Creating new “Rod Sees Red” canvases is always a pleasure for Rod Coyne. And knowing that these paintings will be going straight to exhibition makes it doubly sweet. So it’s no wonder that the artist got all excited when asked to join a Dublin Christmas show just as he was finishing his new series.
Christmas Stocking Fillers 2018
“Christmas Stocking Fillers 2018’, is a unique show at The Doorway Gallery where all the canvases are the same size and all under €500. This spectacular exhibition provides you with the rare opportunity to begin collecting works of art by your favourite artist, at very affordable prices. All of the gallery’s artists, throughout the year, have been working tirelessly towards this show, creating new work. This exhibition runs till 24th December 2018.
See what else Rod’s has been up to artistically on Facebook.
The Doorway Gallery opening hours for Christmas on 24 South Frederick Street
Monday – Saturday 10.30 – 6pm
Sunday 2-5pm for the month of December
Late night Thursday December 20th until 7.30pm
Late night Friday December 21st until 7.30pm
Saturday December 22nd 10.30 -6pm
Sunday 23rd December 2 – 5pm
Monday 24th December 10.30-3pm
Closed 25th – 7th January 2019
Gallery re-opens at normal working hours Monday 7th January 2019
“My then upcoming exhibition Decade caused Ros Drinkwater to write “Coyne’s landscapes are a labour of love” in the Sunday Business Post, May 2009. She spent a day with me at the Avoca Studio Gallery reviewing the brand new collection and delving into my motivation behind it. She was very taken by the fact that acclaimed author Sebastian Barry endorsed the new paintings and had agreed to launch the show. It didn’t appear in the article unfortunately but when I pressed her for a personal opinion she admitted “I like your work Rod, it’s got balls!” I hope you enjoy this article.”
– Rod Coyne
The first time I set eyes on Rod Coyne he was painting plein air on a cliff top overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The setting was Cill Rialaig in Co. Kerry, Ireland’s only artist’s retreat. It was clear that the work in progress had the vigour born out of that energy-laden landscape, as Coyne says, “where the Atlantic collides full frontal with Europe – literally between heaven and earth”.
When asked to open Decade, Rod Coyne’s 10th anniversary show currently showing at Origin Gallery, Dublin 2, Costa prize-winning author Sebastian Barry agreed with alacrity. “So many of his images could be straight out of my own memory, very strange and wonderful, the red lightship, the Wicklow high valley, the angle glimpsed, “ he said.
The exhibition comprises of 40 landscapes and seascapes, the fruits of Coyne’s “long running conversation with the Irish landscape”. He is drawn to places of mythology and beauty, and his exhibition (above) includes the Skelligs, famous sanctuary of the monks, rising out of the sea like a cathedral; the Upper Lake at Glendalough, place of another hermitage where St. Kevin founded a monastery a millennium ago; a flock of sea birds high over the ocean; a vessel in the teeth of a gale.
Born in Dun Laoghaire, south Dublin, Coyne graduated from the Crawford College of Art in Cork and spent ten years in Germany working from a studio overlooking the Rhine – water is always his starting point be it a river, stream, lake, sea or ocean.
When he opened his studio gallery six years ago, his expectation was that tourists would be his main trade but, to his delight, this has not turned out to be so. “What I’ve found is that people are attracted to their own locations – they buy paintings of what the tourists come here to see, “he said.
Since his first solo show at the Origin a decade ago, Coyne’s work has found favour with the public, and is in many prestigious public and private collections. In the current climate his subject matter has a particular relevance. Over millennia civilisations rise and fall – only the landscape endures. Coyne captures both its power and beauty.
“There was always a big chance that the creation of Red Rock would not be born on video at all. There’s always so much to concentrate on when painting a big canvas en plein air that filming the whole affair has to be kept as a secondary priority so as not to distract me from the main event. I never have a camera man with me or any other technical helper so my footage is often off the mark or the batteries run out ages before I notice.”
But this day’s painting was different as I knew exactly what composition I wanted and which canvas I was going to use. The Skelligs features at least once on a residency at Cill Rialaig and this time I had left it till my last day at the Retreat. I actually love the fact that the Star Wars franchise has been celebrating the majesty of these holy islands and now here I was with ten days painting under my belt and ready to pay homage to the island cathedral.
Big canvases are susceptible to any sort of wind so I prefer to secure them to something sturdier that my flimsy easel. While the pier wall offered the perfect position for the perfect view I still needed to get creative in how to lash it to the stonework. Years of working on movie sets in an earlier life has given me a kind of can-do attitude towards this type of problem. Some heavy duty screws and a couple of bungy cords later and it was attached rock solid.
“Red Rock” work in progress on Glen Pier.
Then to the cameras; I used three on that day. One time-lapse camera with no view finder which has to aimed purely on intuition. Secondly, I had a temperamental go-pro up close to the canvas. And finally I filmed all the B-roll stuff using my smart phone. As usual while painting and filming somethings didn’t work out as planned and other things occurred which I had never expected. The upshot in both cases was that the happy accidents far outweighed the disastrous ones and I was very pleased with the results. The painting gave me a sense of instant gratification on the day but it was ten months before I got a chance to work with the footage. Editing the video over the period of a few nights transported me back to painting on that breezy, sunny day on Glen Pier in Co. Kerry. And now it’s done I’m delighted I took the time to allow for the second priority of the day. I hope you like it too, if so, please share.” – Rod Coyne.
RTE presenter and journalist Richard Curran took the helm at the Seeing Red launch. He was introduced by Gallerist and Cill Rialaig Retreat founder Dr. Noelle Campbell-Sharpe. Later in this video Rod Coyne tells about his thought process while making the new work. During 2017 and moving in to 2018 Rod has replaced all the greens of the landscape with a vivid palette of reds. The results are equally exciting and other worldly.
Rod Coyne was privileged to spend two weeks painting at heart of that Wild Atlantic Way. Here’s a two minute studio tour of his Cill Rialaig paintings at that point in time. #Skellig#WildAtlanticWay
The exhibition by Rod Coyne will be open to the public at Origin Gallery Dublin from 2nd – 20th March 2018.
Blizzard conditions in Ireland caused the postponement of the official opening night. After you’ve seen enough white then you might like to start “SEEING RED”. In the meantime please keep warm and safe in these polar conditions.
“Yes, its true, I am Still Seeing Red! Following on from my first tentative steps at Cill Rialaig during my Easter retreat in 2017 I’ve been delving deeper and deeper into my Rod Sees Red project. And now one year later I am ready to road-test this new departure and present this experimental work to the public at large. I am privileged to have been offered a solo exhibition in Dublin’s Origin Gallery during March 2018. This imminent show will be open to the public from the 2nd till the 21st of March and is curated by Dr. Noelle Campbell-Sharpe.
Don’t get Distracted
“Avoca Painting School commitments caught up with me after Cill Rialaig last year and it was August before I could return to the experimentation started in Rod Sees Red. I was taking part in the now renowned Irish version of the international franchise Art in the Open, where literally hundreds of painters descend on a different County Wexford location each day and capture its charms on canvas. I was feeling quite pleased with myself while completing an extremely red version of Hookhead Lighthouse when a fellow artist peered at my painting and gasped in shock. ‘I wish I had the guts to do something like that,’ he announced. At first we agreed it was indeed a risky approach, but I then burst the little bubble by pointing out that, ‘it’s only paint on canvas’, and hardly a case of life-or-death.
“Despite the fact that my new project was not actually dare-devil stuff it was consistently drawing gasps and raising eyebrows. But most importantly I was getting great feedback and people were appreciating my left-field take on otherwise familiar subjects. I was very grateful for the positive resonance because I was finding it very hard to look critically at the new work myself. I would start into each new painting knowing what I had to do to fulfill my own brief and yet feeling slightly revolted at turning perfectly good greens into red! It was all just too counter intuitive and dizzying for me. So each time I would have to steel myself and remember that I was on a mission. Even though when I finished each piece I would stand back and view it with giddy excitement I truly never believed anyone else would feel the same reaction – I was wrong. I got further affirmation later that year when two paintings were short listed for the UK’s biggest art-prize NOA 2017.
Moving it indoors
“As Autumn rolled around I was afforded an excuse to take Rod Sees Red into the studio and see how it worked in that environment. The ‘Dublin Docklands’ exhibition was going to be derived from photo reference and I set about translating antique black and white images into vivid red versions of their former selves. Again each painting went the full spectrum from the stomach-churning first strokes to that light-headed excitement at the end. Now I really felt that I was growing into my new style.
New Year’s Art
“To start 2018 I had a particular motif in mind, something near to home which I had studied a decade before. Painting the old stone-cut railway bridge at the end of the Vale of Avoca had a sensation of coming full circle for me. I remember so well standing on the same spot and breaking artistic ground with my then brand new Atmospherics phase. I was very pleased with the results, then as now.
More Giddy Excitement
“So I can safely say now that my confidence has continued to build from those first tentative steps in County Kerry last year. I am still unnerved and disconcerted starting into each new picture but now I can remind myself to set my jaw and push on through to the giddy excitement on the other side. I will definitely be perusing this road for 2018 and probably beyond.” – Rod Coyne.
Q: How is it that now Rod Sees Red!? A:“For a while now I’ve been considering where my art’s at in the past, present and the future. I could feel a change coming on. Just because I stop painting in a certain way doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in it any more. It just means I need a break, a change of “wallpaper” around me and a chance to see things afresh. Also, I would be a liar if I denied that I am always thinking about how to re-invent my artistic expression and possibly create something totally new (or at least something rare in the art world).
Rod Sees Red! – Field testing a new theory.
So it was with this intention in mind that I set off for my two week retreat on the Atlantic coast of Kerry, Ireland. I am always careful to approach things scientifically in an arty way. In practice this means just changing only one element of my painting-modus-opperandae at a time, and that way I can easily identify how and why the results look different to previous work. So armed with a need for change and a willingness to throw caution to the wind I decided to turn my palette on its head.
Rod Sees Red! – and paints it!
After much musing ahead of my residency I decided to introduce radical amounts of red into my landscapes regardless if they were there or not. That was the basic theory but I still had yet to discover (through making the pictures) how that could work in practice. So for the first couple of days at the retreat I worked plein air, painting fast and loose in acrylics. First off I swapped the greens of the landscape for a tonally similar palette of reds. Then, as a ying to the yang, I started replacing the blues of the sea and sky with a palette of reds. Looking at the two versions side by side I saw instantly that the second option still looked realistic, just as if painted at sunrise or sunset. But where the land was red instead that took on a completely other worldly feel. So armed with my new painting-modus-opperandae I went to work for ten days painting the world red!
Rod Sees Red! – Oil on canvas in high speed.
“Ballinskelligs Bay” was created this month on a two week residency at the artists retreat Cill Rialaig, Co. Kerry, Ireland. I spent my time there experimenting with a new palette – namely switching the greens of the land for reds, corals and hot pinks – just to see what the effect would be. The canvas was completed plein air but later I distressed the surface little back at the studio. This part of the process opens the door to chance and takes the final say out of my hands. I love this painting because it has an abstract and other-worldly feel and yet it reads as a landscape drawn from life.”
– Rod Coyne – Rod Sees Red!