Artists Ian Humphreys

Ian Humphreys’ work is concerned with distilling his environment into visual form, where “environment” is a holistic term encompassing not only the West Cork landscape where he lives, but also the music he listens to while he paints—from Bach to Lisa Hannigan, the mythologies that absorb his imagination, and the physicality of his materials themselves. Sometimes pieces of driftwood make their way into his paintings in lieu of canvas. What emerges are meditative imprints of a sense of place that dwells in the realms between landscape and psyche.

Recent paintings explore a theme of horizontality inspired by West Cork’s layered vistas of land meeting sea meeting sky; and while the landscape is present in these works, it is not as discrete subject but rather as the painterly equivalent of a very long exposure, a folding of the land’s fleeting phenomena into its more enduring, structural elements—inviting the play of light, shadow and colour into conversation with the black bog soil and jagged strata of rock that so characterise the local landscape. In doing so, these works aim to collapse time in order to coax something of the land’s essence into focus.

The project of these works is transcendental in nature—an effort to invoke the enduring patterns that shape human perception. Humphreys searches for the image using found tools as well as brushes, employing gravity and chance, and exploring the physicality of his materials by dribbling, throwing, scratching and scraping. He works like this in quick bursts over a long period of time, balancing the tension between intuitive, immersive flow, and a slower process of analysis, until something is resolved in the space where perception, environment and medium dance.