2014 marks the the launch of our Artist in Residence programme. We are delighted to have Eoghan McGrath as this years participating artist. Eoghan, a Kilkenny based artist, is a primarily self-taught painter having previously studied medicine for several years. He has gained recognition for his portraiture, being shortlisted for the Davy Portrait Award in 2009. His work features in both national and international collections. The residency commenced in April 2014 and will run through until April 2015, culminating in an end of year exhibition of his finished body of work.
The subject of this evolving series of paintings is the tree or more specifically the trees that surround the Palladian mansion of Carton House as they cycle through the seasons.
The ancient oaks, sycamores, birches and elms mirror the antiquity of the Fitzgeralds’ own family tree which dates back to the Normans. Repositories of history, one can read a tree’s biography inscribed in the luminous rings of its trunk; in its bark scars its suffering and in its damaged limbs, the storms it endured and the attacks it withstood. Its yearly ritual of bud, blossom, fruit and decay has been a rich source of metaphor for birth, renewal, knowledge and death in many mythologies.
In Greek mythology Daphne is transformed into a laurel tree while Pan transforms his dead lover into a pine. The demise of the Fitzgerald dynasty, with its elements of betrayal, madness, profligacy and ruin, has all the resonance of Greek tragedy and something of their legacy echoes in the trees that stand there still today.
Examples of Eoghan’s Work