Born Dublin, Ireland, lives and works in Dublin
Mairead O’hEocha makes paintings that reflect her interest in ‘the specifics of (non)place’, affirming and negating the unique and the universal. O’hEocha’s iconic paintings of liminal, semi-rural places, particularly, south eastern Ireland, carry conflicted identities and confused historical timelines: the ancient, the poetic, the sublime sidles up to the contemporary, the unsightly, and the simple daily realities of factories, washing lines, garbage bins – all the elements usually excluded by the painter’s composition. The meticulous architectonic execution of her paintings creates an anxious narrative that simultaneously undermines and supports pictorial logic, prompting contradictory responses of familiarity and remoteness, of longing for and belonging to a simultaneously familiar and alien contemporary world. More recently, since ceasing to teach and consequently no longer making extensive driven commutes through the Irish landscape, O’hEocha’s subject matter has shifted/widened to include scenes experienced from daily walks, to subjects of perennial painterly fascination; stilled life. O’hEocha’s two-year long engagement with the seemingly simple subject matter of flowers, both faithfully observed and improvised, takes the ‘liberated’ subject out of the candlelight of the Enlightenment and plunges it into the darkness of Romanticism, where flowers are not just flowers, but powerful, resonant surrogates for things we do not like to think on, but perhaps obsess upon.
Mairead O’hEocha held her fourth solo exhibition, Irises in the Well, with mother’s tankstation, London, in 2018. In 2019 O’hEocha was invited to participate in Slow Painting, a 2019-2020 UK touring group exhibition curated by the writer and critic Martin Herbert. O’hEocha’s most recent solo exhibition Tale Ends & Eternal Wakes, opened in April 2020 at theTemple Bar Gallery + Studios in Dublin. Other notable exhibitions include: Shaping Ireland: Intervention and Representation in Irish Landscape Art, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin (2019); A Painter’s Doubt: Painting & Phenomenology, Salzburger Kunstverein (2017); 2116: Forecast of the Next Century, Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork, traveling to Broad Art Museum, Michigan (2016 – 2017); Coup de Ville Contemporary Art Festival, WARP, Belgium (2016); The Mud of Compound Experience, Hong Kong, mother’s tankstation in collaboration with Leo Xu Projects (2016); Whisper Concrete, Butler Gallery, Kilkenny (2011); The Model, Sligo (2012); The Hudson Franklin Gallery, New York (2008). O’hEocha’s acclaimed, second museum exhibition, via An Lár, at the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2011) was reviewed in Frieze, no. 141 and selected as an Artforum critics’ picks of 2011. Her work was presented by mother’s tankstation at ‘Art Statements’, Art Basel 44, 2013 and is featured in the third issue of the survey publication of contemporary painting; ‘Vitamin P3: New Perspectives in Painting’ (2016). In June 2018, AmC Collezione Coppola, Vicenza, Italy published a SOLO magazine monograph on the artist. In 2020, O’hEocha was elected a member of the acclaimed Aosdána association in Ireland.