Throughout my career as an artist I have attempted to explore and respond to the political, social and physical context in which I find myself.
I was born in Belfast in 1958. I studied Fine Art at the University of Ulster during the years 1976 to 1982. At that time my work was strongly influenced by the chaos around me, otherwise known as "The Troubles". In art college at the time we were encouraged to look towards America and international art trends to inform our practice. Whilst there was some benefits to be gained by this approach I felt that I needed to respond in a more immediate way to the reality of living through a highly charged conflict situation. It made no sense to me that what was happening outside the four walls of the college was being ignored inside it. In particular, during this time, I explored issues of identity and tribal loyalties (see “Crazy Icon!”) and how these loyalties inevitably led to communal violence.
In 1987 I was awarded an international fellowship programme to PS1 In Long Island City, New York. I spent 8 years in New York and 2 years in New Mexico. My work over these years evolved from the reverse position of being outside of the conflict and looking back. My cultural, political and historical baggage had to be somehow morphed with this new experience of living in a multicultural environment were identities were somehow absorbed and accommodated in the great Melting Pot of America.
In 1997 I returned to Ireland and moved to Galway in the west of Ireland. Over the past 16 years my work has reflected, and responded to, various personal life experiences as well as exploring the physical and historical environment of East Galway. I have recently produced a series of works looking at the life of Raftery the blind poet who wandered the roads I now wander in Craughwell, County Galway. I am also working on a series of ink drawings looking at the unfortunate fox, in part, stimulated by the experience of living in fox hunting terrain. For me the hunting of the fox is a metaphor for the creative process, push too hard an he’ll go to ground.