A concrete sense of reality

DUBLIN-based painter Mairead O’hEocha’s ‘whisper concrete’ opens in the Butler Gallery this weekend – a title that refers to a type of concrete designed to absorb traffic noise.

DUBLIN-based painter Mairead O’hEocha’s ‘whisper concrete’ opens in the Butler Gallery this weekend – a title that refers to a type of concrete designed to absorb traffic noise.

In 2004, having spent several years dividing her time between England and Ireland, Mairead O’hEocha settled in Dublin. Trying to find ways to treat the subject of environment and place in Ireland, she chose the ahistorical timeline of castles, fields, garages and housing estates in the semi-rural South-East of Ireland. This area became familiar to the artist as she commuted by car between Dublin and Wexford.

For her, the back roads seemed to be retreating in time and in tandem with the acceleration of motorway traffic leading to Rosslare. These new motorways which links to the European mainframe had, she says, dramatically reduced the traffic and enhanced a sense of ‘stillness’ which seemed to be more in harmony with the rhythms of rural life.

She employs first-hand visual information through notes, drawings and photographs. This process combines collecting, absorbing, re-cycling and re-arranging. O’hEocha mimics the variances of Irish skies; from the stillness of an unyielding winter to the unpredictable movement of cumulus clouds. She chooses sites for her paintings that are simple and everyday, yet deliberate and considered. She understands ‘local’ to be an increasingly abstract term and creates images that convey human feelings of longing and belonging.

The exhibition continues until May 1.