UTOPIA | Neutral colour scheme

Utopia could be described as an imagined place or state in which everything is perfect, an ideal place such a paradise, heaven or heaven on earth.
This painting is based on a photograph I took just as I started my descent from Mount Kilimanjaro of one of the local guides who helped me so much that night. We had been climbing in -20°C in the dark and there is no doubt that I was suffering both signs of hypothermia and altitude sickness. I was also very aware that my dad was close to dying and I felt a particular peace and closeness to him as I climbed.  As the sun began to rise the most spectacular view was unveiled, a ‘utopia’ right there in front of me, a ‘no-place’ or ‘good place’ in the sky.

HETEROTOPIA | Triadic colour scheme


In Michel Foucault’s 1967 essay Of Other Spaces: Utopia and Heterotopias, he describes heterotopias as physical or mental spaces that act as ‘other’ spaces alongside existing spaces. Foucault created six principles in order to explain this.  One of these principles describes a space in which the norms of behaviour are suspended he goes on to give the example of a heterotopia of deviation such as a prison.
In 1975 Foucault wrote, Discipline and Punish, where he speaks about modern state punishment and how it is perceived to be much more humane than the days when criminals were hung in public squares. Foucault tells us that this is not so, the problem is that power now looks kind but isn’t. He noted that in the past, the hanging man could become the focus of sympathy and admiration and the executioner rather than the convict could become the locus of shame. Executions often led to riots in support of the prisoner but with the invention of the modern prison system everything happened in private behind locked doors. One could no longer see, and therefore resist, state power.

DYSTOPIA | Analogous colour scheme

Dystopia: where there is a suggestion of a breakdown in the fabric of society.
For this painting I worked from two conflicting images.
Scene 1: my daughter and her friends playing happily on the beach when they were kids.
Scene 2: a family running for their lives in Afghanistan.
What makes these two opposite worlds possible? How can a child’s life experiences differ so much purely because of their place of birth?
This is the most dystopian image I can think of, being in the situation of these parents, trying to protect my children in a warzone.
What if the situation was reversed?

Multi-chromatic brush strokes | Acrylic paint and a 5 inch brush, based on sky from Second Life



Clouds | Acrylic on card with cotton sheet



Buildings in Dublin | Acrylic on board


Man on the beach | Oil on Canvas

man on beach

Looking out to sea | Acrylic on paper

Untitled | Scraped acrylic on card


Untitled | Scraped acrylic on card


Develop 3 4-value paintings of a local scene at different times of the day. A3

Untitled | Oil, linseed oil, glass