Responding to stories in the media, I find myself being affected by a sense of frustration on the one hand and by fear and anxiety on the other, and these feelings have coloured my work in recent years. However, I believe that art may produce a deeper and more enduring understanding of the contemporary experience than do media images and I have been developing a body of work which reflects on Irish emigration and on the notion of ‘home’.
It is a series of paintings of abandoned fireplaces in derelict houses on the West coast of Ireland, inspired by a poem by Cathal Ó Searcaigh entitled: “Na Bailte Bánaithe”, a poem about how spirits haunt the land, long after the people who lived there have gone.
My work is primarily about painting but I also work with installation and sculpture, depending on the themes that I am exploring.
The piece above is an oil painting of the fireplace in my great grandmother’s deserted cottage on the Fanad peninsula in the north of County Donegal.