Conor Walton

Ireland / °1970 / /
"I see myself as essentially a figurative painter in the European tradition, attempting to maintain my craft at the highest level, using painting to explore issues of truth, meaning and value. All my paintings are attempted answers to the 3 questions in the title of Gauguin's famous painting: 'What are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going?' My art is founded upon a study of nature because for me nature is the basis of all life, all beauty, all our wealth. The human image is central to my work because I believe we need images of ourselves to gain self-understanding; to comprehend our relationships with each other and with nature. Cennino Cennini said 600 years ago that painting 'calls for imagination, and skill of hand, in order to discover things not seen, hiding themselves under the shadow of natural objects ... presenting to plain sight what does not actually exist'. I am still essentially committed to painting as Cennino defined it. But whereas painters in Cennini's day could paint a Crucifixion or a Madonna and find in this image the highest embodiment of meaning, value and purpose for their society, our society lacks images that articulate common beliefs, common values and meanings. My response to this situation is to start from scratch, to go back to nature and the human form, back to my own first principles and to try to paint new images that can..."

"There is always an element of role-play in portraiture. When I paint myself I usually assume the rather obvious role of Painter, concentrating each time on different aspects of the identity it affords. When assuming any of these poses, one must be conscious of how clichéd they are; a certain level of irony and self-consciousness is unavoidable. But each time I adopt the role of Painter I also try and say something of what painting is, and of where I stand as a painter, that is honest and sincere.""
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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


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