Abstract Artists of Ireland
Non-Representational Irish Painters & Sculptors of Abstraction.



Wall of Light Summer (2005)
Sean Scully

Abstract Artists: Ireland

Contents

What is Abstract Art?
Irish Abstract Artists

Resources

Abstract Art: History, Types
Abstract Painters
Abstract Paintings: Top 100
Abstract Art Movements
Abstract Sculpture (1900-2000)
Abstract Sculptors (1900-2000)


TERMINOLOGY
Abstract art is also referred to as
"concrete" art, or "non-objective"
art. The converse of abstract art
is representational art.

DEVELOPMENT OF IRISH ART
For the evolution of visual arts,
see: History of Irish Art.

PAINTERS IN IRELAND
For a selection of some of
the finest living artists,
see: Best Irish Artists.
For a summary of landscapes,
see: Irish Landscape Artists.

For details of portraiture,
see: Irish Portrait Artists.
For a review of genre-works,
see: Irish Genre Painters.

IRISH FINE ART
For the history of painters,
see: Irish Painting.
For the story of 3-D art, and
biographies of sculptors,
see: Irish Sculpture.
For details of the Irish
arts infrastructure,
see: Ireland Visual Arts.

TOP PRICED IRISH ART
For details of auction records
set by artists from Ireland,
see: Most Expensive Irish Paintings.

What is Abstract Art?

What exactly is the meaning of the term "abstract art"? Or, to put it another way, at what point does a work of art (a painting or a sculpture) become "abstract"? Hard to say, isn't it? - never mind the difference between semi-abstract and wholly abstract!

Theoretically, abstract paintings and sculptures are defined by the absence of anything recognizable in their composition - by a lack of naturalistic representation. And purists will argue that a truly abstract work cannot resemble or contain any naturalist shapes, but only artificial man-made shapes derived from geometric motifs. (see non-objective art.) However, most spectators who look at a painting without recognizing anything in it, almost always describe it as "abstract", whether or not it has a naturalistic squiggle or two.

Sometimes, however, it can be difficult to say whether a work is abstract or representational. Take landscape art, for instance. Many contemporary landscape paintings - despite having some faint similarity with elements of the natural world - are really abstract works. Yet their artists may object to the idea of being described as abstract painters, and may insist on being called landscape painters. Still life painting can also be tricky. For example, how should one describe William Scott, one of Ireland's greatest still life painters? Is he an abstract or a minimalist painter? The answer isn't clear.

Abstract Artists of Ireland

Bearing in mind the definitional problem described above, here is a short selected list of Irish painters and sculptors who are noted (not necessarily exclusively) for their skill in concrete art.

Robert Armstrong (b.1953)
Abstract painter; head of the Department of Fine Art painting at NCAD.
Eithne Carr RHA (b.1946)
Dublin-born abstract artist, noted for sensuous images, expressive brushwork.
Diana Copperwhite (b.1969)
Limerick-born, acclaimed abstract artist; NCAD lecturer.
William Crozier (b.1930)
Abstract landscape painter noted for his vivid colourism.
Mark De Freyne (b.1960)
Contemporary Irish abstract painter.
Felim Egan (b.1952)
Tyrone-born, contemporary abstract artist, member of Aosdana.
Martin Finnin (b.1968)
Contemporary abstract, mixed-media painter, noted for sensual colours.
Tom Fitzgerald (b.1939)
Founder of Exhibition of Visual Art; Professor of Sculpture, Aosdana member.
Marie Foley (b.1959)
Abstract sculptor, Aosdana member; uses found materials like wood, porcelain.

Mark Francis (b.1962)
Noted for abstract, monochromatic, oil paintings.
Gerda Fromel (1931-75)
Modernist abstract sculptor in bronze, steel, stone and alabaster.
Richard Gorman (b.1946)
Abstract artist whose work is represented in Irish Museum of Modern Art.
Evie Hone (1894-1955)
Modernist abstract painter, pioneer of Cubism; stained glass artist.
Mainie Jellett (1897-1944)
Pupil of Andre Lhote and Albert Gleizes; one of Ireland's first abstract artists.
Bernadette Kiely (b.1958)
Contemporary abstract landscape artist, member of Aosdana.
Brian King (b.1942)
Aosdana member noted for large minimalist-style geometric metal sculptures.
Cecil King (1921-1986)
Wicklow-born, self-taught abstract artist, founder member of Rosc Committee.
John Kingerlee (b.1936)
Anglo-Irish abstract landscape painter, based in Co Cork.
Ciaran Lennon (b.1947)
Abstract Painter, works in public collections around globe; Aosdana member.
Anne Madden (b.1932)
Abstract painter, member of Aosdana, wife of Louis le Brocquy.
Clement McAleer (b.1949)
Abstract painter working in bright acrylic paint.
Zita McGarry Kelly (b.1966)
Longford-born Abstract Expressionist, noted for her Byzantine symbolism.
Eilis O'Connell RHA (b.1953)
Abstract sculptor, founder of National Sculpture Factory, Aosdana member.
Hughie O'Donoghue (b.1953)
One of Ireland's finest exponents of Abstract Expressionism.
Tony O'Malley (1913-2003)
Abstract landscape painter, with a minimalist-type painting style.
James Quinn (b.1963)
Technology painter of PCB motifs, acrylics and mixed-media.
Patrick Scott (b.1921)
Cork-born abstract artist noted for his gold paintings; Saoi of Aosdana.
William Scott OBE RA (1913-89)
Ireland's greatest semi-abstract still life painter, brought up in Co Fermanagh.
Sean Scully (b.1945)
Famous for monumental abstracts of elemental geometric forms.
David Seeger (b.1937)
Ex-colleague of David Hockney, noted for abstract ceramic sculpture.
John Shinnors (b.1950)
Contemporary Irish landscape artist, now almost entirely abstract.
John Noel Smith (b.1952)
Dublin born abstract painter, member of Aosdana.
Camille Souter HRHA (b.1929)
Noted for semi-abstract modernist landscape paintings, Aosdana member.
Mary Swanzy HRHA (1882-1978)
One of Ireland's earliest and greatest abstract painters.
Francis Tansey (b.1959)
Famous for his vivid, abstract acrylic paintings of geometric shapes.
Charles Tyrrell (b.1950)
Minimalist abstract artist, member of Aosdana
Alexandra Wejchert (b.1921)
Architect, sculptor, noted for abstract stainless steel sculptures.

 

For more information about painters and sculptors from Ireland, please see:

18th Century Irish Artists (Born before 1800)
19th Century Irish Artists (Born 1800-1900)
20th Century Irish Artists (Born 1900 onwards)
Famous Irish Artists

• For more biographies of Irish abstract artists, see: Homepage.


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