17 Aug 2022

Mary O'Mullane

Artist who is drawn to the vibrancy of colour, as depicted through our seasonal changes

Mary O'Mullane

Mary O'Mullane is drawn to the vibrancy of colour, as depicted through our seasonal changes

BORN in Cork City, I had a very happy childhood up to the age of six living on the South Main St, right across from the Beamish and Crawford Brewery.

However, when I was about seven we moved to the Western Road, a short distance from University College Cork, (UCC). Initially, I went to St. Marie’s of the Isle Primary School on Sharman Crawford St run by the Mercy Sisters, and to St. Aloysius Secondary School. I did particularly well in art, choosing it as a subject for my Leaving Certificate. That said, I didn’t go on to Art College directly, after finishing school, choosing instead to wait until later in life as a mature student.

Always in touch with nature, my father, Noel, and mother, Monica, used to bring us on long walks and cycles from a young age.

We frequently visited the scenic surroundings of Kilcrohane, Ahakista, and Bantry in West Cork. I was always going outdoors, exploring, and experimenting, gathering chestnuts, blackberries, and mushrooms, around the countryside. Indeed, even today, I have very fond memories of playing with my two brothers and childhood friends around Bishop Lucey Park, the Grand Parade, and the South Mall.

My earliest memory of art is when I was about three years of age, holding a crayon in my hand, scribbling on a pale blue wall.

When I was about eight, I came across a friend in school, who used to draw sausage people. Intrigued by this I started drawing them too. Around this time, every year Fossett’s and Duffy’s Circus’s used to arrive very early in the morning passing my bedroom window on route to set up their Big Top on Gillabbey Rock, across the river from my home. I used to get very excited, seeing all the caravans passing, observing this scene and going to see their shows. This inspired me to start drawing dancers, acrobats, and gypsy caravans. It really opened-up my imagination and gave me a sense of wonder, magic, and empowered my freedom of expression.

In the late 1980s I married and moved to Limerick where I raised a family.

Then, in 2012, I was accepted on to the Art, Craft, and Design, course with Limerick City Adult Education Service on O’Connell Avenue. There, I learned many new creative skills, while thoroughly enjoying my time preparing an art portfolio. I believe that the latter provides a very good foundation for anyone who loves art, or those who would like to take their studies on to degree level. I progressed to Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD) due to the limitless enthusiasm and support of all my tutors who constantly believed in me and encouraged me to achieve my potential. My mind was completely opened-up whilst studying there. Indeed, I would recommend it to any person who has an opportunity to explore their creative potential and who have the courage to enter the educational realm of the Art College. Here, you have such a variety of opportunities to develop your many varied skills including painting, printmaking, ceramics, photography, animation, graphic design, fashion and knitwear.

After exploring a number of options I chose Fine Art Painting and I can say that my four years in LSAD have been an invaluable asset to my current studio practice.

I was fortunate enough also, in the current climate, to have sold all my paintings which were displayed at the LSAD Degree Show in June. This is a really good time to be an artist in Ireland, with ‘Creative Ireland’, bringing art to the forefront of innovation in this country. In Limerick recently, the new the film studio which has opened its doors in Castletroy has also created new opportunities for animation and media based students. Today, my practice involves capturing moments in time and in nature, significantly within both urban and rural environments. I enjoy using plants, combined with painting archaeological landscapes, space revealing trace marks, and residual patterns, which evolve naturally. Elements within these urban and rural landscapes that fade away through time, such as flora, and fallen leaves, especially at this time of the year, are a constant reminder of the nature and fragility of life.

Over the years I have taken inspiration from the Impressionist and Realist movements of early to mid-Nineteenth Century.

It is important for me to incorporate a historical link to the past. As a result my work displays a physicality which acknowledges and bridges the old with the new in a contemporary way. Using colour, form, and texture, I endeavour to manifest time’s accumulation with my own personal experiences and emotional feelings. I am particularly influenced by the Twentieth Century American artist Cy Twombly, who was a painter, sculptor and photographer, whose techniques included a layering of time and history and involved a rich colourful palette.

As an artist, my eyes are constantly drawn to the vibrancy of colours surrounding me during our seasonal changes.

I enjoy working with acrylics, watercolours, oils and mixed media on board, canvas, watercolour paper, both on a small and a large scale. I incorporate mark making with washes and decayed flora onto canvases, leaving subtle impacts, and residual traces. I am interested in integrating both landscape and archaeological forms into a unified collaboration, in order to portray a pleasing aesthetic in all my finished works!

For more information about the artist please contact:

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