5 - 27 June 2009
Joseph O’Connor is an accomplished Irish artist who has chosen to remain outside the mainstream throughout his career. Born in Dublin in 1936, he studied art at the National College of Art in Dublin, followed by stints at Regent Street Polytechnic and Chelsea Schools of Art in London. His most recent solo show at the Peppercanister Gallery in 2004 was a great success and received exceptional critical appreciation. His very individual colour sense and quirky compositional style, with its powerful horizontal and diagonal rhythms, have appealed to many connoisseurs who have purchased his work, and watch his unique development with keen interest
O’Connor is a decidedly figurative artist with a lifelong love of the Dutch old masters. He has also got a special respect for the works of Delacroix and Carravaggio. His love of painting also extends to modern masters such as Nicholas de Stael, Amedeo Modigliani and Piet Mondrian. He painted religious compositions in his youth. In this exhibition he references Donatello and Poussin in the wonderful Lamentation (after Poussin) and Deposition (after Donatello) – he takes these subjects and makes them his own, in a highly individualistic way. Rendered in black and white and verging on abstract in composition, these two paintings are as evocative and moving as the works of the great masters before him.
Nowadays, his passion for sport offers him endless inspiration for individual artistic interpretation of its many forms. A number of his recent paintings have for their themes football, cricket and athletics, e.g. High Jumper and Through on Goal. Yet he is not simply trying to represent a sporting event – Joe is more interested in the actual figure, its dynamism, its character, and this can be seen through all areas of his work. He also reads avidly and collects old books and manuscripts. He is fascinated by history and all that has gone before and references the ancient days of the Roman Empire in his Fragment of the Arch of Titus. This exhibition also features a number of exquisite studies of human visages, both male and female, that attract and intrigue him. Included in this exhibition is Study towards Bela Bartok and Claude Debussey – rather than a direct representation, he seems to embody the spirit of the men in this wonderful painting.
He has shown regularly at the Irish Exhibition of Living Art, the Royal Hibernian Academy and the Royal Academy. He also has had solo exhibitions at the Hendriks and Taylor Galleries in Dublin, at Desmond Fine Art in London and also in Austin. He was included in an exhibition of modern Irish Art in Brussels in 1990, titled Images from Ireland, organized by the Department of Foreign Affairs. His paintings are also in the public collections of The Ulster Museum, The Arts Council of Ireland, the Office of Public Works, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
The Private View takes place on Thursday 4th June 2009 from 5.30-7.30pm and will be formally opened by fellow artist Michael Kane. The exhibition can be viewed prior to the Opening and will run until Wednesday 24th June 2009.