Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Article Published in Ohio Irish American News magazine

A new essay by Susan Magan was published recently in the Ohio Irish American News Ohio magazine. In it she talks about how, on a visit to Dublin this year with her son she came across my paintings for the first time. Below is an extract from Susan's essay, to read the full essay please click here.

Extract from Blowin In; Harvest Home by Susan Magan

This past spring when my son and I traveled to Dublin, we sat enjoying lunch in an Italian restaurant near Trinity College. As my son devoured his plate of profiteroles, I watched the decidedly urban view outside the cafĂ© window. Chic shoppers and bohemian college students hurried past my vantage point. When the view cleared, I saw a most welcome sight, an image of Keem Beach in Achill Island. The image was not a mirage in the middle of an urban oasis, but one of McCaul’s hauntingly beautiful paintings in his Sentinels series. I questioned my son, “Do you recognize that painting in the gallery across the street?” “Sure, it’s Keem,” he replied. Unaffected, he went back to his chocolate cream, while I hurried to pay the bill. I had to see more of this artist and his captivating works.

McCaul’s paintings are modern and stark. The images are not romantic portrayals of shepherds and rolling hills. These landscapes recall the imposing beauty of County Mayo and other coastal regions on Ireland’s Western shore, the changeability of the weather, her daring cliffs, the brilliant colors of her fields, and the steadfast quality of the houses. Though unpopulated with people, McCaul’s renderings underscore the sad times when sons had to leave their mothers, and girls were sent into service to help provide for large families. The homes were left empty, standing as sentinels to a lost time of family comfort. While many of the paintings exude a heartbreaking sense of loneliness, others radiate a sense of humility as powerful shadows creep across the mountains at twilight and dawn continues to rise over the western sea.

All of the paintings speak of the perseverance of the Irish people: their strength of character and their ability to find hope in the simple beauty of the sun shining over a distant hill that one day will light the way back home for their sons and daughters.
The paintings are not unlike the farmhouse with the absent farmer. Evidence of the farmer’s labor exists in the leveled fields that lie in wait for spring tilling. Evidence of the farmer’s harvest shines in the light illuminating wood-paned windows. Evidence of the farmer’s simple notion of comfort escapes through the smoke softly curling out of his red brick chimney, welcoming his family home.

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