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Photograph of Felim Egan

Felim Egan

Born Ireland, 1952, he studied in Belfast and Portsmouth before attending the Slade School of Art in London. He spent a year at the British School at Rome in 1980 before returning to Dublin. Since then he has lived and worked at Sandymount Strand on the edge of Dublin Bay. His paintings are built up slowly with layers of thin colour applied to the canvas, and stone powder ground into the acrylic. He is known as a painter of restrained eloquence, who sparingly deploys a vocabulary of hieroglyphic motifs over monochromatic expanses of colour. His paintings are built up slowly with layers of thin colour applied to the surface and stone powder ground into the acrylic. The work is universal in spirit and at the same time emotionally intimate. His paintings are epiphanic, in that they convey to us the essential nature or meaning of something of which we were previously unaware. He is an abstract artist, a painter of quite formal abstract images, and yet his work is tied to the place he lives and works, to the long horizons, big skies and empty sands of the Strand and sea. In this way his abstract paintings are almost landscapes, with a magical quality that his neighbour, the poet Seamus Heaney, has aptly described “ a balance of shifting brilliances”.

He represented Ireland at the Paris Biennale in 1980 and the Sao Paulo Bienal in 1985, and has had more than 50 solo exhibitions across Europe and the USA since 1979. Major exhibitions of his work were held at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin in 1995-96, and at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam in 1999. Large-scale commissions include works for Dublin Castle, Temple Bar Properties, the National Gallery of Ireland, City Quay, Dublin, Cork Street, Dublin, and New Providence Wharf, London. In 1993 he won the Premier UNESCO Prize for the Arts in Paris, and he received the Gold Award at Cagnes-sur-Mer in 1997. His work is held in numerous collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; New York City Public Library; Irish Museum of Modern Art; Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin; Ulster Museum, Belfast; Deutsche Bank, London; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and the European Parliament. He is represented in Ireland by the Kerlin Gallery.

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