About the work

"Over the last few years I have created images of places and objects in response to my immediate surroundings in North Mayo. The resulting drawings or paintings relate to very particular sites near my home and studio; sites which are highly specific and personal yet hopefully universal.

I aim to make the everyday apparent, appreciated and intriguing and am interested in emphasising a stillness and tranquility through my work, ignoring the spectacular and getting closer to the more ordinary aspects of a particular place.

Keith Wilson

At the same time, I am also noting my own small patterns of movement and how they might relate to the larger world. Often the work details particular stopping points on short, repetitive journeys made within a very limited space and over time I have begun to recognise many recurring landmarks. In my artwork, I’ve always been interested in trying to describe the space around myself and finding ways of communicating a particular unique atmosphere.

Recurring motifs to date have been ditches, open fields, boundaries, puddles and more recently, very specific objects and trees. I am constantly involved in trying to capture this essence of a place and describing how one can retrace one’s footsteps, look again and take time to think. I have worked ‘in series’ for many years to accentuate this notion of looking again and returning.

Keith Wilson

I also try to develop this notion in my painting practice as pieces are reworked regularly. Because of the way the work is made in layers, some paintings can ‘have a rest’ for a while and then be rediscovered at a later date. On looking at the painted surface of some recent work one can see that the paintings have been built up gradually in oil paint using a variety of knives, brushes and cloths. I am continually surprised at the qualities of the material itself and its potential for manipulation. Drawings too can happen the same way, slowly, a kind of day to day record over a longer period of time.

I enjoy the natural world but not its distractions so much. Often I find it hard to focus when there’s so much out there competing for attention and I’d rather be indoors where I can concentrate on recreating some sort of atmosphere I’d experienced. Rather than directly battling with the elements I prefer to make use of memory, notes and small painted studies.

I like the self imposed limitations of having confined myself to a relatively small area in which to explore. I spend a lot of time sitting outdoors drawing or making notes about places I see every day. Usually I make a lot of sketches with a view to producing a painting from the information and these help to inform and direct the progression of the work.

So, in a sense some of the larger works aren’t just a result of direct study and response. From ‘life’ as it were. I like to gather information through drawing or photography or record notes on colours and then carry them inside where they can be sorted, filtered and distilled. The images themselves have to be quite specific and accurate as depictions of places to mean anything to me but often I discover that something magical has happened as the painted surface has developed.

It has always been important to me that the paintings should work on two levels. From a distance, hopefully an arresting image which says, ‘Come closer’ and once close up, a detailed surface which can be appreciated in it's own right, itself a record of how the piece has been created. "

Keith Wilson, North Mayo

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