Michael Flaherty

Michael image

“…..So Flaherty paints landscapes back west. But…he is different. He is a farmer’s son and his studio is on the same farm that he left as a child. His landscape has always been about the particular experience of that place-the gable of a neighbour’s house glimpsed through the stand of trees, the look out the window to see what the weather is doing, the walk on the beach. His easel is surrounded by reminders of sensation – sketches, photos and all sorts of other things – notes from a landscape. On the far side of the easel is a wall stacked with new paintings that show the varying degrees of realisation in imagery of those sensations that the search for authenticity in representation.

In his latest work there is a difference tone. He has closed his eyes and worked from memory, a deep memory connected to an emotional core. The work has gotten smaller and darker and the surfaces more animated. Sauce Creek is a recurring motif. This is a place apart, a massive hole punched by the sea in the side of the mountain behind his house. Once inhabited the place was abandoned a long time ago. There is an emotional trigger that is seeking aesthetic and formal expression in the landscape. There is a dark romanticism. Flaherty is in that space occupied so long ago by Yeats and more recently by Patrick Collins – the quintessential Irish landscape.”

-Ciaran Walsh,   Visual Art Director, Siamsa Tire, Tralee.

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