Shane Berkery is an award winning painter based in Dublin. Having graduated from the NCAD in 2015, Shane went on to have his work shown in various exhibitions in Dublin, London and New York and included in the Irish State Art Collection.

Detail of ‘A Light’, Oil on Canvas, 130 x 150 cm, 2019

Where did you spend quarantine?

I moved to Crumlin just before lockdown and have been here throughout.

Did you have access to a studio during this time? If not, how did you continue to create work?

I didn’t have access to my studio for the month or two until restrictions were eased. I did more drawing than painting, but I set up an easel in the living room and worked on a small painting.

Can you talk through your art making process?

I had the idea of making a painting that features a landscape painting as the backdrop, where the figure looms large over the landscape. I started by making the stretcher for the canvas from timber then stretching and priming the canvas myself. For the painting ‘Salvatore of Lucan’ I began with spending the day with the subject, my friend and fellow painter Salvatore, and took photos around town with a Pentax 67. I sketched the figure with paint first, then the landscape, but began painting in the background first. The landscape was inspired by Paul Henry, but I used my own photos to create an imaginary location. Then it’s just a matter of going in every day and trying to ‘finish’ it.

Detail of ‘Salvatore of Lucan’, Oil on Canvas, 105 x 90 cm, 2019

Did you experiment with any new materials or methodologies?

I have used gold leaf quite a few times before but used silver leaf for the first time in this painting. I also have not dealt with landscapes painting at this level before.

Given the limitations and restrictions of the last few months, did your art making process change at all?  If so, do you think this will continue to change how you will make art going forward?

I had gotten into the habit of pretty much exclusively painting, working out problems on canvas as I go, but the lack of access to studio nudged me back to drawing in my notebook. I think working through ideas through drawing can be more efficient.

Did you have any projects during this time that went ahead?

I had a solo exhibition in the Molesworth gallery originally scheduled for April which was postponed. Restrictions were eased in June and we decided to open on the 22nd.

Install Shot of ‘Cave Paintings’ at Molesworth Gallery

Do you have any upcoming projects?

I am starting a new batch of paintings, some purpose made for open calls and competitions, some for the next body of work as well as commissions.

All photographs were taken at Shane’s 2020 show ‘Cave Paintings’. To see more of Shane’s work visit his website and Instagram.