Kenetic light installation ‘Now and Then’ Pop up exhibition at Abbey Street Dublin

My preoccupation is with light and the drama that it brings to images. It has dominated my work in the last few years. But this is built on seeing a wide range of European artist work that inspired me.

Early influences were Caravaggio ‘The taking of Christ’ in National Museum of Ireland and George de la Tours St. Joseph Charepenterin the Louvre in Paris as I studied chiaroscuro drawing (using the effect of light on modeling the figure).

Later the Futurist also inspired me. While working in bronze and steel I was became aware of the work of Umberto Boccioni. He undertook to translate his Futurist ideas into three dimensions. In ‘Unique Forms of Continuity in Space’ (1913) he attempted to realize the relationship between the object and its environment. This affected me greatly.

Going back and reading their manifesto1 I was also struck by their call to use modern and unconventional This opened up the world o mixed media, and all its achievements to me. The Futurist Manifesto states:

‘Transparent planes of glass or celluloid, strips of metal, wire, interior or exterior electric lights can indicate the planes, the tendencies, the tones and half-tones of a new reality’.2

Needless to say, having come from a background of architecture, a pivotal influence was the Bauhaus and everything that sprang from that 14 years of explosive invention and crafting. Mostly it was the paintings of Wassily Kandinksy and Paul Klee that galvanized me. These two Bauhause teachers showed me how magic abstraction could be with ‘The fish are biting’ and ‘Comedy’ at the Tate by Klee and ‘Contrasting Sounds’ by Kandinksy (Oil on cardboard) when I found it at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. In 2002 I experienced a ‘Rare Insistence to Understand the Night’ by Carlos Garaicoain at the Museo de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid.

Traveling to see this kind work in places from the Centre Pompidou to pop up exhibitions in the backstreets of Bucherest, freed me to experiment with a bigger vision. I found a new language in mixed media and I developed a visual vocabulary that could embrace of different types of work in different scales.

(At the same time I was looking at early pre cinema projecting machines at the Lumiere Museum which led me into my atmospheric projecting machines, but that is for another time.)

Getting back to the light-boxes. With all these influences I have developed a style of installation that works with managing the available light to create an distinct atmosphere.

Works that play with perception and the effect of light within a created space such as Skyspaces James Turrell (California, 1943) have also been influential

1 Obviously I did not agree with their ideas about war or about women!

2 Umberto Boccioni was the first to theorize that modern sculpture
should be made of several different materials in his Technical
Manifesto of Futurist Sculpture from 1912

Black is like the silence of the body after death, the close of life.
— Wassily Kandinsky, 1911