Universal theme






The thread that bound us to the universal themes of our ancestors, the cycles of life and death through nature, her gods, the very essence of Man in this world, is today broken. Gradually yet surely we have strayed from our substance and what little remains is buried beneath the immeasurable pride of a vacant positivism.

My cultural heritage is Celtic and, as an artist, it is only natural that I should seek the origins of my craft in this misty past; there where Man and gods shared the earth, where the poets knew the magic formulas, the antidotes of chaos. It was the time of the dragons, the emblematic figures of exalted nature where Man's fascination for the natural forces was written in letters of earth and stone. For a number of years my art has been steeped in this half-tone world. Painting after painting I strive to unearth traces of this fugitive past with the help of an ancient and mysterious poem, the last link, the last remaining thread, the "Song of Amergin:"

Ic tabairt a choisse dessi i nHerind asbert Amairgen Glúngel mac Miled in laídseo sís:
As he placed his right foot on Ireland, Amergin of the White Knee recited this poem:

Am gáeth i mmuir I am the sea swell
Am tonn trethain The furious wave
Am fúaimm mara The roar of the sea
Am dam secht ndrenn A stag of seven slaughters
Am séig i n-aill A hawk above the cliff
Am dér gréne A ray of the sun
Am caín lubae The beauty of a plant
Am torc ar gáil A boar enraged
Am hé i llind A salmon in a pool
Am loch i mmaig A lake in a plain
Am brí dánae A flame of valour
Am gae i fodb feras fechtu A piercing spear waging war
Am dé delbas do chin codnu A god that fashions heroes for a lord
Cóich é no-d-gléith clochur sléibe He who clears the mountain paths
Cía ón co-ta-gair áesa éscai He who describes the moon's advance
Cía dú i llaig funiud gréne And the place where the sun sets
Cía beir búar o thig Temrach Who drives cattle off from Tara
Cía búar tethrach tibis cech dáin That fine herd touches each skill
Cía dé delbas fáebru áine A god that fashions weapons of glory
Commus caínte Cáinte gáeth An able poet. Wise am I.

Indefatigably reiterated on canvas the painting develops as a multiple palimpsest of eternally murmured invocations buried beneath successive layers of pigment and cement.
The " Song of Amergin " is an ancient Irish poem over 3000 years old. It is alleged to have been sung by the Chief Bard of the Milesians as he set his foot on the soil of Ireland in 1268 BCE. It is a magical invocation of the forces of nature and a precious reminder of what 'art' was originally about. It is for this reason I have made it the substance from which my paintings evolve, not with nostalgia for the past but with hope for the future; when once again the sacred in art will stem from its spiritual content rather than its market value.