For this show I have set out to include more than my usual amount of flowers into my work. With every show I try and have a cohesive theme. I will often use new source material for my subject matter, so that I can continually experiment with my painting, yet still develop and expand my old and favourite subjects. This keeps me challenged and also enables me to push my painting style to new limits, helping to keep my paintings vibrant, expansive, and fresh.
My source material for the floral and decorative elements in this body of work, has literally been the textiles and printed cottons that came out of Western Russia during the late 19th Century for the export market of Eastern Asia. So I have been looking to these colourful prints with their daring juxtapositions of primary reds, blues and greens, predominantly depicting bright and gaudy flowers. These popular fabrics usually found themselves, sewn patchwork- style, into the linings of the famous Ikat coats which were worn by the men and women of the nomadic tribes that traded in this region, during that period in history. As a result, some of my work references to pre-revolutionary Russian history and culture. Inspired by the popular wooden Matryoshka Russian dolls that fit perfectly into each other, I set out to paint a series of five sequentially- sized figure paintings, the largest being Tsarina 122x61cm and the smallest being Forest Edge 69x61cm. This theme can also be seen in the large painting Reading Tolstoy 5’x4’ as here I am referring to one of my favourite novels, Anna Karenina .
But above all, I am a painter primarily concerned with the process of picture-making and the journey and language that painting over 30 years has taken me to. Therefore, this body of work, more appropriately, represents the life I live in rural Wicklow, of the people, animals and home-life around me, and of my memories and past experiences that have helped to form and colour me as a painter.
paintings below available from the doorway gallery, dublin
Sources is a sister exhibition to Recent Paintings 2015, which I worked on in the early research stages looking into 19th Century Russian Textiles