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Breon O’Casey was born in London, son of the eminent playwright Seán O’Casey and the actress Eileen O’Casey. He has been residing in Penzance, Cornwall since the mid 1970’s. An artist of many talents, Breon is highly respected as a painter, sculptor, print maker, jeweller and weaver. Now in his seventies, he is concentrating predominantly on painting and sculpture at present.
Following national service he trained as a painter from 1949-51 at the Anglo-French Art Centre in London. He then went on to attend classes in sculpture at St Martin’s School of Art from 1953-51. But the turning point in Breon’s life was his arrival at the end of the 1950’s in St. Ives, the most celebrated community of artists working in Britain after the war, and an important centre for Modernist art. His training in three-dimensional forms can be traced back to this period when soon after his arrival, Breon began to work as an assistant to the sculptor Denis Mitchell and went on to serve his apprenticeship to Dame Barbara Hepworth from 1959-62. He found the congenial environment at St. Ives most conducive to his creative development as an artist, and found tremendous support in its community of fellow artists including Tony O’Malley, Sir Terry Frost, Peter Lanyon, Bernard Leach, Conor Fallon, Nancy-Wynne Jones and William Scott, to name but a few.
Breon O’Casey’s sensitive observations of his tranquil natural surroundings form the basis of his art, featuring birds, animals, farmyard fowl, leaves, trees and fruits. His paintings have an immediate impact combining simplicity of line and form with pure, vibrant colours, marking him out as one of the most exceptional colourists of our time.
His highly personal and individual vision is also apparent in his sculptures – he understands and promotes the expressive power of the simplified shape. Birds feature strongly as a theme, as does the human figure, but he approaches each one in his own unique fashion. Some are quiet and dignified while others are rigorous, daring and fun.
Yet one common thread runs through all of Breon’s art – his sincerity of approach, regardless of the medium he chooses to work in.
In June 2006 Breon’s 8metre sculpture Ean mór was unveiled to acclamation in the grounds of Farmleigh House, Phoenix Park; Dublin by Minister Tom Parlon T.D. in the presence of the Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney and other friends. This magnificent bird stands tall and silent in the grounds of the house and casts a quiet power over its surrounding environment.
Breon has already been the subject of a number of books on his art, and the Tate Gallery in London has bought his work. He is also represented in many other public collections, and has exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions in Ireland, England and America. He has had a number of solo shows at the Peppercanister Gallery, his most recent being in May 2006 and his art has been purchased for numerous distinguished private collections.