His family’s garden and personal grief informs Irish artist Clifford Collie’s new exhibition at Solomon Fine Art, Dublin 2.
Tell us about the inspiration behind “The Imagined Garden” exhibition – was it based on gardens in Ireland or in Spain or both?
The imagined garden is a metaphor, an interior space, I suppose. I approached the idea of the garden, from the family home, as a starting point because it had a profound effect on us growing up. The concept also came from a sense of grief with the recent losses we’ve experienced and it was a way of saying goodbye to this sanctuary of sorts; a closure of an important part of my life. It’s also been a transitional and meditative experience.
How and where do you work?
I live between Zaragoza and Dublin. My partner is Spanish so I’ve had this dual living experience for the last 27 years. It’s influenced my work, of course. I work from the apartment in Zaragoza, converting a space into a studio and when my parents were alive I’d spend time in Dublin and paint from a room also converted into a studio. I have always worked from memory making notes mostly and they, in turn, are the triggers.
How has your work evolved would you say?
I’ve never identified myself as a figurative painter or as an abstract one either. I fall between many influences and the evolution of my work has always been grounded in the metaphysical, and where one fits in to this thing called existence.
Do you have any favourite images from this exhibition?
For me, each painting is a snippet from something much larger going on, down to the composition and to the tone. I can’t singularly choose one particular painting, but if I were to choose one it would be “The imagined garden XV1”. Primarily, as it was the painting I finished first after returning to Dublin last January and the one I most identify surrounding the loss of my sister from that time.
Need to Know: “The Imagined Garden” by Clifford Collie is at Solomon Fine Art, Balfe Street, Dublin 2 from January 10 until February 1, 2020: www.solomonfineart.ie.