Belfast Artist Anna McKeever has delighted art collectors and appreciators with the launch of her newest collection, ‘I Brought You Flowers,’ which opened to the public recently at her Ormeau Road studio space. Consisting of twelve vibrant oil on canvas paintings of varied sizes, her newest collection is a celebration of colour and texture. From tiny budding blooms to huge displays of colourful blossoms, the exhibition draws on Anna’s reflections on the Irish psyche, communication, emotion, and our struggle to share thoughts and feelings.
Reflecting on the new collection Anna McKeever said, “’I Brought You Flowers’ was over 12 months in the making and has been inspired by my reflections on the temporality of flowers, their fleeting beauty, and how the act of giving flowers can transcend the need for words. I love that flowers don’t tell, they show.”
“I have given flowers to say happy birthday or congratulations, and I have received red roses from my valentine. But there have also been moments where I didn’t know what else to say, so I brought flowers. The idea that they have a nuanced language of their own is really fascinating to me.”
This series is an explosion of colour – punctuated by Anna’s immediately recognisable use of texture creating an almost sculptural element to the pieces. The collection is partially influenced by Anna’s previous experience working as a medical doctor in psychiatry, as well as being a progression of her debut solo exhibition “Anam,” which focused on the stoicism of the people across the island of Ireland.
Exploring the historic Irish psyche and how that fits into our modern identity are common themes throughout Anna’s practice. “I feel like we are in the midst of a cultural resurgence of Irish folklore and language. As a contemporary Irish artist, I am inspired as much by modern society as I am by our old ways.”
She describes her work as an “interface between ancient and modern Ireland” and often draws from Celtic mythology, folklore and symbolism. Highlighting what she feels is a unique cultural trait for the Irish, Anna says, “In my time working in medicine, and throughout various encounters in my life, I have become acutely aware of the difficulties we have in expressing true emotion. In times of crisis – or indeed in times of joy – many people simply don’t have the tools to communicate their feelings. In so many situations, complicated and nuanced emotions are expressed via a simple exchange of flowers.”
“Whilst I enjoy painting a diverse range of subjects, creating flowers always brings me joy. I often use traditional still life compositions and contrast them with a contemporary palette of fluorescent highlights, bold colour and texture. I found it an interesting balance depicting the gentle, delicate nature of the petals, but at the same time I wanted to demonstrate the bold, vibrant display of a flower garden in full bloom,” says Anna. “Through this collection I have also had the opportunity to consider the many occasions and milestones which are punctuated by flowers; from everyday moments with a vase of daffodils on the kitchen counter to the romance of a bouquet in full bloom.”
An Irish artist with a growing international reputation; art collectors around the world have shown interest in Anna’s work, with key pieces already purchased by buyers from Hong Kong, across the United States, and Europe. Upon the launch of ‘I Brought You Flowers,’ two paintings have already been reserved by keen collectors in Malaysia and San Francisco.
‘I Brought You Flowers’ is open for public viewings at Anna McKeever’s Ormeau Road studio, Level 2, 455 Ormeau Road Belfast, on Fridays and Saturdays from 10am – 4pm until Saturday 17th June. Private viewings are also available by appointment.