This work follows a year living in Upper Teer (or Tír), a West Kerry townland at the foot of Mt. Brandon. My rented home, a traditional two-storey farmhouse which appears in several of the paintings, had been a holiday home for 20 years and is still known locally by the name of its previous owners. The house fosters a nostalgia for my grandmother’s ancestral farmhouse in Co. Down, where my mother spent most of her childhood summers and I would occasionally visit as a child, before it was later sold and abandoned for an adjacent new house.
The preoccupation with the contrast of light and dark continues from previous work. In the night paintings I am invoking the internal landscape of the individual viewer, be it warmth, comfort, home, memories of childhood or security. The viewer is cast in darkness and is an interloper, a voyeur, inquisitive to know, but through a lack of information might revert to memories for context.
The darkness is elemental and is ultimately the counterpoint to the safety and warmth of the lit interiors, although on closer inspection, some of these houses are not occupied, but are lit by an outside light.
In the day scenes of similar subjects, the viewer is cast in light - their vantage point itself illuminated - and is a spectator as the house has almost a megalithic solidity or presence in the landscape. It’s exterior is scorched into view by the absence of darkness. The interior is blocked from our view by relative darkness, empty now of the memories and warmth. We are reminded that the function of a house is to contain an interior, a place of privacy.
These images could also be a metaphor for a certain aspect of the psyche: the need for reflection before we venture into the outside world with it’s relative chaos and distraction: our true home perhaps being inside ourselves.
Maeve McCarthy, April 2010
MAEVE McCARTHY - Curriculum vitae
Born, Dublin, 1964
Education, NCAD, Fine Art
2008 Night and Day in America, The Molesworth Gallery
2006 The Molesworth Gallery
2002 The Frederick Gallery, Dublin
1998 Jo Rain Gallery, Dublin, (Kevin Kavanagh)
Selected Group Exhibitions
Revelations, National Gallery, Dublin (2008)
BP Portrait Award, The National Portrait Gallery, London, (1997,2004,2005)
RHA Annual Exhibition, Dublin, (1995,1999,2000,2004-2007)
The Frederick Gallery, Dublin, various shows, (1999 - 2004)
National Portrait Awards, Arnotts, Dublin, (1985,1986,1989,1999)
RHA Banquet Exhibition, Dublin, (1995,1996,2004)
Iontas small works, Sligo and Dublin, (1995)
Irish Graduates at The Festival Interceltique, Lorient, France, (1987)
EV& A, Limerick City Art Gallery, (1986)
RHA Portrait Prize (2006)
The Don Niccolo D' Ardia Carraciolo Award, RHA, (1995,2004)
Arnotts National Portrait Awards, Open Award - joint 1st, (1989,1999)
Irish Arts Council/Aer Lingus Artflight to Italy, (1997)
Residency at Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, (1997)
The James Kennedy Award, RHA (1995)
Irish Arts Council travel grant to Colorado, USA, (1995)
Portrait of Maeve Binchy for The National Portrait Gallery (National Gallery of Ireland), commissioned and presented with the support of Irish Life and Permanent plc.
Commissioned for one in a series of former Taoisí and one in a series of former Chief Justices.(1996)
Two past Presidents of The Royal Dublin Society, (2000)
Film work includes portrait of Sinead O'Connor for The Butcher Boy, directed by Neil Jordon (1996)
Selected reviews & publications
Irish Times, review of solo exhibition at the Molesworth Gallery,2006
BP Portrait Award catalogues, published by The National Portrait Gallery, London, 1997, 2004 & 2005
A buyer's guide to Irish art, edited by Meg Walker, Ashville Media Group, 2003