Irish Artist Mary Clancy creates figurative paintings with an architectonic quality. Her work includes the splintering of light across the interiors of private and public spaces and the spatial constructs formed when shadows fall across familiar objects. The works evoke a sense of stillness and contemplation; sometimes created on a small scale, they emphasise the preciousness of the moment.


‘Her small, precisely articulated representational paintings are as multifaceted as cut glass, opening out into complex spatial worlds.’
-Aidan Dunne, Irish Times



Born in Dublin, Ireland, Mary Clancy grew up in London, England returning to Dublin to study Dentistry at Trinity College Dublin. She worked in Ontario, Canada for eight years and moved to Cork, Ireland where she studied Fine Art at the Crawford College of Art and Design. She graduated with a First Class Honours degree in 2007.

She was awarded the Eli Lilly Purchase Prize 2007, the Ernst and Young Award 2007 and was the recipient of the Countess Markievicz Gold Medal for Painting from the Dublin Arts Society in 2004.

Her first solo show was at The Paul Kane Gallery, Dublin in 2008.

Mary teaches restorative dentistry at University College Cork. She is a trained and practised facilitator in Visual Thinking Strategies, a visual art methodology to improve critical thinking in university students.


Artist’s Statement

To fully experience the present we must allow ourselves to forget. Memories are meant to fade and eventually even the essential traces of an experience may disappear. However in today’s world we find that the past invades the present continually. We record and playback so much of our lives through photos, videos, and voice mail, that minor events, having been replayed take on a new significance. Things half forgotten are renewed and brought to the fore, so that they are now out of a logical memory sequence.

Shadows are the visual metaphor for memory. Shadows move, shift and eventually fade and disappear. Renewed memories are like shadows that have become permanently printed on the mind. Of course the editorial effect of the recording alters the original memory so that even the memory is only a simulation.

In effect time has become desynchronised; yesterday’s voicemail is heard today, last week’s match will be watched tomorrow. We can be in two places simultaneously through video links. Time and space are not linear and sequential but increasingly flexible and distorted. Chronological time and experienced time have become more divergent.

I express these ideas in my paintings when I use mirrors that reflect the unexpected, windows appear in mirrors through a trick of the light and space becomes curved into a vortex in the bell of the French Horn. When memories are renewed they become accentuated, as do the colours. Similarly the shadows hold still, crisp and clean. Conversely, when memories attenuate, the palette is reduced and the details fall away like leaves, leaving the skeleton and shadows of the moment.