Back in 2012 I was pushing for a solo exhibition in a local arts center. The director complained that it could be so hard to get the general public into the gallery and interact with the work. Together we came up with the brief that I would create an exhibition of paintings, true to my own artistic vision, which would simultaneously give “the local farmer down the road” reason to visit and be invested in the art. My Place on Canvas was the result and probably my most successful project to date. Here’s a look back at this singular project through Invitation, TV and radio coverage, PR and Artist Statement at the time.
30 Wicklow landscapes of real people unveiled
An exhibition celebrating Wicklow landscapes where the public have decided which scenes Rod Coyne would paint. Choosing a selection of those favourite “My Places…” Rod has interpreted them in his own distinctive plein-air style. Each canvas has its very own personal back-story. These sentiments and memories will be exhibited alongside the painting.
This is an interactive project where the artist looks at the world through someone else’s eyes, and they get to see their landscape through his. People who previously were never involved in art suddenly find themselves at the heart of this unique show. The result is a compelling mix of paintings and text celebrating the stunning beauty that is Co. Wicklow.
Great interview with Rod at the launch of My Place on Canvas 2014.
The “traditional” genre of landscape painting takes on a unique twist in the hands of Rod Coyne. While this brand new collection of Wicklow landscapes is painted by Rod, each subject has been chosen by a member of the general public. Coyne looks at the world through someone else’s eyes and they see their landscape through his eyes. The result is a compelling mix of paintings and text. People who previously were never involved in art suddenly find themselves at the heart of this unique show.
The weather is one of three key deciding factors in how each finished painting looks. The other two are the artist and the proposer. In some pieces the results fuse harmoniously, singing off the one hymn sheet. In others the text and the painting seem diametrically opposed. This unpredictable relationship speaks volumes for the fickle nature of the Irish weather and the human condition.
In Art College I set myself the task of learning to paint pictures my granny would understand. She wouldn’t have to like them but she should recognise what they are. I still believe that art shouldn’t be just for artists, but that it should be for the people. I believe in de-mystifying art and the creation of art.
With this in mind I set out on a magical mystery tour of Wicklow for the past year. I have discovered hidden gems that I otherwise might never have found. I have painted the places I considered too obvious to paint. I have had off-road adventures, wildlife encounters and weather-beaten canvases. I have met people; the fans, friends and citizens on Wicklow who each shared a different take on the Garden County. Each was passionate. I hope I have been able to share some of that passion through “My Place on Canvas”.
Rod talks to Declan Meehan EastCoastFM about My Place on Canvas.
Press Release 01 November 2014, “My Place on Canvas”, An exhibition by Rod Coyne will be opened by TD Stephen Donnelly.
Wicklow based artist Rod Coyne has been painting for 25 years. His passion is the wild Irish landscape which manifests itself in a dramatic, energetic and contemporary style.
Rod Coyne paints sentiments and memories En plein air*. His upcoming exhibition at the Courthouse Tinahely is a singular mission to capture the favourite Wicklow scenes of others. Rod has motivated people to consider and articulate their relationship with their landscape. Then he has retold that story through paint. The result is a compelling mix of paintings and text called “My Place on Canvas”.
Notable are contributions from author Paul Howard aka Ross O’Carroll Kelly, former Ireland rugby international Shane Byrne, lawyer to the stars Dr. Gerald Kean and Irelands most respected TD Stephen Donnelly. This multi-facetted undertaking saw Coyne marching from the mountains to the sea, or flanked by deer in a forest at dusk, and lunching with The Hon. Garech Browne in Luggala estate.
“My Place on Canvas”is an exhibition celebrating the Wicklow landscape, where the public decided which scenes would be painted. Choosing a selection from those submissions the artist then interpreted each in his own distinctive plein air style. The finished paintings will be displayed alongside the text of its very own personal back-story.
The exhibition is the culmination of a three year long project which has captured the public’s imagination. Rod set out to break down some of the barriers and exclusivity that still exist around art. With this interactive project Coyne looks at the world through someone else’s eyes while they get to see their landscape through his. The result is a gripping mix of paintings and text championing the majesty that is Co. Wicklow.
Excitement mounts as all contributors anticipate their landscapes being publicly unveiled for the first time. The exhibition will be opened by TD Stephen Donnelly on November 23rd. “My Place on Canvas” has allowed people who were previously never involved in art to find themselves at the heart of a fine art exhibition. There have been over 70 submissions from around the world including Holland, Scotland, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong and, of course, Wicklow. The artist received submissions from across the board including politicians and prisoners, celebrities and writers. All share a passion for the Garden County of Ireland, as the 30 new works being premiered will testify.
In art we can find common ground, and in Rod’s hands it becomes universally accessible. In an effort to de-mystify the creative process Rod has been documenting his painting journey through a photo diary on Twitter. He has also filmed the realisation of each piece with a head-camera and these YouTube clips will be on display at the Courthouse Arts Centre. They tell the other story, that of Rod’s experiences and adventures as he wandered the county, bringing art outside, finding and painting other people’s visions of Wicklow.
*En plein air is a French expression meaning ‘‘in the open air’’ referring to the act of painting outdoors. Plein air artists like Rod capture the spirit and essence of a landscape by incorporating the changing natural light, colour, and movement into their works. This sometimes frenetic process tells as much about the author as his subject.
See paintings and prints from the My Place in Canvas collection here.