‘Heavy Water on the Bog’ by Patrick Collins.

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Patrick Collins was a Sligo painter who arrived at a unique language
in paint to express his vision of the Irish landscape. During many
decades of Collins’s productive career he recoursed to what might be ‘
a TV scaffolding’ to house his images. In the early Eighties Collins
grew impatient with this approach to his art. He pushed the frontiers
in regularly cutting into the canvas arguing ‘the Irish landscape is
not a uniform shape.’ It should be stated Collins’s foray into the
unorthodoxy has not been espoused readily to date. In fact, with the
exception of the late Vincent Ferguson another son of Yeats country,
few collectors have supported Patrick Collins’s venture. It is worth
pointing out that the seismic shift that took place in Northern
Ireland painter Basil Blackshaw’s output around the same time was
partially prompted by Collins. He remarked in conversation with
Blackshaw “you are too close to your subject.” “You are too forensic”
he argued. Blackshaw was already reaching this conclusion himself and
as his subject matter moved to be more preoccupied with the ‘spirit’
of his creation rather than addressing the anatomy and the forensics
of his work, correspondingly there was a resistance to the denouement
in his work. More than a decade passed before collectors came to
acknowledge and to espouse the shift in Blackshaw’s new approach to
his art. It is hoped that the forthcoming exhibition in January in the
RHA of Collins’s cutaways will help educate the public and
collectors of the true merit resting within his late oeuvre. The above
work ‘Heavy Water on the Bog’ is typical of the departure in Collins’s
late work. Colour crept much more into this final phase of his output.


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I am a regular contributor to discussion programmes on TV and radio both at home and abroad. An experienced political editor and author specialising in Politics, Security and 20th Century Art.

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