In light of the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, Singulart would like to highlight five Irish artists whose art inspires and touches us. This national holiday celebrates the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick, but celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Inspired by the festivities, we highlighted the portfolio of five artists hailing from the Emerald Isle. Discover nostalgic landscapes, self-questioning portraits and powerful abstracts.
« Layer by layer, colour by colour, I paint the essence, spirit, and energy of the world around me. »
Kirstin McCoy is an Irish painter who lives and works in the South of France. Influenced by the Impressionists, Expressionists and Fauvists, her canvases capture the wonders of nature, flora and fauna, under the brilliant “southern light”. This is coupled with seascapes from the blue waters of the Mediterranean sea.
McCoy employs both palette knives and brushes to achieve her painterly surface. This energy and dynamism is paired with a vivid colour palette to capture the essence, spirit and energy of the world around her. She believes in the expressive power of colour, taking her inspiration from the likes of Henri Matisse, Vincent Van Gogh and David Hockney.
« I transport seemingly meaningless sound-bite images from a place of apparent futility to one that searches for meaning through the transformative act of painting. »
Enda O’Donoghue is an exciting Irish artist whose works have featured in exhibitions, collections, publications and prizes in the United States, Ireland, Germany, China and Denmark. Taking an analytical and methodological approach, he merges interconnected themes to construct engaging visual narratives made up of disparate elements and fragments.
His work presents a forensic interest in the construction, the language and the mediated world of digital images, together with an ongoing dialogue with the medium and process of painting. His work is deeply influenced by the digital high-speed reality we now live in as he transports seemingly meaningless sound-bite images from a place of apparent futility to one that questions and searches for meaning through the transformative act of painting.
« As a ‘Fusionist’ artist, I mix influences from the East and West, along with genres and styles from the early twentieth-century to the present day. »
Amanda Watt is an experienced artist with international exposure. Her paintings are vibrant interior scenes along with semi-abstract figurative and landscape works. Watt is inspired by Gauguin’s neon colors, Japanese woodblock prints, cubism, and the expressionists’ use of color. She cites the pattern-making of Gustav Klimt and the highly stylized figures in Alex Katz and Tom Wesselman’s paintings as influences. Rainer Fetting’s use of bold color and gestural brushstrokes has also had an impact on her work.
Amanda Watt’s alternative perspective and vibrant colour palette can be found in her series of landscapes. Each takes a walk through the beautiful Irish countryside where Amanda now resides, but imbued with the color of California, which was her home for 25 years. Elsewhere, she likes blurring the borders of race, gender and sexuality – mirroring the way her painting style moves fluidly between orientalism, primitivism and expressionism.
« My work is a journey which enables me to connect with my inner self. »
Anna Matykiewicz is an exciting Polish-born, Irish-based artist whose works have featured in exhibitions and collections in the UK and Greece. In her aim to express dialogues that exist between the objects she paints and herself, she produces portrait paintings full of feeling and expression. Shifting from light hues to darker, more intense tones, she mixes colour and light according to her own personal experiences and the intended mood she means to represent.
In her portraits, she aims to support the acceptance of human emotions, and by doing so, shift towards a more positive outlook in life. Many of her works mirror her current emotional state with her later paintings becoming more colorful and courageous.
James Henry Johnston
« Looking at another person’s face reveals and reflects us. We relate to how the face or human figure is painted or distorted, it affects our equilibrium and as such moves us. This is a fundamental idea in my work: Using painting to move, to provoke emotion. »
James Henry Johnston is an Irish artist whose love for cinema is incorporated into his artwork. He gives his paintings a vibrancy that evokes a sense of movement to his still life pieces. Each series that comes from the Irishman is based around a particular theme and he sees the human face as the most potent primary image. Johnston uses his fingers and palette knife – as well as his brush – to distort the subject in his artworks.
This is how he describes his series Time Regained: “This series was for an international Arts Festival in the UK and was originally called “Whatever You Say, Say Something”. It is a series of paintings exploring the lability of memories, the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland, the knawing sense of absence and lost potential that this conflict left, and an expression of a desire to remain in peaceful times. It conveys loss, longing, bereavement, regret and love. “