Diarmuid Mc Nevin ~ “IOMRAMH”

The show was at Origin Gallery 27th May- 20th June 2016

Diarmuid McNevin was born in Dublin in 1968. After emigrating Ireland in the late 80’s and working on building sites abroad, McNevin found himself one evening in 1987 in MOMA (Museum of Modern Art – NY) and says he had an experience that was “like a light bulb being switched on in his head.”He returned to Dublin in the early 90s and went to D.I.T Art College, graduating with a distinction. His first solo show at the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery followed soon after in 1996. Diarmuid had also worked in the fields of music and film; he was Co Director of a film called ‘Frederick Douglass and the White Negroes’ for TG4 – and is now destined for Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival in November of this year.

Though songwriter and lead singer in a band called ‘Northlight‘, painting has remained his first love. He has exhibited widely throughout Ireland and his current show in Origin will be his 7th solo show. Diarmuid’s work features in numerous private collections. His public collections include the OPW, Meath County Council and the D.I.T.

iomramh (pronounced imram):

a journey in space and time (a voyage of discovery)

An iomramh is a class of old Irish tale concerning a hero’s sea journey to the otherworld. Each of these journeys ostensibly takes place in the physical world, but in parallel with this they are, on a deeper level, also journeys to oneself.

The unconscious and transformative aspect of the ocean was acknowledged in ancient Irish spirituality (the iomramha) and also by the ancient Greeks (the Odyssey etc) and into the modern world with Herman Melville in Moby Dick and even in the work of Sigmund Freud.

Diarmuid feels art approaches the spiritual. He believes that the artist needs to withdraw from the world in order to return to it enriched by some experience gained through the artistic process. Therefore the final art work is a point along the trail of a journey that the artist has made in order to know themselves and the world more deeply. So the artistic process is a kind of Iomramh in itself.

The artist has always been fascinated by life at the edge because he believes that this is where the conscious and the unconscious meet and this is where art and spirituality reside. It’s perhaps for this reason that many of the themes in the current show are based on sea caves along the west coast of Ireland, such as those in Ballinskelligs bay, mentioned in Michael Kirby’s work: Cuas na Léime and Cuas na Móna, to name two. Others are evoked by the writers of the Blaskets such as Tomás O’Criomhthain “and to hear the sea-tide, lonely in the caves”. Diarmuid thinks of these paintings as journeys into darkness and back into the light again…

His work in painting has been paralleled with a strong interest in the sea and with boat building. He has undertaken voyages in boats built by himself to islands off the coast of Ireland, and the work contained in this show is based on these experiences.

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