Artistic License: Mark P Cullen

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In his first major exhibition in over a decade, Cullen explores different textures by way of brush and knife, paring back images to their simplest form …

How and where do you work?

I work loosely from a thought or a memory, though occasionally use a photo as a reference point. My studio is a small space, overlooking our garden in Blackrock, Co Dublin. It is a calm and reflective space – in the garden is a fig tree that has produced figs which have been featured in many of my paintings over the years.

Tell us about the context of this exhibition?

“Textures” is a collection of paintings and impasto paintings exploring the different techniques of painting I have been interested in for the last decade. Irrespective of technique each piece is always seeking to capture the essences of the image while attempting to pare it back to its simplest form.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Mainly from the Irish coastline. Most days my walks take in Seapoint, Dun Laoghaire, Bulloch and Coliemore harbours, though a lot comes from childhood memories exploring these places, remembering the process of building sandcastles and trying to fathom the three dimensionalities of them.

How has your work evolved?

Broadly speaking my work could be described as mainly blockwork playing with colour and shapes and making sculptural sense of them, but I’ve been experimenting recently with different techniques. With a combination of knife work and brushwork, I sometimes load the brush with paint and let it produce a drip effect.

For the last year or two, I’ve also really been enjoying working on grids because it’s a process that allows me to completely empty my mind and frees me up to produce something that doesn’t have to appeal to me or anyone else. It’s not trying to be anything in particular but I just enjoy the process of applying the heavily laden knife with paint.

Need to Know: “Textures” by Mark P Cullen opens online from November 22 and runs until December 7 at Wilton Gallery, 55, Glasthule Road, Sandycove, Dublin. Private viewing by appointment will be available up to December 1, when Wilton Gallery reopens its doors to the public; www.wiltongallery.ie.

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