Our latest artist you need to know is a painter who has a very distinctive and recognizable style, but often incorporates references to numerous past artists (Paula Rego and Käthe Kollwitz, among others) who also employ the figure, and narrative scenes, with a powerfully expressive hand. Suzy O’Mullane (to cite from a showing of her works at Origin Gallery) “uses personal experience as a catalyst to develop a visual language of metaphorical forms.” Since 1996, she’s been exhibiting frequently, primarily in Dublin, London, New York and Los Angeles.
“She is an artist of acute sensitivity. She is a poet with a paintbrush, who distils deep, often complicated and conflicting emotions into simple and beautiful images. Her language is paint and charcoal; her expression, a palette of pure and joyous colour.” (from Joan Clancy Gallery) Although her most evocative works are her expressive drawings and paintings, O’Mullane employs a variety of media (including video, performance and writing). A recent exhibition of very striking self-portraits titled The Wounded Deer also draw upon her previously mentioned interest in artists who imagine the figure, and the use of the self, as fertile ground for symbolism and metaphor. Speaking about that series (but also very relevant to many of her other images), O’Mullane states “I would really relate to what she [Kahlo] does, where you bring the audience as close as possible to you, almost that they can see into you in a way.”
O’Mullane earned both a BA Fine Art (Honours) and Post Grad degree from Crawford College of Art and Design. She was a past director of ArtTrail Cork (six years), an organization she co founded. Her exhibition history includes Art Miami, Art Toronto, Art Chicago, Art Wynwood and Art Palm Beach. Notable solo exhibitions have been mounted at the Crawford Municipal Gallery, Triskel Arts Centre, Solstice Arts Centre, Siamsa Tire Arts Centre, Blueleaf Gallery, and Origin Gallery. Many public and private collections in the US and Europe include her work, including Crawford Municipal Gallery, Trinity College Dublin, UCC, and Office of Public Works, Dublin.
O’Mullane’s imagery moves back and forth between imaginative portraits, straddling the gestural and the surreal, and objects and animals that are narrative and symbolic. From her solo exhibition at Origin Gallery: “Throughout her practice, she has developed and employs multiple encoded forms that have become personal allegorical references. Her work conceptualizes emotional experience, personal and societal identity, and memory through the mediums of painting, drawing, video, performance and writings.”
You can see more of Suzy O’Mullane’s work, and read an interview with the artist here.