Kevin Mooney is an Irish artist based in Cork. His parents were part of the mass exodus from Ireland in the 1950s, returning decades later. This background of emigration, and his early experiences as a UK born Irish person growing up in Ireland, has informed his practice. As a child, he was partly excluded from a "real" Irish identity as a result of this family history. This allowed him to develop an "outsider" understanding of Irishness.
Rooted in mythology and a semi-fictitious Irish art history, his painting practice is culturally specific. A key influence is being part of the last generation to experience a living oral tradition. This has been crucial in developing his work, which can be read as the abstraction of Irish folklore as seen through a contemporary lens.
His paintings are often made to look slightly decayed and broken down. Their surfaces, sometimes heavy and bearing occasional scars, show the evidence of their history. The time, and layers of paint, that goes into their making, relates to their content. The palette, suggestive of mud and dust, invites possible readings as "bogman" paintings, or as found artefacts from an unknown era. Contemporary languages of paint find their way onto the canvas alongside a medieval flatness, creating a compression of time.
The folk forms which have dominated Irish visual culture since pagan times have offered rich possibilities in re-imagining Irish art history. They have also provided a key in notions of cultural fluidity- how Irish culture might have interacted with other cultures on its migratory journeys.
The work evolves like a slowly unfolding folklore. The sources and motifs of my work continue to be adapted, developed and intertwined to create a rich and darkly humorous world of history, imagination and myth.
Kevin graduated from the Masters in Fine Art, NCAD in 2012. Solo shows include "Twilight Head Cult", Ormston House, Limerick, 2016, “Wave”, Pallas Projects, Dublin 2014, “Dog Island Tales”, Talbot Gallery, Dublin 2014, Nag Gallery, Dublin 2010, “Timeline” Queen Street Gallery, Belfast, 2010 and “Facade”, Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, Co. Wicklow, 2009. Selected group exhibitions include "What Is and What Might Be", Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda, 2015, “Making Familiar”, Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin, 2012, “Horizon Sprawl”, Ormston House, Limerick 2012, and “Video Killed the Radio Star”, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin 2010.
He received a Visual Artists Bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland in both 2012, 2013 and 2016. In 2013 he was shortlisted for the Thames and Hudson publication “100 Painters of Tomorrow”. In 2015 he was also shortlisted for Wexford Arts Centre's Emerging Artist Award.