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Biography

Born in Dublin, I now live and paint near Carna in the Connemara Gaeltacht on the west coast of Ireland. My background is in the natural sciences, with a BA (Mod) in Zoology from Trinity College Dublin, a PhD on Oyster Culture in Ireland from the National University of Ireland Galway and a BA in Fine Art and Design from the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. In August 2008, I represented Ireland at Euro Celtic Art, part of the Festival Interceltique du Lorient in Brittany. My works are in the collections of the National University of Ireland Galway, University College Hospital Galway and Oireachtas na Gaeilge, An Culturlann Belfast, and in private collections in Ireland, UK, France, Switzerland and North America. I am a professional member of Visual Artists Ireland, un Societaire d’AYAC Salon d’Yvetot et de Haute-Normande and, until recently, a former board member of Lorg Printmakers Galway.

Artist statement

My practice attempts to replicate the ways in which the forces of time and nature (decay, destruction, etc.) metamorphose, etch and scar objects or surfaces to expose hidden forms. Terms of reference and influences allude to palaeontology, archaeology, zoology, mythology, cave art, Etruscan frescoes, peeling hoardings, mindless graffiti, and the general detritus of life.  

Metamorphism 

My work is inspired by how the forces of time and nature metamorphose, mould and sculpt natural and man-made surfaces. Through the use of mixed media, I have probed the ideas of permanence and mortality, and questioned what will endure and, in particular, how modern culture will be imagined or interpreted by a future civilization. My practice develops this theme via the erosion of topographic surfaces to reveal an unknown world of hidden images and hieroglyphs, which may be either left in their exposed state or recreated. The aim is to explore the conflicting forces of nature, i.e. birth coming from death, creation from destruction, and to show the viewer that stripping away the various strata of existence not only reveals the past but opens a door to the future.

Macalla na gCloch (Echo of the Stones) 

Is é coincheap an taispeantás seo ná na scéalta a d’inis na cloche duinn faoi stair an domhain a mhíniú tríd ealaín. Cé go bhfuil mo shaothair ealaíne teibíocht (abstract), tá “íomhánna” le fheiceáil inti. Tá mé ag iarraidh iad a dhéanamh rúndiamhracht agus dúrúnda, agus ba chóir do mhíniú féin a bhaint asti. Léiríonn na pictúirí mo smaointí ar na bhealaí ina bhfuil lorg na haimsire, an fharraige, an nadúir nó na dúile i ann dromchlaí a athrú agus a dealbhú mar saothair ealaíne.

Thagann an inspioráid ó na rudaí seo a léanas. Iontaisí (fossils): Tá eolaí in ann píctúir a cruthú faoi saol ar an plánáed seo 250 milliún bliain ó shin. Scríobhnóireacht ar cloche: Tá scéalta le fáil ó ogham as Éireann agus hieroglyphics san Eigipt. Iomhánna agus pictúirí ar ballaí uaimheanna. Péintéireach bunúsacht ón Astráil. Mapaí agus líníochtaí ar chlocha. Na frescoes a raibh fágtha tar éis scríosta Pompeii, mar shampla. Na cathracha atá curtha faoi gaineamglaigh (deserts) an Meán Oirthear. Leaca uaighe. Graffiti agus póstaer ar foirgnimh nua-aimsire atá scriosta ag lorg na aimsire. Clocha mar ábhar tógála: Úsaidtear le mílte bhliain agus tá seandálaí in ann scéalta a chruthú ó na rianta.

Ar deireadh, nuair a thagann deireadh le reimhse cinn daonna ar an pláinéad seo, mar is cinniúnacht, cén sórt “iontaisí” a bheidh fághta inár dhiaidh agus na míníthe a bhainfidh “sibhialtacht” eile asti. What will be our legacy?

Métamorphisme

Métamorphisme qui vient du grec et signifie : changement de forme, est une série de tableaux qui vise à interpréter le paradoxe d’un monde en chaos. L’Homme perçoit le passage du temps comme une dérive prédestinéee vers la décomposition et la mort; pourtant, la matière ne peut être ni créée, ni détruite. L’énergie reste immuable, seule la forme change, et l’essence de la vie, l’âme, est transformée. Métamorphisme est une reconstitution conceptuelle de la vie sur Terre, évoquant une transmutation de l’organique où l’immortalité est fossilisation. L’inspiration vient de l’observation de la nature et des images de décomposition et de négligence, dont certaines ont été photographiées sur le port de pêche de Lorient en 2007 et font référence à la faculté innée qu’a l’Homme de créer et de détruire.

Wabi-sabi

Wabi-sabi is the Japanese aesthetic of seeing beauty in decay and imperfection. It is a word I only became aware of recently and which, I excitedly believe, describes what I am trying to achieve in my work. 

Wabi-sabi is an intuitive appreciation of a transient beauty in the physical world that reflects the irreversible flow of life in the spiritual world. It is an understated beauty that exists in the modest, the rustic, the imperfect or the decayed; an aesthetic sensibility that finds a melancholic beauty in the impermanence of all things. The term wabi-sabi suggests qualities such as impermanence, humility, asymmetry and imperfection. Western principles of aesthetics, in contrast, value permanence, grandeur and perfection; principles that are rooted in Western philosophical notions of power, domination and control, whether of others or of nature. The art produced by such a culture is a visual and tactile expression of its values.

Reference: http://www.hermitary.com/solitude/wabisabi.html

Brendan O'Sullivan, Letterard, Cashel, Connemara, Co. Galway, Ireland F: 00353 (0)87 2903609 E: bwosullivan@eircom.net