I’ve been exploring Homelessness in my work for a while now and recently, I’ve become interested in the use of cardboard, whether it’s for sitting on, for insulation or for signs. I began to use it myself for drawing on. “Black marker on cardboard” seemed more fitting for the subject matter than “oil on canvas”.
So, one of the pieces for my upcoming exhibition in The Bourn Vincent Gallery in Limerick University is an installation of drawings on discarded bits of cardboard, bits stuck to the wall with tape, bits leaning against the wall and others lying on the floor, drawings of life on the streets: dogs, pidgeons, men at work, buildings etc. In the same room, there will be a number of large oil paintings, portraits of homeless people, juxtaposed with paintings of unfinished appartment blocks, abandoned, left to the elements… The oil paintings are in the traditional genres – portraits, still lives etc – although the subject matter strives to subvert this hierarchy. Who is more fitting to be painted – a businessman, a politician or a homeless person? Also, which is more important – the oil paintings on the wall or the drawings on the ground?
It’s a mysterious occupation, working in the studio… I paint, I make things, I try out ideas, sometimes my mistakes lead to new directions and new work… To quote from the late Tony O’Malley: “ you work at it day after day and then suddenly, something happens, a revelation… ”
I made a few ‘constructions’ recently, here’s one below.