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Martin McCoy

Depths

monotype
47cm x 38.5cm framed under glass

£260
Open Plain

monotype
47cm x 38.5cm framed under glass

£260
Flood

monotype
47cm x 38.5cm framed under glass

£260
Air

monotype
47cm x 38.5cm framed under glass

£260
I Flew High

monotype
47cm x 39cm framed under glass

£260
Let Us Move Always

monotype from an etched plate
47cm x 39cm framed under glass

£260
The Naked Hillside

monotype from an etched plate
47cm x 39cm framed under glass

£260

Martin McCoy was born in Belfast. He studied fine art in Manchester, originally training in painting; in 2018 he returned to printmaking, a discipline he had explored in his early years of study.

Although remaining in the North West of England, and based in Merseyside, Martin has returned regularly to Ireland and his connection with the Irish landscape and Irish history and writing has increasingly informed the development of his work. Most recently his series of etchings and monotypes responding to the landscape settings of the 9th Century Irish story of cursed Ulster King, ‘Buile Suibhne’ – Mad Sweeney – were exhibited as part of the 2022 Liverpool Irish Festival.

The works exhibited here are monotypes. Each print is unique with the image being developed on the plate through a variety of painterly techniques before being transferred to the paper under great pressure through a traditional etching press. Selected from Martin’s recent series of works responding to Buile Suibhne, the images are based on studies of real locations mentioned in the text. These are then manipulated to gain an ambiguous quality that mirrors the outcast Sweeney’s experience of dispossession and isolation as expressed in the story through his uncomfortable relationship to the land. Through this motif of abstracted landscapes and reference to Sweeney’s wanderings the works are a contemplation on our relationship to place and the role of location in shaping identity.

Given the themes in the Sweeney story of dispossession and identity, an equally important starting point for this work was the more universal experience of diaspora communities and what ancestral landscapes and topographies and places remembered might mean for them. This was, in part, suggested by a line from Christopher Neve in his book, ‘Unquiet Landscape’ – Places and Ideas in 20th Century British Painting:

‘Landscape by itself is meaningless but it works on our feelings in profound ways,
arousing in us a sense of ourselves in relation to the outside world’.