The Arts Interview: Maurice Reidy

John Rainsford


John Rainsford

The Arts Interview: Maurice Reidy
Originally, I am from Glin.

Originally, I am from Glin.

My primary school education took place in Ballyguiltenane National School, in Glin, and my secondary education was at Desmond College, Newcastle West. I undertook a post-secondary portfolio preparation course, here, also, before going on to Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD). I, subsequently, graduated in 2010 with a First in Fine Art (Painting).

I had no interest in art when I was young.

It was just something to do growing-up in the Irish countryside. But now, looking back, I can see that I was actually deeply passionate about art and about being creative. I have loads of memories of making studio spaces and working away on stuff for days. I never thought that I would eventually go to Art College. I had no real desire to do so at the time. I remember hating school and wanting to drop out to do a portfolio course, and later on, to apply for an interior design course to become a designer.

When I did my Leaving Certificate I had no idea what I wanted to do.

However, while doing the portfolio course, at Desmond College, for a year, everything changed in my feelings towards art. This was when everything clicked into place and I fell in love with everything artistic. Now, I really knew that this was the professional path that I would follow in life. Today, I mostly specialise in sculpture, installation and photography, using a broad range of mediums, for example, wood, glass, steel, wax, soil, fabric, and paper. I like to use a wide range of materials, in a way that makes it a lot more challenging because my work is really based upon challenge, (be that physical, or personal). I, also, like to incorporate the theory and methodology of other great artist and writers into my work.

Today, there are many college courses to choose from.

They range from fine art and design to cross mediums. But on the flipside, a lot more could be done to support artists who are trying to make something happen for themselves in the real world. There could be a lot more thought put into the ‘when you leave college plan’ or into how funding is to be allocated (as opposed to just handing advantages to some individuals). I am currently working on a new show to open this year or early next year. It is work that I have been thinking about for a very long time, based upon the performance quality of sculpture. I will be working in the same way that I have done up until now but in a much deeper, thought-out way. I want to show a high level of quality and understanding in my works, to broaden the overall content of what I do. I hope to have a cohesive show that has a kind of objective narrative in the overall work. This upcoming show is still a work in progress so stay tuned to my website for the confirmed dates and location.

Initially, you want to do art because the idea of not being creative, all the time, is a missed opportunity.

Being an artist, for me, is a very euphoric experience. It is a desire and an emotional connection that I can’t and won’t switch off. It is what makes me feel good and it is my safe place. I am in complete control of it, because what you show and what you work on is completely up to you. It is something that other parts of life just don’t give you.

Becoming an artist is an amazing journey which sees you go from epic highs to scary deep lows.

However, despite the drawbacks I believe that being an artist makes you a better person. In a way you really get to know yourself because being an artist is such an introverted subject. It brings you into direct contact with your own thoughts, emotions and actions. However, it is very hard, and almost impossible, to be an artist without having another job, or some kind of income, to support yourself.

Performance art plays a big role in my work.

This draws on emotions from both the past and present, with moments, like fragments of time, being pieced back together to form a piece of work or works. I combine these ideas with theories from artists, designers and writers that interest me, like Robert Gober, Matthew Barney, the late Alexander McQueen, Tony Butcher, Marcel Duchamp, and Vito Acconci. Although, I am not sure if you could call it a theme, my work up until now, has been connected to the functionality of the home and its domesticated space. In this I tend to explore social, cultural and everyday norms.

Limerick has come a long way in terms of its ‘art scene’ over the last five or six years.

That has really been down to the former art students of LSAD and to the graduates of other art college courses around the city. They are the ones who stayed and supported innovative start-up studios like Wickham Street Studios, or artist run gallery spaces like Ormston House, and Occupy Space. Limerick has created a kind of ‘art scene’ but, I feel, that the city is missing the point in terms of how we allocate funding and in terms of our understanding of why there is an ‘art scene’ in the city in the first place. Limerick and Ireland in general, have tended to copycat other big cities, instead of being original in their own approaches. However, there is great potential for Limerick to develop over the next decade at least!

For more information about Maurice Reidy please see the website: