Inspired Landscapes: Irish Visual Artists
The likes of Alice Maher, Dorothy Cross and Mary Fitzgerald cover a broad creative spectrum but capture the imagination in disparate ways.
Alice Maher grew up on a farm in County Tipperary and the world of her rural Irish childhood manifests itself in her painting, sculpture, photography and animation. Maher's visceral artworks have often used raw materials from nature such as nettles, bees and thorns to human hair, sheep horns and lamb tongues.
Maher's distinctive approach has sometimes been thematically inspired by memory and dream states as well as fairy tales and Irish folklore.
Dorothy Cross, considered one of Ireland’s leading international artists, uses sculpture, installation, performance, photography and film to powerful effect in her work. On the international stage, Cross represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 1993.
Her work has a close affinity to her birthplace of Cork and in recent years the wild, maritime surrounds of Connemara, where Cross now lives, have provided a powerful source of inspiration.
The intersection between humans and nature, from found objects to seascapes, have featured strongly in her work. From an illuminated ghost ship docked in a Dublin bay to a whale skeleton sculpture, to a traditional West of Ireland currach boat covered in the skin of a basking shark, Cross’ work is both dramatically different and tremendously effective.
Dubliner Mary Fitzgerald took a decade away from her work to recover from a serious car accident before returning to attract acclaim with her inventive and internationally-exhibited paintings and installations.
Her austere, understated work is often monochromatic and explores vulnerability and mortality, damage and repair, with a sense of architectural inspiration at play. Fitzgerald is a member of Aosdána, an organisation made up of 250 members who have made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland.