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I am an islander. It's something I have always taken for granted.
On weekends I would travel from the East Coast of Ireland to the West Coast to go surfing. Just going from A to B. From one sea to an ocean. Simple.
I never thought about it. And then I moved to unknown territory, landlocked Vienna.
It was monumental. Emotionally and physically immobilising. My sense of what shaped me, grounded me, enriched and recharged me, is missing.
I am bereaved. What was once taken for granted is now a necessity for me.
Unlimited, unbroken space, unimpaired by land or man, everchanging sky and sea, sometimes merging into one. The sound and physicality of the elements, isolation, moving on the undulating waves, excitement, happiness, a sense of being centred, belonging, peace.
These paintings are based on photographs taken while surfing, usually in winter. Photographs taken while paddling out past the breakers or ebbing with the rollers out back. They are an instant blast of wind, salt and spray for the soul.
And they keep me from suffocating, like a fish out of water.
"Lipsticks", the name given to the first colourful fibreglass boards produced after World War II on the West Coast of America.
Racks of surfboards, colours, surfaces, fins and contours prove an irresistible influence on the work along with the Ocean itself, the rolling swell of the Pacific Blue, the Surf Magazine ideal, and the gritty cold grey reality of the north west Atlantic in January. Struggling in and out of a wetsuit in a car park in the wind driven rain, often asked "you're not going out there in this weather, are you?", the reply always the same "Sure I am getting wet anyway."
The Glasnevin Gates Series started with an etching in the exhibition “The Cracked Looking Glass” for the Re Joyce Centenary of Ulysses in Dublin in 2004. From this an intention to create a series followed, which was put into germination first in the artists residency of the Cill Rialaig Project, Ballinskelligs, County Kerry and then commenced in earnest in the Adamsbergergasse Studio in Vienna.
Paintings from a new series entitled "A Reminiscent Drive" based on places, things, objects, regularly passed by, seen or visited during my daily travels to and from the studio and around Vienna.