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Dídean/Home  - ARTIST’S STATEMENT

To view images from the exhibition, click on the following links -

 

No.69 O’Connell Street,  Limerick in May, 2014

 

Dunamaise Arts Centre,  Port Laoise in March/April 2014

 

Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich,  Belfast in Jan/Feb 2013

 

The Bourn Vincent Gallery,  University of Limerick in March 2012

 

 

Review by Cristín Leach in The Sunday Times

 

 

INTRODUCTION TO THE ARTIST’S STATEMENT:   Paintings from this body of work were first shown in The Paul Kane Gallery in Dublin, in the exhibition entitled “We are where we are” in February 2011.  The various solo exhibitions in Belfast, Limerick and Port Laoise since then were all different versions of the one exhibition.  The theme was the same but there was a considerable amount of new work in each show.  However, some of the works appeared in more than one show.  It was an interesting challenge to compose a new show for each space.

 

STATEMENT: The title of this exhibition is “Dídean/ Home” and it consists of paintings and installations exploring the human dimension to the economic crisis and looking at notions of “home”. In recent years much has been written about ghost estates, empty hotels and tenantless apartment blocks, at one time an estimated 300,000 units vacant or unfinished, but at the same time we read about the growing problem of homelessness in our country. My work engages with contradictions such as these but, whilst the subject matter may be tough and the questions raised uncomfortable, my primary intention is to make art that moves people.

 

So I collect images from newspapers, magazines and the internet to find the subjects for my artworks. I am particularly interested in images of ordinary people in situations of conflict or crisis. It is all too easy to become inured to the individual stories that lie behind any of these images, but by choosing one and making it the subject of a large painting, for instance, I try to emphasize the importance of that human story and, in a way, to subvert the notion of the “15 minutes of fame”. I am interested in exploring how art may produce a deeper and more enduring understanding of the contemporary experience than do media images.

 

From a formal point of view I became interested in using discarded material in my artwork - cardboard, newspaper, paper coffee cups etc. I thought that it fitted well with the themes I was exploring. The empty coffee cups became a symbol for me of the “Boom and Bust”. During the era of the Celtic Tiger, it seemed like everyone was in a hurry - in a hurry to get to work, in a hurry to make money, in a hurry to build. No time to stop and chat, a quick coffee on the go, Skinny Lattes, Cappucinos, Caffé Mochas - madness - and then at the end of the day, the poor man on the street was using the empty cup to beg for help.

 

In the end, making art is a mysterious occupation. Working alone in the studio, I paint, I make things, I try out ideas, sometimes my mistakes inspire new directions and new work… to borrow a quote from the late Tony O’Malley:

 “you work at it day after day and then suddenly, something happens, a revelation”. That’s how it is.

 

Click on the various links above to view images of the work

 

 

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