Irish Arts Review Autumn 2013 Edition Feature

January 5, 2014

I was delighted to be part of a feature in the Autumn edition of the Irish Arts Review which focused on the six Irish artists who took part in the 2013 BP portrait award.

My sincere thanks to John and Susan at the Irish Arts Review.

Irish-arts-reviewClick the image for a closer look


Founded in 1984, the Irish Arts Review is dedicated to promoting the work of Irish artists and to celebrating Ireland’s unique visual heritage to its 40,000 readers worldwide. The Irish Arts Review is published four times a year, and each edition includes beautifully illustrated articles written by experts on Irish painting, sculpture, craft, photography, architecture and design, alongside exclusive interviews with artists, exhibition previews, curators’ choices, opinion pieces and a quarterly diary of events, auctions and exhibitions around the country.


BP Portrait Award 2013 – Pivotal moments

June 20, 2013

I remember that back when studying art in Limerick, we would all get terribly excited if we had a visiting lecturer who had exhibited work in London. London held this mystique, it was a place of culture and wonder, and to exhibit there was, in our eyes, the pinnacle of an artists career. Well I’ve hit many personal milestones through luck, fortune, coincidence and chance up to this point in my “career”, there’s also been a small percentage of skill and hard work involved too, but luck, fortune, coincidence and chance are the major players in a life’s motions, and I’ve achieved another personal goal through a combination of all of these elements.

I’ve finally achieved what these people who I aspired to be like have, I’m finally exhibiting in London, and in a pretty big exhibition too. The BP Portrait Award is pretty much the pinnacle of achievement for many artists, and quite an aspiration for many, many more. I was fortunate enough to have my portrait, “Diana, becoming”, a portrait of a very good friend of mine, chosen for the final 55 from a shortlist of almost 2000 paintings.

What struck me about the exhibition, after the sheer strength of the work, which is superb this year by the way, was the humility and kindness of my contemporaries. I was awed by these traits, and wonder are they innate to the particular human condition of the artist, or a product of the archaic process we employ, the sitters we choose to study, or the love of people we all share.

I’d like to thank sincerely Sandy Nairne and all of the judges for this opportunity and allowing me through exhibiting to achieve a personal goal.


With Agnes Toth at the BP Portrait Award 2013 private view

Éigse 2010, Carlow, 11th – 20th June 2010

May 5, 2010

It’s that time of year again, when Carlow prepares to not only  host Irelands most essential arts festival, but also to welcome the arty educated elite and educate the philistine masses. Opening on June 11th, Éigse 2010 is promising to be a real treat this year. Of course I have a vested interest, as I’m lucky enough to be taking part in the Éigse 30 year Visual Arts Retrospective. There’s a whole host of Irelands most important visual artists, including some friends and heroes of mine, and some of our adopted imported talent too..

They say you can judge a person by the company they keep, so check these peers out – John Shinnors, Donald Teskey, Michael Canning, William Crozier, Hughie O’Donoghue, Colin Crotty, Mick O’Dea, Martin Gale, Mike Fitzharris and the rapidly ascending Sheenagh Geoghegan.


“Pictures of an exhibition” – March 12th 2010 in the Cork School of Music

January 20, 2010

Pierre O’Reilly

The orchestra practicing

“Pictures of an exhibition” –  A collaboration between Cork School of Music student, pianist & composer Pierre O’Reilly and artist Stephen Murphy, based on mutual mastery of technique and appreciation for the classical tradition presented in a contemporary manner.

The artist will present a selling exhibition of paintings and works on paper in the Cork School of Musics foyer, fronted by Joanne McCarthy, current Director of New Ashgate Gallery, Farnham, Surrey. The exhibition will be open to the public, admission free, until 7pm on Friday 12th. The official reception begins at 7.00pm with the concert following at 8.30pm sharp.

The evening will culminate in a one-off live concert composed by O’Reilly, conducted by Conor Palliser and performed by the student orchestra of the Cork School of Music.

This special event follows on from the 2009 collaboration, ‘Uba’s Story’ – a composition by Mr. O’Reilly performed by the CSM student orchestra with a live projection of narrative imagery created by emerging illustrator Rosemary Byrne.

About the Concert

The concept of O’Reilly’s composition and the event itself is a reference to a very famous piece of classical music called ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ by 19th Century Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky. A suite of ten movements composed for piano, it is a well-known showpiece for virtuoso pianists.

About the Exhibition

This exhibition of ten selected works in oil on canvas and drawing/mixed media on paper forms a visual metaphor and narrative of the chronology of ‘growing up’. The first five works are related to early childhood – themes of play specifically. Works six and seven are related to adolescence, and works eight, nine and ten relate to ‘grown up’, or as the artist terms, “existential matters”.

About the Technique

Murphy has meticulously developed a rich library of visual imagery, symbols and subject matter alongside a strict base of classical painting techniques: draughtsmanship, composition and colour theory. His works provoke extreme reactions in viewers, with many of his works not created to be simply aesthetic in manner, but to take the viewer to a place beyond emotive connection and to a place rich in reference, style, technique and context.

About the Composer

Pierre O’Reilly is a composer and pianist whose early travels and experiences have deeply influenced his rich vein of work. His solo recitals comprising of moody and expressive tones with an often dramatic style along with observations on his compositions have enveloped audiences wherever he has performed.

O’Reillys suite for orchestra and choir ‘Uba’s Story – A Tale From The Wild’ premiered last year and solidified his position as a great emerging talent.

The forthcoming collaboration with artist Stephen Murphy titled ‘Pictures Of An Exhibition’ will enhance O’Reillys innovative and thrilling dynamic with orchestra and choir. He is presently studying for a Bachelor of Music at the Cork School of Music.

~With thanks to Ms. Joanne McCarthy

Three beautiful ladies

December 17, 2009

I’m very happy that these three beautiful ladies are heading off to their new home. A generous, philanthropic benefactor is fueling my Christmas related Caligula-esque debauchery after taking three paintings of mannequins off my hands. See Doll A, Doll B and Doll C below. All 20 x 24 inches, oil on canvas.Also, might I take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas, and happy holidays to all.

Now might also be an ideal time to drop a tickle bomb –  I am pleased to announce that my next solo exhibition will be on March 12th 2010 in Cork City in the Cork School of Music. However, it won’t simply be a silly little exhibition of paintings, drawings and prints, as you can probably guess from the venue there’s going to be a little music involved.

More detailed details to follow, but I can tell you that my good friend and giftedly talented composer / musician Pierre O’Reilly is going to be organising something special with the students of the school to accompany each of the pieces on show. And it’s going to be unreal. More details soon hopefully~

Winter wonders, The New Ashgate Gallery, Farnham, Surrey, 14th November 2009

November 12, 2009

If you happen to be anywhere near Farnham in Surrey on Saturday night, you’re more than welcome to call into the beautiful New Ashgate Gallery for their annual “Winter wonders” exhibition. There’ll be some new paintings by me on show as part of it, and some beautiful pieces of Jewellery by the ridiculously talented Merle O’Grady.

“Winter Wonders – A fantastic exhibition of craft, textiles, paintings, prints, sculpture, ceramics, books, magazines, cards & jewellery”

Opening Saturday November 14th

Join us for a Winter Wonders themed Reception

at the Gallery on Saturday 14th November, between 10am – 1pm

CASe ’09, The Lavit Gallery, Cork, 14th July 2009

July 10, 2009

Next up on July’s social calendar for me will be CASe ’09 in the Lavit Gallery in Cork, opening on July 14th at 8pm and running until the 25th. CASe is the annual Cork Arts Society showcase and will be featuring work by me, my friend and greatest art-nemises Jennifer O’Connor and a whole bunch of well-known and up and coming arty types from across Ireland including Jack Donovan, Charles Harper, Con Kelleher, Jimmy Lawlor, Arthur Maderson, John Philip Murray, Cormac O’Leary, Brian Smyth, Cara Thorpe, Wesley Triggs and Conor Walton. Do come along if you get a chance.

image001Here’s the promo image for the show, a painting by Charlie Harper.