EXPLORING our world and beyond is the theme of a major new exhibition of works by a talented Swords artist soon to be held in Dublin city centre.Swords artist Matt Cullen will hold a joint exhibition with Kieran Collins, from Sandyford, in the Bank of Ireland Arts Centre, Foster Place, Temple Bar from Tuesday, February 10 until Friday, February 20.The talented 52-year-old ma
EXPLORING our world and beyond is the theme of a major new exhibition of works by a talented Swords artist soon to be held in Dublin city centre.
Swords artist Matt Cullen will hold a joint exhibition with Kieran Collins, from Sandyford, in the Bank of Ireland Arts Centre, Foster Place, Temple Bar from Tuesday, February 10 until Friday, February 20.
The talented 52-year-old mainly works with oil and water-colours to convey his work and to reflect emotions, textures and to depict scenes that suit the medium used.
The title ‘Our World and Beyond’ mirrors the pairs own artistic voyage and brings to the fore the world they are both passionate about. Coupled with this, it provides a journey into a world of surrealism and spirit images that transcend reality.
Matt, in particular, is passionate about the world around us and his love of the Fingal capital and the surrounding areas plays a significant part in his work.
‘I take my inspiration from nature and the existing world around me. I love the Swords estuary and also the walk between Malahide and Portmarnock. My paintings incorporate the real world while Kieran focuses more on the spirits,’ said Matt.
On a wider scale, Matt’s love of history, nature, animals, gardening and people form themes which collectively are catered for in the exhibition.
‘For some reason I’m fascinated by the Jeannie Johnston. I think it’s a wonderful story and a miracle that no one died while crossing to America. The ship forms the background theme to a number of paintings.’
Originally from the Liberties in Dublin Matt moved to Swords soon after marrying his wife Teresa. A prolific painter, over the years Matt has exhibited in Liberty Hall, Ardgillan Castle in Balbriggan and the offices of Dublin City Council, to name but a few. He exhibited for 13 years around St Stephen’s Green and his work has also appeared on the Late Late Show.
An electrician by trade, Matt worked for many years with CIE before he joined FÁS in 1983 as an electrical instructor. Art is a ‘passionate hobby’ for him.
‘Not many people see the similarities between being an electrician and an artist and there’s not much that’s similar, to be honest’, he laughed. ‘The day job is very methodological and scientific but art’s not like that. The painting provides a great contrast to the day job.’
Matt’s father Anthony was also a painter and for as long as he can remember Matt has been dabbling in art.
‘My father was a bus conductor with CIE but his hobby was painting. Every spare minute he had was spent with the paintbrush in his hand. He did wonderful things, like painting silk scarfs with hunting scenes.
’I suppose seeing my father encouraged me as well. I definitely got my love of painting and appreciating the world around us from him. I started with water-colours as a kid and then moved on to oil painting. The only medium I haven’t really used is acrylics.’
In fact, one of Matt’s first ever exhibitions was a joint show with his father in the Liberties. It was in Molyneaux House and was opened by the then President of Ireland, Cearbhaill O’Dhalaigh.
‘That exhibition was very special for me. I was only in my 20s at the time and at the beginning of my painting career while my father was very much established. I learnt a lot from that.’
Family commitments, Matt has two grown up children, has meant he has painted ‘on and off’ over the years. Two years ago, Matt completed a diploma in the History of European Painting in TCD.
‘I’d love to paint full time but the reality is that financially that’s impossible,’ said Matt. ‘Perhaps when I retire I might take it up full full-time then. I loved the TCD course. It really enthused me and re-kindled my love for painting.’
The new exhibition ‘Our World and Beyond’ marks a significant step for both Matt and Kieran and has demanded a great deal of time and commitment from them.
‘I’m very excited about the exhibition,’ said Matt. ‘Both Kieran and myself hope people will come along and enjoy your work. It’s the fruits of many long hours of labour.’
‘Our World and Beyond’, a joint exhibition of paintings by Matt Cullen and Kieran Collins, runs in the Bank of Ireland Arts Centre, Foster Place, Temple Bar from Tuesday, February 10 until Friday, February 20.