Self-Portraits Tony O’Malley, Centenary Exhibition 2013
Over the last five years I have been working for Jane O’malley, a local artist and wife of the late Tony O’Malley , photographing all of Tony’s archive work along with some of Janes own paintings.
Tony is a very well know artist in Ireland and it has been a great pleasure to work with Jane and record and see most of Tony’s Career through his paintings and sketch books.
Some of these photographs of tony’s self portraits have just been used in a new book and exhibition being held in the Butler Gallery in Kilkenny.
The below images taken this weekend are from the exhibition.
The Exhibition, held in the Butler Gallery Kilkenny
“Tony O’Malley holds an important and distinguished position in the history of twentieth century Irish art. A highly respected and beloved artist, his works are represented in all major Irish museums and included in the most significant public and private collections of Irish art. Throughout O’Malley’s working life he made self-portraits. They became a way for the viewer to know him. O’Malley taught himself to draw and paint, and in the early days the self-portrait was a convenient immediate means in which to put marks to paper whenever a mirror was available. The mirror was a non-judgmental, reliable ally.
Through the diversity of his self-portraits, we see O’Malley’s practice evolve. The self-portraits stare back at us, mostly unexpressive and unsmiling, sometimes severe, sometimes with one eye closed. Always we see O’Malley’s distinctive strong nose, bearded face, and a bald head at times dressed with skull cap, in later years with sunhat, protection from the hot Bahamian rays. From time to time, we see O’Malley viewed from only the side of a mirror, with the studio or the garden taking prominence in the remainder of the frame. The monochromatic self-portraits are stark and economical and echo the words of the artist himself, ‘The more I paint the less of myself is there’. O’Malley has left us a great gift: a wealth of self-portraits by which to remember him.”