Brushes, photograph by Antonio Nodar, 2013

Eugene Power was born in northwest London of Irish immigrant parents. He studied painting at Falmouth School of Art, graduating BA hon's Fine Art, 1979, and University of East London, graduating MA Fine Art, 2011. He has a PGCE in Further Education from Greenwich University, awarded June 1998, and has taught fine art in colleges and institutes of adult education since 1987.

 

His debut show was at Chris Beetles Gallery, Mayfair, London, (500 years of Artists’ Impressions, Nov 1987). In 1992 he co-founded London based groups, Irish Artists in Britain and the Euro 8 Group. Shows with Irish Artists in Britain included, Liberty’s (All of Ireland, Aug 1992), the Northern Irish Business Centre, Mayfair (Dec 1992), Hackney Museum, London (the Moon Stream, Jan 1993), Museum of London (Dec 1993),  Arnhiem Gallery, Fairfield Halls, Croydon (Seed of The Fire, June1993). Euro 8 Group showed at The Euro Gallery, The Cut, London (July 1992), and was funded by the European Arts Festival. During this period he was commissioned for murals by Covent Garden Festival (Mar/ Aug 1990), and Café Paris, a restaurant in Swiss Cottage, London (July-Aug 1993). From the mid-nineties onwards he began to have solo shows in London; first of these was at the London Irish Centre, Camden (Sept-Oct 1994), followed by the FHAB Gallery, St John’s Wood (Aug 1994), Café Gallery, Maida Vale (Dec 1998 & Dec 2000), The Media Centre, Fitzrovia (June 2001).

Between 1999 and 2009 he travelled regularly, visiting Thailand, Nepal, Morocco, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and South Africa, where he did an artist’s residency,  at Bulungula Village in the Transkei, (Nov 05/January 06). After completing his residency, he visited Malawi, where he returned as part of a self-funded project, based in Ruarwe village (Nov 2007 & Dec-Jan 2008/9). Subsequently, he began work on the Africa series, which is currently ongoing.

In 2010/11, he collaborated with Ron Best RCA on developing private sector art education in west London, and a program of educational events for Notting Hill Visual Arts Festival, 2011. In 2013, he began work with Antonio Nodar, on …from portrait to self-portrait... (...p2sp...)

 

The Africa series was born out of a self-funded, self-iniated project that took place between 2006 and 2009, based in a tiny village called Ruarwe, on the remote northern shores of Lake Malawi, Malawi, East Central Africa. The way life in Ruarwe is typical of village life across Africa, and is fundamental to African culture, and this is why  'Africa' was chosen as the title for the series.  

 

The Ruarwe project comprised of two main activities, that of recording village life, and acting as mentor to four young men orphaned by HIV AIDS. Art lessons were also provided, and financial assistance to start up a small local business.

 

Photographs taken in the village provide the starting point for the Africa series, which to date includes  acrylics,  oils,  and works on paper reserved for the print collection.

Ruarwe village, Lake Malawi. East Central Africa. Photograph, Eugene Power 1/1/07

 

back > Africa series / Palombe

 

Palombe was the first person that I met when I arrived in Ruarwe, on my first visit in January 2006. I soon learnt that he was “Head Man” of the Village, and lived in a small, mud-brick, grass roofed house on the Lakeshore.

 

On a number of occasions I photographed and drew him, and once again his portrait was the first in Ruarwe. He seemed not only to embody the Village, but the land and animals that once roamed there, and at times there was a semblance of the leopard and hippopotamus in his visage. From our first meeting he struck me as a man of an ancient type of nobility that is dignified and knows how to bare hardship.

 

He was also the first subject from Ruarwe that I developed into a painting, because it offered the possibility of making a portrait that represented something of what I had discovered in my travels and reading about Africa.

 

The Africa series print collection was created to commemorate the people of Ruarwe and the contribution they have made to this project. Their photographic portraits were the starting point for the collection.

 

The images in the Weeping Woman series represent a world in a state of imbalance, where the brutality that is visited upon the most vulnerable amongst us is symbolised the weeping woman. 

 

The images of Symoyo were developed from three photographs taken in Ruarwe, two of which were taken on the beach and the other in the village. The central figure is a fisherman called Symoyo, and the other figures: Jindi, (Cliff Clipps), Alex Kambalami, and Raphael. With a group of men as the main protagonists, the image has a sense of a gang that is slightly menacing.

 

under construction.

 

Presented here are works in a variety of meda, charting over 30 years of artistic practice. Each way of working has its reason, and while the oil paintings explore  the language of paint at its more abstract, making assemblages and boxes explores the possibilities of found objects. As various other phases in ways of working have come and gone, drawing and working on paper has remained a constant.  

 

The design and dimensions of the panels were decided on according the type of reclyclable wood available at the time of their making. Because of this, different styles of construction were employed. 

 

In One Fine Day, work was begun on the center piece of the panel long before the frame was added. Particular to working on panels is the way frame and other features of relief assert themselves and at the same time are disguised by the paint. 

Panel with teak centre piece and pine frame prior to painting.

 

This work explores the mediums of charcoal and black pastel on paper, with imagery derived from stones, coral and seashells.

Work in progress, 16/4/14. Photograph by Antonio Nodar

 
 

The assemblages are suggested by bringing found objects together. The idea that a thing is devoid of value is challenged when the ditritus of the streets becomes a form of expression.

 

The box was concieved of as a way of encasing the assemblage for protection, but became an extension that reshaped the meaning. The idea, in the assemblages of smashed mirror and other reflective materials, is developed in the boxes, Sun Wnd Tide, and Spirit of Time, which use mirror lining to brighten the interior.

 

"Obscure life of Thamorth" is a photographic project based in the vicinity of the town of Tafraout, situated in the Anti-Atlas Mountains of southern Morocco. The geology surrounding Tafraout is unique to Morocco, and comprises of igneous rock of the ancient, Cryptozoic period; the oldest rock in the world. The project's title is derived from two separate sources. The word 'Obscure' references the geological term, Cryptozoic, which means obscure or hidden life; and denotes a period of geological time when the earliest traces of primitive life occurred. Secondly, 'Thamorth' is the archaic name the Imazighen, (Berbers of North Africa) have for their homeland. The title given to photographs in this portfolio, "Pure Land", is a direct quote form the Pure Land Japanese Buddhist sect, whose scriptures speak of a Paradise where the deserving believers go after death.

 

Photographs in the Western Skies series are selected from an ongoing photographic diary of the view looking west from the kitchen window of my flat in Maida Vale, west London.  

© EP 2015

Eugene Power/original artworks/signed limited edition prints

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