Monday, October 16, 2017

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

New Sculptor- 'Untitled,' (Flower Lady)

'Untitled,' 2017, 6 x 2.5 inches (approx.)
Mixed-media on wood
 For the past week or so I have been working on this little piece. I was house/pet sitting for an artist friend who is an avid beach comber, so I nicked (with permission) some of her beach wood finds.
This original piece of drift wood, which is just cheap compressed wood, had the remains of lovely blue paint on the surface. I was hoping to have this coming through the photograph but unfortunately it didn't work very well; you can see some of the blue tone ghosting through the white petals of the flowers if you look closely. There are layers of photos and mode-podge to try and build up the image so it is visible, some of it was sanded down again. I am sure there is a better more effective technique of transferring photos to wood, but I have yet to come across it. A woman in the gallery today thought the surface was made of stone because of the texture and shine off the piece. It is very satisfying to see the effect the work has on people, they have been drawn to the work in the most positive way.
There was already a slight hollow in the wood which I carved out and placed one of my little pit-fired ceramic faces. I then wrapped it in wire hiding any gaps and giving it a more spiritual element. The little face has a damaged eye, I like this, it reminds me of the little petals of a flower that have been ripped and eaten away in patches by the caterpillars, snails and other bug life that lives amongst the plants.
This is a hanging piece.

Monday, August 7, 2017

New Sculpture - 'All I love is all that I Allow'

'All I love is all that I Allow.' 
2017, (plaster, gold)
 21 x 18.5 cm framed, Approximately 10 x 15 cm unframed

I was asked a few months ago to be the selected artist for the month of August as part of the curators choice in the Hunt Museum; the vast majority of the work I have seen by the artists who have taken part have been paintings, even though I am not primarily a painter I thought it would be nice to do something different, away from the 2D format. 
Rightly or wrongly I ended up making this hand piece for the exhibit, it would be best displayed on a plinth but because of the area that the curators choice is shown only a hanging piece is suitable, therefore I had a temporary frame made for it.
This piece is drawn from the occult, superstition, and tradition; In my research I was looking at palmistry, and superstitions, traditions about love and marriage, the tradition usually born from the superstition.
The heart line in the palm is highlighted in gold, the journey of this persons love life traveling across one side of the palm to the other with all its breaks, and bumps, leading off the side, ending abruptly. With a line there is a beginning and there is an end.
The ring finger is also highlighted in gold, the third finger on a woman left hand has always been reserved for an engagement or wedding ring, any other is considered unlucky. This tradition arose out of the erroneous belief that an artery runs directly to this finger from the heart. 
 This hand bears no ring, just the memory of one stained in gold; Gold, the colour of something sacred. Wedding rings are usually made of gold which has supposed magical and curative powers.
This is a relic or a votive, a folk charm used for healing or an offering in fulfilment of a vow.
The title comes from an Iron and Wine song, the lyrics and song are below, take from it what who can.

I hope you will be able to see it in person. As part of this exhibit I will be giving an informal artists talk about my work on the both of August at the Hunt Museum.

 The piece framed. As you can see it is changing colour as it continues to dry and resist the wax I polished it with.
It will slowly disintegrate, which is good, it works with the idea of instability in love and relationships.

Big Burned Hand by Iron and Wine

When the arrogant goddess of love came to steal my shoes
She had a white-hot pistol and a homemade heart tattoo
Singing, "One's to give and one's to take away,
But neither of them will keep you off your knees"
Her children bowed and bolted off the stage
While the lion and the lamb kept fighting for the shade tree
He had a couple of Coke bottles full of gasoline
Singing, "All I love is all that I allow"
And he blew me a kiss off a big burned hand
I nearly choked with smoke and fell down
While the lion and the lamb kept shooting at a tin can
She had a purple heart and mother's milk in a plastic cup
Singing, "One to lay you gently in the grave,
And one's the flag you fold before you go"
When the curtain rose the crowd was blown away
While the lion and the lamb kept fucking in the back row
When the winsome god of war came to set me free
When the gun-shy goddess of love came back to patch things up

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

'Untitled,' Figure, New Sculpture 2017

'Untitled,' 2017, 
19.5 x 3 cm 
Burnt wood, ceramic, gold

The wood was salvaged from the beach and has had very little done to it, except carving out more of an indentation for the head and blackening it with the blow torch.

This piece is similar to an earlier sculpture which can be viewed here

Sunday, July 16, 2017

'Untitled,' (Witch) 2017

'Untitled,' (Witch) 
Wood, clay, plaster, thread, quail egg, gold, wire

I don't like to give my work titles, unless I feel it helps the work, as Louise bourgeois said, 
"A unnecessary. The emotions come first, the compelling need to say something. Titles are needed only for identification purposes. For me a title is something to communicate with the audience, but I could have ten titles, some people love titles."
I use witch, more as a description than anything else, I really want people to look at the work and make up their own thoughts about it. Witch, because of the point in the wood, I could go into the myth about the egg, nature, magic and so forth, but I won't, perhaps another day..

Friday, July 14, 2017

Untitled (Mum's Green Fingers)

'Untitled,' (Mum)
Plaster, gold, ceramic, earth, Echeveria plant

I've been working on a new sculpture for an upcoming exhibition at the Hunt Museum this August as part of the Curators choice. It is not going as well as one would have hoped, but fingers crossed the piece will be a success.
The first cast I made of my mothers hand was not as successful as one would have hoped, the bolt to hold the piece came through the palm and the mould didn't come up the wrist far enough. Ideally I wanted the plaster to be black but that is another blog post. Unfortunately I couldn't re-use the mould so this is really a one off.
I went to IMMA last week to catch the latest exhibitions and was impressed, for lack of a better word, by the 'mistakes' in the artwork hanging in the gallery. Blurred, low quality photographs, some with to much flash, etching plates not wiped properly at the edges leaving a black plate mark on the page, and unfinished, barely started canvases that really had no point being there. It just goes to show what you can get away with.
I suppose I shouldn't be to surprised, the majority of my work is glued back together, crooked, scratched or relatively imperfect, a lot of it is to due with materials, cost, lack of skill, ext.
But after seeing the work by some very famous artists on Tuesday with their few imperfections it almost gives one permission to 'go with the flow.'
Taking this to heart I was inspired to go back and work with the hand I casted earlier, ignoring the screw peeping through the palm and the blemishes the plaster left around the base.
One of those ah-ha! moments where it all just came together.
Ideally I would like to see this piece displayed on the gallery floor, away from the viewers direct gaze. In some of the photos below I experimented with adding a photo with the piece, working with 3D and 2D together is a direction I would like to move towards in the future. The photos are old family photos of someones garden I had off hand, think I prefer the first version in this post.
One could say this is a portrait of my mother who is a gardner with very green fingers.
It is based on nature and our connection with it, the green fingers are substituted as gold, gold the sacred colour, the life source. The hand hovers over the plant protecting it, willing it to grow. Perhaps the photo of the garden is of a memory or a look to the future of what this plant might become apart of,  the owners own little garden of Eden.
I like to think of it as a little meditative piece that encourages you to look and observe, if you don't look down and around you, you miss out on a lot of little things. Not everything worth seeing is staring at you at eye level. You need to take care of the little things.

A behind the scenes shot of Ma trying to help me photograph this piece.
My Mum has the patience of a Saint and is always willing to help me with my work, she will drop everything to help me and that means more than I can say. She is my studio assistant, my model, my best critic, and one of my most positive and encouraging supporters. I'm lucky as an artist to have both the support of my parents who have never questioned my choice to be an artist, who will make me go into the studio to make more work, update this blog, ext.
Thanks Folks! 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Achilles - Bread and Butter Work

I was asked by a lady where I used to work to do a portrait of her husbands late dog, Achilles.
I have finally gotten around to finishing it before my deadline and am quit happy with the result.
It is gouache on 7x9 in (18x24 cm) stretched canvas, below is a photo of the finished product and some process shots.

Monday, June 26, 2017


So I did a little lino-cut, you can probably tell I have never done one did not go well.
I did a few on some old paper that needed using, the goal was to use them for a little fundraiser but I am not so sure now. I ended up doing two as the first did not come out well and wasn't printing successfully; A frustrating morning. I posted a few variations of the second linocut, You can see on the last how the lino is breaking down causing the line to be blurred, the very bottom image is of the first linocut I did and the only one to be somewhat successful. I assume you can read the text below the image? Well, just in case it says, 'Meow MutaFucka,' maybe I should title this piece Profanity-Cat?....(Slight eye roll)
Sure one or two are ok, and they are fun little buggers. I was trying to loosen up my drawing/line as I am so frigid, working along the lines of my Ugly hound doodles and probably partially inspired by Roger Ballen and his collaborations with South African duo Die Antwoord. They recently released a short film, 'Tommy Can't Sleep,' and also collaborated with Ballen on one of their music videos, 'I Fink You Freaky,' absolutely mad but fabulous, I had the pleasure of seeing an exhibition of Roger Ballen's work in Cobh few years ago. He isn't just a photographer he is an artist, he takes you into another world, a world of outcasts, the part of your mind that is shunned by the mainstream.
His eerie little drawings dwell in the background of his photographs, wonderfully simple, the drawings of an angry inner child.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

New work/Kicking the bucket again exhibition

So over the past few month I have been attending meetings every two weeks as part of the Kicking the Bucket program sponsored by Milford Hospice.
Although the meetings are surrounded by the topic of death, dying and all the shite that goes with that, the whole experience was most enjoyable. I loved meeting up with a lovely group of people, having discussions and doing arty party activities.
The result of our group meetings was an exhibition based on the topics discussed. The group Kicking the Bucket and the exhibition was organised and founded by Katie Verling and Sinead Dinneen, two lovely ladies who have had been through the loop themselves.
The exhibition was held in Limerick City Gallery of Art, a great opportunity and honour as an artist. Artists and non-artists putting their heart and soul into a small body of work to be exhibited for ten days at LCGA for the public to view.
The whole process has been very satisfactory, below are photos of the new work I created for the exhibition, plus photos from the opening night.

Artists Statement

Reliquaries for the Soul, (small sculptures/vessels)

Vessel 1, Clay, wire, broken mirror, paint

Vessel 2, Clay, broken mirror, sinew, thread, gold paint

Vessel 3, Clay, thread, gold leaf, and gold paint

Vessel 4, gold leaf, egg shell, clay, burnt wood

Print Installation

Gold Mono-prints with embossed text

The whole installation with embossed text alternating from 'Soul' to 'Heaven' with an original black-out poem of mine embossed on the centre page.

'Sometimes my Soul Feels Heavenly Bound' Original black-out poem

Some print variables for sale as well. Contact me for more info.

I also had some older work on display, Changeling and two photos with text

Installation shots of my work in Limerick City Gallery

My grandparents came to the opening

Some photos of the work by various participants of the group, some with an art background, some without

Artist Clea Van der Grin opening the exhibition, her work was also showing alongside ours in the main gallery.

Senator Marie-Louise O'Donnell speaking at the opening about the exhibition and the release of there book, infinite Lives.

This lady sung at the opening with a newly invented instrument called 'The Merlin'