Five questions to Michael Mc Swiney

Five questions to Michael Mc Swiney

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Michael Mc Swiney was born in Cork, Ireland 1969. After living abroad (from Copenhagen to Cairo) for over a decade he is now based on the Wild Atlantic Way, West Cork, Ireland. Michael has a degree in fine Art from The National College of Art and Design Dublin, his paintings are found in numerous private collections in Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Holland, and Australia.How did you get into art?

Throughout my childhood I constantly painted, I worked on cereal boxes, newspapers, old wallpaper, etc…  When I ran out of material I drew and painted with charcoal from the fireplace and household paint that was lying around, using the walls, doors and ceilings as my canvas. As you can imagine my parents were more than a little frustrated.

How would you describe your style? What makes your art special?

My paintings have been described as sublime, fathomless, overwhelming, and sensual. There is a timeless aspect to my paintings where I can catch the inner light behind the picture plane which creates a sense of deep space; it is here that the viewer is drawn, into a matrix of gesture and color.How do you go about developing your work?

I work with layers of paint and mixed media on canvas in a way that has been variously described as “post-expressionist”, “panoramic”, “sublime” and “atmospheric”. For me, the physicality of paint, its colour, and texture, relates to memory, decay, abandonment, freedom, the dualities of light and dark, positive and negative, oil and water. Elemental contrasts and comparisons battle in my head as I work, translating thoughts, emotions and impulses into matter and colour - painting, pouring, and spraying into a trance-like state, which feels almost shamanistic, insofar as receiving and transmitting energy that is both from within and without, both ‘other’ and familiar; a channeling of the zeitgeist through something intensely personal.Who or what influences you? 

Music has always been important to me personally and my process in the studio is very rarely silent. Literature is also very dear to me, I go through alot of books where I write notes and sentences that trigger something in me which usually lead to titles for my future paintings.

Some artists I admire: are Gustave Courbet, Helen Frankenthaler, Anselm Kiefer, Cai Guo-Qiang, Marc Rothko, Philip Guston, Joan Mitchell, and many more.

What are you planning to do next?

Ive always loved sculpture and I have sketchbooks full of impossible unrealized projects. Im currently working on one of these projects where I bring a very large 40ft old wooden sailboat (art as found object) into the Gallery space encouraging interaction with the public.Instagram