TRAVELS WITH MY SUITCASE

Drawings and Paintings
by
Flora McDonnell

6pm Thursday 11th October – Saturday 20th October 2012

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TRAVELS WITH MY SUITCASE

I’ve still got my suitcase … a hand-me-down from my grandmother with her initials A. A. painted under the handle. It travelled with me forwards and backwards over the Irish Sea from boarding school to adulthood and beyond. In my ownership it was always suitably old and bashed, the once smart blue polished cardboard well scuffed by Grangela’s adventures overseas. The brand Revelation, with its trademark man in a trilby carrying a ladder, promised something revolutionary … expandability. The hinges at the back and the catches on the front were built on sliding ratcheted ladders. You pack double the depth of the suitcase, slide the ratchets to their maximum length fasten the clasps … and sit on it … several times and in various places. Accompanied by the clicking sound of ratchets rapidly contracting you are left with a manageable, if impossibly heavy piece of luggage, to add to the collection.

Horses have been a lifelong love. During the late 1990s and early 2000s I spent periods of time drawing racehorses … in Calcutta, Goodwood, the Curragh and Newmarket. But I never took them any further, unclear in my mind which thread to follow. What really interested me was not the burlesque but the intimate relationship between the horses and the lads who rode and looked after them in the yard.

Painting wild weather in wild places is something I’ve always felt drawn to.  The challenge of trying to capture a moment in a storm has always fascinated me. For many years I spent half of September on the west coast of Donegal to do this.

 

The earlier drawings and paintings in this show turned out to be the source material of the later works which evolved out of my experience of psychoanalysis. I have weathered too many impossible storms through bouts of severe depression … but 7 years ago, when my son Sorley was three months old, I was hit by a tornado. Having survived I realised maintaining my equilibrium with a baby to look after was my top priority. A voice I trusted beyond others rang true … suggesting a course of intensive psychoanalysis could be of real benefit. So I started; reluctant, cross, resentful that time, so much time, time I could be working, was stolen from me … for years. A while ago there was a turning point when I realised the fight had to end and I decided to work with the process. Most of these pictures are the result of that decision.

Click here for Flora McDonnell’s C.V.

The price range of this exhibition was £400 – £3,000

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Drawings

No.s 1-36 are mixed media. No.s 37-40 are pencil and crayon.

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Paintings

No.s 40-42 are oil on painting rags. No.s 43-55 are oil on board.