Gerhardt Gallagher

Statement

Sketches and drawings are always central to my work and are as much a part of my life as reading and writing.

Ideas and representations have filled dozens of sketchbooks and I keep them as reference to develop other work.

A number of themes have evolved in my work but the human figure, determined by landscape or itself dominating seems to feature consistently. Perhaps as in the paintings by the German romantics the humans' essential loneliness plays a role as in many of my paintings the figure fades into the larger background.

My earlier works tended to be hard edged, highly stylized or semi abstract in blocks of colour which were suitable to acrylic paint, much favoured at the time and also suited to knife worked oil and painted ink; again figures in space and time were the main subjects.

My style has softened over time as I worked to greater degree in watercolour but the figure on landscape remains. Recently my drawings find satisfactory expression in the print media of dry point etching, aquatint and carborundum from copperplate, aluminum and some contemporary bases.I came to printing in the late nineteen nineties, probably influenced by the work of my grandmother , Margarethe Gerhardt, a well known painter and etcher of the North German landscape.

I continue to work the figure into various compositions but as the built environment proliferates, I am drawn to the essential harmonizing influence of natural things, particularly trees and woodlands. These have been the subject of more recent exhibitions, Woodforms (Kennedy Gallery and Garter Lane Arts Centre), The Dodder-Portrait of a River,with artist Adrienne Symes (James Joyce Centre), City, Sea and Forest (Airfield House) , Trees, Woods and their Places (Rarhfarnham Castle) and Silva an exhibition of wood sculpture and oils at the Sol Gallery , Dublin.Trees have also featured in a number of my recent aquatint and drypoint etchings.. However I am by no means a hermit and the cameo exchanges of the city street, cafe and pub also fill my sketchbooks and sometimes move on from there.

Locations that have shaped my work are Waterford, where I come from, Clew Bay, a continuing refuge and the Dublin/ Wicklow Mountains where I go to as often as I can. Favourite works include the paintings of the Irish artists Richard Kingston and Jonathan Wade, those from two ends of the spectrum, Klimt and Sydney Nolan and the interiors of the Dutch Masters.

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