COVER TO CANVAS ARTIST OF THE DAY – Margaret Corcoran, Visual Artist
In the words of art critic Aidan Dunne, “Margaret Corcoran is known for her lively engagement with the Western painting tradition… There’s a lightness of touch, a very appealing playfulness. When she veers towards abstraction…it’s beautifully judged. The historical material she is dealing with becomes a rich nutritive mass from which she draws not new stories but – as ever – new versions of old stories.”
Margaret speaks of the inspiration for her ‘Cover to Canvas’ project….
Art Work Title
‘Possession’… it’s nine tenths of the Law…
This piece began with a very beautiful book cover from the King’s Inns Library. There was embossing on it. The effect of the light, in a photograph that I took of it, was almost greenish gold. Another book in the collection was called ‘The Etcher’ – and it had an illustration of the poem Tyger, by William Blake.
At the time I had just finished a large scale painting – “Return to Cythera”, 2.5metres; which is now on view in the Arts Block, Trinity College, Dublin. I really enjoyed painting a tiger in that work, enough to want to do it again.
So, I started imagining a painting of a tiger, emerging out from the book cover. The particular tiger that I had in mind was from a painting by Rubens – ’The Four Parts of the World’, 1612–1614. His tiger has been used by other painters, after Rubens, who did not have access to such animals, as he did – the tiger then becomes art–historically, a Rubensian quotation – I liked the idea of a quote in the context of a painting for The Law Library.
As I painted, my attention was being drawn, unconsciously, to a lady held by one of the men in Ruben’s painting.
She seems to be depicted as conquered, clearly she represents Africa. Her gaze seems to be quite powerful and to deny her ‘acquisition’. this became more and more interesting for me because I have just begun a series of paintings on Rwanda and Colonization – so I didn’t finish painting the tiger… I was taken by the centrality of the lady. And she appears now, emerging.
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