at Origin Gallery from 15th June 2017
Opening by Catriona Yeats (granddaughter of W.B. Yeats).
Yeats and Sligo
Though born in Dublin, Yeats and his family relocated to Sligo very early in his young life. Therefore, it is no mystery as to why he came to regard Sligo as his childhood home. Several of his poems were inspired from his surroundings, the mountains, the lakes and whilst the storytelling of the place caused him to write the famous verse, The Lake Isle of Innisfree. Calling Sligo “The Land of Hearts Desire”, the beauty of his adopted home became the theme of much of his early poetry.
Ben Bulben, in particular, on Sligo’s coast inspired Yeats to write the poem Under Ben Bulben, the title of Maurice Meade’s current exhibition at Origin. Yeats is buried in Drumcliff cemetery which is visited by hordes of poetry loving tourists to Ireland every year.
Maurice Meade – Artist’s Statement
From these perspectives and experiences, my paintings explore the fundamental nature of form and sound and place. Abstraction and explorative composition enable me to deconstruct my interactions with my surroundings and construct new perceptions and meaning. Swans embody the lifelong bond between Eva Gore Booth and Countess Markievicz while the departure of geese symbolizes both the lack of support for the Hugh Lane Art collection in Dublin in the early nineteen hundreds and the mass exodus of people from Ireland.Under Ben Bulben is the theme for my exhibition of oil paintings and serigraph prints at the Origin Gallery, Dublin. These works are inspired by the iconic Ben Bulben and Knocknarea mountains that watch over the megalithic tombs and early Christian monuments in Sligo, the poetry of WB Yeats, and dreams I have had. For forty years, I have fished Glencar Lake and Lough Arrow looking up at Ben Bulben’s head in awe as WB Yeats once did. The swans at Glencar Lake – my ever present companions. I love to find interesting natural and manmade objects and resurrect them through painting. As a musician, sound and making music are important concepts in my work.
I depict the fiddler at the precise moment he is about to strike up a tune. His eyes command us to listen and I ask you to do the same. The foreground of Innisfree is the terrain of the island itself so I am there while I am not as Yeats longed to be there when he wrote his poem in London. With pronounced chiaroscuro, old rusted road lamps evade darkness in sharp contrast to the vibrant colour and movement they emit in ‘Light Source.’ My earliest childhood memories are of my parents encouraging me to draw and paint. I paint these works to tell a story about my deep connection with Sligo and its local history, poetry, music and culture.
About the Artist
In 1972 Maurice graduated with first class honours from Crawford College of Art immediately afterwards taking up a teaching post with Sligo Vocational Education Committee. Maurice’s response to the Minister for Education’s call for submissions for a new art curriculum at Junior cycle was accepted. Between 1980 and 1996, Maurice held a number of senior posts with the Department of Education: Chief Advising Examiner, Education Officer on the Curriculum Examinations Board, and NCCA Education Officer for Art, Craft, Design.
Maurice played a pivotal role in the formulation and implementation of all aspects of the innovative Junior Cert Art, Craft, Design syllabus which was introduced to schools nationally in 1989. In addition, he conducted in-service courses in Sligo to support art teachers to implement the new Junior Cert, courses which eventually led to the national in-service programme for art teachers. Maurice works with various mediums but primarily oil on canvas. His work is inspired by his appreciation for the breath taking landscape of Co. Sligo in the North West of Ireland along with his interest in nature, local culture, music, folklore and history.
Striking compositions and representations of music and nature are recognisable features of his work. Maurice has held numerous solo exhibitions and he has exhibited in group shows including North West Artists Exhibition at Sligo Art Gallery, The Hermione Art Exhibition, Alexandra College, Dublin, Kennedy Art Gallery, Harcourt Street Dublin and the Lavit Gallery, Cork. He has completed commissions for private and public clients. Public clients include Stiefel Laborotories Inc. Sligo and Co. Sligo V.E.C. In 2003 and 2004 he was awarded two residencies at the Cill Rialaig Artists Retreat in Ballinskelligs, Co. Kerry.
In partnership with David Knight and Willow Design Publishing in Boyle, Co. Roscommon, Maurice’s work has been featured in WB Yeats series of cards, calendars and prints.
Show runs until July 4th 2017.