The Poetry of Paint
I qualified as an architect from University College, Dublin, and worked for many years as an architect both in Ireland and abroad. I returned to college as a mature student and obtained a degree in Fine Art from the Crawford College of Art.
I am looking at nature – at landscape – using geometry and structure to convey my ideas. There is a tension in using geometric elements to portray the freedom of nature, - but in a strange way nature and landscape become more real. This conflict is resolved in the paintings and a vision of harmony and peace results.
The act of painting is a liberating gesture
"Art has a political function in the sense that it brings something life – enhancing, a desire for life"
- Etel Adnan
"In times of trouble we need even more art, and not less. It is not an extra, it is not superfluous, something marginal; it is something fundamental"
- Etel Adnan
I have been greatly influenced by the Avant-Garde of the early 20th Century in Russia, by Cubism, by Cezanne and Ben Nicolson among others, by the Bauhaus and the tradition of Modernism, but tempered by the new reality of Post Modernism and pluralism, by the idea of Fractals and the emergence of thought on non- linear space. Both the philosophy and art of the Far East has impacted on my work and ideas. The idea of a balance between emotion and rationality is something I strive to achieve.
Architecture has been a dominant influence on the work. I am interested in the manipulation of space and structure. I am interested in the creation of both depth and pattern, thus creating a tension on the flat surface of the canvas.
The paintings are inspired by the layering and weathering of the landscape, the diagonal lines and patterns in the landscape, the vertical and horizontal bands of ancient rock found around our coasts, the sea, the skies.
Water is one of the fundamental elements of which our planet is made – rock is another. Waterfalls are one of the most spectacular representation of the power and beauty on nature. The oceans are another. Cliffs are the place where elements meet – water meets rock-land-sea-sky.
These elements are conceptualized and abstracted in the paintings.
The architectural effect of bare trees I find quite beautiful. Another aspect I find fascinating is the reflection of trees in water – there is an ever changing mystery to this effect. I am interested in ideas of spiritual renewal in nature – of an integration with nature.
A recent Fellowship at the International Art Foundation at Ballinglen, Co. Mayo, allowed me to meet many wonderful artists from around the world, and to further explore my interest in painting the landscape of Ireland.
The sculptures explore the relationship between light and structure within architecture. They look like architectural models but architectural models are generally made from blue prints, whereas these models are highly intuitive. They are assembled like collage, using different architectural styles to form a fragmented whole. The inspiration comes from the ancient ruins that are found around Ireland. David Leatherbrow has written beautifully about architectural phenomenology. He talks about shadow and light, and how the production of shadow was once described as the origin of architecture. Gaston Bachelard talks about the idea of the “ dialectics of inside and outside “ in his book The Poetics of Space. He talks about the pre – eminent spaces of reverie as being punctuated interiors – spaces between inside and outside : he includes the cave, the forest, and the ruin. This liminal space allows us to experience ambiguity, which holds us open to the world. There is an osmosis between architecture and landscape.