Work: in Paper

1987-1993: Works in Paper

Statement written in this period:

Art for me has always been closely bound up in my spiritual life; it works as a tool for clarifying my approach toward God. Each of my works in paper is intended as a metaphor for a spiritual insight, an attempt to bring into visual form this inner struggle.

Textures of nature serve as strong emotional triggers. I see them as clues to great, mysterious processes directly analogous to an underlying spiritual activity. I use these textures to suggest transformation and growth, to give movement and colour to my frameworks of simple shapes, shapes whose relationships and layers of associations symbolise certain spiritual concepts with which I have been struggling. These concepts are most often vague and intuitive, and it is only through the process of working them out visually that I seem able to grasp and enlarge them.

My shapes can come from any part of my experience, and have often included architectural forms, images of ships or of other vehicles of movement, and images from my basic Christian faith.
I am fascinated with this process of bringing belief into form, and I have studied the symbolic traditions of many faiths to learn how each belief system has translated its essence visually, and how each faith uses its images in ritual and definition.


Tabernacle 1989
25 x 40cm paper, pastel, thread
Burren 5 group exhibition: Crafts Council Gallery, Dublin and touring 1989
Collection Irish Contemporary Arts Society


Standing on Fishes 1989
130 x 270cm paper, graphite, thread, pigment
1989 Crafts Council of Ireland Paperworks invitational
1990 UCC Boole Library rental scheme


Standing on Fishes  (detail)
Detail of stitched, layered, stained paper construction


Visitor 1989
65 x 45 cm paper, acrylic, thread,
Paperworks Crafts Council Gallery, Dublin
Private collection Ireland



Gospel 1990
Project Arts Centre Solo exhibition: Works in Paper
Private collection Ireland



Gospel  (detail)
Detail of central layering and painting



Accepting Sight
150 x 150cm in four sections; paper, pigment, wire
Project Arts Centre, Dublin, 1990 solo show



Leaf Prayer 1990
40 x 40cm paper, acrylic pigment
1990 Project Arts Centre, Dublin solo show
Private collection Ireland


Small Release 1990
24 x 64cm paper, pigment, wire
Project Arts Centre, Dublin, 1990 solo show
Private collection Ireland



Feather Psalm 1990
45 x 33cm paper, pigment, pastel, wire
Project Arts Centre Solo exhibition 1990
WG Gallery, London 1991
Collection WG Gallery, London



Self-Portrait 1993 
Commissioned by Triskel Arts Centre, Cork along with 9 other artists as part of a touring exhibition for the region: Images of Ourselves 1992
Collection Triskel Arts Centre, Cork

Statement about this work from the exhibition leaflet:

Images of Ourselves:  This piece represents a big departure from my previous work in that the commission required a square or rectangular format under glass. In most of my work, organic surfaces and flowing lines predominate and these seemed trapped in a box, under glass. I began to visualise straight line structures, grid-based and cellular, and I also began to think of the box itself as a container for an image. I began to think, also, of our normal definition of the self, how it is characterised, limited, separated, enclosed by our perceptions of it. I thought a lot about our physical body as a container for the individual self and as the carrier of our perceptions. This physicality began to translate in my vision as threads poking through a flat surface of paper, like hairs through skin. I also felt strongly that the glass should be a part of the image and not just a neutral layer over it. I began to see images on the glass overlaying the structures underneath. I did many sketches to try to visualise all these elements as a coherent composition. Because I wanted a very quiet, stable feeling in this enclosed image, I began to work in multiples of four. I see the resulting piece as a model for the concrete manifestation of the self, – how it is defined through form and activity. The various layers work inward toward a central focus, enclosing and defining the individual self, hovering under the red boundary of life.


Exhibition record of works in paper for this period:

1987 Burren 5: Crafts Council Touring Exhibition
– Crafts Council Gallery, Dublin
– Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick
– Triskel Arts Centre, Cork
– Arts Council Gallery, Belfast
1989 Paperworks Invitational: Crafts Council Gallery, Dublin
1989 International: Selected show of 10 international designer-makers: Wilson & Gough Gallery, London
1989 Fibre-Paper New Constructions: two-person show with Regine Bartsch, tapestry weaver: Triskel Arts Centre, Co
1990 Works in Paper (solo): Project Arts Centre, Dublin & University of Limerick Gallery, Limerick
1990 Kinsale Arts Week (solo) Allied Irish Bank foyer, Kinsale, Co. Cork
1990 Narrow Water Gallery Annual group Exhibition: Narrow Water Gallery, Warrenpoint, Co. Down
1991 Irish Contemporary Craft, group show selected by Jim Turner: West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen, Co. Cork
1991 Configura I: Kunst in Europa: selected European Exhibition: Gartenbauaustellung, Erfurt, E. Germany
1991 Corporate Art: selected international show for corporate market, Wilson & Gough Gallery, London
1992 Images of Ourselves: 10 commissioned artists, touring show: Triskel Arts Centre, Cork
1993 Celtic Art and Irish Art Today: ancient and contemporary art: Fujita Vente Museum, Tokyo, Japan

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