At present the motif of the flower is the starting point to my work, which is based in painting. My current work is a projection of the female gaze onto a female subject / motif (the flower). The paintings are love letters to, memories of, and portraits of female lovers. My recent paintings point back to earlier works about the brain and the heart and point forward to abstraction and self authorship. The paintings are love stories branching from the tradition of minimalist figurative abstraction. In the process of making, pressing questions have emerged about myself as a queer artist who is now assembling their most autobiographical work, dealing with themes of discomfort, supression, lust, desire, growth, expansion and retraction – much like the cyclical stages of a flower. Earlier works, which explored functionality and energy were made with the support of The Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin, where I had access to heart and lung specimens. As the daughter of a figurative painter father and a medical scientist mother it is interesting to address this as a narrative backdrop, it also feeds my curiousity about other people’s work. Emotion and the lived experience play a valuable part in the formal decisions of painting – the paint is applied carefully, delicately and slowly. My images consider ideas of arrangement and the point at which, through the process of interpretation and deconstruction, a form alludes to a story and becomes something it previously was not. My practice is nurtured by conversations with other artists where I learn about their work and also about how to articulate and contextualize my own work. As an emerging artist, I am looking to expand the conversation around the lived queer experience and how this works its way into visual art, and also how queerness can be erased, suppressed or avoided in discussions, especially about painting.
Chanelle Walshe graduated from NCAD in 2010. She completed a mentorship program with Turps Banana Art School London in 2019. Recent exhibitions include Fallout: Art In This Time, Grunwald Gallery, Indiana (2020), ARTWORKS at Visual Carlow (2019), Hope for tomorrow at Westport Arts Festival (2018), Beatland, Pallas Projects, Dublin (2017 solo), Nerve and Sinew, Custom House Gallery, Westport (2017, 2 person with Betsy Stirratt), A Knowing Nature, The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon (2016 group), Panorama, curated by Kathy Tynan and Chanelle Walshe, Pallas Projects, Dublin (2015) and Not Life Necessarily, NCAD Gallery, Dublin, (2014, 2 person with Chloe Brenan). Walshe was artist in residence at The Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin 2015-16. Her work was acquired by Trinity College Dublin in 2021 and The Arts Council of Ireland in 2020. Chanelle lives and works in Dublin, Ireland.