2000 – 2009

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In dreaming of its past the shepherd's tree bore beautiful fruit

Exhibition Archive 2000 - 2009

The place of the dreaming stormoil


Cecille R Hunt Gallery | St. Louis |

Having moved to rural County Kilkenny from his native home of Dublin in 2003, Colman, as a way of acquainting himself in the locale undertook rambles. These aimless country walks led him to places not on a map per se, but to places of great historic and generational significance to those who live at arms length. The remnants of lives make up and are to be seen at Holy Wells and are offered up as alms on Rag Trees. Added to on occasion by devotees, each votive aims to transfer a wish or prayer - crossing from the private to the public sphere, though these are abstracted through the things on offer. Over time Colman made return visits to these places examining the remnants and new offerings affected by time and the weather, and has contemplated how important these places are in anchoring a community through ritual.

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Inis Lacken

River run past tumbledown

Greenacres Gallery |

In this show I find the mood of the landscape through the people I meet along a journey. I interpret this meeting of people and place through colour - sometimes incidental - a small flower, a piece of driftwood can determine the colour of the whole painting. Upon first sight strong colours are evident but upon closer inspection a layering of under paint with slight pigment changes reveals itself. The layering of colour -used to create the mood of place, offers a way of looking at the magic realism in a painting, it’s Otherness.

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A clarity of rock and soul

Between Bog and a Sagging Wall

Vangard Gallery | Cork |

The inspiration for this series of paintings grew from a story retold to Colman by his neighbour. The story goes that a long time ago a Dutch man bought a blanket bog near to where he lives in the north east of Co. Kilkenny. As no one could pronounce this man’s name they called him Van Diemen and subsequently over time the vernacular name changed from Van Diemen’s Bog to the Bog of Diamonds. Colman explored this area by walking it - looking for any traces of past existences left behind. The bog - acting as a repository for the lives lived only reveals the bare rubble from the houses built on its periphery. Time has erased this memory as it sinks back into the land.

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Gypsy moth

Salt River

Hillsboro Fine Art| Dublin |

Along the shores of the Rivers Barrow and Suir, I walked, sketched, met with locals and investigated the history of these one very functional rivers. The tidal flow of each river influences its flora and fauna, its locals and history and how it carves its route inland. Following on from the physical journey comes the exploration of space and form on a canvas. This moves away from representation to abstraction, creating a unique visual language that hovers between reality and the imagination.

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Under a jewelled rock a dusky water snake

Africa 22º - 35º S

Hillsboro Fine Art | Dublin |

For the best part of 40 yrs. Africa had conjured up an exotic imaginary world - my maternal gran-aunt used to send letters ‘home’ to Ireland from what was then Rhodesia. The stamps acted as miniature paintings, the envelopes had post-marks from a far away world. This journey to and around South Africa was Janus like – looking back whilst also looking forward – oscillating between the need to go and see the ‘new’ Africa and the need to tap into the ‘old’ Africa of my imagination.

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Walking Vemont

Vermont Studio Centre | USA & Vanguard Gallery| Cork |
June 2002

In 2002, I was awarded a Full Fellowship Award by The Vermont Studio Centre, USA - this enabled me to be artist in residence for 6 weeks. I arrived in early spring - a time when the sap on the Maple Trees was rising. Upon seeing the collecting of the sap by cutting into each tree trunk and witnessing the sap slowly flowing into bowls became the starting point for this exhibition. Daily excursions on foot brought me to the forested woods of northern Vermont to view this spectacle.

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We walk like this because we walk like that

Rain on Water

Rubicon Gallery | Dublin |

Stories meander like maps, we follow them weaving in and out with our own subjectivities and imaginations. This series of paintings, sometimes known as my ‘letter box’ paintings, offer glimpses of a landscape (both real and of the mind) and are inspired by walking in Co. Wicklow. Using mixed media on aluminium the horizontal compositions invite you on a journey. Looking at the depicted scenes the eye dances back and forth, up and down and across the picture plane capturing the sensory aspect of visualising your environment.

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Walking the dapple dawn falcon


Hillsboro Fine Art | Dublin |

The word “Vantage” holds a strong meaning for Colman. It is a point from where he views his world. Though not just physical it is also a point from which he travels conceptually. Colman lives in Co. Kilkenny, 900 ft. above sea level. It is this vantage point that has evoked a special sense of space for him and a recognisable horizon line can be found within the picture frame in this new body of work.

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