This time we chatted to Mary O’Connor about her work in the lead up to her solo exhibition in our gallery later this year. You can see a video of her beautiful current studio here.
Gallery: You have travelled a great deal and spent 11 years in Kazakhstan – a wholly different culture and environment, which I am sure heavily influenced your practice, however how has your return to Ireland changed your work?
Mary: Returning to Ireland after 11 years in Kazakhstan had a significant impact on me. It took the best part of a year to dissolve and restart. Photography had taken over my practice there, in terms of painting it was quite an isolated existence, the art community was minuscule and in Ireland it’s vibrant, thriving and ever evolving on many levels. Joining the Blackchurch print studio was a pivotal point for me and members kept pointing me towards the screen printing floor, since then I have not looked back.
Gallery: You have created hand editioned screen prints to hang next to your paintings, how does printmaking inform your paintings and vice versa?
Mary: Painting and screen printing work hand in hand for me. Shapes and form are the main elements in my screen printing practice. Most recently in this lockdown, I am working from my studio at home and have embarked on a series of small works which started out in a gestural manner and as I close in the paintings, forms and shapes became the dominant element as the painting tells me the next step and this is a direct influenced of my screen printing process. Next I am going to try some mono prints and throw a gestural element into my screen printing, lets see where this takes me.
Gallery: You enjoy expressing art using different ways and you have made a unique scarf for your upcoming show with us; explain how you went about this and what influenced you to create it?
Mary: I simple adore textiles and have a lovely collection of Suzani’s from Central Asia. I’d collect contemporary Hermes scarves if I won the lotto! My designs have already been adapted into large scale wall murals and I am keen to follow on with more of this work. It’s always been a dream to create a 100% silk scarf made in Italy and recently I met the right person who agreed to manage the process for me. It’s been a wonderful collaboration; we are limiting the edition to 50. I am really excited to have the finished scarf in my hands and present it in its own custom designed box.
Gallery: So are we Mary!!