Born in Cork in 1952, Michael Mulcahy was educated at the Crawford Municipal School of Art in Cork and the National College of Art & Design. Extensive travels in Africa, Australia, Papua New Guinea and Korea have strongly influenced his work, which often portrays indigenous peoples and natural environments.
He first publicly exhibited paintings in Wexford in 1981, and the Douglas Hyde Gallery in Dublin held a major show in 1994. Between 1995 and 2000, Mulcahy had a number of solo shows, from the Fendersky Gallery in Belfast where his work continued on a similar style which celebrated the human condition, to a period of minimalism, which was evident in his Cosmic Dance series which he exhibited at the Galway Arts Festival in 2000.
From 2000 to the present, Mulcahy has been working consistently on various bodies of work, using older themes and again focusing on afiguration and narrative. In 2003, he completed a two month residency at Cill Rialaig, in which he immersed himself in the dark coarseness of a Kerry winter. The ensuing work for his Cill Rialaig show had a savage intensity, which was an interesting departure from the Cosmic Dance series.
During Easter 2004, he again took up residency at the invitation of the Blue Leaf Gallery, at a disused convent at Portumna, where he exhibited a body of work, entitled The Stations of the Cross (opened by Michael D. Higgins). The show displayed images of pain and barbarism, and a final painting of the resurrection, which is magnificent and gentle. In the same year, he completed a body of work entitled Men from Strange Places Bearing Gifts, at the Pigyard Gallery in Wexford, during the Opera Festival, and in December 2004, he worked on a two-person show with Suzy O’ Mullane, which was exhibited at the Cill Rialaig Gallery.
The most recent show, which he exhibited in May 2005 at the Irish Embassy in Brussells, was at the invitation of the ambassador to Belgium, which consisted of a series of heads. He is currently continuing to work on the head paintings, with a view to exhibiting in the near future. He resides in Co. Waterford.