Paintings - 2019-2020

The song of Amergin 71x91cm acrylic on canvas 2021 (private collection)

Diaphanous bodies, acrylic on canvas 120x100cm 2019
Diaphanous bodies - 120x100cm acrylic on canvas 2019 (private collection)

solo show

Robert Boyle carried out over many years experiments to elucidate the nature of colour. In 1664 he gathered these notes together, addressed them to his nephew whom he called Pyrophilus and published them in a text titled ‘Experiments and Considerations Touching Colours’. Wherein Boyle ruminates on such considerations as the inherent or fleeting nature of colour in the rainbow, in froth, conducts experiments with prisms in enlightened rooms.

 and documents them among many other experiments, all in service of coming to a greater understanding of the true nature of light and colour in the world around him.

He issues an invitation to all to continue his work.

“... even when we find not what we seek, we find something as well worth seeking as what we missed.” Robert Boyle, Of Unsucceeding Experiments, 1661

Works shown at The Custom House Studios and Gallery, Westport, Co. Mayo April 2019
with ‘Internalum’ paintings 

a convenient wind - 140x100cm acrylic on canvas 2019 

Robert's Head - 45x51cm oil on canvas 2016
There is a story behind this painting. One of convergence or synchronicity, mere coincidence or perhaps a random series of events. However, even if it be merely random these events led me to something altogether quite the most generative and fruitful indeed.

This is one of those paintings which started and continued to be unfinishable so it was thrown aside in 2014. I picked up in 2016, turned it upside down and within a few strokes it became this.

During the repainting I heard in my head “Roberts Head”, repeatadly. Which Robert? Why Robert?

Within the same space of time I heard for the first time on the radio in the car about the Irish Alchemist, Robert Boyle, a natural philosopher. He had written a book about colour, in 1664. Available online I began my intriguing and ongoing journey with Mr Boyle.

(Talking History - The first modern scientist on Newstalk with Eoin Gill and other scholars)

Gallery walkthrough and a voice work - excerpts from “Experiments and Considerations Touching Colours” Robert Boyle 1664.

Diaphanous Bodies, Shining Bodies and Colour’d Bodies are terms used repeatedly throughout the text. I took these as my starting point and continued the series of 'body' paintings I started in 2016. 

The work maps internal space, invisible to the eye, continuing an abiding exploration into awareness of the subtle body, where colour and form are felt out and structure shifts until a rightness or truth is felt.

Another aspect of the writings I appreciate is Boyle's obvious curiosity and enjoyment of devising experiments to prove or disprove the emphatical nature of colour in a body; his loose almost hobby-like examination of all manner of colour related subjects. I revel in the run on sentences and terms I must look up to understand. I used Boyle's text as a prompt and reminder to conduct my own 'promiscuous experiments' within the realm of light, colour, reflection, and refraction.

the day were clear and the object strongly enlightened - 71x92cm acrylic on canvas

the want of a sufficient liveliness - 90x105cm acrylic on canvas 2019 ( in the OPW Collection)

Inflected Superficies of the Water reflect the Brightness of the Sky rather Inward than Outward -
100x120cm acrylic on canvas 2020

The Sky is Blue,  ARTWORKS 2020 Carlow Arts Festival and VISUAL Annual Open Submission. 

“Artists were invited to take inspiration from John Tyndall, the Carlow Scientist who discovered why the sky is blue. Tyndall is understood to be one of the founders of climate science. Gathering a diverse selection of ideas from artists working nationally and internationally, The Sky is Blue presents work in film, painting, sculpture, new media and photography. ARTWORKS 2020 celebrates contemporary visual art and its potential to engage a critical and heightening awareness of environmental change.”

This Winters idea of Spring - 90x109cm acrylic on canvas 2019 (private collection)

RHA 2020 Nick Miller on Left, Pat Harris on Right. (photo David Clarke)
Records of that particular air of North Mayo hanging  alongside each other on the wall of the RHA Gallery, Ely Place, Dublin.

A multitude of lucid bodies - 85x120cm acrylic on canvas 2020
RHA 2020, invited artist (private collection)

Sonorous Waves - 100x130cm acrylic on canvas 2020