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Composition


The face dominates the 70cm x 70cm space. The unexpected colour and application of paint distort the image and yet add energy and interest to the emerging face.


Colour


Primary colours are used to create the structure and modelling of the face.


Style


Le Brocquy’s painterly style is unique. He does not belong to any school or group.


Technique and materials


The face emerging from the almost white canvas is painted wet into wet. That is, paint is applied and smudged or moved with the brush on the wet surface, then more paint is added or moved while the surface is still wet. Oil paint is the ideal medium for this style of painting.


Abstraction based on landscape


Tony O’Malley (1913–2003)


Born in Callan, Co. Kilkenny, O’Malley drew and painted from an early age. He began a career as a bank official. In 1940 he became ill with tuberculosis and painted a lot during his convalescence. He went back to banking, but by 1958 he resigned and took up painting full time. He found it difficult to get his work noticed in Ireland so he went to live in St Ives in Cornwall, England, in 1960, where he had visited on holiday in the 1950s. There was a thriving artistic community in St Ives and he kept a studio there for 30 years.


In 1973 he married the artist Jane Harris, who had connections with Lanzarote and the Bahamas,


140 APPRECIATING ART: SECTION 1


where they spent part of the year until the 1990s, when they returned to Ireland.


Hawk and Quarry in Winter, in Memory of Peter Lanyon (Fig. 7.20) is an abstraction based on landscape, as many of his paintings are. The cool colours suggest winter. He said of his work, ‘Abstraction does enable you to get under the surface, to get beyond appearance, and express the mind.’


O’Malley had a very successful career – his work is in collections all over the world. He was made a Saoi of Aosdána in 1990 and given an honorary doctorate by Trinity College in 1994.


Mid-Summer Window with Moths Subject


This colourful abstraction is based on an observation of nature. The title suggests a time and place (Fig 7.21).


Composition


A square panel is almost divided in half by a dotted yellow motif. The painting could be explained in terms of nature and creatures, but this would


Fig. 7.20 Hawk and Quarry in Winter, in Memory of Peter Lanyon, 1964, by Tony O’Malley, oil on board, 53cm x 72cm, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork


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