Cave Floor, 2015, Donal Moloney Donal Moloney was selected to exhibit in this year's John Moores Painting Prize with his painting, 'Cave Floor'. Donal's intricate paintings contain fragments of images from a wide variety of sources creating a 'kaleidoscope' of glistening surfaces. We caught up with him to find out more about how he works, ahead of his ‘Talk Tuesday’ event happening at the Walker Art Gallery on Tuesday 23 August. What made you enter the John Moores? There are a number of reasons why I entered the John Moores, key among them was the admiration I have for so many artists who have been selected over the years (Peter Davies, Lisa Milroy, Alexis Harding, etc). The aim of the John Moores has always appeared, in my opinion, to try and capture the breath of artistic practices that connect to painting. I admire that aim. How does it feel to be a selected artist for the John Moores?
Tell us about your studio... My studio consists of a space to make the objects I include in my paintings (the messy area) and an architect's 'drafting' desk, where I paint (the cleaner area). I move between one area and the other, often the computer being a middle ground. What inspires you? Hard to say! Sometimes, on a google image search marathon, I am looking for an image of striped fabric for example and I come across something completely different. Often what I find is a subject I don't really want in the painting, something that jars with various meanings that are being generated at the time. However, I might suspect that this image might work 'as a painting', or perhaps it's time to throw a 'clanger' in the mix. Because my paintings take about a year to make they absorb quite a lot of diversions from whatever the original plan was. You get used to these diversions leading you in much more interesting directions. Why paint?
It was fantastic to be selected because of the history of the competition as well as the judges, whose practices I have followed closely over the years. There's a part of me that's happy to feel part of the 'lineage' of this competition, but most importantly I am looking forward to seeing my work in the context of the other artists who were selected.
What do you hope visitors will take away from your work in the John Moores? Do you hope for a certain reaction? I have no particular reaction in mind. When I go to exhibitions I want to see something refreshing and powerful. There's so many image making possibilities in the world and painting is only one of them. However, we look at painted images in a very particular way and I think as someone who makes paintings one is very cognisant of this. I think the viewer also knows this and it forms part of their dialogue with the maker.
One reason I paint is because I like how it can absorb many of my interests. I can draw, take photos, project digital animations onto objects I make, play around with collage, etc, and then pack all of these into my paintings. I like how a static painting can be simultaneously serious, beautiful, quiet, dumb, knowing, etc. I'm not saying other ways of making art can't do this too, but personally I fell into painting through drawing at an early age and I still find it fulfilling on many levels.