Nomas* Projects / Art, Dundee

Mar, 2024

Three Certainties

Artist's Statement

Three certainties:

This series of small paintings have grown from my fascination of working with copper and brass plates in my printmaking practice combined with my interest in exploring the possibilities of the miniature.

One of the certainties for me begins with my little ‘Glow’ paintings. These paintings started from a group exhibition I was involved in based on the theme of ‘Equinox’. They began as a series of just four paintings, but now have reached number 27 in the set. Their origin is quite simple; I live in Wormit, Fife, where for much of the winter months we see little of direct sunlight due to the layout of the hills behind the village. For me the Vernal Equinox signifies a time of hope after a long period of darkness. It is the moment where the light and dark are in momentary balance before the light starts to grow. The brass plates are roughened and painted upon, then reworked, scraped, or sanded back to reveal the bright glow of the metal’s surface. The reflective areas catch the light uniquely depending on time of day or angle of view, encouraging the viewer to search for the optimal point of the ‘glow’, seeking out the light.

The second certainty in this exhibition is simply that the clouds will keep rolling, changing, and drifting by. Where I find the Glow paintings a sign of hope, the tiny skies for me are a symbol of constant flux and (beautiful) unpredictability. Thermals, winds, sunlight, and moonlight act to continuously reshape them. Perceived colours can go from deep purples to violent reds, all changing or shifting within an instant.

The third certainty is the sad truth of humankind’s urge, need or desire for war. According to Wikipedia, since the year of my birth in 1982, there have been over 200 conflicts in this world, some of which still continue, some will re-ignite. These little paintings have a working title of both ‘the human-made glow series’ and ‘the atrocity series’. They are tiny images that depict moments of massive explosive impact within cities and towns. They are frightening (yet distant) horizons depicting the horrendous realities of our kind. The brass plate that previously denoted hope in the Glow paintings is now completely covered by paint, hidden beneath an unnatural, artificial glow.

Artist's Bio

Robert is an Irish artist who lives and works in Wormit and Dundee, Scotland. He studied Fine Art Printmaking at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), Dublin and received his MFA from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD), Dundee. During his studies, his primary art practice has involved painting, printmaking and more recently has moved into the realms of emerging digital technologies including CNC milling, 3D scanning and 3D printing. He currently works in DJCAD teaching Art, Design and Architecture students how to utilise new technologies withing their making practice and he previously spent seven years working at Dundee Contemporary Arts Print Studio focusing on his interests in combining traditional and emerging printmaking technologies.

Artist's Website


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Three Certainties