Ronan Walsh is a Dublin born Irish artist. Painting from an early age, he first exhibited work at seventeen whilst living in the Netherlands, shortly after which followed a series of critically well regarded one-man exhibitions in Dublin.
Walsh graduated early from NCAD in 1984, having been skipped two years due to a number of previously well-regarded exhibitions in Dublin and the Netherlands that received strong critical attention also support from the poet and first major patron of Salvador Dali, Sir Edward James. Between 1984 and 1988 Walsh was closely involved with Temple Bar Gallery and Studios and Project Arts Center in Dublin, exhibiting at both and locating his studio at the former. In 1987 he was elected Chairman of Independent Artists, founded by his father in 1959 as an alternative to the more conservative Royal Hibernian Academy. In 1987 he also organized art classes and exhibitions with the Simon Community for the homeless.
During the late eighties Walsh exhibited with "Le Noveau Crie Artists Association" at Le Centre Culturel et Aerospatiale in Toulouse, France and in Ghent, Belgium. During this time he also exhibited at the Taylor Gallery in Dublin. In 1988 Walsh was chosen to represent Ireland at Art Junction in Nice, France. Walsh held several exhibitions in the nineties, primarily in North America, including shows at the Jadite Galleries in New York and at Bond Latin Art in San Francisco. He also exhibited in Toronto and in Taylor Galleries in Dublin. Walsh has also taught art in Canada over several years.
Walsh continued traveling, exhibiting and living throughout Europe during the eighties and nineties using Ireland and Canada where he initially as represented by Gallery Moos from 1989.Gallery Moos were the first to introduce Antonio Tapies and Karl Appel into North America. Moos also represented the American Expressionist artist Lester Johnson with whom Walsh's rich impasto canvasses bear an affinity.
His early work, primarily landscapes with people, possessed the lyrical, semi-abstract, slightly Surrealist aesthetic that could then be seen in the contemporary work of older Irish artists such as Patrick Collins, Louis le Brocquy and Walsh's own father, the artist Owen Walsh. Subsequent to graduating from NCAD, the setting and the aesthetic of the paintings begins to change. The semi-abstract, pastoral landscapes are replaced with more figurative depictions of urban settings; the early romantic lyricism gives way to a harder-edged Expressionist style articulated through thick, heavily textured paintwork and the utilization of found objects. At this time, 'his handling of paint is raw, his approach is physical and aggressive, But Walsh's style was not traditionally Expressionist: 'actually there is very little of the archetypal German Expressionist about Walsh, his use of color is more comparable to the French.Towards the end of the eighties, Walsh becomes affiliated critically with the Neo-Expressionist and Transavantgarde movements in Europe. The shift from abstraction towards figuration and greater realism becomes most pronounced in the 1990s, a decade in which Walsh also shifts his focus from the urban to a more natural setting of forests and beaches.
This concentration on natural settings and subject matter has continued in Walsh's post-millennial work, in which the figure of the Camargue horse and the West of Ireland feature both as sources of inspiration and as thematic motifs. His equestrian artwork also served as a springboard towards abstract expressionism that has been documented in detail from this period "Ronan Walsh Paintings Camargue" .
The more recent artwork show interiors painted with heavily saturated deep reds ,oranges ,mauves and ultramarine blues. The interiors are peopled by figures ,usually with what appears to be a door in the back-round,they exude a powerful tension that isn't made explicit, reminiscent of that calm before a storm . Like the figures, the paintings are stripped down to essentials but veer emotionally from the sensuality of the figures in "Assassins and Door" to the humerus cowboy like figures possibly about to draw their guns in "Meeting an Assassin" to the poignant blues of "Lost Assassin". Stylistically the interior themes are reminiscent of Francis Bacon but with Rothko's palette.
The two still lifes and landscape "Ossingtion Garden" , "Firepit and Gargoyle" and "Disused Watermill" all display a ferocious attack in terms of paintwork.The landscape ends up elastically stretched in terms paintwork towards Gerhard Richter territory. The two still lifes definitely mark a return to classical expressionism of Max Beckmann in "Firepit and Gargoyle", to an eclectic drip painted bike leaning against a fence in "Ossington Garden".
The affinity with de Kooning was also recognised by David Moos:
Toronto International Art Fair, Toronto, Canada
Nicola Rukaj Gallery, Toronto, Canada
Gormleys Fine Art, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Galerie d’Olivier, Marseilles, France
Bold Art Gallery, Galway, Ireland
Miriam Shiell Gallery, Toronto, Canada
Lee Gallery, Cork, Ireland
Art Fair, Dublin, Ireland
Gallery Moos, Toronto, Canada
Hallward Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
De Leon White Gallery, Toronto, Canada
Drabinsky Gallery, Toronto, Canada
Bond Latin Art, San Francisco, USA
Jadite Gallery, NYC, USA
Del Bello Gallery, Toronto, Canada
Riverun Galleries, Dublin, Ireland
Gallery Moos, Toronto, Canada
Gallery D.C., Ghent, Belgium
Nice Art Fair, France
Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
Centre Cultural L’Aerospatiale, Toulouse, France
Lincoln Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
Fendersky Art Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Celtic Court Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
Robinson Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
Sachs Hotel, Dublin, Ireland