interview by Penny McCormack for Artistic License in The Gloss Magazine

The prestigious Irish artist explains the inspiration behind her new exhibition “Transience” at Solomon Fine Art …


What was the starting point for your new exhibition?

In 2018, I had a problem with my shoulder, which prevented me from painting for four months. During this time I began walking the dogs along a nearby river on a regular basis and subsequently became fascinated with surface tension, river velocity, effects of light and repeated patterns in both water and foliage.


Have you got any favourite pieces from “Transcience” and why?

These paintings developed simultaneously over a period of 18 months. I see the series as an installation so find it impossible to pick a favourite.


The artworks are of rivers and light refracted on them as well as the landscape. Is this an imaginary landscape?

The work is an emotional response to specific experiences of rivers in various locations. When some part of that experience resonates deeply, it will present itself later in the painting process.


How has your artistic journey evolved?

I began painting full time in 2005 (aged 45) when I moved to Northern Ireland. At first, I was fascinated with urban landmarks but gradually my interest shifted to botanical themes, considering the garden as both a haven and a buffer zone between home and the outside world. The ephemeral quality of rivers is the next instalment in the journey. I usually work with oil paint and in this project I have experimented with hand-cut stencils and bronze powders.


What are you working on at present – do you take breaks between exhibitions or do you have something ‘on the go’ at all times?

Projects overlap and feed into each other. I conducted a residential workshop recently and rediscovered the joy of using acrylic paint, which I intend to explore further over the coming months. I am currently working on private commissions for clients and am in the process of developing a new workshop format for a school in Belfast.


How and where do you work?

When I am outdoors, travelling or on a residency, visual research usually happens in the form of notebook drawings, photographs and videos. Ideas are then processed back in my garden studio.

Need to Know: “Transience” by Frances Ryan is at Solomon Fine Art, Balfe Street, Dublin 2 from Thursday October 2 until Saturday October 26 
October 4, 2019