New One-Person Exhibition:
11 June – 2 July 2018, Belgrave St Ives
Private View: 9 June 6 – 8pm
Based in Swanage, Dorset from the early 1950s and working from studios in various parts of the world, Pádraig Mac Miadhacháin established a full time career painting for a living and living to paint.
Looking at places through the lens of colour is core to Pádraig Mac Miadhacháin’s work, and so we can understand why he over-wintered in places like the Balearic Islands (1950s), the Canary Islands (1960s and 1970s) and St Ives (1990s onwards), and how this fits with his earliest memories of his sea-side holidays on the east coast of Ireland. However, he always returned home to his adopted Swanage, where he continued to paint, swim, walk and ‘mooch along the beach’ (his words). This retrospective exhibition is the first attempt to view Mac Miadhacháin’s oeuvre in a chronological order. It is interesting to see not only the evolution of a personal visual language but also the artist’s ability to move from abstract to figurative and back again, from tonal painting to high chroma, minimalist to narrative, dependent on the subject, and artistic intent. The experiences of travel and the discovery of alternative cultures fed directly into his work and several paintings in this exhibition illustrate these various cultural references.
Fishing Port c1986 Oil on canvas; 50.5 x 61 cms
Pádraig Mac Miadhacháin was born in 1929 in Downpatrick, County Down, and trained at Belfast College of Art and the National College of Art in Dublin where he focused on portraiture before beginning his exhibiting career in 1951. Studying at Belfast and Dublin was a good solid training in technique and one that was to prove of huge underlying significance when his interest in much more contemporary art began to grow in the early 60s, following the winning of a Polish Government Scholarship to Krakow in 1960 and the resulting friendship with the landscape painter Piotr Potworowski, an artist with close links to the St Ives School. Further influence is suggested by Nicholas Usherwood in the catalogue essay to the new exhibition, where he points to “…an experimental shift of direction almost certainly confirmed by the shows he had alongside such distinguished Irish contemporary painters as Louis LeBrocquy, Camille Souter and Gerard Dillon in the Irish Exhibitions of Living Art at around the same time”.
Later in his career, the artists of the St Ives School were important influences; most notably, fellow Northern Irishman William Scott, Roger Hilton, Alfred Wallis and Ben Nicholson. Mac Miadhacháin was able to develop his own personal style without, at the same time, getting swamped by the tendency to abstraction at large.
The Harbour 2002 Oil on linen; 61 x 61 cm
The Gates Of Love Asila Morocco c1992 by Pádraig Mac Miadhacháin. Showing at Belgrave St Ives, 11th June to 2nd July 2018.
Mac Miadhacháin travelled widely throughout North and South America, Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Republic of Ireland. A long exhibiting career included 17 solo shows in London and exhibitions in Madrid, Dublin, Belfast, Las Palmas, Krakow, Los Angeles, Seattle and Vancouver. He held a retrospective exhibition at the Molesworth Gallery, Dublin, in 1999, and in 2000 was one of three artists included in Fedden’s Choice at Lena Boyle Fine Art – an exhibition of the work of Mary Fedden’s favourite artists. The National Self Portrait Collection of Ireland and the Arts Council of Ireland hold examples of his work, which can also be found in private collections all around the world.
A fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by Nicholas Usherwood is available.
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They Left Their Shadows 2008 Oil on board; 20 x 25 cm
Portrait of Pádraig Mac Miadhacháin by Samantha Cook
For further information and images, please contact Richard Blackborow:
Belgrave St Ives, 22 Fore Street, St Ives, Cornwall TR26 1HE
tel. 01736 794888