Born Ireland, 1984, lives and works in Dublin
Kevin Cosgrove’s carefully understated paintings are compelling individually, but together they make up an ingenuously coherent body of work. Cosgrove makes remarkable paintings of workplaces; de-populated factory interiors, mechanic’s workshops, lumber-yards, dry-docks, sites of old-fashioned ‘proper’ handwerk. etc. Cosgrove’s relatively traditional upbringing in a mining community in the central heartlands of Ireland has instilled a strong sense of survival, craft, industry and the honourability of work into canvases of under-populated workplaces. The (perhaps out-moded) notions of ‘proper’ work and the oral communication of skills, from father to son, generation to generation, are fundamental to his paintings, which can be art-historically contexualised by an extensive framework of artists who have explored the social structures and the nobility – or otherwise – of labour, linking Corot, Courbet and Manet to the Euston Road School and extending to the artists of Soviet and Chinese social realism. Cosgrove sees himself as a craftsman, or artisan wherein the art is more visible than the artist; accordingly, his art is superbly constructed and carefully articulated.
Cosgrove was shortlisted for the Jerwood Contemporary Painters Prize in 2010 and his work has been shown at Frieze Art Fair, London (solo, 2012) and Art HK, and Art Basel Hong Kong, (solo, 2012 and 2016), as well as three solo exhibitions at mother’s tankstation, Dublin. Further exhibitions include: Everything is in everything, Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh (2019); Industry, Solstice Arts Centre, Navan (2018); A Peening Sound, Butler Gallery, Kilkenny (solo, 2016); Some kind of real, The Dock, Leitrim (2016); Don’t shoot the painter, Villa Reale’s Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan (2015); 40/40/40, which travelled to Centro Cultural Conde Duque, Madrid, Biblioteka Uniwersytecka, Warsaw, and Pallazo Della Farnesina, Rome (2013) and Last, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin. In 2017, Cosgrove’s work was included in an expansive overview exhibition, The New Frontiers of Painting, Fondazione Stelline, Milan.