David O’Connor is a landscape painter and sculptor. David was born in Cheshire in 1959. He lives and works in Wiltshire England. He has deep connections to Dublin as his maternal grandparents and ancestors going back to the 1760s were born in the liberties. His great, great grandfather James Dillon was a 19th century pioneer of billposting in Dublin and a theatre manager at the Rotundo theatre (now called The Ambassador) at the Top of O’Connell Street. His father’s family is from Hacketstown in Carlow.
David studied at Sunderland Polytechnic and the Slade School of Fine Art. His painting are inspired by the colours and patterns of Agricultural landscapes. They are layered, scraped back and cut with drawing as well as paint. The layering alluding to the buried archaeology beneath the soil and the constant change within the landscape. David’s studio is near Stonehenge. He paints from drawings and memories of walks: making a synthesis of half remembered, idealised, actual and abstract pattern; hopefully getting close to what is in our mind rather than the merely literal. The work is closer to poetry than prose. Above all and very simply the work is a celebration of colour.
“His landscapes are based in Southwest England in particular Wiltshire and Dorset. They are the perfectly balanced point between abstraction and observed landscape painting. There is the trace of many layers and fine lines within the work, combined with the glorious pallet of vivid greens and sunny yellows making joyous viewing” ---- Kate Anniss
The Boat Series:
David O’Connor is an artist whose work is inextricably tied up with the sea. He was brought up in Birkenhead, Cheshire and his earliest memories are of his father telling stories about his time in the merchant Navy during the Second World War. His earliest visual memories are of the vivid docks in Birkenhead and Liverpool and of his father making and sailing beautiful A Class pond yachts. They are elegant finely crafted objects which now command high prices with collectors.
“Like a small child's dream of running away to Sea...” was how one visitor described one of his early Installations. The boats are emblems for the self. A theme directly inspired by Rimbaud’s poem ‘The Drunken Boat’ and his father's descriptions of the Atlantic and Murmansk Convoys where he was torpedoed and sunk twice off Iceland and bombed on the Cunard liner Georgic in the Red Sea. David has just collected on his father’s behalf his posthumously awarded Arctic Star.
The form of the boat is idealised and condensed much like mediaeval illustration of boats where scale and form are manipulated to tell the story rather than directly represent boat forms. More particularly the sculptures are inspired by the mythical journey of St Brendan sailing from Co Kerry to discover the New World in a canvas covered Currach. They are also directly inspired by another Irish boat namely the Iron Age gold ‘Broighter Boat’ discovered in County Derry and now in the National Museum Dublin.
The pieces made in bronze, copper or brass are Patinated. This is a complex chemical process using a wide variety of formulas which alter the surface nature of the metal by etching and changing the colour. No two boats are alike as it is virtually impossible to repeat the pattern.
The sculpture presented is made for indoor display. The pieces are either lacquered or wax finished and do not need any further maintenance.
David O’Connor 2020