Irish artist Michael Canning
Irish artist Michael Canning was born in County Limerick, Ireland in 1971. He studied art at his native Limerick at the School of Art and Design. After finishing school he went to Greece to study at the School of Fine Arts in Athens. But his master’s degree in fine arts he received in 1999 in the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. Michael actively participated in art exhibitions across the United Kingdom. In 2003 he was awarded the prestigious Hennessy Craig Award, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin. His paintings of hedgerow plants confront the traditions of northern European painting.
Heavy mists shroud the rolling hills of the Irish landscape which part only for the wild plants. The plants are rendered directly from observation. Each paintings is built up in layers, using oil paint and wax. They sometimes include the very substance which the painting depicts; ground earth and ash. Michael finds the plants on daily walks near his home in County Limerick. The names of the plants are not important to him, many are known simply by their local names. Some of which are known to be poisons or remedies. The idea that these plants may have healing or adverse properties interests Michael, but it is the not knowing which offers which, that lends the paintings their air of mystery and suspense.
Despite having lived most of his life in the countryside, Michael comes across plant varieties entirely unknown to him. Not consciously searching for amazing revelations, Michael is content in happening upon these simple apparitions “I’m looking for that which I feel I should somehow have seen before, but never did.”