The Human Animal

David Barrett, Lorraine Cooke, Stephen Doyle, Megan Eustace, Eileen Healy

Studio 12 exhibition / project space, 1st Floor Backwater Artists Group, Wandesford Quay, Cork

13 May – 16 July

Available online now. See it ‘in the flesh’ from 25 May, by appointment only 10am-5pm Tue–Fri. To arrange a visit please email in advance. Walk-up requests by email or phone (021 4961002) cannot be guaranteed.

The Human Animal is an exhibition of artwork by Backwater studio members David Barrett, Lorraine Cooke, Stephen Doyle, Megan Eustace and Eileen Healy, curated by Backwater Studio Coordinator Brian Mac Domhnaill. The exhibition features paintings and drawings derived from the practice of life drawing and portrait painting and focusing on the materiality, vulnerability and strength of the human form.

Drawing and painting have formed the core of the diverse range of artistic practices supported by Backwater over the last three decades. This exhibition celebrates the strong tradition of portraiture and life drawing at the studios, from traditional process-based approaches to more contemporary modes of working.

David Barrett is a painter working directly from human subjects on an on-going basis, his art practice having three overlapping areas: the clothed figure, nudes and ‘religious paintings’. His work is driven by the challenge of representing the human form in paint and this puts the nude at the centre of his practice. Lorraine Cooke, who is primarily a printmaker, uses drawing as the foundation for all her work which also extends into painting with an emphasis on portraiture. Stephen Doyle’s work references queer identity and queer culture through painting and installation. In his paintings the artist seeks to represent members of this community in a medium that historically excludes or obscures their sexual identity. Through her drawing practice Megan Eustace expresses the materiality of the human experience and believes that drawing’s ontological nature allows us to perpetually encounter the unknown of that experience. Eileen Healy is predominantly a figurative artist who works mainly in pastel and oil. The paintings she creates are very direct, honest and strong portraits of people who sit for her in her studio.

Further insights into the artists and the work will be published through Backwater’s social media channels throughout the course of the exhibition.

The Human Animal, Backwater’s 2021 artistic programme is supported by an Arts Council of Ireland Project Award and through the Cork City Council Project Scheme.

(Clockwise from left in exhibition space)

David Barrett, Broken, 2016, Oil on canvas, 14.5 x 21 cm, €500

David Barrett, M, 2019, Oil on canvas, 30x 25 cm, €800

Stephen Doyle, Searching…, 2020, Oil on canvas, 80 x 60 cm, €1,800

Lorraine Cooke, Untitled, 2007, Dry point, 12 x 14 cm, NFS

David Barrett, Low, 2020, Oil on canvas, 60 x 60, €1200

Stephen Doyle, Twink, 2018, Oil and mixed media on canvas, 120 X 80 cm, €2,000

Eileen Healy, Conchitta, Pastel on paper, 30 x 35 cm, €350

Eileen Healy, Ademi, Pastel on paper, 50 x 71 cm, €650

Eileen Healy, Emandine, Pastel on paper, 50 x 60 cm, €650

Megan Eustace, Donor Body Prepared For Spot Exam, (no.6) Anatomy Dept.,TSM, 2011, Conte on paper, 76cm x 56cm, €1400

Megan Eustace, Observations and memory drawings from the Anatomy Theatre, TSM and ‘The Pedagogic Drawings’ after Jessel, Grays Anatomy (1858), 2010-11, Mixed media on untreated paper/ oiled paper, Individual pieces €500 euros each (individually framed).

Lorraine Cooke, Untitled, 2021, Oil on linen, 36 x 46 cm, NFS