Tuesday 24 September 2019

What Lies Beneath: O Wind by Lisa Molina

O Wind by Lisa Molina, Mixed media, courtesy of the artist

O Wind by Lisa Molina
O Wind by Lisa Molina

Niall MacMonagle

Lisa Molina, London-born, Irish mother and French/Spanish father, is both a GP and artist and lives in Cabestany, just outside Perpignan, where she works as a locum in a group practice, half the year, short periods at a time.

She lives her life through French, has fluent English and listens to Lyric FM.

As Dr Molina, her commitment is total: "I am in the zone, I am not an arty doctor." But art is her first love: "I couldn't give up art, it's what I do, I've been an artist for 30 years."

And much of her daydreaming and inspiration come from Devlin, where her mother now lives, "an end-of-the-road spot", beyond Killadoon, Co Mayo, that looks out on the wide, wild Atlantic.

Her mother, poet Geraldine Mitchell, and her great-aunts, one a sculptor, another the artist Lillias Mitchell, who endowed the Golden Fleece Award, were obvious influences.

This work, O Wind, takes its title from a Geraldine Mitchell poem and is the cover image for Mitchell's latest collection, Mountains for Breakfast.

In the south of France, Molina's breakfasts are equally wonderful. Molina, during le petit dejeuner, will cut open an empty Tetra Pak and using drypoint, will make an image on the shiny inside surface.

Later in her print studio she will ink and print and add "watercoloured paper or a perfume box cardboard: a collage on linocut on Fabriano paper.

Since childhood, Molina has spent a month in Ireland every year: "Any time is my favourite time, every day is a good day, rain doesn't stop me and anyway you dry out."

Arriving in Devlin, she checks the tide book. Beachcombed wood, shells, bones, metal have become sculptures.

O Wind is a small work packed with energy. A skeletal tree sculpted by an east wind with field, hill, potato ridges, sea and sky in grey, blue, black, turquoise capture the dramatic landscape.

Her favourite colour, green, she hates painting, "it's too difficult to get right".

Just as in Mitchell's poetry, the physical landscape becomes an emotional one and the lines "O wind/ it's past your bedtime, you've had your dance,/ now lie down to sleep" open up another way of seeing. Words and image complement each other.

Molina was hanging this new work when an American visited the gallery, explained how she was heading home the next day, bought book and artwork and skedaddled.

Somewhere in the city that never sleeps Molina's image of that racing wind will dance, dance, dance. Always.

Mind has Mountains, a group show featuring Mags Duffy, Jane Williams, Lisa Molina and Aoife Casby runs at Green Fuse Gallery, Westport, until November 30.

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