Born on the east coast of Ireland, I was fascinated from an early age in painting, drawing and photography. In college I studied aeronautical engineering but continued to enjoy artwork in my spare time.
During my degree I spent 2 years in Italy, first at Pisa, then Cremona, near Milan. The Mediterranean approach to design and colour made a deep impact on me and confirmed in my mind the direction I wanted to take as a visual artist. It was in this time that I first started experimenting with sculpture, making small clay models which soon approached the limit of portability. Thanks to a steady income from my technical career, I was able to get some of these models cast. I entered these first castings for the RHA 2002 Annual Exhibition and they were accepted. The sale of several copies during the show, encouraged me to take up sculpting full-time.
In 2003 and 2005 sculptures were again accepted for the RHA Annual Exhibitions. Since then, I have continued to work in clay and bronze, but have also worked with carrara marble. During this time I was a regular competitor in public art tenders.
In 2004 I moved to Berlin, a city with an international reputation for its vibrant art scene. Here many new opportunities presented themselves. I developed my skills in a twice-weekly artist circle for life-drawing. In the period 2004 - 2008 I started concentrating more on painting and exhibited in several exhibitions and group shows in Berlin.
In 2008, with my return to Ireland, I started looking for galleries again to exhibit work, while keeping one foot still on the ground in Berlin. I exhibited both paintings and sculptures in galleries on the east coast, most recently at Sol Art, Dawson St., Dublin. I completed three terms at the RHA Life Sessions and at the moment am participating weekly with a life-drawing group in the United Arts Club, Dublin.
Human shapes, in particular those of the head and face, speak to me of fathomless ages of evolution; the coincidental rhythms and dynamics that emerge once one looks closely enough to attempt a representation become so complex as to seem almost mystical.
It takes some time from starting work for me to slip into my target state which is focussed, meditative, and non-judgemental. Mark-making becomes automatic and seeing verges on a state of 'un-recognition' where I am unconscious of representing any given anatomical feature, and am aware only of light and shape.
In portrait work, as with my landscape work, I follow a technique where colours are first matched on the palette-knife, which is held up each time at exactly the same angle to catch the same incidental light; only when the tip of the palette-knife merges with the background colour, is it ready to be applied to the canvas. My visual apprehension is also strongly swayed by my experience in sculpture.
There is much excellent figurative art being created at the moment, but many art institutions are too preoccupied trying to prove that painting is dead to notice any of the work being produced. Once we recognise that mark making is not a quaint tradition that started with Giotto and ended with Pollock, but has been a characteristic of human nature for millenia, we realise that within this new context, the post-modernist denial of human nature looks increasingly untenable.
"There exists an essay by Seneca in which the corruption of style at the hands of Maecenas is mercilessly analysed as a manifestation of a corrupt society in which affectation and obscurity count for more than straightfoward lucidity." --Gombrich, 1959.