Ian Was Here, 2019
Oil on canvas
In this narrative painting, the artist’s childhood friend Joseph stands in the Irish countryside. Grasping shears, he wrestles with the recent loss of their mutual friend Ian. In this fractured internal landscape, disengaged friends, paralleled by magpies, are disoriented by shock and grief, hinting at a greater systemic failure. The words ‘Ian was here’, carved into the impasto bark of a barren tree in painful mimicry of the boyhood ritual becomes more permanent than a stolen life, but less than memory.