Tuesday 14 October 2008

The Celtic Tiger is alive and well and walking the streets of Drogheda

The Celtic Tiger is alive and well and walking the streets of Drogheda

That's how it is seen through the eyes of Artist Sean O'Dwyer in his latest large oil painting completed as Part of the "Scotch Hall Art Project"

" The Celtic Tiger is not just all about money", says Sean... "the Tiger can reflect our indomitable creative irish spirit. Through creative thinking we can overcome most difficulties and I wanted to paint the Tiger to reflect this idea despite all the bad news there is around at the moment. It all depends on how you look at it "

He recently painted the large 2.5 by 1.5 metre oil on canvas there in front of the public while in an "Open Studio" brought to a shopping unit in Scotch Hall Shopping Centre for two weeks as part of a unique and innovative project.

The piece shows a young angel (a portrait of his daughter Sorcha) sitting upon the Tiger with the famous local landmark of Millmount overlooking Drogheda in the background.

"I was thinking optimistically for the future and that's why I asked my daughter to pose as an angel for the work. I wanted to bring art to a busy place where people are going all the time and Scotch Hall was ideal for this. We can still make good things happen for ourselves. I brought my working practice to the centre in order that people can partake in the project and learn how to be more creative through workshops given there too.

"Being creative is good for the soul" the artist says." And thats what the Celtic Tiger is really all about as I see it"

So its not all bad news then!

Sean's Work will be on display to the public in Scotch Hall over the coming weeks.

See More of Sean's work at www.seanodwyer.com

A Five Minute Talk About Two Works

A Talk given to fellow artists on the Masters Course (MFA1) at NCAD, Dublin Ireland on the 13th of October 2008.....

I love making art... It is a passion that reflects my deepest desires and longings. I feel what I make has a relevance in a world gone mad.

As Edvard Munch once said .. "Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye. It also includes the inner pictures of the soul" This is the landscape I try to paint and fill with objects that I make.

Indian Sculptors today when making their bronzes of their gods and goddesses always leave the engraving of the eyes until last because it is then that they believe that the presence of the God fills the work. This is a tradition that goes back thousands of years. It is out of this desire that they make their work in difficult conditions and with little profit. I believe like them that God peeps out at us through the works we make despite the huge difference the last century has made to the shapes and forms of art.

I hope that I make art not for my Self. I feel what I make can serve people in some way, not because of who I am, but despite who I am. Because that seems to be the nature of making things, its as if we reach across a divide when we make something... it feels as if we pull back from there something that is normally beyond the material grasp. We can surprise ourselves and others in this way. And God Knows we can all do with a few surprises.

The Ready Boat Pillar made for Howth County Dublin in 1996 surprised me when it had something of a Baptism of Fire when it came into the world. It was Launched By Gay Byrne who lives in Howth, The veil around it was set on fire ... The evening Herald rang me to let me know the next morning and wanted to get my reaction. I said I was shocked of course, but Secretly I was delighted ... The headline that day in the paper had a picture of Gay Byrne and the pillar that read... "Vandals hit "pillar" of Howth"..... It also had a photo of me with a large brush acid-etching away the burn marks from the surface of the pillar.. I'm there wIth a large smile on my face... Would they have noticed I wondered to myself, that I had ever made a sculpture if it wasn't for those vandals? I might try burning a few sculptures for my MA.

But thats the nature of public art and I learned a valuable lesson then. No man or woman is an island. We need an audience to function, its just another piece of proof that goes to show that Art does not serve the artist alone.

My work has always had a relationship with the public. I love showing the work I make when I can. Although I have ideas about the meaning of what I make I never assume that am the only one who knows what it means.

The second, very recent piece is called "The Traveller" it contains objects that I sculpted and drawings that I made that are literally worked into the piece. Its a recent work quite large and detailed. It is set in an apple orchard around this time of year. The woman has taken objects out of a wooden box she carries and has laid them on a cloth . Each object can symbolise something for the viewer. The woman's presence is central to the meaning of the work. Her relationship is with the viewer and I leave it to you to decide who "The Traveller" maybe. But this work exploits the different levels of reality that can be explored through the piece. There is the viewer that regards the work . There is the woman who is a representation of someone real and she looks upon the objects that are representations of sculptures I made ... then these lie upon drawings which represent other things. And yet they all co-exist in this space , in an eternal Now that changes only if you care to look closer. The representation can hopefully emphasise the change in ourselves as we look upon the piece and travel through it. The Piece will be exhibited along with other works in The Nora Dunne Gallery named after Ben Dunne's Mother. (Ben Dunne is former director of the family firm chain of Dunnes Stores Shopping in Ireland)

On that note, I look forward to travelling with you all here on our journeys through our own unique landscapes... I wish you well. Thankyou.

Tuesday 23 September 2008

Sketchbook Videos

New Work is now available to see on www.seanodwyer.com in the form of Sketchbook Videos. These works outline the development of ideas for paintings and sculpture and in many ways give a deeper insight into the meaning and symbolism of the paintings I make.

There is no way to put into words how ideas come in the form of images. Imagery by its nature is open to interpretation. Even when I think I know what an image means I often find out that it can be seen in an entirely new light because an aspect of it is revealed to me that I had not seen in it before. A good painting or drawing has several layers of meaning and if you look you can have meaning revealed to you rather like pulling away veils of silk one by one. This is why art captivates people. Even when they are not aware of it they are drawn to to it because they sense its ability as a medium to express something that goes beyond the everyday. These sketchbooks are presented in order to allow the viewer to peer deeper into the layers of meaning that holds relevence for anyone will to take a moment to stop and look.

Included here is one of the three videos on the website

www.seanodwyer.com SketchBK1, studies for "The Traveller"

Tuesday 17 June 2008

"First Fire, Bronze casting takes place at Perfect Vision Workshops"

The first stage of our Bronze on the Boyne project was completed when our kiln and furnace were put into action for the first time in a run through. James Hayes came along to oversee the completion of all the elements. At around 8pm on Saturday the 14th of June we had our first pour. Next will be our bronze sculpture elements. An integral part of the project will be the documentation of it, so we filmed the event.


Sunday 27 April 2008

"Bronze On The Boyne Update"

Bronze on the boyne the mobile bronze casting foundry is now well into the early stage of set up. Presently we are waiting on delivery this week of crucial elements for the furnace and kiln build. This includes the crucible, an item which can explode with a report like a cannon if not made and minded properly... so getting a good one is very important. Other elements arriving ths week is the "superwool" a non carcinogenic insulation to line the kiln and the furnace. Safety is at the forefront of our minds in the creation of this project and we are researching and receiving the best advice combining it with our in-house experience.

Monday 31 March 2008

"Bronze on the Boyne"

“Bronze on The Boyne” is a unique mobile sculpture workshop project in the ancient bronze casting process. Travelling in the Boyne Valley area, it is designed for the general public, art students, artists symposia and all those interested in art and art history.

Inspired by the Rich Metalwork Heritage of the Boyne Valley “Bronze on the Boyne” is to be viewed by the public in open event demonstrations and public exhibition throughout the Boyne valley area of Meath and Louth. The project brings the participant from making a small clay sculpture into learning how to make a mould, preparing a wax and investing in a unique form of ceramic, into finally casting and finishing the piece in Bronze. Mostly using ancient technology, the project is led by artist Sean O Dwyer and is open to anyone who wants to learn and experience this pure and refined art of object making. We have already gratefully received some funding from Drogheda Borough Council and Meath County Council’s Arts Office. Information will be made available at www.perfectvision.ie

Tuesday 22 January 2008

"The Traveller"

I am presently working on a new large piece, an oil painting entitled "The Traveller". I have made about a 100 source images in order to create the sketches and layout of the design for this painting. This has involved the creation of 20 individual finished drawings that are incorporated into the final work. The drawings were made especially for the cloth that lays in front of the central figure and they depict a narrative that is open to interpretation by the viewer. The cloth has upon it a number of items which I have sculpted including a heart, a kylix, a bird and a dagger. There are other objects too, including an illustrated book, all of which encourage the viewer to find their own meaning within the piece. The Piece is quite large at 152 cm x 116cm.

The idea emerged from a sketch that began the idea when I was in Rome...... the painting has brought it much further. The idea came about when I was looking at roman floor mosaics where the mosaic floor would represent objects that would fall on the floor in a kind of play upon what was real and what wasn't. There were a number of these mosaics I saw it seemed to be a genre all of its own. Then the idea developed further and I saw in my minds eye a woman who was carrying a cloth on a journey with Her but when she opened out the cloth onto the ground the objects within it were not what you might expect. Like the mosaic the oil painting plays upon what we regard as real and what is not. Each object holds an important insight into what we regard as real about our "self", this is of course open to your interpretation .