Nature is an abiding source for Maighread Tobin and her new series of paintings reflect her engagement with natural sculptural forms, writes Niamh NicGhabhann
Maighread Tobin’s body of work reflects joyful variation. As an artist, she has worked across different media and forms, from her etched slate sculptures to the playful, rolling shapes of her Rhythm, Cloak and Embrace, 1999, rolled-metal triptych at Dublin’s Civic Theatre. In conversation with the artist, it is clear that this diversity of media and forms reflects her own wide-ranging influences and interests. Her most recent works are oil on gesso board and are informed by her passion for the natural world, by travel, by long-standing traditional artistic techniques, and by a school of nature painters that includes Tony O’Malley, Charles Tyrrell, Michael Canning and William Crozier. Tobin’s work is balanced between pure abstraction and figuration. It remains connected to the physical world while leaning towards the creation of abstract pattern, repetition and rhythm. For Tobin, moving from a mostly monochromatic palette in her sculptural work into painting was akin to experiencing an ‘explosion of colour’, and she is drawn to the reds, rusts, and yellows of volcanic terrains, as well as deep, vibrant blues and greens that recall stained glass or landscapes at dusk. She lists travel, the physical experience of landscapes through hill-walking and gardening, as well as medieval art and textile patterns from across the globe as continually informing her practice.
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