Mieke Vanmechelen
Contemporary Expressionist Painter

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Weight on My Shoulders

Mieke Vanmechelen (b.1975)

Based in Co Kerry since the age of six, the Expressionist painter Mieke Vanmechelen was recently selected by an international jury to be the Irish entrant for the prestigious Florence Biennale (December 1-9, 2007), a global exhibition held every two years in the Historical Fortezza da Basso in Florence.

The 2007 event brought together a total of 840 selected artists from 76 countries. Her selection was another step in a steadily advancing career, which has prompted critics to describe her as one of the most collectable young artists in Ireland.

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Vanmechelen's packed 2008 schedule includes solo exhibitions in Cork and Dublin, among others, and she has been invited to participate at the International Kunst Forum in Switzerland during the Autumn. In addition, her growing stature has been recognized as far afield as New York, where she will be exhibiting in June.


Born in Antwerp Belgium, Mieke Vanmechelen lived in Flanders until the age of six before moving with her family to a mountain farm on the Beara Peninsula, County Kerry, in 1981. She grew up on a mountain farm on the Beara Peninsula, surrounded by a magical and mystical landscape which continues to infuse and inspire all her work.


After taking a BA in Philosophy and Classical Civilization from Trinity College Dublin, and a BSc from the University of Wales Cardiff, Vanmechelen returned to Kerry. She now paints, looks after her four children and - as if this wasn't enough - also manages to run a farm with 10 Kerry cattle and 130 sheep.


Equally at home with oils, acrylics or watercolours, Vanmechelen prefers watercolours for her smaller, more abstract, paintings, while relying on oils or acrylics - on canvas or linen - for her large scale compositions. She has completed several series of paintings, with differing levels of abstraction but similar visual impact. The sweep and intensity of some of her paintings, is eerily reminiscent of the great Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1866-1944).

Vanmechelen has exhibited her paintings in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout Ireland.

Group shows include: (2005) Iverni Gallery, Kenmare, Co. Kerry; Origin Gallery, Dublin. (2006) De Barra Gallery, Kenmare, Co. Kerry; Warren Gallery, Castletownsend, Cork; Killarney Art Gallery, Co. Kerry; The Cill Rialaig Artists Retreat, Co. Kerry. (2007) Art Dublin 07; Focus Ireland; Killarney Art Gallery, Co. Kerry; Cork Art Fair; Office of Public Works, Stephen’s Green Dublin; International Kunst Forum, Switzerland; Antiques and Contemporary Art Fair, Ballsbridge RDS Dublin; Florence Biennale.

Solo shows include: SAS Radisson Hotel and Spa, “Homeland Journey” Cork (March/April 2006); Bodega, as part of Cork Jazz Festival, “Let’s Go”, Cork (Oct/Nov 2006); Sheen Falls Lodge, “Silent Oasis” Kenmare, Co. Kerry, (December 2006); Cork Vision Centre, “Wavelength” Cork (January 2007); Hazel Williams Gallery, Kilkenny (October 2007).

Mieke Vanmechelen's works are held in numerous private and public collections in Ireland, Europe, Japan and the United States.


She can be contacted through her website: www.miekevanmechelen.com

Our Opinion

An outstanding artist. Check out her website, which features a wide selection of her work. If you like what you see, think seriously about adding her to your collection before her prices go any higher.

Review written by Neil Collins (Editor) (June 2008).

• For details of famous painters and sculptors from Ireland, see Irish Artists.
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