For Michael Beirne, making art has been central to his experience of the pleasures and struggles of living in the contemporary world. This new work establishes a territory which is not autobiographical or 'dream-like' in its narrative suggestions. Instead he presents a terrain of psychological and physical experience which draws deeply from shared and gauged intensities and passions, both disturbing and visionary, but always grounded in the earth, the body (of human, animal and plant) and the living mind.
In this extraordinary body of work, he first lays down the terrain on which the psychodynamics will unfold - a generally flat, cultivated territory under a brooding sky, into which he digs holes, unearths rocks, plants trees, releases flowers seeds, and cuts into shelves of earth. He covers dismembered bodies in exquisite lace, he crowns animals with eclipsed moons and releases internal organs to hover where lambs shed their skins, become children and float towards the divine.
It is a kind of 'animism' where everything has equal and eternal consciousness, (plant, machine, baby, rock, moon) and so everything is at once in a state of becoming itself, sometimes joyously, sometimes painfully but always honestly. Everything is familiar but re-imagined into a new landscape of metaphor.
Michael Beirne, born in Carlow in 1958, studied fine art at the Crawford School of Art, Cork. Solo exhibitions of his work include David Cunningham Projects, San Francsisco (2009); Sligo Arts Centre (2007); Butler Gallery, Kilkenny (2005); and Temple Bar Galleries + Studios, Dublin (1999).
Selected Group Exhibitions include Fenton Gallery, Cork (2000); RHA, Dublin (1997); Clock Tower Gallery, New York; and Arhus Kunstbygning, Denmark (both 1996). Beirne was commissioned by The Arts Council to produce work for the touring school show 'Heroes' (1986). Apart from The Arts Council, his work is included in the collections of Butler Gallery, Kilkenny and Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, Cork as well as several significant private collections in Ireland and abroad.