From Geoff O’Keeffe:
I always knew that at some stage I would find the time to return to painting. It was something I had fallen out of love with, and the creative energy needed to make artwork was channeled into the collaborative process of theatre making. I knew that I would go back to painting one day, but life would always get in the way. Little did I think that a pandemic would provide the time to reignite that passion. And so it was, that with the shutdown of theatres, I circled back and rediscovered the joy and frustrations to be found in making paintings.
Initially trained in Fine Art Painting under the tutelage of the artists Sean Mc Sweeney and John O’Leary, I became an art educator, before making a fulltime crossover to theatre. My training as a visual artist constantly informs my work as a director and has helped to shape my theatre aesthetic. Both art practices tell stories, and in the telling, I strive to create atmospheres and fuse together forms, textures, images, sights and sounds to find those moments of magic we all search for.
A return to painting has been joyous, exhilarating, scary and frustrating, hard work and rewarding, all in equal measure. The solo pursuit of painting can be lonely, but it can also be hugely satisfying and fulfilling. In this body of new work made between 2020 and 2021, I have found new ways of making a mark, of telling a story. It is of the land, but more than landscape. The work seeks to create atmospheres through distilling the memories and ‘feel’ of a place. Filtering fleeting emotions, sensory and guttural reactions, and the creation of a strong sense of place resonate more with me than the making of naturalistic renderings. The Place in Between reflects on the journeys made between here and there; the scratched field under foot, the haze of a winter morning or the other worlds to be found in the rock shallows.