Recently I have begun experimenting with photography, digital manipulation through Photoshop and also collage. This has facilitated the introduction of colour which was previously absent from my work. Spray paint is also incorporated – I enjoy the clash of media and it brings to mind the same clash encountered in our daily lives in so many forms.
My current subject matter springs from having moved to Paris last year. Being a bit lost and finding myself somewhat lacking in the language to a certain extent, I gravitated toward places like empty streets full of graffiti and graveyards – places that spoke of human life, but quiet and meditative at the same time. Sculptures and images that held stories beneath them but in a city where there is always something to see and do they seemed to be overlooked.
I felt a kind of newborn empathy for these lifeless souls and they seem often to convey a stress, a moment of life that hovers between wanting to speak and yet being unable to, of being lost and yet knowing vividly in that instant exactly where they stand. I’m trying to give voice to a communication between these inanimate beings and objects and myself – searching for a place to release the tension while being aware that we’re not quite in our rightful place yet.
The boy in particular was an image that conveys something quite universal, that hanging on the edge frequently felt but so rarely spoken of, and as I see my son grow and adjust – probably better than me as he does it without my doubts – this image is laden with my projected fears and apprehension for his future too, that sense of innocence that doesn’t quite understand its capabilities.
In my current and future work I’m aiming to find some way to actualise a journey, be it physically or psychologically and searching for somewhere to locate the senses of isolation or belonging that present themselves on the way.
I work with materials that do not traditionally mix effectively (oil and water-based media) and I enjoy the uncertainty of allowing them to sit over and under each other and create their own harmony. The element of colour in the work is such that it is what invites closer viewing of the work, and I think different aspects of the work emerge and retreat on each viewing. I love the colour grey in all its forms: its amazing ability to take on something of any other colour whilst still remaining itself.
I am intrigued by contrasts – colour and monochrome, figurative and abstract, linear and curved – and how to find a way to allow them to exist harmoniously. My aim is to create images that are simultaneously strong and bold while at the same time retaining a quiet, meditative aspect.
The image of a crucified figure emerges from some of the work – unconsciously it came first and then I started almost seeking it out.
Its universality strikes a chord but possibly more so growing up in Catholic Ireland where it was almost ubiquitous; now that I have some distance placed between me and it in every way I can appreciate that universality in a way that is not directly connected with religious concepts anymore.