“Mulcahy at 70” – Artist Michael Mulcahy says that “spreading joy and color” fuels his creativity and drive

The Taylor Galleries on Kildare Street buzzed last night at a private viewing of artist Michael Mulcahy’s latest exhibition, Mulcahy at 70, specially organized for President Michael D. Higgins.

Word of the event’s attention must have spread throughout the arts scene, however, as at least two dozen enthusiastic visitors flocked in to marvel at the Cork-born painter’s latest collection.

Mulcahy, affectionately called “Mick” by those closest to him, was a friend of President Higgins for many years and illustrated two volumes of poetry published by the President.

Considered one of Ireland’s greatest contemporary artists, ‘Mick’ Mulcahy’s latest collection of 33 paintings ranges in size from 15cm x 15cm to an 8 x 12ft masterpiece. While each painting shines with his signature use of vibrant color, which Mulcahy embodied in a light purple suit and yellow paint-splattered Croc sandals.

Mulcahy’s partner, Vera Whelan, of 10 years, said “he works every day,” and the painter explained what drives his seemingly never-ending work ethic.

“The celebration of life. It’s that simple and spreading joy and colour. So many people are stuck in an everyday reality,” he said.

“Anyone can paint. My father, for example, started painting when he was 80. I tell dad you love the sea and the sky. He said: “What should I paint?”. I said, “You only paint what you love,” and we sat in a ditch and saw the sky and he painted it in his own way and the joy he got from it and the joy of giving him pictures Friends.

“Anyone can paint. We won’t all be Picasso, but it’s your personal touch. It’s just about having the confidence to do it.”

Mulcahy has traveled the world extensively, including spending a year in a Buddhist monastery in 1989, and those experiences continue to influence his work today, according to President Higgins.

“It has all the technical advances that he has, plus a whole new spiritual insight. There is so much in it related to the life journey that Michael has taken [on],” he said.

“There’s an originality to it. All risks are taken in it. As an artist, there are personal risks that are extraordinary. The work will be among the most remembered and define. Some of us will see a nod to images from previous work, but what you have is a superb artistic finish in terms of line and transition between images.”

A chance encounter with the then Irish ambassador to South Korea, Richard Ryan, led to Mulcahy spending a year there in a Buddhist monastery, where he studied with the monastic painter Suan Sunim.

Mr Ryan said some of the tracks in Mulcahy at 70 had “echoes” of his time in East Asia.

“He’s always looking for spiritual inspiration and I think South Korea played a big part in that,” he said.

“I think this exhibition is almost a revival of the Lazareth. It’s fantastic, this exhibition brings a whole vitality to his central and personal qualities; A very heavy use of colors that shouldn’t suit him but magically that they work perfectly, shapes and textures and then a deep spiritualism emerges. You can’t tell what religion it is, but they are deeply spiritual.

“All in all, I think these components give us back an absolutely magical vision of the painter.”

Mr Mulcahy spends most of his time in his workshop near the town of Wexford, which is set up in a converted 300 year old barn.

So says his partner Vera, who said the surrounding countryside is a source of endless inspiration for both of them.


Michael Mulcahy and partner Vera Whelan

When asked by someone in the crowd what his favorite piece was, Mr. Mulcahy replied, “Next.” Ms. Whelan said that answer encapsulated his personality and principles.

“He never picks a style that sells in the market, he feels that would sell out his creativity. He likes the freedom to do whatever comes from the source of creativity within him.

“So he always looks forward to his next painting.”

She added: He is absolutely loyal, absolutely true to the true source of creativity within him. I’m really proud of him.”

Mulcahy was also “deeply honoured” by the presence of Mr. Higgins, saying he is currently writing poetry and joking, “I hope he’ll do some drawings for me.”

At the age of 70 and with no intention of slowing down, Mulcahy said the public can expect to see “Mulcahy at 80” in 10 years, “and at 90 and 100.”

https://www.independent.ie/news/mulcahy-at-70-artist-michael-mulcahy-says-spreading-joy-and-colour-fuels-his-creativity-and-drive-41843667.html “Mulcahy at 70” – Artist Michael Mulcahy says that “spreading joy and color” fuels his creativity and drive

Fry Electronics Team

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