Irish art, sculpture

Are you wondering what to do next?

I’ve spent the last two days clearing out the studio (it’s now in a worse mess than before) but it’ll be better tomorrow, hopefully.

It’s not a bad thing to do. You can get totally overwhelmed by the detritus of old projects and the bits and pieces ‘that might possibly be useful some day’, and this burgeoning clutter can have a detrimental effect on your mood as well on your workspace.

Progress? 6" x 6" metal grid, shadow, 2004 artwork by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
Progress?   6″ x 6″ metal grid, shadow, 2004

You see, for the most part, you’re on your own in this space, working away at something – unlike any “normal people’s work. Yes, it’s a strange occupation. I remember once the late Tony O’Malley said to me: “Painting is a mystery, like poetry… you have to listen. It’s available to you, as long as you don’t presume…”

Still, you sometimes stand there alone, wondering what to do next.

But as I was clearing, I came across this piece of wire (see above). I made that back in 2004 and it was exhibited in 6×6 for Ireland at the Central Academy of Fine Art in China (organised by James Ryan of the 411 Gallery, Hangzhou).

Yes, of course, it’s just a bit of ould wire but I like to think of it as a 3-dimensional drawing. It was referring to all those building projects that were underway back then. It had no colour, increasing the effect of the cold inhumanity of it all.

I was incorporating those grids into a lot of the work back then.  Below is another one, a more hopeful one, I suppose.  Breaking free from the grid. The shadows and the different sources of light were an important element in these works.

Birdsong, 6" x 6", oil on canvas, metal grid, shadow, 2005 artwork by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
Birdsong, 6″ x 6″, oil on canvas, metal grid, shadow, 2005

So, if you’re wondering what to do next – why not have a rummage in the attic, or in the shed.  You just never know what you might find or what new direction it might lead you. (Don’t throw anything out) and, if you happen to come across something interesting… maybe you’ll let me know about it?

Central Academy of Fine Art, Beijing, China


Music, sculpture

Canada and Ireland

Irish Famine Sculpture, Dublin Docks

Yes, well… emerald green dye is really not my thing, or all that razzmatazz, but on St. Patrick’s Day, I often think of the Irish people who now live in other countries around the world, especially those who were forced to emigrate from “that sore oppresséd island that they call the Shamrock Shore”.

Recently I was at a performance of “Marbhna 1916”, a new requiem composed by Odhrán Ó Casaide, to remember those who died in the Easter Rising.  Kevin Vickers, the Canadian ambassador attended and he told us that on the island of New Brunswick, where he comes from, that there is a Celtic cross in a graveyard and 247 Irish people buried there, people who came across from Ireland during the famine of the 1840s.

About one million people died in Ireland during that terrible famine, just 170 years ago, and another million fled the country on what were called the ‘coffin ships’. The bronze sculptures above (and details below) in Dublin’s Docklands are by Rowan Gillespie and are dedicated to those who were forced to emigrate. This location is a particularly apt as one of the first voyages of the Famine period was on the ‘Perserverance’ which sailed from Custom House Quay on St. Patrick’s Day, 1846.

Irish-Famine-sculpture, dublin docks

Irish Famine Sculpture, Dublin docks

A second series of famine sculptures by Rowan Gillespie was unveiled by President Mary McAleese on the quayside in Toronto in 2007, to remember the arrival of these refugees in Canada.  Canada was very good to us back then and these days they are opening their arms again to welcome in thousands of Syrian refugees.  I wonder when Europe is going to step up to the mark.

By the way, “Marbhna 1916” was being recorded by TnaG. You can listen to a clip at:

and it will be broadcast on Good Friday ( ). Also, you could listen back to Ambassador Vickers on the Marion Finucane show at:

Your comments welcome as always, thanks, eoin