graham Gingles RUA, who came from Antrim; Adolfo Estrada who travelled from Spain; and Robert Janz who journeyed from the US - work with a range of materials, including bronze, glass, aluminium, marble and wood.
The show comprises work by 13 sculptors. Deirdre McLoughlin flew in from the Netherlands and Sonja Landweer travelled up from Thomastown in Co Kilkenny. John Behan RHA came early, travelling from Galway. Brian King (who was with his wife Tania), Eileen McDonagh and Michael Warren ARHA were all at the show too. Only Carolyn Mulholland RHA and Breon O'Casey were unable to attend.
"Sculpture is an art form that tends to attract people who are very committed," said Aidan Dunne, art critic of The Irish Times, who opened the show. "They're in it for the long haul."
Sculpture "is much more exposed to the scrutiny of the viewer", he said, unlike a painting, which, hanging on the wall, can recede and fit in, he added. But sculpture "is not merely a decoration . . . It is something really substantial in the world, another solid object in your world . . . It requires a level of adjustment and commitment."
He said it was "quite rare that you get an exhibition that's devoted entirely to sculpture . . . It's an expensive media."
"I love the austerity of it, the originality of it," said gallery owner Antoinette Murphy, looking at a bronze piece of sculpture by McLoughlin, called Black O.
Two works by Gingles, Pyramid of the magician and Folly 3, "are sort of follies to man's silliness", explained the artist.
Among those who came to enjoy the work were artist Liam Belton, Adrienne Symes, a painter and director of the Graphic Studio, the painter David Crone, Tanya Nyegaard of the Dublin Art Foundry, and former senator Dr Mary Henry.
Wall & Plinth is at the Peppercanister Gallery, Dublin 2, until Feb 2008.