oil on paper and plastic 2019
I am a contemporary landscape painter based in the southeast of Ireland; plain and simply put - why a landscape painter? Well, because I am fascinated by the world around me and the marks we leave on the landscape as we pass through on our short journey - each generation reforming the environment to suit current needs. In my paintings I examine the landscape for evidence of man’s hand with the aim of better understanding something of the civilisation and layers of history that go into creating the space… it is this interest in the physical world that drives me to paint… from an early age I remember being dragged along with my Father as he drove around the towns and villages of North Wexford measuring up the tiling jobs that he used as a means to put food on the table, but rather than go into the houses [to be plied with mugs of tea and biscuits and chats about school] I was more often found sitting alone in my Father’s van, patiently working to draw the cars and buildings that made up that particular part of the world. What was it that compelled me to do this [apart from boredom that is] I have no idea other than there must be a biological drive, something deep inside the human psyche that has since time immemorial driven us to make these marks… was my future choice to become a painter conditioned way back then by the kind words of encouragement I could win from the grown ups around me? or was it a little more complicated than that? painting has always been a means to express myself… everybody wants to be seen, and here I am some 30 years on, still asking to be noticed.
Basically my work walks down two avenues: photography and painting, but of the two it's painting that’s my medium of choice; I love to create ‘things’ of weight and quality, even if I am alone in finding them beautiful. When painting I try to capture on canvas, the inner animation of the world that I see around me every day as I endeavour to depict 'that fleeting moment in time and space where the reflection of light bouncing off the world captures my thoughts and transports me into the joyous realm of things, and their god the Sun’. I invariably use photography as my jumping off point, but as the work develops I allow the inherent characteristics of the individual paintings to develop, I like to build the imagery up in multiple layers, where new concepts are continuously set out and painted over old; thereby building my landscapes up over time in much the same way as the world around us is developed and redeveloped with subsequent generations. As part of this process the original meaning and imagery become less important as the painting progresses and approaches completion. In doing this I hope to render visible, something of the essential structure of the world as I investigate the hidden relationships that emerge - new and old images combine to create a textured piece that is as much about the destruction of old ideas as the creation of the new.
Through this process the painting becomes a living thing, a synthesis between the original meanings inherent in the source material and the physical act of painting. It is in this way that my best work evolves over months and even years, constantly shifting both form and meaning, until finally, the day arrives that it can go no further, and I see it finished for the first time.