A Spotlight on Abstract Expressionism

Abstract Expressionism refers to a period of art based in New York dating from 1940s - 1950s. It is a post war movement and was most probably influenced by the influx of Avant Garde European artists and Surrealists landing in New York in the 30s and 40s while fleeing Nazi Germany. These refugee artists exposed local artists to new experimentational work that was happening In Europe at that time. It was the first art movement to propel American art into an international sphere and place New York firmly at the centre of Western art, a role previously held by Paris.

The term was first coined in Germany in 1919 in the magazine Der Sturn regarding German Expressionism and was later used to describe the work of Wassily Kandinsky who is generally considered as the pioneer of abstract art. Abstract Expressionists produced work that resists being defined by a united style but instead the artists used abstraction to convey strong emotional or expressive content. The art itself tends to be large scale and doesn’t conform to traditional processes in use of materials. For the period in which it existed abstract expressionism was seen by many to be an expression of freedom especially within a politically repressed America where the fear of communism permeated through society.

Though the movement is considered to have started with Jackson Pollock and William de Kooning. its earliest forerunners were considered to be Arshille Corky and Hans Hoffman. However abstract expressionist artists were based round small area of lower Manhattan in New York between the Walldorf Cafeteria to the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Art to The Club, a loft where artists met to discuss and debate art late into the night. Jackson Pollocks studio was on 8th street, William de Kooning and Phillip Gustons were on East 10th and Franz Kline made the Cedar Street Tavern on University place his main base along with many of his contemporaries. The Cedar Tavern is considered by some historians to be the incubator of abstract expressionism due to the number of artists who gathered here at that time.

Abstract Expressionists in History

Jackson Pollock  Mural (1943)  Image Credit:   https://news.artnet.com/

Jackson Pollock Mural (1943)
Image Credit:

Willem de Kooning.  Woman, I . 1950–52.  Image Credit:  https://education.moma.org

Willem de Kooning. Woman, I. 1950–52.
Image Credit: https://education.moma.org

Rust and Blue (1953) by Mark Rothko  Image Credit:  https://www.mark-rothko.org

Rust and Blue (1953) by Mark Rothko

Image Credit: https://www.mark-rothko.org

Contemporary Abstract Expressionism

Alexandra Romano The bottom of the oean ..Alive! (2017) Artfinder.    View on Artfinder

Alexandra Romano The bottom of the oean ..Alive! (2017) Artfinder.

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Robert Chambers Resurgence (2017) Artfinder.JPG    View on Artfinder

Robert Chambers Resurgence (2017) Artfinder.JPG

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Robert James Miskines 11 No. 19 (2017) Artfinder.    View on Artfinder

Robert James Miskines 11 No. 19 (2017) Artfinder.

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Michael B Sky Abstract 8 - 10 (2012) Artfinder    View Full Details on Artfinder

Michael B Sky Abstract 8 - 10 (2012) Artfinder

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Exciting New Work by Irish Artist Chara Nagle


Irish Artist, Chára Nagle returns with a new body of work in March 2018.

The Haystacks exhibition will be hosted by Merrion Capital, at Heritage House, 23 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, launching March 7th, and running March 8th until March 21st, 2018. The exhibition will be open to the public from 10.00am to 5.00pm, Monday through Friday.

This twelve-piece series, created using tempera grassa on large board, captures the essence of the Irish country landscape at harvest time, inspired by the Kildare farm of her mother’s youth.

Described as "Tightly rolled haystacks rise from scorched grounds, pushing upwards against heavy horizon lines. Dynamic cloudscapes and golden shafts of light in some, inky nighttime skies, shot through with floods of moonlight elsewhere. A remarkable, evocative collection of farmland scenes, Haystacks will awaken summertime memories of Ireland."

binocular girl.jpg

Chára Nagle is best known for her widely acclaimed Moments 1 collection - flamboyant, sensuous figurative paintings, that captured the excesses of the Celtic Tiger.

She later worked as Artist in Residence at The Curragh, where her dynamic equestrian and horse-racing scenes were in huge demand and now sit in public and private collections across the world




Haystacks captures the raw, scorched beauty of lands that have been stripped of their cover. Large, tightly wound hay bales are scattered across the landscape, their cylindrical form modern and industrial, the natural content barely contained, bursting from their binds. The ground is spiked and bruised. Each painting captures a different mood, with low horizon lines and animated cloudscapes, shafts of golden light and inky night time skies reflecting the mercurial nature of the Irish weather.

Known for her use of bright acrylic colours in her figurative works, Haystacks required a very different medium. Chára began researching traditional painting methods and following a visit to the Louvre, the Old Masters works in tempera provoked an interest. Mineral pigments from Magasin Sennelier in Paris were sourced, derived from natural materials. Chára mixes her paints daily, adding organic eggs, distilled water, Stand oil and Damar varnish to each pigment to create tempera grassa. The purity of this paint reflects the clarity of the subject and the finished effect is transcending and durable. Chára describes using these materials as akin to “painting the source, with the source”.

Haystacks are of course a subject which many artists have approached, from Monet’s 1890’s Haystack series to Paul Henry’s use of haystacks as one of many elements in the narrative of his stunning Achill scenes. Chára spent much time considering and observing how these great artists and many others tackled the material, to find her own response to the subject.

About Chara

Originally from Cork, she graduated from NCAD in the mid-nineties and after stints in advertising in London and New York, she returned to Ireland to set up CN Design, one of Ireland’s most successful creative agencies, working on experiential campaigns for premium brands including Jameson, BMW, Guinness and Coca Cola. She stepped away from the corporate design world in the early noughties to focus on her own work, which she describes as “Heightened realism in style, larger than life.”






Lots of Fun and Quirkiness in the work of Irish artist Frank O'Dea

'I should have known better' by Frank O'Dea

'I should have known better' by Frank O'Dea

I came across an exhibition by Frank O'Dea quite by chance late last year as I was walking down Dawson street and was really pleasantly surprised.  Frank is an Irish artist living and working in Dublin both from his studio in Clontarf and from his art gallery Balla Ban based in Dublin's Westbury mall.

When I say I was pleasantly surprised it wasn't that it was a surprise that the work was so good but more that it put me in such a pleasant humour after viewing the exhibition. Frank has developed his own unique style which is influenced by music, fashion and popular culture. but what's so interesting is the sense of fun and movement in his work. In one particular piece I could almost hear the swish swish of the girls skirts as they sashayed down the catwalks. I could feel the jealousy through the eyes of a lover and hear the soft strum of the guitar . He has a great ability to capture a moment, a feeling or a mood with the slant of an eye, the arch of the back or slouching shoulders.

His work is definitely worth checking out and I look forward to the next installment

Frank's work is available at his own gallery Balla Ban. Westbury Mall, Dublin 2


Balla Ban. Westbury Mall, Dublin 2

"Ten Night Paintings" - Colin Davidson at the Oliver Sears Gallery

Born in Belfast, graduating from the University of Ulster with a first Class Honours degree in Design in 1991 Colin Davidson worked in design for print up until 1999 when he started to paint full time.

His first exhibition ‘No Continuing city’ at the Tom Caldwell Gallery included large paintings of Belfast as seen from high viewpoints. It was noted that it was the first unique view of a Belfast emerging after years of the Troubles.

Angela Merkel
Seamus Heaney
Brad Pitt

Davidson continued painting with an urban theme between 2006 to 2010 where he focuses on the illusionary world seen in the window reflections around the city.

Davidson's more recent work focuses on large scale paintings of the human face with the resulting in International acclaim for some of his portraits including that of the actor Brad Pitt, the poet and playwright Seamus Heaney, the poet Michael Longley and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel commissioned by Time magazine.

Davidson's lstesst exhibition, a series of nudes titled ‘Ten Night Paintings’ is at the Oliver Sears Gallery – from Sept 1st to Oct 13th 2016 and is well worth a visit.

Images from www.colindavidson.com and www.oliversearsgallery.com


Contemporary Realist Painter: John Doherty

John Doherty, Closed

John Doherty, Closed

Born in Kilkenny in 1949, John Doherty first studied architecture at Bolton street, College of Technology before moving to Australia to pursue a career as an artist. After splitting his time for many years between Australia and Ireland he resides the majority of the time in West Cork.

Although John has completed a number of traditional landscapes most of his work focuses on the facades of buildings that are dilapidated or unused that can be seen in any typical Irish rural town. He uses the techniques of contemporary realism which capture the realistic surfaces of aging buildings giving a sense of how neglected and bereft each building has become. His images can evoke a sense of sadness at the passing of time but with a stillness to each image as if the buildings have been forgotten as the rest of the world progresses.

John’s work is in the public collections atthe National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; the Institute of Modern Art, Chicago; the Irish National Stud, Kildare; and Artbank in Sydney.

John Doherty: Vet's Surgery

John Doherty: Vet's Surgery

John Doherty: Kendrick Place

John Doherty: Kendrick Place

John Doherty: Five Bells, Going Down

John Doherty: Five Bells, Going Down

Photographer Stephanie Pearl crosses the boundaries between fairy tale and reality

Stephanie Pearl’s beautiful photography depicts mainly women in scenes that appear haunting and yet as if you are capturing a glimpse of a story being told. The costumes and forest landscapes add a fairy tale romantic quality to the images but the light conveys the impression that all may not be right with the scene and that something sinister may be about to happen. Strange, ethereal, bewildering and other worldly are all words I’d use to describe her work and definitely more of an experience than just a photograph.

Celebrating one of the greatest seascape artists in history

Ivan Aivazovsky born 29 July 1817 – 2nd May 1900 was a Russian Painter who is considered to be one of the greatest artists of the sea throughout history. Born into an Armenian family, Ivan was mostly based in Crimea but following his education he traveled through Europe stopping for a time in Italy.

The ninth wave, 1850, Ivan Aivazovsky

The ninth wave, 1850, Ivan Aivazovsky

On his return to Russia Ivan was appointed as the main painter for the Russian Navy, he was sponsored by the state and was well regarded during his lifetime often going on military maneuvers.

Ivan’s work is normally exhibited in several galleries throughout Russia but to mark what would have been his 200th birthday all of his work has been brought to Moscow where it is being shown the Tretyakov gallery until the 20th November 2016

Amidst the waves, 1898, Ivan Aivazovsky

Amidst the waves, 1898, Ivan Aivazovsky

Hauntingly desolate Interiors by Matteo Massagrande

Matteo’s haunting but photo realistic paintings of desolate interiors give the viewer a glimpse of a life gone by or an absentee space. You can really feel the wistful loss of the buildings inhabitants through Matteo’s soft palette, use of light and cinematic perspective. As the viewer is drawn through the pictures you get a sense of the vacancy of the rooms but yet imagine a time when they were full of life.

Born in Padua, Italy Matteo studied and absorbed the Renaissance masters and although he has created his own style he too uses multiple focal points to give the impression that the room is being viewed simultaneously from different angles yet still retains perfect perspective.

Romain Langlois bisets boulders with fascinating results

Self-taught sculptor Romain studied the anatomy to understand the human body which he has reflected in his work of dissecting boulders. Through the dissection Romain has used bronze to fascinating results which is to unleash the perceived inner energy of each object. But it gives the effects of pulling apart a living object. The effects are quite reminiscent of the sinew and muscles contained within the human anatomy with the contrasting textures of the bronze against stone highlighting the differences between internal and external.

You can view more of Romain’s work on his website

Original article VIA  


THe Spectacular landscapes of Mikko Lagerstedt

Mikko Lagerstedt is a self taught fine art photographer native to Finland. His work focuses on atmospheric photography aiming to capture visually and emotionally captivating pictures with his goal to capture the feeling he experienced when taking the photograph.

He captures early misty mornings and starry nights in both Finland and Iceland catching the light as it gradually changes. He uses a process of stitching digital elements together and using Photoshop and Lightroom for enhancements. His resulting images are almost unrealistic but astoundingly beautiful. You can view more of his work here on his website


David McLeod's exploration of the flocking motion

Have you ever been mesmerised by a school of fish or a flock of birds? Check out Australian artist David McLeod’s latest offering. He has created the most fantastic animations of moving particles based on this behaviour. David says that he set out to “explore different properties of the flocking motion and how to break apart and then collect the group in ways that felt organic.”

David goes even further to explore the effects of colour alongside the motion. It’s like a modern day lava lamp – captivating , relaxing and fascinating all at once. David McLeod is a multi disciplinary illustrator and artist based in New York. You can follow David on here on Instagram


The Longest Art Gallery in the world

Beneath Sweden’s capital of Stockholm lies 110km of an intricate web of underground train lines. The walls of these stations have been decorated with paintings, installations, mosaics and sculptures by 150 artists since the 1950’s and is famed as the world’s longest art gallery.

Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland fine art, destination and travel photographer Conor MacNeill now travels the globe and is renowned for his landscapes, cityscapes and astrophotography.

Conor set about photographing the artwork in the 90 out of 100 stations which have been decorated. He worked well into the early hours of the night capturing the unique beauty of an empty station


Canadian Artist Adam Lupton

Canadian artist Adam Lupton was born in Vancouver Canada in 1987 but now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Adam holds a Bachelors of Communication Design from Emily Carr University of Art and Design and a Master of Fine Arts from the New York Academy of Art

Adam’s work explores the themes of personal and social psychology in contemporary society. His work s positioned between realism and expressionism and while painting in oil he uses blurred lines, distorted and duplicated characters


Scottish Artist - Scott Naismith

Scott Naismith is a Scottish landscape artist working from his studio in Glasgow. After graduating from the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee with a BDes in illustration and printmaking Scott set up as a full time artist travelling around his native Scotland depicting the landscape and capturing the lochs, glens and isles of his native West Coast.

Scott’s landscapes are atmospheric using vivid colours to which he injects a positivity and energy as he captures the changing light conditions of skies. His more recent work focuses on light breaking through the clouds with his use of colour becoming an emotional response.


You can view more of Scott’s work on his website at www.scottnismaith.com


ART - Whats ON: Mothers and Daughters Exhibition- Wexford

The Gallery at Newtownbarry House hosts a series of summer exhibitions, opening with a group show of work by Irish, American and German artists. The display encompasses painting, drawing, print, photography and collage. A second exhibition ‘Mothers and Daughters’, examines the relationships of mothers and daughters engaged in artistic practices. Work by three duos will be displayed, featuring Clody and Alice Norton, Maria and Melissa Levinge, Bernadette Kiely and Amelia Caulfield. A final show will present prints by a range of contemporary print makers.


Opening a series of summer exhibitions at the Gallery at Newtownbarry House is a group show by Irish, American and German artists. They will be showing in a range of mediums including drawing , paint, photography, print and collage.

This is followed by an interesting exhibition examining the relationships between ‘Mothers and Daughters involved in artistic practices. This features work by Clody and Alice Norton, Maria and Melissa Levinge and Bernadette Kiely and Amelia Caulfield.

The third show will display prints by a range of contemporary printmakers

Group Exhibition: until 27 June
Mothers and Daughters: 3 – 25 July
Print Show: 29 July – 28 Aug

Image: Christina Thomas

Image: Christina Thomas