Burgundy light

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Maeve McCarthy in her studio


Cristín Leach looks at Maeve McCarthy’s new paintings as she prepares for her forthcoming exhibition at the Molesworth Gallery

The painter Maeve McCarthy has received several awards for her portraiture, including the inaugural Ireland-US Council and Irish Arts Review Portraiture Award in 2006 for her Self Portrait. Her Portrait of Maeve Binchy is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery at the NGI. She is also an accomplished landscape and still-life painter.

In 2016, McCarthy showed The Return, a short film she had made with her brother, Peter, as part of her RHA Ashford Gallery exhibition. Ostensibly, the subject of the four-minute piece is the farmhouse outside Newry where her grandmother grew up. Watching, you come to understand it is really about something else. That something is at the heart of her paintings too: a deep sense of place, memory as a generational bequest, the liminal gap between absence and presence, and the dance between belonging and feeling alone.

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