A personal artistic summary and record of my childhood in Derry; the local terrain, the church, the weather, sun & rain, the peace process, the troubles, black & white newspaper photos, the view across Lough Foyle to Donegal, the sea, waves on the beach in summer, the little river, the army, farm buildings, the soul as pictured by a child… a kaleidoscope of physical and metaphysical spaces… what I am made of…
Surrealism was a bold attempt to bridge the divide between the conscious and unconscious, a movement of its time, trying to counter the great dualism created and inseparable from modernism. Here I wryly attempt the impossible, to explore and visualise the inner mind of such a person, as if by scientific scrutiny.
Later in life one realises how ongoing influential key periods in our lives have been. In the early eighties I spent time in India. This image is an amalgamation of experiences, memories and insight captured in an eternally shining summer sun married with a fragrant evening, pregnant with depth and meaning.
Do we really understand time and our experience of the moment? Reading Alfred North Whitehead sheds fascinating light on how every moment contains everything that has occurred and yet is a unique addition to that whole.
My current work is focused on the dialectical interaction of opposites. For human beings there is nothing more profound than the polarity and relationship between life and death. In making this image I have been contemplating these as one dynamic whole. In addition I’ve revisited the significance of surrealism, the early 20th century art movement; dialectic in its approach to liberate the unconscious. The surrealists were brave souls, daring to boldly bridge the great divide and polarity between the unconscious and conscious aspects of our being.
From a new series – exploring the wonderful, rich complexity of the current state of art theory and practice. This series juggles the clash of concerns and claims that art needs to entertain: emotional impact, spontaneity, the conflicting dialectics of flatness and space, the unconscious, consciousness of the subject, the awareness of cultural givens, return of the narrative, spirituality, non-normative states and the simple joy of being able to see. This piece coincides with viewing the great Patrick Caulfield exhibition at Tate Britain, reflecting on his work and many of the issues listed above which I am exploring and studying. Here specifically I’m reflecting on the absence of people and ultimately the implied subject from his work.
From a new series – exploring the exciting complexity of current art theory and practice. In this image I reference an ancient Irish (celtic) mythological figure called Sweeney from pre-Christian Ireland. This wonderful tale is about a king who was cursed by St Ronan, becoming a tortured soul, half man, half bird, condemned to live out his life in trees, fleeing from his human companions. My image captures the moment (my addition to this tale and a reflection on the healing of the Irish psyche) when this sorry soul is released from his tortured past into the optimism of a new dawn.
From my new series – exploring the complexity of perspectives in art theory and practice. This piece focuses on the subject (YOU), cultural givens, the 21st century mind, alternate states of consciousness, interpretation and the simple joy of seeing. In our rapidly interconnected world, what is the meaning and future of so many diverse cultures clashing and colliding? What new interior spaces are opening up? And how does this impact our dreams, perspectives and creativity?