Crows Can Count, a series of 10 works evoking powerful images, is inspired by a familiar childhood rhyme.

New Plymouth artist Antonia O'Mahoney acknowledges that some of the images, mostly etchings with subtle aquatint colours, appear sinister. Such is the case of the etching, Six for Gold, of a woman clinging to the feet of an unseen person as a dead crow lies at her feet.

O'Mahoney explains that the works are about different phases in people's lives and how they respond to them.

"It is really about learning to let go and how we tend to cling on to things during different phases of our lives."


She said the counting rhyme always conjured strong images for her.

After she and her Irish husband, also an artist, settled in Cork in the late 1980s she would recite Counting Crows to her children during walks in the countryside.

"I have travelled a fair bit and most cultures seem to have a version of the rhyme," she said, although magpies or jackdaws were often substituted for crows in different parts of the world.

O'Mahoney met her husband while travelling in the US and then moved to his home in Cork where they spent the next 20 years.

She started formal art study while living in Ireland and was a member of a professional studio for artist printmakers in Cork City.

She moved back to her hometown with her family in 2006 but and said she missed the camaraderie with other artists she had formed in Ireland.

"I have made some good connections here in New Plymouth and it was sculptor Katerina Smoldyreva who suggested that I contact the Glasgow St Arts Centre."

Primarily a printmaker, O'Mahoney also paints and sculpts and has included two oil on board works and two papier-mâché crows in the exhibition.


O'Mahony also has an exhibition - Tell It Again: Repetitions From The Archive showing at the Percy Thomson Gallery in Stratford alongside the photographic exhibition The Crescent Moon, the Asian Face of Islam in New Zealand, by Ans Westra and Adrienne Jansen.

Crows Can Count: Gallery 85, 85 Glasgow St, until September 7. Gallery hours are 1am until 3pm Wednesday to Friday and 10am until 3pm on Saturdays.