Along with so many others, I was saddened to hear the news of Seamus Heaney's death a few days ago (Fri Aug 30). Obituaries for this amazing poet and Nobel laureate abound so it is hardly necessary for me to go into detail. I am reading Beowulf again, however. Although I was entertained by the fluffy 3D film a number of years ago, this book is entirely on a different level.
For my first solo show back in the 80s, I was working on a series of sculptural drawings created by erasing graphite from paper. On seeing some of my drawings a friend of mine told me they reminded him of Sweeney. I didn't know the reference and was promptly loaned Heaney's version of "Sweeney Astray", an epic Irish prose/poem. After reading the book, I understood my friend's reference and the co-relation to my work (the flight, the madness, the loneliness). I titled the drawing below "Sweeney Among the Roses" [graphite on Canson paper, approx 101 cm x 150 cm, 1989]. It was exhibited with the other drawings in April 1989 at Temple Bar Gallery & Studios, Dublin and a few months later, the exhibition in its entirety was also exhibited at the Nun's Island Arts Centre, Galway. Despite the subject, I find it interesting to remember that this was the only drawing of that series where the figure had her eyes open.