ARTIST Lesley Cox
“I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.”
— Frida Kahlo
What does an artist do in a pandemic?
By Lesley Cox
Originally from Dublin and now living in West Cork, Lesley Cox has been painting and creating for over 30 years. Her practise is informed by her sense of self within place in the landscape and an investigation into the traces of memory both collective and personal. She uses oil paint as a media to explore themes of containment, isolation, secrecy and memory.
Lesley’s current series of oil landscapes were mainly completed during lockdown and are inspired by road trips around her immediate locale with her youngest son, Peter. During these drives of 5k and later 20k, Peter would take photographs and then Lesley used these photos as research for paintings. The trips were a fantastic opportunity to explore areas not yet travelled to and also to appreciate much more familiar views.
The landscapes are mainly expressionist in nature being heavily influenced by personal mood and atmosphere and this is reflected in palette colour, textures and idiosyncratic painting titles, also important is trying to capture the particular light that comes with our Irish climate.
It becomes apparent when the series is viewed as a whole, that there is little evidence of humans within the landscapes save the odd farm building, but no people are depicted, further describing the isolation felt by all of us during this difficult time.
“That day’, Oil and gold leaf on linen, 2020
Painting is the principal language of my practice. I use oils, finding the media and its behaviour as important as the subject represented. My painting process of layering, palette knife and scaping back allow for intimate studies of texture, light and colour but particularly tones and values which represents my immediate surroundings and mood.
My work addresses a number of issues relative to the relational process between traces and place, exploring themes of containment, isolation, loss of control, secrecy and memory. Material objects and landscape often act as a trigger, a reflexive site of personal and collective mnemonic return, framing memory as a process of internalisation, my work intends to; through a re materialisation of these events and images, describe the fluidity of personal and collective memory and to consider how memory can be represented in art.
- Longlisted for the RDS Visual Arts Award 2016
- Shortlisted for Procreate: Mother Prize 2020
- 2017 Crawford College of Art and Design, Masters in Art and Process
- 2012 – 2016 Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), BA in Visual Art (First Class Honours)
- 2020 Sept Road Trips, Clonakilty Arts Centre, Clonakilty
- 2016 May/June The March of the Shillings, curated by John Doherty, Brian Lawlor and Keith Payne, Blue House Gallery, Schull West Cork.
- 2013 July Seen and unseen, The Winery Bistro, Clonakilty, Cork.
- 2013 September take a breath, The Malthouse Granary Restaurant, Clonakilty, Cork.
- 2020 Aug/Sept Members Exhibition West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen
- 2020 ongoing, Uilinn Foyer, West Cork Arts Centre, Skibereen
- 2019 September ‘Dystopia’ Blue House Gallery, Artists Group Exhibition, Schull
- 2019 April/May Art & Psyche Symposium 2019: The Divine Feminine: Seeding New Myths for our Times – Limerick School of Art and Design
- 2019 May ‘Freedom’ Blue House Gallery, Artists Group Exhibition, Schull
- 2019 Members Exhibition West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen
- 2017 December CIT Crawford College of Art and Design, MA, Graduation Show, curated by Jesse Jones, Ailbhe Ni Bhrian, Colin Crotty and Students
- 2016 September Blue House Gallery Artists Group Exhibition, Skibbereen Arts Festival
- 2016 September DIT (BA Hons) Graduation Show (selected works), curated by Ann Davoren, Uillinn, West Cork Art Centre, Skibbereen, Cork.
- 2016 May DIT (BA Hons) Graduation Show, In the red tent, Sherkin Island, Cork.
- 2016 March Latitude Café and Bistro, 1 Union Quay, Cork.
- 2015 August Array19, (selected works), curated by Ann Davoren (WCAC), Levis Pier, Skibbereen, Cork.
- 2015 Organico Restaurant, Bantry, Cork.
- 2012 – 2015 Members exhibition, West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen