In this weeks issue of the Wicklow Voice today. Issue February 24th 2017, ahead of Solace Exhibition next week. A short interview on page 10 with the very talented poet and journalist, Brian Quigley. Have a read further down.
focus on faces – Derval Freeman
Great! Very busy at the moment though.
I have a new solo exhibition coming up, in the Signal Arts
Centre in Bray. There’s so much to organise – getting pictures
framed, thinking about what wall space will be available
in the studio, doing the promotional work, organising the
reception etc. Still, these are good complaints!
What kind of paintings will you be exhibiting?
There are a lot of landscapes inspired by the woods and
forests of Wicklow, places like Djouce. I’d describe a lot
of my work as abstract landscape. There will be some
photography on show as well. Often I marry the two arts, and
take photographs when I’m out on walks that can then act as
the start point for a canvas.
How long have you been painting, and was it always
landscapes? All my life really. I was good at and enjoyed art at school,
and went on to study Fine Art Painting at Limerick School of
Art and Design. I spent some time as artist-in-residence at the
Cill Rialaig artists retreat on the Skellig Isles after college,
and possibly this instilled a love of landscapes.
Is there a meaning to the title ‘Solace’ for the new exhibition?
It’s a fitting title. Walking through the forests and woods
of Wicklow, looking for images and inspiration, can seem a
lonely pursuit, but I don’t feel alone. They have a life of their
own, as the seasons progress and the weather changes, and
offer something new to the eye every time you visit.
Have you done many exhibitions before?
I’ve contributed to many group exhibitions, including some
in the Signal Arts Centre. I’ve put on solo ones before also,
both in Limerick and Dublin.
What do you do away from the photography and painting?
I also light music concerts – for Wicklow band God Is An
Astronaut. It’s another form of being creative, but to light a
show in a way that complements the music being played is
both a challenge to do and rewarding when done!
Derval Freeman’s exhibition ‘Solace’ will run between
Febraury 27 and March 12 at Bray’s Signal Arts Centre.
A closer look at painting, ‘Growth’ 100cm x 100cm, Oil, Mixed Media on Canvas
I use beeswax in a lot of my paintings and here I mixed it into a thick opacity with the oils. Also on the surface of this painting I incorporated the found little pieces of the forest floor including pine needles, twigs and some sand. The colours and thickness of foliage from a Summer turning into Autumn is probably my favorite time of year. These great long evenings allow me to spend more time getting lost, finding new trails and exploring new possibilities of how I can bring these experiences back to the studio.
On show next week at Signal Arts Centre, Bray, Co. Wicklow
A closer look at painting, ‘I Am Consumed’, 50cm x 50cm, Oil mixed media on canvas.
I used beeswax, sand and pine needles.
A piece from VAI (Visual Artists Ireland) about my upcoming solo show in less than 2 weeks
Solace | Derval Freeman at Signal Arts Centre
27 February to 12 March
Opening Reception: Friday 3 March 7pm
Derval’s paintings are like pages from the visual diary of her thoughts, feelings and surroundings at a given time. She is drawn to nature and is preoccupied by the philosophy of time and the relevance of our existence. Her work focuses on details in the landscape that give a sense of fragility.
Derval is based in County Wicklow and finds that being surrounded by the forestry’s and vast open mountainous landscapes triggers a strong sense of place. It evokes a wonder that drifts between the relevance of humanity and the purpose of existence. In isolating herself in nature this way a dialogue emerges that has a strong influence on her while painting in the studio. Challenges are mind-based and how the environment is depicted presents an inner challenge to the artistic mind; the painting action is queried: balance, depth, weight and accentuation of each stroke is called into question, namely, ‘is this depiction what I actually want to represent – is it too abstract?’
‘Solace’ is a collection of Derval’s most recent paintings and photography. The work references the open landscape of the Wicklow Mountains and the forests that give her a sense of interior and protective shelter. All give her a sense of belonging and solace.
Signal Arts Centre, 1 Albert Avenue, Bray, Co. Wicklow.
T: 353 01 276 20 39
This is a mask I was given as a gift almost 9 years ago. My good friend Ger who gave it to me said she would love to see what I could do with it and paint something of my own on it. I really loved it as it was, just a blank white smooth surface. It took about 9 years for me to finally get the urge to paint something on it and turn it into something with narrative. I wanted to paint a kind of self portrait for a while and so I thought this would best represent what I wanted to do.
When I finished it, I decided to wear it and see how it would photograph. It felt like a ‘becoming of’. Like the land we came from and back to the land we go.
For the title of the piece itself ‘Privilege Of Existence’ I had in mind my belief of how fickle and fragile our own existence is. The chance of ‘becoming’ is like a lotto in ways. Since childhood I always think of my own very existence and how being adopted makes me feel about that. Time itself is a place we survive for only an atom-size fraction, until the next cycle of generations rotate. It raises questions to me about how significant we really are, in nature and among the smallest of stars to the largest ones that we know of yet.
I painted this piece in oils and I used pieces of pine needles I found on the Djouce woods bed where I incorporated onto the mask surface before applying multiple layers of oils. I approach most of my painting in this way. I like to keep pieces I find along the way when I am out hiking and reviving then back into a kind of living state, in art and forever preserved.
Going on exhibit February 27th to March 12th, Signal Arts Centre, Bray, Co. Wicklow