Artistic License With Martina Galvin



Colour, light and form are the hallmarks of Martina Galvin’s work as an installation artist. Her latest work, entitled Croí, will be unveiled at the UCD Sutherland School of Law on Thursday January 25, which Galvin describes as “an explosion of the joyous celebration of colour.” Its provenance is interesting in that it was commissioned as a result of the Law into Art competition. The competition involved a student essay contest, won by Elaine Egan, for her essay on the enactment of Bunreacht na hÉireann. Using this theme, Galvin created the vibrant, kinetic artwork, which is formed from interconnecting cubes of varying sizes.


Tell us a little about the creative process for Croí.

The creative process involved site visits and the making of 3D models, as well as mixing and playing with colour combinations. My inspiration for colour comes from nature – both macro and micro – the skies above as well as pebbles and lichens.

Features of your work include scale, colour, light and form. How would you say your artistic career has developed over the last 20 years?

I have always been interested in nature in that way. I was first a painter in the National College of Art and Design and was extremely influenced by a trip to the Burren landscape in Clare, at the time. I then moved in the direction of installation while studying in Wales for my MA degree. On my return to Ireland a solo show in Temple Bar Galleries was followed by a series of international art projects and then by a succession of commissions and projects in Ireland. My work has a fragile and transient nature to it, in terms of materials used and the presentation of the work.


Where and how do you work?

The way I like to work is to make tiny drawings and sketches in my notebooks. When those tiny drawings are then produced in a large scale, I am always surprised. I don’t have a home studio, so I currently have a beautiful studio in Independent Studios, Eustace Street, Temple Bar. The way I work is physical. I like to draw, I take photographs, and I like to create physical 3D models as experiments. I also love to mix paint and create colours.


Do you have many of your installations at home and what other artists do you admire?

Yes, my house is full of my art, even the attic, but all are smaller works even though I typically work to a larger scale.

I admire Cecily Brennan, who was my personal tutor in NCAD, Frida Kahlo, Gwen John, and if I had to pick one artist it would be Van Gogh and his drawings. I was lucky enough to see all of his paintings and drawings in 1990 in a special collection held in the Rijksmuseuum Kroller-Muller in Otterlo and the Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh in Amsterdam, to mark the anniversary of his death.


What are you currently working on next?

I am hoping to work on a series of prints inspired by Croí and the work I did for my exhibition in the Butler Gallery in Kilkenny.

Need to Know: Croí, which was donated by Irish law firm McCann FitzGerald, can be seen from different viewpoints at the UCD Sutherland School of Law including the entrance to the school, the ground floor Gardiner Atrium and first floor VV Giri Gallery.

Penny McCormick

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