My studio is in the Wylye Valley village of Heytesbury where I have lived for 30 years. I came to Wiltshire to discover the world created by the painter Paul Nash and inspired by his work have begun to create my own Wiltshire. I first saw Nash’s work in my school 6th form library on the Wirral and fell in love with his photographs and paintings of the rolling chalk Downland and ridges topped with Bronze Age Barrows and Beech wood clumps. His photographs of the Avenue at Avebury captured the depth of antiquity in a landscape I just had to be in.
I want to create paintings which say without doubt….. “THIS IS WILTSHIRE”. The colours in my work are bold and striking, attempting to capture the memory of sun-drenched summer walks across the plain, along the Ridgeway to Avebury, across the undiscovered West Wiltshire Downs and down the Wylye Valley.
This ancient and mystical landscape is now overlaid with the geometry of modern farming however the past is not far from the surface. As I walk I collect Neolithic flint tools and I am struck by the awareness that I am walking the same soil as the people who built Stonehenge.
Colour and pattern are what excites me as I try to create a balance between what I see, what I recollect and the wish to construct something more than simple representation:
“His landscapes are based in Southwest England in particular Wiltshire and Dorset. They are the perfectly balanced point between abstraction and observed landscape painting. There is the trace of many layers and fine lines within the work, combined with the glorious pallet of vivid greens and sunny yellows making joyous viewing.”
Kate Anniss Director Mylo Art.
My painting are built up of many, many layers of paint almost like the archaeology of the Plain. I paint, then scrape back through the layers and build up more: constantly constructing, deconstructing, overlapping, obscuring and revealing until the right emotion and composition is captured. As they are based more on emotional memory, the compositions are not planned but evolve in the painting process. My clients identify the paintings with the places not in a literal tree for tree way but in the overall spirit of place which the Romans called Genius loci. It is that spirit of place I am trying to capture.
“O’Connor describes his paintings as ‘direct and intuitive.’ His use of colour is fresh and original and his mark-making holds great appeal. He is also fascinated by mapmaking and the dichotomy between the changing and the timeless nature of landscape.”
Anna Powell Director Sladers Yard Gallery
To me Wiltshire isn’t an Eldorado (an imagined but ultimately unobtainable place) it is an English Arcadia. A visual Heaven on Earth so perfect, the landscape could have been designed by Capability Brown!
BOATS: The form of the boat is idealised and condensed much like mediaeval illustration of boats where scale and form are manipulated to tell the story rather than directly represent boat forms. More particularly the sculptures are inspired by the mythical journey of St Brendan sailing from Co Kerry to discover the New World in a canvas covered Currach. They are also directly inspired by another Irish boat namely the Iron Age gold ‘Broighter Boat’ discovered in County Derry and now in the National Museum Dublin.
The Slade School of Fine Art, University College London. MA Fine Art.
Sunderland Polytechnic, BA Fine Art.
Work on show at the Artists studio in Wiltshire. Contact in advance.
See more work on my website.www.davidoconnor.co.uk
I am currently exhibiting with The Doorway Gallery, Dublin Hadfield Fine Art, Gloucestershire and Amesbury Art Gallery, Wiltshire.
A comprehensive overview can also be seen at my own website:www.davidoconnor.co.uk