Wednesday 22 March 2023

Rooftop archive 9 - early 1990s

Yes, this rooftop archive is pretty big, but it has served a purpose to go through everything that was there taking measurements and photographing past work, and best of all PURGING work that I don't need hanging around to haunt me! I have recently blogged about the archive (installments 7 and 8) here and here. In installment 6 - here - I have also given links to all the previous installments.

As this piece is undated, I am relying on memory and circumstances to suggest that it was either from 1989 or 1990. It was created after my first solo exhibition in Dublin while I was living with my parents in Bray. It is of course based on dream imagery except for the crazy complicated lightning bolts – lightning configurations that I actually saw during a storm in Ontario  in the 1980s! This untitled work hung on my Mum’s bedroom wall (which had been my room when I lived there) for many years and was returned to me after her death in 2016. This untitled, mixed media work is 157 cm x 150 cm.

In either the spring or summer of 1990, I returned to Toronto to be in a group show with nine other young artists. I created the sculptural element of a work to exhibit while I was in Ireland (a trellis table holding a house with a fimo figure dancing among stars who could be viewed through a bay window on the second floor of the house). Behind the sculptural element was this oilstick drawing, Two Waterspouts. Amazingly, I still had the huge roll of Strathmore paper my mentor professor (sculptor Hugh Leroy) gave me while an impoverished art student at York University, Toronto, some years before. I gessoed the paper before drawing the waterspouts, 107 cm x 63 cm. The sculptural element had live roses added to it for the exhibition; that part of the artwork was sold and I do not have any pictures of it! 

I was living in Toronto, perhaps in turmoil, when I drew this work on Oct 20 1991 (very specific date written on the back of the drawing!). Tornado, graphite on paper, 102 cm x 66 cm.

Two mediums I still enjoy a lot are combined in this drawing that I created while living in Toronto in the summer of 1992. Foxglove, oilstick & graphite on paper, 76 cm x 49 cm.

 In the early 1990s I was quite obsessed with stonework and windows in both ecclesiastical and secular ruins around Ireland. I think this obsession started when I was on holiday here in 1992 and visited a friend who had moved to rural Kerry and ruins nearer to where my parents lived on the east coast as well as ruins in Clones, close to where one of my sisters was living at the time. I did large, loose sketches of a number of windows using monotones from acrylic black paint and I later used these sketches as research for a new body of paintings that I entitled My Tower of Strength (taken from the motto on my family coat-of-arms). These painted drawings are all untitled, acrylic on paper, 76 cm x 56 cm (or 56 cm x 76 cm), the specific ruins that they are based on can be found in Clones (a church ruin), 

Kerry (outer wall of Ballycarbery Castle)

and Wicklow (Killadreenan near Newcastle). 

It is only the stonework in the drawing of the church window at Clones that I recognise as making its way into a future painting. 

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