Saturday 16 December 2017

What lies beneath... Entrance Way

Entrance Way by David Coyne, oil on canvas board, courtesy of the artist

Entrance Way by David Coyne
Entrance Way by David Coyne

Niall MacMonagle

Coyne, meaning "wild goose", is a familiar west of Ireland name and David Coyne, a Dub, flew that direction after college: "the West must be in the DNA".

He was drawn towards wide open spaces, ever-changing high skies, unpredictable weather. "I rarely paint urban landscapes; if I encounter right angles I tend to tighten up. Rural landscapes are more circular in shape, more flowing - the only straight line in my work is the horizon line".

Even then that line contains the curve of the globe. Though Coyne's background is in film and photography he does not work from photographs - "the colours can be too restrictive".

A sketch is a starting point and exaggerating or omitting allows for a stronger narrative. He had "a very short-lived experience with brushes" but now works with palette knife. "Once I experimented with the knife I was immediately taken with it. Everything from the grip of the handle to the way paint can be applied appealed to me". It also allows for "a thick and sweeping" technique. He likes its riskiness, its "accidental elements".

Paul Henry and Jack B Yeats are admired, especially Yeats for "his loose, vibrant style" but Coyne admires all artists who can make a living from their work. Go west with this young man at and you'll find a fresh, vivid world of roads and beaches and bogs and mountains. His paintings of fishing, farming, cycling the road and coastal scenes are, above all else, about "movement and colour".

Details reveal themselves slowly: "I like when a painting is not spoon fed to an audience."

This image, Entrance Way, is of a small swimming spot near Sneem, Co Kerry. A cove, golden sand, rocks on either side create a little sheltered haven in this zinging gem of a painting.

Impasto technique creates a sea of translucent turquoise, far away and get-at-able. Colours "bump shoulders" the red, yellow, charcoal-coloured rocks provide dramatic contrast. Kerry has never looked so Caribbean.

David Coyne's work is included in this year's RHA Exhibition - until August 8.

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