My paintings in ‘The Dancing Grass’ continue my experimentation with AI-generated imagery in the painting process, with a conscious effort to have more of a human hand in the construction of said imagery.
The idea of Irishness, the visual and musical arts, the dramatic landscapes of the west coast -a landscape historically attractive to many renowned Irish artists- serve as a kind of depiction of “authenticity” to which the artificiality of the AI images contrast against. The struggle between what’s genuine and what’s not in every facet of a studio practice has always been a point of interest for me. How far can one go in making life easy? Is there a tipping point where fulfillment disappears through lack of struggle? Is there such a thing as cheating in art? Using AI in my work was initially an exciting way to generate inspiring imagery fast. Over time however it grew less fulfilling and brought me back to the ever-present point of concern in my work, which is the duality of real vs imagined, the perceived “authentic” vs “inauthentic”, the level of satisfaction that can be garnered from painting the everyday real vs the vividly imagined.
This exhibition marks the culmination, and a moving past of an experimentation with AI image-making that has lasted over 2 years. One could say it is an attempted return to “authenticity”. While I enjoyed the process of using AI in my work, this exhibition does feel like a conclusion to this chapter of my practice.
About the Artist
Originally from Cahir, Co. Tipperary, I studied painting at the Limerick School of Art and Design from 2005 to 2009. When I graduated, I helped to set up Wickham Street Studios in Limerick, and I based my painting practice there from 2009-2019. In that time I have exhibited widely, including solo shows in Pallas Projects, Dublin, The Source Arts Centre, Thurles, and The Galway Arts Centre. I have also won numerous awards, including the Lewis Crosby Award for Painting at the Student Art Awards in the RDS, 2 merit prizes at the Golden Fleece Award and being shortlisted for the Hennessy-Craig Award at the RHA. In 2016, I won the Hennessy Portrait Prize at the National Gallery of Ireland for my painting ‘Sean’ and as a result I was commissioned to paint a portrait of renowned Kilkenny hurler Henry Shefflin for the NGI’s permanent portrait collection.