From Left to Right

Foal weight, Oil on prepared board, 122cm X 122cm

Wisp tripod, Oil on prepared panel, 122cm X 122cm

Hinged Pillar, Oil on prepared panel, 122cm X 122cm

To make a figurative image, to make reference to the omnipresent symbol of the human form in a work of art, is often seen as a gateway to the articulation of the most potent and significant themes of the human condition. However, the body as a symbol has become and is becoming more and more politically contested, categorised and differentiated into a complex web of correctness and historical and political hostilities. The act of cultural ritual that is representation through painting, of mapping out cultural belief systems onto a two-dimensional picture plane, meets a difficult junction when it comes to putting the human form into our visual and symbolic order – what essentialises or constitutes ‘Human’? Black or White? Male or Female? Tall or Small? Fully Able-bodied or Disabled? The ‘Human’ Body becomes apparently unrepresentable.

What links us all together however, and places us on a common playing field, is our bodies’ architectural quality. Its structural properties and objectness (to use a dangerous word), that puts us into and separates us from the landscape. We identify people, animals, plants and inanimate objects under certain aspects of visual form. We can sympathise with solidity, movement, weight, height and width. Even cold, concrete buildings reflect certain aspects of ‘human’ visuality. The idea of humanity goes beyond specific symbolics and categories of the species Homo Sapiens, and into a more abstract visual realm that facilitates our capacity for reasoning and metaphysics. We see value and meaning in abstract visual properties more than we might believe.

Painting using an abstract visual language becomes a politically sensitive and possibly more potent means of representation, and figuration a device for identifying and connecting with a sense of object-naturedness that appears contingent with humanism.

Notebook Drawings

March 21, 2010

Structural Paintings

March 21, 2010

Oil on Panel, 122cm X 122 cm

From a new series of paintings on the poetics of structure.

I want to look at structures that fall between security and frailty, that display a tension of weight, support, and intricacy and solid mass.

Colour plays the part of being descriptive, and also of articulating particular strengths, or energy, of light

Oil on Panel, 122cm X 95cm

Moving into abstraction from figuration, aspects of the latter were carried over, most notably structure and the idea of a figure in space. I had been researching mythology at the time, at the idea of metaphorical narrative in storytelling relating to religious or political issues and ideas. I was reading Greek myth and specifically the myth of Minos and the Minotaur, basically i saw a point in the narrative that dealt with the tension between the public and private individual, and took that as a point of departure for a series of paintings.

Enkephalin refers to a hormone in human neurology that relays messages to the brain controling pain and damage prevention. This is one of many was in which the language of the body’s mechanics is structured around and facilitates the self and the individual – that aspect of the human condition that Marxism battles so heroically against. I felt that by referring to this hormone enkephalin I would be contextualising the paintings firmly within the subject of the human body and its discourses.

The figure and Anatomy

March 21, 2010

Studies of anatomy led me to devote much time to drawing the skeleton and muscle system using layering building the image up, it’s a great subject to work with: the structure, order, lines, the simple and complex passages, and the downright immediacy as an image. the power of the human body as a visual knows no bounds

Colour Contrast

March 5, 2010


I had been been doing research and came across a tendency in gothic icon painting that used the binary of green and red colours, using the visual of strong colour contrast to lend that little bit extra

Sensational …

February 28, 2010

I painted this image back in 2007, while learning a few tricks of the trade with Donal Murray who taught me briefly early in school before furthering his skills in the Academy in New York. An introduction to the theory of colour with regards the modelling of form in paint quickly moored a fascination and, soon enough, an obsession with the potential of painting in my brain.

By being able to judge light from shade – having that feeling of a low sun on one side of your face – and playing with that aspect of sensation that pulls between a visual on a two-dimensional picture plane and a multi-sensory experience, I had found something I believe could fashion something pretty powerful.

This wee painting marked the start of a sweet entanglement with colour, a subject of countless works of art and culture throughout the years!

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