Michael McGuire - Land and Sea
“Land and Sea” is Michael McGuire’s second solo exhibition at Art Upstairs and demonstrates his increasing devotion to working on location. With the exception of a few larger studio paintings, the entire collection, comprising over thirty paintings, has been painted on location or “en plein air“. The ever-changing Irish climate makes this difficult, but Michael is convinced that for any landscape artist trying to convey a sense of “visual reality”, there is no other way. The resulting paintings are imbued with a very strong sense of realistic light and atmosphere, and immediately connect with viewers who love the Irish landscape. While the selection of images in this brochure can be viewed simply as very good representational work, closer study of the paintings reveals more complexity, particularly in the variation of textures and edges. In many of the paintings, there is a unique delicacy of handling, particularly in the subtle backgrounds and less stated passages. This is where the “mark” of the artist shines through, reflecting his love and appreciation for these special wild and unspoilt places.
Michael was born in Sneem, Co Kerry in 1956, but has lived in Wexford since 1999. While painting from an early age and enjoying considerable commercial success in the 1980s and 1990s, Michael has only been painting full-time since 2006. Since then he has exhibited in Greenacres (Wexford) and the Oisin Gallery (Dublin), but is mainly represented by Art Upstairs Gallery (Wexford and Rosslare), with which he had his first solo show, “Painting The Light” in May 2009. He is a member of the steering committee of Art in the Open, Wexford’s annual plein air festival. He was honoured to have been invited to paint in France in 2010 with the prestigious Wapping Group, one of the UK’s oldest plein air societies, and the experience has raised his work to an even higher level as evidenced in the “Land and Sea” exhibition.