My study of literature at Trinity has informed my work by teaching me the depth that can be achieved through poetic suggestion and the power of drama to affect “aesthetic arrest”. For me it is important that my work is poetic and dramatic in conception as well as “realist” in execution. All my work, including the photographic work, is based on regular and frequent drawing from life.
Typically, I approach a painting by exploring the subject through doing a lot of drawing and taking a few dozen photos. The drawing is transferred to the canvas or panel and then the painting is built up with near-transparent glazes. My work with colour separations during my time in the printing industry gave me this viewpoint on the building up of and “cross-hatching” of layers of colour.
My painting aesthetic in turn has influenced the way I work with photographic material. I approach photographic composition and colour as a painter rather than as a graphic technician. Colour and tone are worked using similar techniques to the glaze techniques I use in painting.
My sculptural work grew out of my painting and much of the three dimensional work is painted or wall mounted. The preparation of a piece of sculpture involves the same explorations through drawings and photos.
My primary concern as an artist is to explore the psychological and spiritual stories that unfold in all our lives. In much of my work I have engaged the people that I am painting or photographing directly in exploration of the things that have shaped their lives. The dialogue begins verbally and moves into visual language as we explore settings, symbolism, dreams, visions and colour. I have been privileged to hear the stories of what Joseph Campbell calls “the hero’s journey”, a remarkable inner journey made by many people in seemingly everyday lives. My work strives to reveal something of this invisible world. In the last few years I have worked with several people on long term projects in which there is an equal shared collaboration.
Mythology has played a role for millennia in telling the stories of a society’s shared experiences and highest hopes. Such stories no longer play an important role in western society to the extent that the word “myth” has come to mean something that is untrue but widely believed. Myths are fantastic stories with demons, magicians, ogres and supernaturally gifted people. They are the stories of inner demons, the magic of being alive and inner grace. I attempt to see how the age-old mythic themes are being acted out in the people around me and in myself. However I also see new stories arising out of our shared contemporary experience that are important to tell. With each piece of work I am hoping to contribute something to a new iconography of the human condition in the 21st century. The visual idioms I use are symbolism, metaphor and dramatic narrative.
As a 65 year old father of three adult children, I am particularly drawn to the myths of: birth, the struggle to be true to oneself and continuous renewal.
Exhibitions and publications
Solo show, Gora Gallery, Montreal, February 2007
Kunstforum International Awards, Perugia, Italy, October 20 – November 3, 2007
Fotobild, Berlin , November 8-12, 2007
Microsoft Collection, Dublin, November 26-30, 2007
Spirit – The Spirit in Art , Estense Castle, Ferrara, Italy, November 10-18, 2007
Florence Biennale December 1-9th, 2007
Peace and Art, Horta, Azores, January 2008
Top 40, Los Angeles Centre for Digital Art, April 2008
Little Treasures, De’Marchi Gallery, Bologna, May 2008
Cosmic Consciousness, Ico Gallery, New York, September 2008.
Real, Ico Gallery, New York, November 2008
Traces of Memory, Estense Castle, Ferrara, Italy, November 2008
Solus Gallery, Leitrim (Solo), August 2009.
Little Tresures, De’Marchi Gallery, Bologna, May 2010.
Los Angeles Centre for Digital Art, June 2011.
Negative Exposure, Dublin, November 2011.
Los Angeles Centre for Digital Art, March 2012.
Effetto Biennale, Merida, Mexico, March 2012.
Liberated Dreams, Estense Castle, Ferrara, Italy, April 2012.
Masters of Contemporary Art, Florence, December 2012.
Los Angeles Centre for Digital Art, April 2013.
Mermaid Open, Bray, 2013.
Signal Open, Bray 2014.
Casa Battlo, Barcelona, 2014.
Solas Gallery, Ballinamore. Enchantment. (Solo), 2015.
Signal Arts Centre, Bray. Fellow Travellers. (Solo) 2015.
Chimera Gallery, Mullingar. Motherhood. (Solo) 2015.
Aiden Heavey Library, Athlone. (Solo) 2015.
Inspire Gallery, Dublin. Courage. (Solo) 2015.
Echiquier Collectif, Museum of Fine Art, Constanta, Romania. 2015.
Echiquier Collectif, Lectoure and Marseille. 2016
Echiquier/WPF tour of Italy and France: 2016-17.
Solas Gallery, Ballinamore, On and Off the Wall (Sculpture), 2016.
Signal Open, Bray, 2016.
As I Went Down To The River Styx, collaboration with Ciara Julia Ryan, Inspire Gallery, Dublin, 2017. 2nd exhibition: Solas Gallery, Ballinamore, 2019.
2nd Bienale of Art Nude Photography, Villefranche, France, 2017.
Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, 10 group shows 2016-19.
Inaugural show, Art Nude Ireland, Filmbase, Dublin, 2017.
Echiquier Collectif tour, various locations in France, 2018.
Art Nude Ireland with Echiquier Collectif, Inspire Gallery, 2018.
Stay With Me, (Tuam Babies themed group show), Inspire Gallery, 2019.
ArtTour International – Cover and Feature, October 2012; Rage (Montreal); New York Arts; Con-Fine (Italian art magazine), Art Journal (Italy), Tribeca Tribune (New York.)