A native of Walkinstown and a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, Deirdre has for a number of years resided in Amsterdam where she is highly regarded by discerning art collectors and museum curators. In Amsterdam in 1972, McLoughlin was inspired to work with clay on encountering the sculptures of Rosemary Andrews. For ten years she worked periodically in studios in Amsterdam and Dublin encouraged by the Dutch born / Irish based artist Sonja Landweer. In 1982 she was selected for EV+A and in the same year the ceramic sculptures of the Sodeisha Group and Sun at Noon, a marble work of Isamu Noguchi’s brought her to Kyoto. She opened her first solo exhibition there in 1984 in Gallery Beni where she first encountered works of two artists who were to have a big influence on her, Yasuo Hayashi and Susumu Arioka. The geometry in the work of the former and the impossibly fine balances in the work of the latter were in time to become part of her own vocabulary of form. After some time spent in China in 1985, Deirdre returned to Dublin where she worked until moving permanently to Amsterdam in 1988 where she currently resides with her husband Henk Brouwer, and where she is gaining a strong international reputation.
Deirdre has held two solo exhibitions at the Peppercanister in 1999 and 2003. Since her last exhibition with the Gallery, her work has appeared in exhibitions in New York and Honolulu, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands and in Ireland in the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of Ireland and the Royal Hiberian Academy. In The Figure in Fired Clay – Betty Blandino’s recent book on how artists have expressed the human figure from 3,000 – 2,500 BC to the present day – she closes with three coloured plates of the work of McLoughlin.
McLoughlin is not a prolific artist. Her ability to develop new forms in clay and to fire and refine them into durable exciting works of sculpture is world-class and has earned her the respect of fellow-artists worldwide from Japan to the USA, as well as many eminent connoisseurs. There is a spare elegant language in Mcloughlin’s sculptures which are finely finished and high fired for durability. Tense, still or full of movement, formal or quirky, they call up a human presence; abstract, sometimes described as biomorphic. She was recently part of the Organic Abstraction, Homage to Ruth Duckworth exhibition in New York. Her work processes are slow and her scale intimate – in any year few sculptures appear out of her studio. Her oeuvre lies in the tradition of Arp and Brancusi. She is a true original with a singular genius and single mindedness.
Full time in her studio, McLoughlin is a visiting lecturer/artist to ceramic and sculpture departments in a number of colleges. She has given Master Classes in the Fire Station Artists’ Studios and acted as External Examiner in the National College of Art and Design. She was awarded an Alexander Foundation Grant in 2000 in Switzerland, a Westerwald Prize in 2004 in Germany and a Culture Ireland Grant in 2006. Her last solo show with the Peppercanister Gallery was in 2008.